2011 NFL Offseason: Position-By-Position Top Potential Free Agents

Evan HigginsCorrespondent IIFebruary 23, 2011

2011 NFL Offseason: Position-By-Position Top Potential Free Agents

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    Star Raiders' Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha is expected to be the top Free Agent this Offseason.
    Star Raiders' Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha is expected to be the top Free Agent this Offseason.Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Yes, it's true that the NFL may not be able to strike a labor deal in time, and that means there will be no 2011 NFL season--which includes the offseason.

    But, in the two minutes it takes you to read this article, were going to pretend like the NFL Union got their act together, and got a deal in place and saved the 2011 NFL season! 

    Free agency is one of my favorite times of the year, seeing players go to different teams and watching teams improve or worsen is always a fun time. I have ranked the top potential free agents at each position, and I will be updating this daily if a player re-signs or signs a deal with a team.

    There is a lot more depth this free agency than I have seen in a while, especially along the defensive side. 

    Teams like Houston, Jacksonville and Dallas, who are in need of some play makers at defensive back, may strike gold as there is plenty of depth there. 

    Last year we really started to see the new era of elite players, and who the dominant teams of the next generation will be. I think this offseason will prove that even more, and many players will be finding new homes. 

    Here are the top potential free agents at every position.


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    Matt Hasselback has been a Seattle Seahawk most his career, and that shouldn't change even with his expiring contract.
    Matt Hasselback has been a Seattle Seahawk most his career, and that shouldn't change even with his expiring contract.Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    **Peyton Manning has been franchised by Indianapolis and will not become a free agent.

    **Michael Vick has been franchised by Philadelphia and will not become a free agent.


    1. Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle. Age: 35.

    The longtime Seahawks starter will most likely return to Seattle for what could be his last year in the league.

    2010 Statistics: 12 touchdowns, 17 interceptions, 3,001 yards.

    2. Alex Smith, San Francisco. Age: 27.

    The former first overall pick will never be the franchise quarterback he was supposed to be, but that doesn't mean he can't still contribute. San Francisco said that he would be a good "secondary." I am pretty sure that means he will be seeing his way out of red and gold.

    2010 Statistics: 14 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 2,370 yards.

    3. Kerry Collins, Tennessee. Age: 38.

    Even at the age of 38, Collins is one of the top backups in league. Tennessee would be dumb to let him go, as he has been one consistent option at quarterback through the Vince Young era.  He has even taken the starting job from him many times. Plus, you can't argue how well he has been able to win.

    2010 Statistics: 14 touchdowns, eight interceptions, 1,823 yards.

    4. Marc Bulger, Baltimore. Age: 35.

    Having a year off was exactly what Bulger needed. I believe he can still contribute as a short-term starting quarterback or mentor to a younger quarterback.

    2010 Statistics: Did not accumulate any stats.

    5. Seneca Wallace, Cleveland. Age: 31.

    Finally, Wallace was going to a team where he could be the starting quarterback and get the opportunity he deserves---then he gets hurt and gets beat out by a rookie before he can return. Wallace deserves at least a chance at another starting job.

    2010 Statistics: Four touchdowns, two interceptions, 694 yards. 

    6. Bruce Gradkowski, Oakland. Age: 28.

    He was a little above average, and showed potential as a replacement for Jason Campbell when he struggled with injuries.

    2010 Statistics: Five touchdowns, seven interceptions, 1,059 yards.

    7. Billy Volek, San Diego. Age: 35.

    Volek has been one of the top backups in the league for sometime, and could be in line for a short-term contract to be a starter for a team like Carolina or Arizona.

    2010 Statistics: Eight yards.

    8. Tarvaris Jackson, Minnesota. Age: 28.

    It has been a roller coaster type career for Jackson. At times he has looked like he could be a productive starter.  At others, he has looked like just another backup quarterback.

    2010 Statistics: Three touchdowns, four interceptions, 341 yards.

    9. Caleb Hanie, Chicago. Age: 25. (RFA)

    No one knew of Hanie until the NFC Championship game, when he came in for an injured Jay Cutler and played well. While I do believe he showed a lot of potential, I'm not buying into the rumor of him becoming a starting quarterback just yet.

    2010 Statistics: 55 yards.

    10. Luke McCown, Jacksonville. Age: 30.

    McCown has shown a lot of potential, but every chance he has had of becoming a starting quarterback has been ruined by injuries.

    2010 Statistics: 120 yards.

    11. Chad Pennington, Miami. Age: 35.

    Could Pennington get come back player of the year for a third time in his career? He's no superstar, but could be a nice short-term option for a team who needs a quarterback.

    2010 Statistics: 19 yards.

    12. Matt Moore, Carolina. Age: 27.

    He was supposed to be the successor of Jake Delhomme, and become the future of the Carolina Panthers after an impressive 2009 season. That took a turn for the worse.

    2010 Statistics: Five touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 857 yards.

    13. Troy Smith, San Francisco. Age: 27.

    He finally got his chance at a starting job last season for San Francisco, but played only average.

    2010 Statistics: Five touchdowns, four interceptions, 1,176 yards.

    14. Dennis Dixon, Pittsburgh. Age: 26. (RFA)

    Played for the suspended Ben Roethlisberger last season, but didn't impress. He still has potential.

    2010 Statistics: One interception, 254 yards.

    15. Rex Grossman, Washington. Age: 31.

    Although he had no expectations since being a first-round bust, Grossman actually played well. Well enough to take the starting job from Donovan McNabb at the end of the season.

    2010 Statistics: Seven touchdowns, four interceptions, 884 yards.

    16. Drew Stanton, Detroit. Age: 27. 

    The former second-round pick hasn't had a lot of playing time, mostly due to injuries, but finally did last season, and looked good.

    2010 Statistics: Four touchdowns, three interceptions, 780 yards.

    17. Trent Edwards, Jacksonville. Age: 27.

    The former Buffalo starting quarterback is a solid backup.

    2010 Statistics: Two touchdowns, five interceptions, 521 yards.

    18. Tyler Thigpen, Miami. Age: 27.

    Thigpen was able to start last season for the disappointing Chad Henne, but looked no better then him.

    2010 Statistics: Two touchdowns, two interceptions, 435 yards.

    19. Matt Leinart, Houston. Age: 28.

    Leinart is a solid backup, and maybe if he worked hard enough over the offseason rather then partying, he could have the starting job in Arizona right now.

    2010 Statistics: Did not accumulate any stats.

    20. Kellen Clemens, New York Jets. Age: 28.

    Who knows how well he can play anymore, he has gone from the future of the Jets to a bench warmer.

    2010 Statistics: Six yards.

Running Back/Fullbacks:

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    DeAngelo Williams is the top available running back in free agency.
    DeAngelo Williams is the top available running back in free agency.Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Running Backs:

    1. DeAngelo Williams, Carolina. Age: 27. 

    2010 Statistics: 87 attempts, 361 yards, one touchdown.

    The Carolina Panthers would be stupid not to re-sign him, he is the "Dash" of their "Smash and Dash" two-back system. Williams has been slowed by injuries the past two seasons, but the former rushing-leader in 2008 has shown that he is an elite back when healthy.

    2. Ahmad Bradshaw, New York Giants. Age: 25.

    2010 Statistics: 276 attempts, 1,235 yards, eight touchdowns.

    New York might have to choose between Bradshaw or Jacobs, and something tells me they will choose Jacobs. They don't have the salary to pay for both, as Jacobs just got an extension a couple years ago. Bradshaw also just had ankle surgery, and has dealt with fumbling problems. Bradshaw will never be a complete back, but is one of the top third-down backs and two-punch backs in the league.

    3. Joseph Addai, Indianapolis. Age: 28.

    2010 Statistics: 116 attempts, 495 yards, four touchdowns.

    Just like Williams, Addai is another back who has been slowed by injuries, but has shown he can be a very productive back.

    4. Michael Bush, Oakland. Age: 27.

    The former Louisville Cardinal has shown a lot of potential the past two years. I believe he has done enough to become a productive starting back in the league.

    2010 Statistics: 158 carries, 655 yards, eight touchdowns.

    5. Ronnie Brown, Miami. Age: 29.

    The former second-overall pick hasn't lived up to expectations, mostly due to several injuries. He can still be productive, but is questionable as to whether he can be a number one back anymore.

    2010 Statistics: 200 attempts, 734 yards, five touchdowns.

    6. Cedric Benson, Cincinnati. Age: 28.

    The former first-round pick turned things around in Cincinnati. Maybe a fresh start from one of the most drama-filled teams in the league would be good for him.

    2010 Statistics: 321 attempts, 1,111 yards, seven touchdowns.

    7. Pierre Thomas, New Orleans. Age: 26.

    A healthy Pierre Thomas is one of the most underrated backs in the league, but due to how injury prone he is, teams may not take the risk.

    2010 Statistics: 83 attempts, 269 yards, two touchdowns.

    8. Mike Tolbert, San Diego. Age: 25. (RFA)

    The fullback/halfback twiner was impressive last season and would be a great power back in a two-back system.

    2010 Statistics: 182 attempts, 735 yards, 11 touchdowns.

    9. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, New England. Age: 26.

    Green-Ellis looked great last season, but can he put up these kind of numbers away from New England's system?

    2010 Statistics: 229 carries, 1,008 yards, 13 touchdowns.

    10. Tim Hightower, Arizona. Age: 25.

    A late-round steal a couple years ago, Hightower has been a great number two back for Arizona, and will continue doing the same.

    2010 Statistics: 153 attempts, 736, five touchdowns.

    11. Jason Snelling, Atlanta. Age: 27.

    He has been very impressive when given the chance to play. If he was smart, he'd walk away from Atlanta and sign with a team willing to play him more.

    2010 Statistics: 87 carries, 324 yards, two touchdowns.

    12. Ricky Williams, Miami. Age: 34.

    While it's no doubt he is on the down-side of his career, Williams can still be productive.

    2010 Statistics: 159 attempts, 673 yards, two touchdowns.

    13. Darren Sproles, San Diego. Age: 28.

    We haven't seen much of "mighty mouse" in a while, but I feel like he can still be productive, he just needs a fresh start elsewhere.

    2010 Statistics: 50 attempts, 267 yards, zero touchdowns.

    14. Kevin Smith, Detroit. Age: 24.

    Smith suffered a major injury, and never quite got over it. He has shown potential to be a productive back, but some questions linger if he can ever play that way again.

    2010 Statistics: 34 attempts, 133 yards.

    15. Brandon Jackson, Green Bay. Age: 25.

    Jackson disappointed last season when Ryan Grant was lost for the season, but still ended with good numbers.

    2010 Statistics: 190 attempts, 703 yards, three touchdowns.

    16. Leon Washington, Seattle. Age: 29.

    As a running back, Washington has never really been able to prove what he can do. But he got his name out there returning kickoffs last season, and could get a gig as a number two back next season.

    2010 Statistics: 27 carries, 100 yards, one touchdown.

    17. Cadillac Williams, Tampa Bay. Age: 29.

    Cadillac will never be able to play the way he did before his major injury, but will land a job somewhere.

    2010 Statistics: 125 attempts, 437 yards, two touchdowns.

    18. Derrick Ward, Houston. Age: 31.

    After disappointing in Tampa Bay, Ward put himself back on the map after an impressive 2010 season.

    2010 Statistics: 50 carries, 315 yards, four touchdowns.

    19. Jerome Harrison, Philadelphia. Age: 28.

    He still has his name on this list because of the potential he showed in 2009 with Cleveland. 

    2010 Statistics: 71 carries, 330 yards, one touchdowns.

     20. Brian Westbrook, San Francisco. Age: 31.

    It's hard to believe Westbrook is only 31, he plays a lot older then that. He may have played his last down in the NFL.

    2010 Statistics: 77 carries, 340 yards, four touchdowns.


    1. Le'Ron McClain, Baltimore. Age: 26.

    McClain didn't have as good as a season he did in 2009, but he is still one of the top fullbacks in the league. He can play the fullback and running back position at a high level.

    2. Vonta Leach, Houston. Age: 29.

    Leach really got his name out there thanks to Arian Foster, who became the rushing leader in 2010. Leach was a big part of that, and should get the big contract he deserves.

    3. Marcell Reece, Oakland. Age: 26. (RFA)

    Put himself on the map after showing he may be the most athletic fullback in the league.

    4. Lawrence Vickers, Cleveland. Age: 27.

    Vickers struggled a bit in 2010, but should be able to play to his full potential after some time off.

    5. John Kuhn, Green Bay. Age: 29.

    He played some at running back as a replacement for Ryan Grant, so that shows you that he has a lot of athleticism.

Wide Recievers/Tight Ends:

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    The Jets Finally Found Success at Wide Receiver, Acquiring Braylon Edwards And Santonio Holmes via Trade the Past Two Seasons. Now They're Both Free Agents.
    The Jets Finally Found Success at Wide Receiver, Acquiring Braylon Edwards And Santonio Holmes via Trade the Past Two Seasons. Now They're Both Free Agents.Al Bello/Getty Images

    **Vincent Jackson has been franchised by San Diego and will not become a free agent.

    Wide Receivers:

    1. Santonio Holmes, New York Jets. Age: 27.

    Even with a suspension, and playing for a new team, Holmes went on to have a great season. He was the best clutch receiver in 2010.

    2010 Statistics: 52 receptions, 746 yards, six touchdowns. 

    2. Sidney Rice, Minnesota. Age: 25.

    He only played in six games last season due to injury, so he wasn't able to post big numbers. But, when he did play, he continued playing at a high level like he did in 2009 and deserves a big contract. When healthy, Rice is a top-5 receiver in the NFL.

    2010 Statistics: 17 receptions, 280 yards, two touchdowns.

    3. Braylon Edwards, New York Jets. Age: 28.

    Edwards looks like he has finally fixed his drop issues for the most part, and led the Jets in receiving,m and was a big part of the improvement on this offense.

    2010 Statistics: 53 receptions, 904 yards, seven touchdowns.

    4. Steve Smith, New York Giants. Age: 26.

    Smith is one of the top possession receivers in the NFL, but teams will take caution due to his season-ending knee injury last season.

    2010 Statistics: 48 receptions, 529 yards, three touchdowns.

    5. Santana Moss, Washington. Age: 32.

    Seems to be the only receiver left in Washington, the Redskins would be crazy to not bring him back unless they found a replacement. Moss doesn't play at such a high level he used to, but can still be a great flex receiver for a few years.

    2010 Statistics: 93 receptions 1,115 yards, five touchdowns.

    6. Malcolm Floyd, San Diego. Age: 29.

    He showed a lot of potential when Vincent Jackson was on a holdout, but did almost nothing when he returned. Floyd could be a low-end number one receiver, but will probably never get there. But, he is a legitimate number two and should have no problem finding a job.

    2010 Statistics: 37 receptions, 717 yards, six touchdowns.

    7. James Jones, Green Bay. Age: 27.

    The "hit-or-miss" player of free agency, Jones has shown potential of being a star receiver, but will a team be willing to risk it?

    2010 Statistics: 50 receptions, 679 yards, five touchdowns.

    8. Terrell Owens, Cincinnati. Age: 37.

    I don't care what people say, or how old he is, Owens is still playing at a very high-level and improves any offense he is put onto. 

    2010 Statistics: 72 receptions, 983 yards, nine touchdowns.

    9. Mike Sims-Walker, Jacksonville. Age: 26.

    After a breakout season in 2009, he was very inconsistent last season, but still played well.

    2010 Statistics: 43 receptions, 562 yards, seven touchdowns. 

    10. Lance Moore, New Orleans. Age: 28.

    Moore has been a pretty good slot-receiver for New Orleans, and has been a favorite target for Brees.

    2010 Statistics: 66 receptions, 763 yards, eight touchdowns.

    11. Steve Breaston, Arizona. Age: 28.

    He was supposed to breakout in 2010 after the Anquan Boldin trade, but that didn't happen due to injuries.

    2010 Statistics: 47 receptions, 718 yards, one touchdown.

    12. Jacoby Jones, Houston. Age: 27.

    I have kept an eye out for Jones for quite some time, as I believe he could be a Brandon Marshall like receiver if given the chance.

    2010 Statistics: 51 receptions, 562 yards, three touchdowns.

    13. Brad Smith, New York Jets. Age: 27.

    As a receiver, Brad Smith won't do much for you. But he is the leagues second-best wildcat option, behind Cleveland's Josh Cribbs, and will help on special teams.

    2010 Statistics: Four receptions, 44 yards.

    14. Danny Amendola, St. Louis. Age: 25.

    He broke out last season, and became one of the leagues top slot receivers with an impressive 85 catches. However, St. Louis dealt with major injuries at receiver, so this could just be a fluke.

    2010 Statistics: 85 receptions, 689 yards, three touchdowns.

    15. Randy Moss, Tennessee. Age: 34.

    After a very disappointing 2010 campaign, Moss will need to work hard this offseason for some team to give him a chance.

    2010 Statistics: 28 receptions, 393 yards, five touchdowns.

    16. Mark Clayton, St. Louis. Age: 29.

    Clayton looked like he was going to go off before suffering a season-ending injury. Hopefully he can recover 100% and pick up right where he left off.

    2010 Statistics: 23 receptions, 306 yards, two touchdowns.

    17. Eric Weems, Atlanta. Age: 26.

    Weems is one the leagues best return men, and should have no problem getting a new contract.

    2010 Statistics: Six receptions, 61 yards.

    18. TJ Houshmandzeh, Baltimore. Age: 33.

    He has seen his career take a turn for the worst, but "Whosyourmomma" still makes a good low-end number two receiver.

    2010 Statistics: 30 receptions, 398 yards, one touchdown.

    19. Legedu Naanee, San Diego. Age: 27.

    Naanee was impressive to star the season, but disappeared as the season went on.

    2010 Statistics: 23 receptions, 371 yards, one touchdown.

    20. Devin Aromashodu, Chicago. Age: 27. (RFA)

    Disappointed in 2010 after he was expected to have a breakout year. Maybe he could have that breakout year someplace else.

    2010 Statistics: 10 receptions, 149 yards, zero touchdowns.

    Tight Ends:

    1. Zach Miller, Oakland. Age: 25.

    The leagues most underrated tight end, Oakland can't afford to lose their teams best receiver.

    2010 Statistics: 60 receptions, 685 yards, five touchdowns.

    2. Mercedes Lewis, Jacksonville. Age: 27.

    A first-round bust turned heads last season as he turned himself into on of the top tight ends in the league.

    2010 Statistics: 58 receptions, 700 yards, 10 touchdowns.

    3. Owen Daniels, Houston. Age: 27.

    Daniels struggled to get onto the field to begin the season due to injuries, but Daniels ended the season impressively. 

    2010 Statistics: 38 receptions, 471 yards, two touchdowns.

    4. Kevin Boss, New York Giants. Age: 27.

    Boss is Eli Manning's top red-zone target, and shouldn't be going anywhere.

    2010 Statistics: 35 receptions, 531 yards, five touchdowns.

    5. Jeremy Shockey, New Orleans. Age: 30.

    Doesn't play at the same level he once did, but could still be a good target for a team in need of a tight end.

    2010 Statistics: 41 receptions, 408 yards, three touchdowns.

Offensive Linemen:

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    In his first season as a starter, offensive tackle Doug Free became the Cowboys' best offensive linemen.
    In his first season as a starter, offensive tackle Doug Free became the Cowboys' best offensive linemen.Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    **Logan Mankins has been franchised by New England and will not become a free agent.

    **Ryan Kalil has been franchised by Carolina, and will not become a free agent.

     Offensive Tackles:

    1. Doug Free, Dallas. Age: 27.

    Dallas broke him "Free" when they released longtime offensive linemen Flozell Adams, and never looked back. He turned out to be one of the top tackles in the league right now, and has earned himself a big contract.

    2. Jammal Brown, Washington. Age: 30.

    Brown's career has been inconsistent, but is a productive tackle that can improve any offensive line.

    3. Tyson Clabo, Atlanta. Age: 29.

    4. Willie Colon, Pittsburgh. Age: 30.

    5. Jared Gaither, Baltimore. Age: 25.


    1. Carl Nicks, New Orleans. Age: 26. (RFA)

    He probably won't leave New Orleans since he is a restricted free agent, but he will get the same kind of contract Jahri Evans got last offseason.

    2. Harvey Dahl, Atlanta. Age: 30.

    Dahl is the best offensive linemen the Falcons have, and would be crazy to let him go.

    3. Richie Incognito, Miami. Age: 28.

    After a rocky start to his career, Incognito played very well for Miami and should land a big contract.

    4. David Joseph, Tampa Bay. Age: 27.

    Has dealt with injuries in recent years, but when healthy has been a productive linemen.

    5. Robert Gallery, Oakland. Age: 31.

    The former second-overall pick hasn't lived up to expectations, but is still a pretty good linemen. 


    1. Olin Kreutz, Chicago. Age: 34.

    Although he is getting up there in age, Kreutz can still play the game as well as anyone.

    2. Jonathan Goodwin, New Orleans. Age: 32.

    He was chosen to play in the Pro Bowl last season, granted he has gotten a lot of credit from fellow linemen Carl Nicks and Jahri Evans, but is still a good center that has a couple years left in him.

    3. Lyle Sendlein, Arizona. Age: 27.

    Hasn't missed a game in three years, and deserves an extension after an impressive few seasons.

    4. Kyle Cook, Cincinatti. Age: 28. (RFA)

    He's been a pretty good center for the Bengals and deserves an extension.

    5a. Samson Satele, Oakland. Age: 26.

    After being acquired from Miami, Satele has improved in Oakland and is a pretty good center.

    5b. Chris Spencer, Seattle. Age: 29.

    The former first round pick has recovered from a shaky few seasons.

Defensive Linemen:

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    Even through his injuries, Cullen Jenkins has been one of the top 3-4 defensive ends in the league.
    Even through his injuries, Cullen Jenkins has been one of the top 3-4 defensive ends in the league.Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Haloti Ngata has been franchised by Baltimore and will not become a free agent.

    Defensive Tackles:

    1. Paul Soliai, Miami. Age: 27. (NT)

    Soliai is a monster nose tackle and will land a big contract this offseason.

    2010 Statistics: 39 tackles, two sacks.

    2. Aubrayo Franklin, San Francisco. Age: 31. (NT)

    He has put together back-to-back productive seasons and will get the extension he deserves.

    2010 Statistics: 39 tackles.

    3. Barry Cofield, New York Giants. Age:  27.

    Cofield played at a very high level last season and probably did enough to land himself a big contract as well.

    2010 Statistics: 54 tackles, four sacks.

    4. Brandon Mebane, Seattle. Age: 26.

    While he has always been a great run-stuffer, he improved on his pass rush last season and will only get better.

    2010 Statistics: 31 tackles, one sack.

    5. Pat Williams, Minnesota. Age: 38.

    At the age of 38, he is no longer a every-down tackle, but is still one of the biggest, and best run stoppers in the NFL.

    2010 Statistics: 30 tackles.

    6. Mike Patterson, Philadelphia. Age: 28.

    An undersized, but underrated tackle has always been productive for the Eagles and will continue to do so.

    2010 Statistics: 37 tackles, two sacks.

    7. Marcus Stroud, Buffalo. Age: 33.

    Buffalo went young and cut Marcus Stroud, but they may be the best for him, as it will allow him to return to a 4-3 defensive tackle, his natural position.

    2010 Statistics: 49 tackles, three sacks.

    8. Shaun Rogers, Cleveland. Age: 32.

    Rogers struggled to even get on the field as a 3-4 defensive linemen, but if he returns to a 4-3 defense, he may be the elite tackle he was in Detroit.

    2010 Statistics: 17 tackles, two sacks.

    9. Ron Edwards, Kansas City. Age: 32.

    A productive nose tackle, but the Chiefs could upgrade.

    2010 Statistics: 26 tackles, two sacks.

    10. John Henderson, Oakland. Age: 32.

    The former star defensive tackle has seen a dip of production in his past few seasons, but could still make an impact with his 6'7", 335lbs body.

    2010 Statistics: 30 tackles.

    Defensive Ends:

    1. Richard Seymour, Oakland. Age: 31. --Re-signed with Oakland.

    2010 Statistics: 48 tackles, 5.5 sacks. 

    The fearless leader of the Raiders, Oakland would be crazy to let him go. 

    2. Cullen Jenkins, Green Bay. Age: 30. (3-4 DE)

    The longtime Packer will finally get the contract he has deserved for years, as he has been a very productive defensive end.

    2010 Statistics: 18 tackles, seven sacks. 

    3. Ray Edwards, Minnesota. Age: 26.

    Edwards has become a dominant defensive end for Minnesota, and hasn't shown much interest in returning. The question is, can he play that well on a defensive line that doesn't include Jared Allen and Kevin Williams?

    2010 Statistics: 37 tackles, eight sacks.

    4. Jason Babin, Tennessee. Age: 31.

    The first-round bust has somehow found his way to stay in the league, and showed how last season by coming out of nowhere and posting 12.5 sacks. Is he a one year wonder?

    2010 Statistics: 58 tackles, 12.5 sacks.

    5. Mathias Kiwanuka, New York Giants. Age: 28.

    2010 Statistics: 11 tackles, four sacks.

    Before ending his season after three games due to injury, he looked like he was going to have a monster season, starting out with four sacks as a backup. If he gets 100% healthy, we may see a star in the making.

    6. Charles Johnson, Carolina. Age: 25.

    Johnson took over for Julius Peppers when he signed a huge contract with Chicago last Summer, and benefited the most of anyone their defense. If he isn't tagged, he will look to get a big contract.

    2010 Statistics: 62 tackles, 11.5 sacks.

    7. Shaun Ellis, New York Jets. Age: 34.

    Age is an issue, but Ellis should have no problem finding a new home after many consistent seasons with New York.

    2010 Statistics: 36 tackles, 4.5 sacks.

    8. Cliff Avril, Detroit. Age: 25.

    Avril had an impression 2010 campaign after putting up 8.5 sacks.

    2010 Statistics: 33 tackles, 8.5 sacks.

    9. Andre Carter, Washington. Age: 32.

    A move to linebacker wasn't good for Carter, who was one of many Redskins to struggle in the 3-4. A switch back to defensive end on a 4-3 defense would be the best move for him, as he can easily post double-digit sacks.

    2010 Statistics: 44 tackles, 2.5 sacks. 

    10. Raheem Brock, Seattle. Age: 33.

    Brock came out of nowhere to post nine sacks, but his age is a roadblock for a big contract.

    2010 Statistics: 32 tackles, nine sacks.


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    Even though he is one of the more undersized linebackers in the league, Tennessee Titans' Stephen Tulloch has become of the top inside linebackers in the game.
    Even though he is one of the more undersized linebackers in the league, Tennessee Titans' Stephen Tulloch has become of the top inside linebackers in the game.Doug Benc/Getty Images

    **David Harris has been franchised by the New York Jets, and will not become a free agent.

    **Tamba Hali has been franchised by Kansas City, and will not become a free agent.

    **Lamarr Woodley has been franchised by Pittsburgh, and will not become a free agent.

    ** Chad Greenway has been franchised by Minnesota, and will not become a free agent.

    **Kamerion Wimbley has been franchised by Oakland, and will not become a free agent.

    Inside Linebackers:

    1. Stephen Tulloch, Tennessee. Age: 26.

    The undersized linebacker has had to fight his way into the NFL, but has now become one of the leagues best inside linebackers, and will land a huge contact this offseason.

    2010 Statistics: 160 tackles, one sack, one interception.

    2. Paul Posluszny, Buffalo. Age: 26.

    Buffalo would be crazy to let him go, as he has become to face of their defense.

    2010 Statistics: 151 tackles, two sacks.

    3. Kevin Burnett, San Diego. Age: 28.

    After many years of just being an average linebacker, Burnett has become quite a force on defense, and will earn himself a big contract.

    2010 Statistics: 95 tackles, six sacks, two forced fumbles, two interceptions.

    4. Barrett Ruud, Tampa Bay. Age: 28.

    After a rough 2010 season, Ruud may have hurt his value a little, but is still one of the leagues best inside linebackers.

    2010 Statistics: 118 tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles, one interception.

    5. Stephen Cooper, San Diego. Age: 32. 

    Cooper was having another big season until suffering a season-ending injury, but still a highly-regarded linebackers.

    2010 Statistics: 43 tackles, one sack, two forced fumbles, one interception.

    6. Kirk Morrison, Jacksonville. Age: 29.

    Morrison is great in run-stopping, but struggles a bit in coverage which hurts his value. He will rack up a lot of tackles, but that's about it.

    2010 Statistics: 89 tackles.

    7. Stewart Bradley, Philadelphia. Age: 27.

    Bradley has has back-to-back disappointing seasons, but still has the potential to return to his 2008 form.

    2010 Statistics: 60 tackles, one interception.

    8. Takeo Spikes, San Francisco. Age: 34.

    Spikes enjoyed another good season, but his age is starting to catch up on him.

    2010 Statistics: 109 tackles, three interceptions.

    9. D'Qwell Jackson, Cleveland. Age: 27.

    Once regarded as one of the leagues best middle linebackers, he has ruined that by missing a lot of games the past two seasons.

    2010 Statistics: Suffered a season-ending injury, and did not accumulate any stats. 

    10. Dhani Jones, Cincinnati. Age: 33.

    He's getting old, but he is still a very productive linebacker.

    2010 Statistics: 125 tackles, one sack, one forced fumble.

    Outside Linebackers:

    1. Thomas Davis, Carolina. Age: 27.

    As a Carolina fan, I have seen Davis play every single one of his games, and he has come a long way from being drafted as a safety. It's quite disappointing that he has missed the past 1 1/2 seasons due to a torn ACL twice, because he was looking like the leagues best outside linebacker up until then.

    2010 Statistics: Suffered season-ending injury, did not accumulate any stats.

    2. Manny Lawson, San Francisco. Age: 27.

    Lawson hasn't had the best career by far, but he is a big linebacker that can do a bit of everything.

    2010 Statistics: 59 tackles, 2.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, one interception.

    3. James Anderson, Carolina. Age: 27.

    Anderson was finally given the starting job last year, and never looked back after posting very impressive numbers.

    2010 Statistics: 130 tackles, 3.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, one interception.

    4. Rocky McIntosh, Washington. Age: 28.

    He struggled a bit in the 3-4, but McIntosh has learned from London Fletcher, and racks up in tackles.

    2010 Statistics: 110 tackles, two sacks, one forced fumble.

    5. Matt Roth, Cleveland. Age: 28.

    He struggled during the last half of the season, but still a great pass rusher.

    2010 Statistics: 86 tackles, 3.5 sacks.

    6. Clint Session, Indianapolis. Age: 26.

    The Colts missed Session last season, and hopes to become healthy by training camp.

    2010 Statistics: 38 tackles, on sack.

    7. Quincy Black, Tampa Bay. Age: 27.

    One of the many Bucs that were given the starting job after a rebuilding year, and has put up productive back-to-back seasons.

    2010 Statistics: 61 tackles, two sacks, one forced fumble, one interception.

    8. Leroy Hill, Seattle. Age: 28.

    Before his injury, Hill played at a very high level, but injuries and attitude problems have killed his value.

    2010 Statistics: Suffered a season-ending injury, did not accumulate any stats.

    9. Mike Peterson, Atlanta. Age: 35.

    His age is catching up to him, but he is still a productive linebacker for Atlanta.

    2010 Statistics: 59 tackles, one sack, one forced fumble, two interceptions.

    10. Stephen Nicholas, Atlanta. Age: 28.

    Took over for Atlanta at linebacker had an impressive season.

    2010 Statistics: 78 tackles, one interception.

    11. Ben Leber, Minnesota. Age: 32.

    He's never been the best linebacker, but is a consistent veteran guy every team wants.

    2010 Statistics: 46 tackles, two forced fumbles, one interception.

    12. Antwan Applewhite, San Diego. Age: 25.

    Applewhite impressed me last season as a pass rusher, and deserves a chance at a starting job.

    2010 Statistics: 48 tackles, three sacks, two forced fumbles.

    13. Thomas Howard, Oakland. Age: 28.

    Was sent to the bench last year, but has shown in the past he can be a starting linebacker.

    2010 Statistics: nine tackles, one forced fumble.

    14. Keith Bulluck, New York Giants. Age: 34.

    The veteran got exactly what he needed last season with New York, and should be ready to be a dominant linebacker again after taking a backup role in 2010.

    2010 Statistics: 31 tackles, one interception.

    15. Julian Peterson, Detroit. Age: 33.

    Way past his prime, but Peterson can still be a veteran on defense, and rack up a nice bit of tackles.

Defensive Backs:

7 of 8

    Nnamdi Asomugha has made it well known that he is the top cornerback in the league today, and will demand big money from whatever team is willing to pay up.
    Nnamdi Asomugha has made it well known that he is the top cornerback in the league today, and will demand big money from whatever team is willing to pay up.Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images


    1. Nnamdi Asomugha, Oakland. Age: 30.

    When looking at his stats, you'd probably wonder why he is the top free agent this offseason. The reason he has barely anything on paper is because he is the most feared player to pass against in the league.

    2010 Statistics: 19 tackles, six pass deflections.

    2. Champ Bailey, Denver. Age: 33.--Re-signed with Denver.

    It would be weird to see him leave Mile-High, but there is a chance for anything, as he may want to sign with a contender. 

    2010 Statistics: 45 tackles, one sack, two interceptions.

    3. Brent Grimes, Atlanta. Age: 28. (RFA)

    There is no doubt that Atlanta will tender him, as he had a breakout year in 2010, becoming one of the top cornerbacks in the league.

    2010 Statistics: 87 tackles, five interceptions, 23 pass deflections.

    4. Jonathan Joseph, Cincinnati. Age: 27.

    Still young at 27, Joseph has done enough to cash in this offseason.

    2010 Statistics: 42 tackles, three interceptions, eight pass deflections.

    5. Antonio Cromartie, New York Jets. Age: 27.

    It looks like the New York Jets will let him walk, and he will be picked up quickly.

    2010 Statistics: 42 tackles, three interceptions, 17 pass deflections.

    6. Brandon Carr, Kansas City. Age: 25.

    Carr has turned into a great cover-cornerback for Kansas City, and its a high priority for them to re-sign him.

    2010 Statistics: 57 tackles, one interception, 25 pass deflections.

    7. Ike Taylor, Pittsburgh. Age: 31. 

    After a couple rough seasons, Taylor enjoyed a impressive year in 2010 as the teams best cornerback.

    2010 Statistics: 66 tackles, two interceptions, 11 pass deflections.

    8. Ronde Barber, Tampa Bay. Age: 36.--Re-signed with Tampa Bay.

    The 15-year veteran has a few more seasons left in him, but I don't see him doing that with any team but Tampa Bay.

    2010 Statistics: 82 tackles, three interceptions, 13 pass deflections.

    9. Carlos Rogers, Washington. Age: 30.

    He was constantly injured last season, which was probably the biggest reasons for his struggles. But he has shown enough in recent years to get a good contract.

    2010 Statistics: 54 tackles, two interceptions, 12 pass deflections.

    10. Richard Marshall, Carolina. Age: 26.

    After whining for a new contract during training camp, Marshall had a bit of troubles in 2010. 

    2010 Statistics: 88 tackles, three interceptions, seven pass deflections.

    11. Chris Carr, Baltimore. Age: 28.

    When Baltimore needed a cornerback, Carr was able to step up and become the teams top cornerback. He impressed, and did enough to earn an extension.

    2010 Statistics: 61 tackles, two interceptions, eight pass deflections.

    12. Eric Wright, Cleveland. Age: 26.

    I've been waiting for him to breakout, but I am starting to believe it won't happen. While he has always been a good cornerback, he is very inconsistent and is nothing more then a number two.

    2010 Statistics: 42 tackles, one interception, nine pass deflections.

     13. Josh Wilson, Baltimore. Age: 26.

    Along with Carr, Wilson was able to put together an impressive season for the Ravens.

    2010 Statistics: 40 tackles, three interceptions, 14 pass deflections.

    14. Chris Houston, Detroit. Age: 26.

    The Lions were so desperate for a cornerback, that they made Houston their top guy, and actually didn't play too bad. He won't be a number one cornerback anymore, but did enough to put himself on the radar.

    2010 Statistics: 56 tackles, one interception, 12 pass deflections. 

    15. Kelly Jennings, Seattle. Age: 28.

    Jennings probably won't earn himself a starting job, but does add good depth.

    2010 Statistics: 40 tackles, one interception, 13 pass deflections. 


    1. O.J. Atogwe, St. Louis. Age: 30. 

    He was the heart of the Rams defense for a while, but was released so they could save eight million dollars. While there is a still a chance of his return, many teams have shown interest in him and he has been interested in leaving for many years.

    2010 Statistics: 73 tackles, three interceptions, nine pass deflections.

    2. Eric Weddle, San Diego. Age: 26.

    Probably the most underrated safety in the league, Weddle continues to put up good numbers for San Diego. He has earned himself a big contract.

    2010 Statistics: 96 tackles, two interceptions, 10 pass deflections.

    3. Dawan Landry, Baltimore. Age: 28.

    Landry has always been great in run-defense, but really improved this year in coverage and earned himself a big contract as well.

    2010 Statistics: 111 tackles, four pass deflections.

    4. Roman Harper, New Orleans. Age: 28.

    People love to hate against Harper, but you can't argue what he's done on paper. Sure, he struggles in pass coverage, but he is one of the leagues best safeties when it comes to run-defense.

    2010 Statistics: 98 tackles, six forced fumbles, eight pass deflections.

    5. Quintin Mikell, Philadelphia. Age: 30.

    Mikell has done a good job taking over for Brian Dawkins, and would be a big loss if the Eagles let him walk.

    2010 Statistics: 88 tackles, three interceptions, 15 pass deflections.

    6. Bob Sanders, Indianapolis. Age: 30.

    After ending another season on injured-reserve, Indianapolis grew tired of his injuries, so they released him. The former Pro Bowler, when healthy, is no doubt one of the top safeties in the league.

    2010 Statistics: Suffered a season-ending injury, did not accumulate any stats.

    7. Michael Huff, Oakland. Age: 28.

    After struggling to start the season off, Huff went on to have an impressive year.

    2010 Statistics: 94 tackles, three interceptions, seven pass deflections. 

    8. Donte Whitner, Buffalo. Age: 26.

    Whitner will rack up tackles, but that's about all you will see. After being involved in trade rumors last season, I don't expect him to return to Buffalo.

    2010 Statistics: 140 tackles, one interceptions, seven pass deflections.

    9. Gerald Sensabaugh, Dallas. Age: 28.

    Sensabaugh came out of nowhere to become Dallas' best defensive back. He should cash in this offseason.

    2010 Statistics: 71 tackles, five interceptions, 10 pass deflections. 

    10. Daniel Manning, Chicago. Age: 29.

    Manning is a guy that every team would like to have on their roster. Not only he is a pretty good safety, he will also burn you as a kick returner. 

    2010 Statistics: 72 tackles, one interception, seven pass deflections.

    11. Dashon Goldson, San Francisco. Age: 26.

    He's had his share of struggles over the years, but Goldson has been one of San Francisco's best players on defense.

    2010 Statistics: 80 tackles, one interception, five pass deflections. 

    12. Bernard Pollard, Houston. Age: 26.

    After being cut by Kansas City a couple years ago, Pollard found himself a home in Houston, becoming the teams hard-hitting safety they were looking for.

    2010 Statistics: 111 tackles, four forced fumbles, five pass deflections.

    13. Atari Bigby, Green Bay. Age: 29.

    If it wasn't for his injuries, Bigby would be a lot higher on this list, but he struggles to stay healthy.

    2010 Statistics: Six tackles.

    14. Melvin Bullitt, Indianapolis. Age: 26.

    Suffering a season-ending injury hurt his value, but Bullit has always been a favorite of mine, and has made a lot of impact stepping in for Bob Sanders when he was injured.

    2010 Statistics: 13 tackles, one interception, one pass deflected.

    15. George Wilson, Buffalo. Age: 30.

    Stuck behind ballhawk Jarius Byrd, George Wilson would be smart to sign with another team, as he has shown potential to be a pretty good safety.

    2010 Statistics: 35 tackles, two interceptions, four pass deflections.


8 of 8

    Adam Vinatieri, 38, is still one of the best clutch kickers in the league.
    Adam Vinatieri, 38, is still one of the best clutch kickers in the league.Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    **David Akers has been transition-tagged by Philadelphia, and will not become a free agent.

    **Phil Dawson has been franchised by Cleveland, and will not become a free agent.


    1. Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis. Age: 38.

    Once the best clutch-kicker in the game, Vinatieri is still a very productive kicker at 38.

    2010 Statistics: 26/28 FG, 51/51 PAT.

    2. Matt Bryant, Atlanta. Age: 36.

    After being cut by Tampa Bay in 2009, division rival Atlanta picked him up and went on to have a very impressive season in 2010.

    2010 Statistics: 28/31 FG, 44/44 PAT.

    3. Matt Prater, Denver. Age: 27. (RFA)

    Before going on injured reserve, Prater showed 2010 was no fluke.

    2010 Statistics: 16/18 FG, 28/29 PAT.

    4. Ryan Longwell, Minnesota. Age: 37.

    Longwell had a pretty good season for the Vikings, only missing one field goal. Though he has never been the leagues best kicker, he has always been a consistent, productive one.

    2010 Statistics: 17/18 FG, 30/31 PAT.

    5a. Garrett Hartley, New Orleans. Age: 25.

    After a terrible start to the season, Hartley would eventually return as the starter and improved as the season went on.

    2010 Statistics: 20/25 FG, 40/40 PAT.

    5b. Shayne Graham, New England. Age: 33.

    New England called up Graham after starting kicker Stephen Gostkowski was place on injured reserved and looked great, hitting every field goal and PAT.

    2010 Statistics: 12/12 FG, 35/37 PAT. 


    1. Sam Koch, Baltimore. Age: 28.--Re-signed with Baltimore.

    2010 Statistics: 81 punts, 43.6 average.

    Koch had a very impressive year, and should be re-signed by Baltimore, as it is hard to find successful young punters.

    2. Adam Podlesh, Jacksonville. Age: 28.

    Had an impressive year with an average of 43.8 yards per punt.

    2010 Statistics: 57 punts, 43.8 average.

    3. Brett Kern, Tennessee. Age: 25.

    A third of his punts landed inside the 20, and had a pretty good year.

    2010 Statistics: 77 punts, 42.9 average.

    4. Ben Graham, Arizona. Age: 37.

    I swear he's been around forever, Graham has found a home in Arizona.

    2010 Statistics: 94 punts, 43.4 average.

    5. Michael Koenan, Atlanta. Age: 29.

    A disappointing 2010 put him this low on the list, but his past success with Atlanta gives hope that it was just a fluke.

    2010 Statistics: 74 punts, 40.7 average.