Top 50 NFL Free Agents and Where They Could Wind Up

Thomas CopainCorrespondent IMarch 7, 2017

Top 50 NFL Free Agents and Where They Could Wind Up

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    The labor situation hasn't improved much in the last few weeks; in fact we haven't heard much of anything save for the last couple of days.

    And with the players locked out, everything is still on hold except for the upcoming draft, including free agency. Free agency is always an active period in the NFL as the main vehicle of player movement, and considering the caliber of players in this year's class, it should be an especially chaotic period if and when free agency does start up.

    Some of the better players in the game are free agents, and while a lot of them will probably wind up staying put, there will be some that move on to greener pastures and bigger contracts. In the case of a few teams like the Jets and Chargers, they have a handful of key free agents to sign.

    So with that in mind, here are the top 50 available free agents on the market and where they could land. I am including restricted and unrestricted free agents, but players who have already been franchised (Peyton Manning, Vincent Jackson) will not be included on this list.

Players 50-41

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    50. Cadillac Williams, RB, Tampa Bay

    Probably not a starter anymore with LeGarrette Blount around, but he can still be an effective back if he can stay healthy.

    Where He Could Land: Tampa Bay, Detroit

     

    49. Chad Greenway, LB, Minnesota

    Greenway was a big part of the Vikings linebacking corps, and he'll be one of the guys the defense rebuilds around.

    Where He Could Land: Minnesota

     

    48. David Akers, K, Philadelphia

    He might not be the automatic kicker he once was and he's lost some of his range. For a lot of teams, he's still an upgrade.

    Where He Could Land: Philadelphia

     

    47. Jeromey Clary, OT, San Diego

    Not an absolute stud, but developing into a nice player in a market full of offensive tackles.

    Where He Could Land: San Diego, Dallas, Indianapolis

     

    46. Josh Wilson, CB, Baltimore

    Turned out to be a needed pickup for the Ravens at the cornerback position and played better as the season went on.

    Where He Could Land: Baltimore, Houston, New York Jets

     

    45. Adam Vinatieri, K, Indianapolis

    What was said about Akers is just as true for Vinatieri.

    Where He Could Land: Indianapolis, Dallas

     

    44. Dawan Landry, SS, Baltimore

    Very quietly, Landry has turned into a very solid safety for a team that continues to produce good ones.

    Where He Could Land: Baltimore, Dallas

     

    43. Mike Sims-Walker, WR, Jacksonville

    A tall receiver who can go up and get the ball in the end zone would be a great fit for a team not willing to go after Sidney Rice.

    Where He Could Land: Seattle, Cincinnati, Houston, Tennessee

     

    42. Matt Hasselbeck, QB, Seattle

    He showed he still has something left during the playoffs. Will the Seahawks bring him back for another season?

    Where He Could Land: Seattle, San Francisco

     

    41. Darren Sharper, FS, New Orleans

    He's not a prime-time player anymore, but he can still be very effective in the right situation, like in 2009.

    Where He Could Land: New Orleans 

Players 40-31

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    40. Mike Tolbert, RB, San Diego

    He did a very strong job for the Chargers early in the season when Ryan Mathews struggled. 

    Where He Could Land: San Diego

     

    39. Brandon Mebane, DT, Seattle

    A good, young player on a defensive line that was probably the strength of the Seahawks last season.

    Where He Could Land: Seattle, Chicago

     

    38. Mason Crosby, K, Green Bay

    A little erratic, but he's shown to be an effective kicker.

    Where He Could Land: Green Bay

     

    37. Anthony Adams, DT, Chicago

    Thrived in Chicago's system next to Tommie Harris—he's one of the top priorities for the Bears.

    Where He Could Land: Chicago

     

    36. Ike Taylor, CB, Pittsburgh

    He doesn't get mentioned a lot in that defense, but Taylor's a very important piece for the Steelers.

    Where He Could Land: Pittsburgh

     

    35. Jared Gaither, OT, Baltimore

    Developed into a very nice piece on the offensive line, along with Michael Oher.

    Where He Could Land: Baltimore, Dallas, Philadelphia

     

    34. Santana Moss, WR, Washington

    Put up one of the best seasons of his career, but any team considering him will have to ask how much does he have left?

    Where He Could Land: Washington, Jacksonville

     

    33. Shaun Ellis, DE, New York Jets

    He's getting on in years, but he can still be an effective player in a 3-4 scheme and an interior pass rusher.

    Where He Could Land: New York Jets, Dallas

     

    32. Donte Whitner, FS, Buffalo

    One of the few Bills draft picks in recent years that has hit. He should get a fair amount of play considering it's not a strong market for safeties.

    Where He Could Land: New York Jets, Buffalo, Dallas, Arizona

     

    31. Paul Posluszny, ILB, Buffalo

    Posluszny is hidden in Western New York, but he's the heart of that defense and he's become a nice inside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme.

    Where He Could Land: Buffalo

30. Ricky Williams, RB, Miami

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    If he changes his mind and decides to play again, he can still be an effective change-of-pace back considering he doesn't have the miles other backs his age would.

    That being said, it's still Ricky Williams. The man changes his mind on the hour. He can say he wants to retire now and decide next week he wants to play again. So it will be a risky proposition for any team looking to sign him. That being said, he's a high-risk, high-reward type of signing.

     

    Where He Could Land

    Houston, New York Giants, New York Jets, San Francisco

29. Tommie Harris, DT, Chicago

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    It didn't take long for Harris to live up to his potential as a disruptive force on the line for the Bears from the time he was drafted out of Oklahoma.

    But the Bears decided to move on from Harris in the offseason, and now he's probably one of the best 4-3 scheme defensive linemen available. For a team looking for an impact defensive tackle, Harris can be that type of player.

     

    Where He Could Land

    Tennessee, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Seattle

28. Cedric Benson, RB, Cincinnati

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    Benson couldn't push Thomas Jones, who was trying to salvage his career in Chicago, but it took a change of scenery for Benson to finally begin to reach his potential.

    Benson has broken through to become a solid NFL running back, and considering the Bengals will be rebuilding the receiving corps, Benson figures to be a big part of the offense. But that's assuming he re-signs with the Bengals. 

    If he doesn't, there are a few teams who could use his services as a running back.

     

    Where He Could Land

    Cincinnati, Miami, Washington, New England, Detroit

27. Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, New York Giants

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    Bradshaw burst onto the scene late in 2007, and his stock has been rising ever since. 

    He finally snatched the majority of the carries last season, and responded with his first 1,000-yard campaign. And one would figure that he's the No. 1 back on the depth chart entering the season. 

    He'll definitely be one of the priorities for the Giants once teams can sign players again, along with a few other players on their roster and a couple of players on this list. I wouldn't be surprised to see other teams take a look at him, but his fumbling problem would scare people away.

     

    Where He Could Land

    New York Giants

26. Barrett Ruud, MLB, Tampa Bay

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    Ruud will probably be moving on to somewhere else next season, and whoever gets him will be getting a steal.

    He's a solid middle linebacker who can be all over the field, and he can make plays both against the run and against the pass. But it's sounded for a while like the Buccaneers might be looking to move on and find another middle linebacker. And if he does move on, there are some teams who would love to have him anchor the defense.

     

    Where He Could Land

    Tampa Bay, Detroit

25. Terrell Owens, WR, Cincinnati

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    Owens has been a receiving mercenary in recent years, bouncing from town to town trying to latch onto a winner. It didn't work in Dallas, it didn't work in Buffalo and the Bengals flopped last season.

    But if there was a bright spot to Cincinnati's disappointing campaign, it was Owens showing a flash of his younger self. His 72 catches for close to a 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns was his best year since 2008 when he was a Cowboy. 

    The Bengals won't be bringing him back next season, but if nothing else, Owens at least showed he still has some left in the tank.

     

    Where He Could Land

    Jacksonville

24. Davin Joseph, G, Tampa Bay

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    Joseph has very quietly become a great guard for the Buccaneers, and at least according to Rick Stroud of the St. Petersburg Times re-signing Joseph will already be the top priority for the Bucs once the lockout ends.

    But if Joseph does get onto the open market, there are more than a few teams who would be more than willing to sign Joseph. The guard position has been a focus for the Philadelphia Eagles all offseason, and getting a relatively young guard like Joseph to protect Michael Vick would allow the Eagles to turn their attention elsewhere.

     

    Where He Could Land

    Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, Detroit

23. Kevin Boss, TE, New York Giants

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    Just like the Ravens develop linebackers and safeties, the Giants produce and develop pass-catching tight ends. Mark Bavaro and Jeremy Shockey are the two that come to mind, but Kevin Boss has become an invaluable weapon for the Giants. 

    He's a solid route runner, he has good hands and many times he's Eli Manning's safety check-down option if not a middle-of-the-field threat. Not to mention he can more than hold his own as a blocker.

    Boss would be a great find for any team, but I would be extremely surprised to see the Giants not bring Boss back.

     

    Where He Could Land

    New York Giants

22. Joseph Addai, RB, Indianapolis

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    In a lot of ways, Joseph Addai reminds me of Bob Sanders.

    He's very talented, and he's shown flashes of being a player that can be very good. But the biggest problem has been staying on the field. Of course with Addai, it goes a lot deeper than that. He doesn't have the offensive line Edgerrin James did, but he's still dealt with injury problems.

    That being said, Addai still is the most talented back the Colts have. But how much longer will it be until, like with Sanders, the Colts decide the risk isn't worth the reward?

     

    Where He Could Land

    Indianapolis

21. Ronnie Brown, RB, Miami

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    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Brown's another one of those backs, like Addai, who has tantalized with his talent but struggled with inconsistency.

    Like Addai, it's not all on him. Brown has shown flashes, especially in 2008 when he helped fashion the Wildcat offense in Miami and turned a 1-15 team into an AFC East champion. But it's looking more and more like the Dolphins will be drafting Mark Ingram in the first round if he's there, so don't be surprised to see Brown looking for work somewhere else.

     

    Where He Could Land

    Cleveland, Miami

20. Steve Smith, WR, New York Giants

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Smith has emerged to be a great find for the Giants, as they turned a second-rounder into a rapidly improving No. 1 receiver. 

    The injury that knocked him out at the end of last season will probably limit the interest on him, but that actually works in the Giants' favor. He's one of the top priorities for the Giants, along with Bradshaw and Boss and one of the guys who will be the face of the offense for the foreseeable future.

     

    Where He Could Land

    New York

19. Johnathan Joseph, CB, Cincinnati

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    Joseph has developed into a strong cornerback in Cincinnati, not only as a shutdown corner but also as someone who can jump a route and grab an interception.

    ESPN.com reported back in March that the Bengals had put a tender on Joseph, but the report also stated Joseph would likely be an unrestricted free agent with a new CBA. If that's the case, then Joseph could get a lot of play as a cheaper option at cornerback then, say, Nnamdi Asomugha. He's not as talented as Asomugha, but he's that type of corner.

     

    Where He Could Land

    Houston, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, New York Jets

18. Doug Free, OT, Dallas

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    Free has developed into the best offensive lineman the Cowboys have right now—the closest thing to a solid player they have. 

    Offensive line has to be a point of focus for the Cowboys in the offseason, along with the defensive line and the secondary. So one would think a young offensive tackle who would be charged with blocking some of the best rushers in the game would be retained.

     

    Where He Could Land

    Dallas

17. Michael Bush, RB, Oakland

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    Bush has slowly been putting up some nice numbers in a supporting role with the Raiders, but now the biggest question awaits for the Raiders and Bush. Will Bush re-sign with the Raiders, or will he look for a starting spot somewhere else, a la Michael Turner with the Chargers once upon a time?

    Bush has the potential to be a starter, but the bigger question would be whether or not he can latch on somewhere considering how many running backs could be available in free agency. The markets are there, but will he be left out?

    We'll just have to wait and see.

     

    Where He Could Land

    Washington, Oakland

16. Eric Weddle, S, San Diego

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    Weddle has become a pretty good safety for the Chargers, developing into a guy San Diego trusts in that secondary.

    And with not a ton of depth behind him, you can imagine the Chargers want him back. So don't be surprised to see Weddle near the top of the list when it comes to priorities for the Chargers.

     

    Where He Could Land:

    San Diego

15. Kellen Winslow, TE, Tampa Bay

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    Larry French/Getty Images

    Winslow is once again becoming one of the best receiving tight ends in the game, having another strong season.

    So considering the Buccaneers are building one of the best young cores in the league, you would think they'd like to keep Winslow around as one of the veterans of that young offense. Of course, it doesn't hurt Josh Freeman to have a tight end like Winslow around either with Mike Williams and LeGarrette Blount.

     

    Where He Could Land

    Tampa Bay

14. Malcom Floyd, WR, San Diego

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    I've written before that Floyd is hidden in that San Diego offense with Antonio Gates and Vincent Jackson.

    But with some of the wide receivers that are available on this market, it's not out of the question that the Chargers might lose Floyd to free agency. Floyd is quickly becoming a big deep-ball target for the Chargers. And there are a bunch of teams, especially teams in the AFC West, who could use the explosive playmaking ability of Floyd.

     

    Where He Could Land

    San Diego, Kansas City, Minnesota, Jacksonville, Washington

13. Ray Edwards, DE, Minnesota

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    Edwards is probably the best pass-rushing 4-3 defensive end available, but the biggest question surrounding him is whether his success in Minnesota was all him or because he was playing on the same line as Jared Allen and the Williamses.

    He'll definitely get a lot of looks, as many teams would love to bring in a pass-rushing end, with Tampa Bay topping the list. And perhaps the thing to remember there is the Bucs are expected to go defensive end with their first-round pick; would the Bucs do that if they could get Edwards?

     

    Where He Could Land

    Minnesota, Tampa Bay

12. Brent Grimes, CB, Atlanta

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    Grimes went from an unknown nickel corner to a star and a Pro Bowler in 2010, and he's become the guy that the Falcons depend on defensively to make a big play when the situation calls for and warrants it.

    So suffice it to say, the Falcons will have a lot of reasons to bring Grimes back and lock him up long-term alongside Dunta Robinson at the corners for Atlanta. He's a restricted free agent, so the Falcons have some sort of control on him. But I wouldn't expect him to be going anywhere.

     

    Where He Could Land

    Atlanta

11. Tyson Clabo, OT, Atlanta

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    Another key free agent for the Falcons to sign, Clabo is one of three starters on the offensive line who are potential free agents.

    Clabo will be the most important as a tackle who's developed into a solid tackle. And considering the Falcons need someone to protect the franchise player in Matt Ryan, Clabo will be another one of the high priorities for the Falcons, along with Grimes.

     

    Where He Could Land

    Atlanta

10. Braylon Edwards, WR, New York Jets

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    Edwards combined with Santonio Holmes in 2010-11 to give Mark Sanchez two big, tall and sure-handed receivers, who many times could just go up and grab passes for Sanchez.

    There's a very real possibility the Jets could lose both of them to free agency, although the belief has always been if they had to choose it would be Holmes. So Edwards, a tall receiver with very good hands, who can still be a very good playmaker, could be had for the highest bidder.

    Paging Mr. Snyder, Mr. Dan Snyder...

     

    Where He Could Land

    Washington. New York Jets

9. Antonio Cromartie, CB, New York Jets

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    Cromartie is another one of those players the Jets might lose to free agency, as it seems like half of the team is eligible for free agency in some way.

    He's always been a sort of a frustrating player, because the guy has the potential to be a shutdown corner and be that type of player on defense. But both in San Diego and in New York, that potential has only shown itself in flashes. 

    That being said, he's one of the best corners on the market and considering the need for secondary help around the league, Cromartie would still be an upgrade for a lot of teams.

     

    Where He Could Land

    New York Jets, Seattle, Detroit, Philadelphia

8. Sidney Rice, WR, Minnesota

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    Rice had a disappointing 2010 season after the breakout 2009 campaign, but he was also sidelined right off the bat in 2010 and never really found a rhythm. 

    That being said, Rice is still becoming one of the better receivers in the league. He has good hands and great speed at the position, which provides a lot of matchup problems for corners. How he will do in a system outside of Minnesota, if he signs somewhere else, will be interesting to see. But as long as there's a good quarterback getting him the football, he'll be fine.

     

    Where He Could Land

    Minnesota, New York Jets, Seattle, Kansas City, Arizona

7. Cullen Jenkins, DT, Green Bay

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    An absolute beast of a human, Jenkins is that 3-4 defensive tackle that everyone searches for. 

    Jenkins is a force down low who has the ability to play either on the inside or the outside in the 3-4 scheme, which makes him very attractive to a team like the Jets who have a need on the defensive line at both end and tackle.

    Still, Jenkins is an important part of what the Packers do. And one would think he'll be among the top priorities to be brought back.

     

    Where He Could Land

    Dallas, Green Bay, New York Jets

6. Santonio Holmes, WR, New York Jets

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    Holmes is that other wide receiver that was so important to Mark Sanchez last season.

    Sanchez struggled at times last season, but it had to have been nice to have two security blankets like Holmes and Braylon Edwards to be able to throw the ball up for. So one would understand the need for the Jets to at least retain one of them. 

    If the Jets do decide to pursue one, the assumptions from the media have been that Holmes would be the choice. But considering Holmes wants a long-term contract from the Jets, or "wherever" according to NFL.com, that could mean a lot of things.

     

    Where He Could Land

    New York Jets, Washington

5. Arian Foster, RB, Houston

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    Arian Foster could be a free agent.

    Yes, that Arian Foster who led the league in rushing in 2010 could be a free agent. The guy came out of nowhere to take the league by storm last season and now he could be a potential free agent this offseason.

    If it helps the Texans, Foster will be a running back in what is a very deep pool of free-agent running backs. But still, he's right at the top of the list and there are a number of teams who would love to get a shot at signing the rushing champ. That being said, he might be the best running back in Texans history, so expect them to make sure they lock him up and soon.

     

    Where He Could Land

    Houston

4. Steven Jackson, RB, St. Louis

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    On a team that had the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in Sam Bradford and was almost one of the most unlikely division winners in recent memory, it's easy to forget that Jackson had another ho-hum Pro Bowl season in 2010.

    He's been a great find for the Rams during his career, but he is a possible free agent. That being said, he's still the guy that makes the entire offense go and until the Rams can get a playmaking wide receiver to go with Bradford, Jackson will be the guy.

    In other words, don't expect him to go anywhere.

     

    Where He Could Land

    St. Louis

3. Tamba Hali, OLB, Kansas City

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    Hali had a breakout season, to say the least, in 2010.

    As he became one of the better pass rushers in the game, the fact that he is a potential free agent continued to loom. The Chiefs know he's a star in the making and they also know that he is the heart and soul of that defense. So while he might be a free agent and there are many teams who would love to have him (Arizona for one), he's not going anywhere.

     

    Where He Could Land

    Kansas City, Arizona

2. DeAngelo Williams, RB, Carolina

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    Williams' season might not have ended the way he would've liked, but the fact of the matter is he remains one of the best running backs in the game.

    Williams is a great blend of power and speed, with great vision to boot. Carolina is not in a "we must keep him position" because they do also have Jonathan Stewart, but they would love to keep him too. If he does get out into the open market, Williams would be a hot name.

     

    Where He Could Land

    Carolina, New England, Detroit

1. Nnamdi Asomugha, CB, Oakland

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    Save for the franchised Peyton Manning, this might be the biggest name on the free-agent market. But don't get it twisted: he's the best free agent out there.

    Shutdown coverage corners are so hard to find in the NFL and also such a valuable commodity, and there have been few in the league who have been better at it than Asomugha in recent years. So you know that any teams who need help in the secondary will be falling over themselves to get a crack at Asomugha. 

    Oakland would love to have him back, Philadelphia's been dreaming of him in Eagles green for months and Dallas wouldn't mind having him either. He's going to have teams throwing money at him.

    The question's going to be where does he want to be.

     

    Where He Could Land

    Oakland, Philadelphia, Dallas