Sidney Rice, Nnamdi Asomugha, DeAngelo Williams and Terrell Owens. This is not a list of pro-bowlers, rather a selection of the talent who are hitting the open markets of free agency after the upcoming draft.
With all the murk that is surrounding the labour dispute, the eyes of the NFL are yet to settle on this years class of restricted free agents. Despite this, this bunch of players is one of the most talented in years, and has its fair share of offensive playmakers and defensive stand outs.
This slideshow is aimed at showing who the upper crust of this pool is, and who is looking to reel in a huge pay day.
In 2009 Sidney Rice was one of the brightest young stars in the NFL.
He was coming off a Pro Bowl season as a lethal deep threat wide receiver who had racked up over 1,000 yards. However, he missed almost all of the 2010 season recovering from hip surgery and is now just one of the many important starters for the Vikings whose contract has ended this offseason.
Rice is probably the most sought after receiver in this class. He has shown that he can be a force as a number one target and has the sought after ability to be a deep threat. He is a good red-zone receiver who uses his 6'4" height to win jump balls. And on top of this, he is only 24 years old.
While the bidding war that is bound to surround him will scare some teams off, there will be plenty of interest in this young man.
The value of this New England mauler to their offensive line was firmly established this past season during his absence and subsequent return to the team. While the Tom Brady led Patriots offense was good at the start of the season, they went on a roll after the return of Logan Mankins to the offensive line.
Although Belichick realizes the importance of Mankins to his offense, it may be impossible for them to keep him. Mankins dislikes the Patriots organization and is very unlikely to re-sign with them. This opens the door for a bidding war for his ample services.
Mankins is probably the best left guard in the NFL at the moment. He was voted first-team All-Pro despite playing a shortened season, and was the main reason for the improvement in New England's running game in the second half of the season. His powerful run blocking and equal skill as a pass protector will make him a sought after player. His youth also weighs in his favour.
Although Jenkins is hitting the open market, he is one of the few players who I think is certain to be returning to his old team. While he is the top 3-4 defensive end in free agency, and maybe even the whole league, he knows he is on to a good thing in Green Bay, and the Packers are always very good at holding onto talent and looking after their own.
Jenkins could play in a 4-3 defense as a penetrating 3-technique defensive tackle, but if a bidding war begins the 3-4 teams would win out due to their increased desperation. It is hard to find great defensive ends for their system.
Jenkins is the prototype for his position. He is shorter than normal for his position at 6'2", but has a low centre of gravity, good strength and technique to anchor against the run and also work into the backfield. He is one of the stars of the Packers elite defense, on par with Clay Matthews and B.J. Raji in importance, which really says all that needs to be said.
In an unprecedented move, the contract of a first-team All-Pro cornerback was voided due to a lack of statistics in the 2010 season. This bizarre happening is what has led to the best corner back in the league, Nnamdi Asomugha, hitting free agency at the tender age of 29.
Asomugha will be the ultimate prize of this offseason.
After all, how often does a true shutdown corner, who in the last four seasons has been targeted just 112 times (28 a season), and allowed 41 completions (10.25 a season), become a free agent? Standing 6'2" and weighing 210 pounds, he has the frame of a safety. Yet he also has extremely loose hips, great deep speed, flawless technique and great instincts.
It is unlikely that he will be returning to the Raiders next season, especially after they gave a huge contract to Stanford Routt. Therefore, they will not have the resources to outbid everyone to make Asomugha return to the Black Hole.
I am picking a Super Bowl candidate like Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago or Pittsburgh to scoop him up and win it all.
The second possible crippling loss for the Oakland Raiders this season is Richard Seymour.
When he was traded to the Raiders he was the unquestioned best 3-4 defensive end in the NFL. While he may no longer hold that distinguished accolade, he is still a top five player who is a real difference maker on the defensive line.
Seymour should be a priority for the Raiders this offseason, although you never know what is happening inside their offices. Not only is he a player who can win at both a three technique defensive tackle, 4-3 defensive end and as a 3-4 defensive end while simultaneously anchoring against the run and penetrating into the backfield, but he is also a top class leader and motivator for the defense.
Although he is getting a little long in the tooth at 31 years of age, he would still be able to offer which ever team that signs him three or four quality seasons of play. There is no doubt that if he leaves the Bay Area there will be more than a 6'6" 310 pound hole in the team.
The New York Jets just got hold of their number one wide receiver last season, yet he is already eligible for free agency. This is because the Jets were not willing to risk giving him a big extension after his suspension. However, after performing better than expected last season in the Jets offense Holmes is now one of the best wide receivers hitting free agency this season.
Holmes has always been a dangerous receiver who can make a big play out of nothing with his speed and open field running ability. In the 2010 season he added a lot more polish to his game though. He is a far better route runner, finally has consistent hands and has added to his reputation as a clutch wide out with multiple late game winning touchdowns.
Like Rice, Holmes is a young wide receiver at just 27. This will make him very intriguing for other franchises looking for a fast wide receiver like the Lions and Patriots. However, the Jets have already stated that they are looking to re-sign Holmes to a long-term deal, which may end their marriage with Braylon Edwards instead.
He is not a left tackle, but as a franchise right tackle Clabo will get plenty of attention this offseason, especially when he is the key cog in the powerful Falcons running game.
He is a real mauler in the run game, who uses his 330 pound bulk and great technique to swallow up defensive linemen while creating gaps for his runners. He is also a good pass protector. While not a supremely agile tackle, he has long arms and takes great angles to always make the pass rusher work hard to get past him.
Clabo will be a big priority for the Falcons this season, and I still think he will return. However, re-signing him will cost a mint, especially since he is only 29 and hitting the prime of his career.
While Asomugha is the best cornerback in free agency, the cornerback with the most long-term value could well be Johnathan Joseph. At just 26, he has another five seasons of top flight performance at least.
Joseph is a very fast, athletic cornerback who is also adept in press coverage. He is fast and fluid enough to run downfield with the fastest wide receivers, and he has the instincts and leaping ability to challenge them in jump ball situations. He is a playmaker who has the return abilities to take interceptions to the house and is a willing and safe tackler.
The Bengals would like Joseph back, but since Leon Hall is coming into a contract season they will not be able to play Joseph as much as he wants or can get elsewhere. Teams like the Lions, Raiders and Falcons would be interested in attaining his services.
Completing the trio of important Raiders players hitting the free agency pool is their Pro Bowl tight end Zach Miller. Ever since his rookie season he has lead the Raiders in receptions, and he broke out in 2010 with 60 receptions for 685 yards and five touchdowns in a run first offense.
Millers stats do not tell the whole story though. He is also one of the best run blocking tight ends in the league, and his big frame allows him to hold his own against defensive ends and rush linebackers. He has safe hands, and while he is not a burner tight end he creates separation with his route running and can box out defensive backs.
Again, the Raiders can ill afford to lose their best receiving threat this offseason, but they may be forced to because of the number of players hitting free agency and the money they have tied up in other guys.
Miller will especially interest the St. Louis Rams, who are in need of adding more dependable receiving targets for young dynamo Sam Bradford.
Rounding out this list is the Titans top linebacker, Stephen Tulloch. This season he improved his statistical output to be one of the best linebackers, and is now looking at a serious pay day this off season.
Tulloch is another young player at just 26, and is versatile enough to play both strong side linebacker and middle linebacker. He is a powerful and sure tackler, he sheds and stacks blockers well on his way to the ball carrier and has great instincts. He is also has good feel in zone coverage, although he lacks the speed and fluidity to cover tight end and wide receivers one on one. He is also a passionate leader of the defense.
Tennessee want Tulloch back, but I think he will end up moving to Detroit this off season. He knows and likes Jim Scwartz and would benefit from playing behind an elite defensive line.
With most of the top linebackers like Chad Greenway and David Harris being given franchise tags this off season, Tulloch is now number one in his position, and will be paid accordingly.