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2011 NFL Free-Agent Rumors: Odds for Plaxico Burress and the Top 10 Free Agents

Barry BarnesContributor IIIMay 11, 2011

2011 NFL Free-Agent Rumors: Odds for Plaxico Burress and the Top 10 Free Agents

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    When wide receiver Plaxico Burress is released from New York state prison on June 6, he will be immediately reinstated.
    When wide receiver Plaxico Burress is released from New York state prison on June 6, he will be immediately reinstated.Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Long before the NFL lockout was set in place by the league on Mar. 11, the normal yearly questions about where the game’s top free-agent players will land has been the top head-scratcher for football fans and experts. 

    The NFL had a pulse on April 25 when U.S. District Court Judge Susan Richard Nelson invalidated the lockout and ordered the league to resume their day-to-day operations.  However, after four days of life for players, fans and league experts, the NFL went flatline again on April 29 when the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals granted a temporary stay of Nelson’s ruling as the lockout was reinstated.

    Eventually, the NFL will be alive and well (which could start any day now before the owners' oral arguments begin on June 3) and with the 2011 NFL draft finalized, clubs can concentrate on what moves to make regarding free agency. 

    With constant speculation of who may go where during this purgatory of an offseason for the NFL, here are the odds on favorite destinations of the top 10 free agents (some new rumors, some familiar).

     

    Barry Barnes was a NFL Writer for FanHouse.com of AOL Sports, but continues to provide content for the Examiner.com, Sportsjourney.com and other publications and all quotes, not credited, were obtained first-hand.

10. QB Vince Young to the Washington Redskins: 40 Million to 1

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    Despite spectulations of being released by the Titans, Washington will not be Young's new home - although strange things has happened
    Despite spectulations of being released by the Titans, Washington will not be Young's new home - although strange things has happenedGrant Halverson/Getty Images

    According to the Washington Post, the Sun Sentinel’s Omar Kelly stated that the Redskins are the front-runner in acquiring the former first-round pick of the 2006 NFL draft. 

    “The Dolphins will also have competition from other quarterback-starved teams like Arizona, Seattle and Washington...I’m hearing the Redskins are the front-runner for his services, so it’ll be interesting to see if the Dolphins get in the game.”

    As a two-time Pro Bowl quarterback, Young has shown he can win in the NFL with a 30-17 record as a starter, but he has not won in the traditional way as a drop-back field general, which Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan prefers. 

    Combined with solid running and defense, the 27-year-old signal-caller did not face many of the on-the-field issues young quarterbacks are pressured with, due to his ability to escape and his support system.  Young is not a free agent, but the Titans are expected to release him.

    “He was a great player, great leader for our team for the time when I was there in Texas,” said Brian Orakpo when he hosted his first Leukemia Golf Classic on Monday.  “He’s so athletic and he’s a great, great competitor, man, a great playmaker. Obviously, things haven’t been going well for him in his NFL career, but he’s still a young kid, a young guy, and he still has a future ahead of him.

    “Any team that picks him up, man, I know what type of player [he is],” he continued. “Once you get the best out of the man, and forget all the hoopla surrounding him, he’s gonna be a hell of a player.”

    Despite his off-the-field antics, Young will be given another opportunity by a club because he is very talented with many years left to mature—just not in Washington, especially with the odds given.

    

     

9. K David Akers to the Pittsburgh Steelers: 100 to 1

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    K David Akers could be the clutch-kicker the Steelers need in the playoffs.
    K David Akers could be the clutch-kicker the Steelers need in the playoffs.Al Bello/Getty Images

    After the dismissal of Jeff Reed, the Steelers kicking game found life in kicker Shaun Suisham as he was nearly perfect in field goals made (14 out of 15 at 93.3 percent) during the regular season when he re-signed with the team that gave him his first shot in the NFL. 

    But the two missed attempts by Suisham in the 2010 playoffs made the organization uncomfortable in their decision about the kicker, especially the missed 43-yarder in the divisional round against Baltimore.  If the Ravens had not hurt themselves, those three points Shaun could not "sneeze-em" out would have haunted the eventual AFC Champions. 

    If Suisham had made the field-goal attempt in the Super Bowl against the Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh’s game plan would have been different.

    To avoid a postseason meltdown, the Steelers did not draft a kicker in the 2011 NFL draft and it appears that the black and gold will look to free agency and Akers could be their guy.  Akers is familiar with the elements and is a clutch kicker.  The two missed field-goal attempts the 36-year-old had against the Packers in the first round of the playoffs can be chalked up as a bad day. 

    It was later reported that Akers’ 6-year-old daughter, Halley, underwent some tests for cancer at that time as she had a malignant cyst in her left ovary that was successfully removed in the week after the game.

    Despite not being the booming kicker he once was, Akers could give the Steelers the veteran leadership in the clutch-kicking department, which they need in order to continue their success in the playoffs.

8. S Dawan Landry to the Washington Redskins: 100 to 1

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    To play along with his brother LaRon Landry, Dawan would welcome it, especially their father, Frank Landry.
    To play along with his brother LaRon Landry, Dawan would welcome it, especially their father, Frank Landry.Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    The Redskins have struggled greatly in the secondary for the past few seasons.  Safety Dawan Landry will probably not be welcomed back to Charm City.  But the opportunity to play down the road with his younger brother—the insanely devastating hitter, safety LaRon Landry—would be great, especially for their father, Frank Landry.

    “It would be nice if he could sign with Washington so he and his brother can still be close and I can just go to one game at a time,” said Mr. Landry via phone.

    Landry is familiar with the 3-4 scheme that the Redskins are hoping to be successful with this upcoming season.  The Redskins’ signing of defensive back Oshiomogho Atogwo was a good step towards improving a major need in the secondary, but to add another solid defender who is physical could cause opposing offenses to think twice about attacking Washington deep or underneath their occasional zone defensive packages.    

    The Landry Brothers are not the best cover guys in the world—in fact, that’s their weakness.  But Dawan is extremely capable of making plays.  The brother tandem is something to watch out for.

     

    Barry Barnes was a NFL Writer for FanHouse.com of AOL Sports, but continues to provide content for the Examiner.com, Sportsjourney.com and other publications and all quotes, not credited, were obtained first-hand. 

7. WR Plaxico Burress to the St. Louis Rams or Cleveland Browns: 80 to 1

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    With fresh legs at the of age 34, Burress will continue to be productive
    With fresh legs at the of age 34, Burress will continue to be productiveStreeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Fresh and healthy from prison, the talented 33-year-old wide receiver Plaxico Burress will be released from the New York state prison on June 6 and according to his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, will be ready to go for the 2011 season. 

    Burress has been in prison since 2009, when he pleaded guilty to illegally possessing a handgun in a New York nightclub, following an incident when he accidentally shot himself in the leg later that night in the 2008 season.

    NFL commissioner Roger Goodell stated that Burress will be reinstated immediately, which brings us to this question: Who will sign the veteran pass-catcher?

    According to Giants running back Brandon Jacobs, Burress feels that there will be “no question” about him being welcomed back.  Burress had his issues with Giants head coach Tom Coughlin in the past, but after being apart for a couple of seasons, there would be a change of heart.

    However, New York may not be his destination. 

    The Rams could become his new home since former Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo is the team’s head coach and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels could use the veteran wide, who is physically rejuvenated, to help out the young receiving corp and quarterback Sam Bradford.

    But according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the publication had a poll for their fanbase about Cleveland acquiring Burress, and 55 percent were in favor of the move, because the Browns are in the exact same boat as the Rams.

    Similar to Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, Burress may have a great ending to his story.

    “I’m not a big advocate of making predictions on teams because so much can change,” Rosenhaus told Josina Anderson on Showtime’s Inside the NFL.  “But I am not afraid to make the following prediction: Plaxico Burress will be playing in 2011, and he will play very well. And it will be a very happy ending to a very tough, tough story for him.”

6. G Logan Mankins to the Chicago Bears: 50 to 1

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    Mankins would be a solid protector for Jay Cutler.
    Mankins would be a solid protector for Jay Cutler.Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Mankins had the franchise tag placed on him by the New England Patriots prior to the deadline, but he did not sign the one-year tender designated for that position.  However, if the franchise tag is not legal after the new CBA is in place, Mankins will become an unrestricted free agent and for a market that is sorely in need of offensive linemen, the Bears will come calling. 

    After the pounding of quarterback Jay Cutler last season, who was sacked a league-high 52 times, the Bears recognize their significant need for interior linemen support and Mankins would be a solid beginning towards the future, depending on the state of the league and the new agreement.

5. RB Darren Sproles to the Rams: 30 to 1

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    DENVER - JANUARY 02:  Running back Darren Sproles #43 of the San Diego Chargers rushes against the Denver Broncos at INVESCO Field at Mile High on January 2, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Chargers defeated the Broncos 33-28.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Gett
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    The pipeline of running backs from the San Diego Chargers may continue to excel elsewhere as their latest star back, Darren Sproles, will be seeking new home as a free agent.  Running back Michael Turner left to join the Atlanta Falcons and found immediate success and Jets running back LaDainian Tomlinson found new life in New York.

    According to NFL Network’s Michael Lombardi, Sproles would be a perfect fit with the Rams, as they could attempt to mirror the Patriots offense.

    "Sproles would be to the Rams what Danny Woodhead has been to the Patriots," stated Lombardi in his column.  "He would allow Sam Bradford to have an effective check-down option, is a great screen runner, and his talents would force teams to defend the middle of the field, thus taking pressure off the outside receivers.

    “Think of St. Louis being like the 2010 New England offense. With new Rams tight end Lance Kendricks being like Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, Danny Amendola being similar and as effective as Wes Welker, and Sproles being Woodhead, the Rams would be explosive. One third-down back, and the Rams are on their way to being a top-five scoring offense."

4. QB Marc Bulger to the Arizona Cardinals: 20 to 1

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    Bulger could re-live his glory days in Arizona.
    Bulger could re-live his glory days in Arizona.Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    The prize for the Cardinals would be to trade for Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb, but if Arizona misses out, Bulger would be their best bet. 

    Bulger rode the bench as the Ravens backup to quarterback Joe Flacco.  The 34-year-old signal-caller has not played for the past two seasons, which would appear to be a bad thing.  But for Bulger, being inactivate may have been the best thing for him.  After being the man in St. Louis after Kurt Warner was released, the injury bug plagued Bulger for a number of years.

    As the years passed and the bruises healed, Bulger may be ready for another long run with solid receivers around him like Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston.  Bulger may not be athletic, but given the time to deliver, he has shown with his strong arm and accuracy the ability to hit receivers on seam routes quickly and over the middle, which is his strength.

    If Bulger goes to the Cards, it would appear to be Warner II—again—but this time in Arizona.

3. LB Matt Roth to the New England Patriots: 15 to 1

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    Roth would provide the constant pass rush the Patriots sorely need.
    Roth would provide the constant pass rush the Patriots sorely need.Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

    In football, there are two things needed to be successful: solid quarterbacking and getting to the quarterback.  Well, the Patriots have one phase down to a tee with quarterback Tom Brady, who is the best in the NFL, but phase two is the team’s biggest issue. 

    The Patriots had the youngest defensive line in the NFL last season, with an average age of 25, but as a whole, the unit lacked consistent pressure on the quarterback.

    Roth will probably not return to the Browns, especially since the new defensive regime under defensive coordinator Dick Jauron is implementing a 4-3 defensive scheme.  Roth operates better in the 3-4 scheme, which is the Pats system.  Roth would be a great pick up for the young, athletic defenders around him.

    "The Patriots are most effective on defense when they can set the edge with big outside backers who have the ability to rush the passer in a physical style," said Lombardi.  "Roth has been a good addition for the Browns since he left Miami and has been able to accumulate 7.5 sacks in the last 22 games and over 100 tackles. Roth is not an ideal coverage outside backer, but his size, toughness and power would fit in perfectly with the Patriots." 

2. WRs Terrell Owens and Randy Moss Won't Get Signed: 10 to 1

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    Moss and Owens probably won't get signed by a Super Bowl contender, at the least.
    Moss and Owens probably won't get signed by a Super Bowl contender, at the least.Grant Halverson/Getty Images

    Terrell Owens was well on his way to the Pro Bowl if he had not sustained his season-ending injury, finishing with 983 yards off 72 catches and nine touchdowns in 14 games, while Randy Moss made NFL history after playing for three squads in one season last year.  Due to age (Owens 37, Moss 34) and past antics, which team in the NFL would sign either one of these future Hall of Famers?

    Without a doubt, both players can still play on a high level—especially Owens—and both players want to win.  A couple of teams will inquire of their services, but probably not a serious Super Bowl contender, which they both want to be a part of.

    Owens and Moss will face a tough decision for this upcoming season: Should they sign with any club for the money or should they gracefully walk away if a legitimate winning team doesn’t come knocking?

1. CB Nnamdi Asomugha to the Eagles: 5 to 1

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    Asomugha and Samuel would be the best cornerback tandem in the NFL.
    Asomugha and Samuel would be the best cornerback tandem in the NFL.Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Asomugha is the prize jewel of the offseason, as he could help any team in the NFL win with his ability to lock down one side of the field. 

    But no cornerback dreams of being the only man in the secondary to stop a team.  Any defensive scheme could work with shutdown corners because the pressure will fall on the quarterback to get the ball out and with no one to throw the ball to, turnovers would be frequent.

    This is why the opportunity for Asomugha to play with Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel would be unique.

    Along with defensive back Ellis Hobbs, the tandem of Asomugha and Samuel would be the best in the NFL, which would give the Eagles the boost they need to become a legitimate Super Bowl threat.

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