A few readers have asked me to take a look at the free agents in 2011, so here you go. In addition to analyzing the best available players at positions of need for Dallas, I’ve also provided my assessment of which one is most likely to come to Big D.
Please note that there may be a few omissions from these free agent rankings. Some “free agents” are restricted, have already been franchised, etc. Also, it’s actually quite difficult to obtain a reliable list of free agents.
Some organizations are needlessly secretive about their players’ contracts, and there’s plenty of inaccurate information out there regarding free agent statuses. If you notice a player who is missing or one who shouldn’t be listed, please notify me in the comments below.
- Positions of Need Assessed (in order of importance): FS, DE, CB, OG, SS, OLB
- Other Positions of Need: K, NT (if Ratliff moves to DE)
Top Unrestricted Free Agents
1. Michael Huff
2. Eric Weddle (Restricted)
3. Dawan Landry
4. Tanard Jackson
5. Donte Whitner
6. Darren Sharper
Most Likely to Become a Cowboy: Michael Huff
Huff is the top free safety above and, to the best of my knowledge, he’s unrestricted.
1. Shaun Ellis
2. Tommie Harris
3. Cullen Jenkins
4. John McCargo
5. Brandon Mebane
Most Likely to Become a Cowboy: Cullen Jenkins.
I’m really stretching it here with this free agent list, as only Ellis and Jenkins have played as a five-technique defensive end in the past.
The other three players have been three-technique players in 4-3 schemes, so they’re quite unlikely to land in Dallas.
1. Nnamdi Asomugha
2. Jonathan Joseph
3. Antonio Cromartie
4. Eric Wright
5. William Gay
6. Chris Houston
7. Ike Taylor
8. Chris Carr
9. Richard Marshall
10. Carlos Rogers
11. Will Blackmon
12. Kelly Jennings
Most Likely to Become a Cowboy: Jonathan Joseph.
The top three cornerbacks on this list are all top-tier guys (with Asomugha obviously in a class by himself).
I don’t see Asomugha as a legit option, unfortunately, because he’s simply going to be too costly. Don’t forget that Dallas still needs to re-sign Doug Free, perhaps a few other free agents and their rookies.
Joseph is incredibly underrated and, if he can be had for second-tier money, the Cowboys could find a bargain.
1. Davin Joseph
2. Justin Blalock
3. Harvey Dahl
4. Robert Gallery
5. Richie Incognito
6. Alan Faneca
Most Likely to Become a Cowboy: Davin Joseph.
Offensive guard is a difficult position to assess for the ‘Boys. Kyle Kosier, who I’d rank at No. 3 on this list, is a free agent as well.
The ‘Boys could re-sign him to a short-term deal (which I think is a good idea, as he graded out as the seventh-best Cowboy in 2010 and the top lineman).
The team might also release Leonard Davis, which is the most likely way they sign a free agent. Even if you see Davis get cut, though, don't rule out the team re-signing him for a lower cost.
1. Quintin Mikell
2. Bernard Pollard
3. Atari Bigby
4. Brodney Pool
5. Roman Harper
6. Abram Elam
Most Likely to Be a Cowboy: None.
Outside of Mikell, this is a very weak group of strong safeties.
I think Mikell is extremely underrated, but the lack of talent behind him means someone will overpay for his services. That shouldn’t be Dallas.
1. Manny Lawson
2. Matt Roth
3. Thomas Howard
Most Likely to Become a Cowboys: None.
This isn’t even a question. Teams simply don’t allow stud 3-4 outside linebackers to hit the open market.
Plus, you can count on a rebound season for Anthony Spencer and continued progress from Victor Butler.