The NFL is facing a lot of obstacles in the offseason, which could include a Collective Bargaining Agreement. The NFL also has a lot of prominent free agents for the potential 2011, pending there is not a lockout looming in the air. This article will review the top five most notable free agents on the market for each position and the questions surrounding that particular player.
Peyton Manning (IND): Obviously, he will most likely return to the Colts. But there is some speculation that his contract alone will take over most of their salary cap and prevent the Colts from building a productive team around Manning. Ultimately, the Colts will make Peyton Manning the highest paid player at the conclusion of the NFL season.
Michael Vick (PHI): Vick has had a phenomenal season passing the ball and scrambling. After the Eagles traded away Donovan McNabb to keep Kevin Kolb, expect them to maintain both players. Also, I would expect Vick to get a very big deal and pay off the heavy debts he had been dealt coming out of prison.
Matt Hasselback (SEA): It's been quite a while since Hasselback has had a statistically good season since 2007 and the Seahawks roster talent has suffered. He might be a great backup option for a team, but it isn't out of the ordinary for Pete Carroll's team to re-sign him. However, Carroll is headed into a young direction as a team.
Matt Leinart (HOU): Given the struggles in Arizona, it was a mistake for them to cut Leinart in the preseason given his completion percentage and the ineffectiveness of the other quarterbacks. His biggest issue is an inability to throw the ball deep and play a vertical offense with Larry Fitzgerald. I believe that given the right offense and quarterbacks coach, he can flourish.
Alex Smith (SF): This is a quarterback that hasn't quite panned out in the NFL and has struggled learning the pro offense that he never learned at Utah. If he had had a steady offensive coordinator, he would have had a lot of more success. Through all this, he has looked great in slow increments. He could set on the bench and become a decent veteran backup in the next few years. His days near the Golden Gate Bridge are surely limited.
Other Notable Free Agent QBs
Seneca Wallace (CLE), Matt Moore (CAR), Tavaris Jackson (MIN), Marc Bulger (BAL), Brady Quinn (DEN), Brodie Croyle (KC), Trent Edwards (JAC), Drew Stanton (DET), Chad Pennington (MIA), Tyler Thigpen (MIA), Bruce Gradkowski (OAK), Dennis Dixon (PIT), Jim Sorgi (NYG), Troy Smith (SF), Kerry Collins (TEN), Rex Grossman (WAS)
DeAngelo Williams (CAR): After an ineffective season in 2010, the franchise tag or trade seems highly unlikely. The improvement of Jonathan Stewart and Mike Goodson can make him fairly expendable to Carolina. If the situation turns out where he is an unrestricted free agent, he could leave the Panthers for a starting position and the money as well.
Arian Foster (HOU): The Houston RB won the NFL rushing title with 1,616 yards. Foster is becoming won of the leagues biggest talents after coming off the practice squad late last year.
Mike Tolbert (SD): Former Chargers FB Tolbert had to take control of the team after Ryan Matthews was injured for the majority of the year. Tolbert maintained a strong backfield and mowed his way through defenders. The Chargers front office feels very confident in Tolbert to make an effort in resigning him in offseason. He will be a restricted free agent, no matter how the CBA negotiations turn out.
Cedric Benson (CIN): The Bengals RB ran for over 1,000 yards in his second consecutive season. However, he was not as effective as he was last year. The Bengals are high on Bernard Scott, but they will give a lot of consideration to Benson.
Ahmad Bradshaw (NYG): Bradshaw had a great outing this season with over 1,500 yards from scrimmage, while sharing the carries with Brandon Jacobs. The knock on the Giants is that they cannot protect the football, which led to the Giants’ woes in not making the playoffs.
Bradshaw lost six of seven fumbles this year. However, I doubt the Giants will cut ties with a great runner and receiver after how they handled Tiki Barber who got over fumbling later in his career.
Other Notable Free Agent RBs
Darren Sproles (SD), BenJarvus Green-Ellis (NE), Ronnie Brown (MIA), Ricky Williams (MIA), Michael Bush (OAK), Pierre Thomas (NO), Leon Washington (SEA), Tim Hightower (ARZ), Jerious Norwood (ATL), Mike Bell (CLE), Laurence Maroney (DEN), Kevin Smith (DET), Brandon Jackson (GB), Derrick Ward (HOU), Joseph Addai (IND), Mike Hart (IND), Patrick Cobbs (MIA), Sammy Morris (NE), Kevin Faulk (NE), Fred Taylor (NE), Danny Ware (NYG), Jerome Harrison (PHI), Mewelde Moore (PIT), Brian Westbrook (SF), Kenneth Darby (STL), Cadillac Williams (TB)
John Kuhn (GB): Kuhn is a favorite in Green Bay. He is tremendous on offense and consistent on special teams. I fully expect the Packers to resign Kuhn to a new deal.
Vonta Leach (HOU): The Pro Bowl FB paved the way for Arian Foster this year and loves banging heads with the defense. In order to maintain its success in the backfield, the Texas may have to resign Leach in order to keep that success going.
Le’Ron McClain (BAL): McClain is a great FB for the Ravens but the problem might come when McClain wants more carries. The Ravens will definitely hope to keeps McClain.
Other Notable Free Agent FBs
Jason Snelling (ATL), Brian Leonard (CIN), Lawrence Vickers (CLE), Jerome Felton (DET), Korey Hall (GB), Lex Hilliard (MIA), Naufahu Tahi (MIN), Tony Richardson (NYJ), Heath Evans (NO), Marcel Reece (OAK), Ahmard Hall (TEN)
Vincent Jackson (SD): Philip Rivers found a lot of great success with the younger receivers this year, which might make Jackson easy to let go. Norv Turner believes that Jackson is a better player this year than he was last year, which might mean that the front office will try to bring him back.
Santonio Holmes (NYJ): Holmes is the best receiver in the very talented Jets receiving corps. He is technically solid in his routes and is known for being clutch late in the game. You’d think the front office would maintain Holmes, as he’s had the most targets and receptions on the team since Week 5.
Terrell Owens (CIN): The Bengals have already stated that they do not intend to bring TO back. At 37 years old, many people were surprised by his production this season. The problem is his mouth, constant blaming the offensive staffs and the players for whatever struggles that a team has. TO is on his last hurrah and will have a tough time finding a team, as if it wasn’t hard enough last offseason.
Randy Moss (TEN): The season that Moss has had could not have been forecasted by any means. The receiver may still have the talent to be productive, but he’s burned way to many bridges. The question comes in how will take a big risk on him.
Steve Smith (NYG): Smith has been a fantastic receiver in the slot for the G-Men. Smith was on the way to another 1,000-yard season before an injury caught up to him. The Giants will go after Smith and will be the frontrunner for Smith’s services.
Other Notable Free Agent WRs
Sidney Rice (MIN), Braylon Edwards (NYJ), Malcolm Floyd (SD), Mike Williams (SEA) James Jones (GB), Steve Breaston (ARI), Early Doucet (ARZ), Brian Finneran (ATL), Donte' Stallworth (BAL), T J Houshmandzadeh (BAL), Rashied Davis (CHI), Devin Aromashadu (CHI), Chansi Stuckey (CLE), Sam Hurd (DAL), Jacoby Jones (HOU), Mike Sims-Walker (JAC), Kevin Curtis (MIA), Hank Baskett (MIN), Greg Lewis (MIN), Lance Moore (NO), Courtney Roby (NO), Derek Hagan (NYG), Darius Reynaud (NYG), Brad Smith (NYJ), Johnnie Lee Higgins (OAK), Legedu Naanee (SD), Ben Obomanu (SEA), Laurent Robinson (STL), Danny Amendola (STL), Mark Clayton (STL), Maurice Stovall (TB), Santana Moss (WAS)
Kevin Boss (NYG): Boss has been very good in the Giants running system. Though his opportunities have been limited with the success of the Giants receivers, Boss has been reliable when he is thrown to. He’s the perfect tight end for that offense and the front office will seek to keep Boss’ services.
Marcedes Lewis (JAC): The 6’6”, 275-pound Lewis had a solid breakout season. He lit up defenses in the red zone and created plenty of the mismatches. I would not consider Lewis a high-end TE, but is reliable when called upon. Expect the Jags to re-sign Lewis.
Zach Miller (OAK): Miller is a big-time target for the Raiders and regardless of the QB in the game, he’s produced. Miller can block very effectively and will be sought after heavily.
Other Notable Free Agent TEs
Owen Daniels (HOU), Ben Patrick (ARZ), Dante Rosario (CAR), Jeff King (CAR), Desmond Clark (CHI), Reggie Kelly (CIN), Alex Smith (CLE), Leonard Pope (KC), Joey Haynos (MIA), David Thomas (NO), Matt Spaeth (PIT), Kris Wilson (SD), Randy McMichael (SD), Daniel Fells (STL), John Gilmore (TB), Bo Scaife (TEN)
Here are the best free agents on the offensive side of the football. Stay tuned later this week for the O-line and the notable defensive free agents in the market.