Assuming they get a new collective bargaining agreement done, NFL free agency is scheduled to begin on March 3, 2011.
I'm going to go through every team between now and then and identify their top five free agents and try to determine what should be done with each player—should the team re-sign them or let them walk?
I've been going team by team in draft order and I am at the team with the sixth pick in the draft, the Cleveland Browns.
The Browns had an up and down 2010 season. They won their last four games at the end of the 2009 season, so expectations were high for a 5-11 team. Unfortunately, the team didn't improve enough over the offseason and finished with a 5-11 record yet again and head coach Eric Mangini was let go.
Pat Shurmur was hired by team president Mike Holmgren to replace Mangini as head coach. Shurmur wasn't a big-name head coaching candidate when the 2010 season started, but he helped guide the Rams offense and rookie quarterback Sam Bradford to an unexpectedly good season this year.
He was also a long-time Eagles assistant and Eagles coach Andy Reid is a former Holmgren disciple, which surely contributed to the decision to hire him.
Shurmur and the Browns should improve moving forward. The team added quarterback Colt McCoy and cornerback Joe Haden in last year's draft and should continue to draft well with Holmgren at the helm.
They are on the upside of the rebuilding process now and should consider that when they make their decisions about their own free agents.
(Honorable Mention—D'Qwell Jackson—Didn't make the list because he's been injured for most of the past two years, but is a former second round pick and was a good player before he was hurt.)