I hate to sound like a broken record, because every football piece written in the last two months says something about free agency with the condition that it will only happen if the league and the players' union come to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement.
That is the reality of the situation, however, and the teams have until March 4 to work out a deal that will allow free agency to operate as normal, because that is the date when the new league year (and free agency) would officially begin.
After a year with no CBA and a pretty shallow pool of free agents thanks to the accrued seasons requirement for unrestricted free agency increasing from four years to six, we could potentially go back to the old system of just four years if a new CBA is reached.
In that event, a very large and talented class of players will hit the open market, which is sure to excite fans of all teams at the prospects of landing a game-changing talent.
Of course, some of these players might be retained by their old clubs with the franchise tag (which itself is another matter of contention regarding the new CBA).
That being said, here are the top 20 players in the NFL with expiring contracts in 2011—all of which could go a long way in turning a franchise's fortunes...
Chris J. Nelson majored in journalism at Georgia State University and is currently a programming coordinator for Turner Sports in Atlanta. He operates his own Miami Dolphins website, The Miami Dolphins Spotlight, and he can be followed on Twitter here.