NFL Free Agency: Eric Wright and The Top Ten Guys No One Is Talking About
With so much talk about the 2011 NFL draft and the NFL playoffs, much of the free agency talk in the NFL has been muted recently.
However, there is some serious talent in the free agency pool this offseason. Some names have already been thrown around like Michael Vick and Arian Foster. Those guys, however, will likely receive the franchise tag from their respective teams.
Therefore, free agency is more important amongst that second tier group that no one is talking about. Here are the top ten players in free agency who no one is talking about.
Hasselbeck did not have his greatest season this year, his 12th of his career. While Hasselbeck may not be a long-term solution for any team, he did play decently well this season and could be a stop-gap for a team that drafts a quarterback this year.
Hasselbeck had just 12 touchdowns to 17 interceptions, but he did pass for over 3000 yards in 14 games. He also proved he could still perform under pressure with a victory against the Saints in the first round of the playoffs.
Bradshaw lost a chunk of his carries to Brandon Jacobs due to his fumbling problems this season. Still, Bradshaw was one of the best running backs in the NFC last season.
Bradshaw compiled 1235 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on the ground in addition to 314 receiving yards. The Giants will not be willing to pay him big money so the franchise tag is unlikely in Bradshaw's circumstance.
Steve Breaston amassed 718 receiving yards this season on a Arizona Cardinals team that possibly had the worst quarterback situation in the NFL this season. Even Larry Fitzgerald was affected by the poor quarterbacks in the Arizona huddle.
Breaston is just two years removed from a 1000 yard season. If a team with a decent quarterback picks him up, Breaston may return to the form that he showed when Kurt Warner was under center for the Cardinals.
As the third wide receiver for the Green Bay Packers this season, James Jones had 50 receptions for 679 receiving yards and five touchdowns.
More impressive was Jones's big game ability. Jones had two 100 yard receiving games and could have had more if he played a more vital role on the Green Bay offense. The Packers may be willing to let Jones walk considering how much depth and talent they have at the wide receiver position.
Edwards had eight sacks this season despite missing two games, giving him his second consecutive season with eight sacks or more. Edwards played a big role in the Minnesota Vikings defensive line this season, but perhaps not enough for the Vikings to retain him.
Minnesota may have to use the franchise tag on Sidney Rice, so they will likely have to rely on contract negotiations with Edwards.
Stephen Tulloch had a big year manning the middle of the field for the Tennessee Titans. Tulloch had 159 tackles this season which put him at second in the NFL in that category.
Tulloch is not the sexiest pick as a free agent, and many of his tackles were simply the result of opposing running backs getting through the Titans defensive line, but he is a very good linebacker who should have plenty of suitors.
I'm sure some people are talking about Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Tamba Hali, but he makes the list just in case you haven't heard. Hali compiled 14.5 sacks this season for the Chiefs and forced four fumbles.
It's hard to imagine the Chiefs not keeping Hali either through long term contract or franchise tag. He became a defensive force this season and one of the best players on the entire team.
Jonathan Joseph was considered one of the best young cornerbacks in the NFL after his 2009 season in which he produced six interceptions and a forced fumble.
This year was a bit of a regression for Joseph with only three interceptions and 12 fewer deflected passes. While statistics do not always tell the story of a cornerback's season, Joseph was not as productive this season which could make him less desirable this offseason.
Antonio Cromartie was considered a big splash in the offseason for the New York Jets last season, but he hasn't turned out to be as good as advertised. Since the Jets have 2010 first round pick Kyle Wilson in waiting to take Cromartie's spot, Cromartie may be headed out of town this summer.
Cromartie is still a talented cornerback and will be a starter somewhere in the NFL next season. However, it is questionable whether that spot is with the Jets.
Vinatieri is getting up there in years. He recently turned 38 years old. Still, Vinatieri is a proven clutch kicker, especially in the playoffs.
Vinatieri made 26 out of 28 attempts this season proving that he has not lost his ability to kick for accuracy. The Colts should try to retain him, but the market for kickers is ever changing.