NFL Free Agency: Projecting Stats for the Top 25 Players on the Market
Even though the NFL is still in a lockout and we probably will not know where free agent players will end up for a while, that shouldn’t stop us from speculating about anything and everything.
Some players are good enough to produce no matter which team they play for however, some guys could either benefit or have down years depending on what scheme they are in at the time.
Here is a list of 25 of the top free agents and how I think they will do in the 2011 season.
QB Matt Hasselbeck
2010 stats: 3001 yards, 59.9% completion percentage, 12 touchdowns, 17 interceptions
Matt Hasselbeck probably will not be back in Seattle next season, and I could see him signing with a team like the Minnesota Vikings.
The Vikings need a veteran to come in and tutor first-round pick Christian Ponder for a season, and Hasselbeck could take Minnesota to the playoffs.
Even if the team loses WR Sydney Rice, they still have Percy Harvin, Bernard Berrian and of course Adrian Peterson.
2011 Prediction: 3400 yards, 60% completion percentage, 18 touchdowns, 12 interceptions
RB Joseph Addai
2010 Stats: 495 rushing yards, 4 touchdowns, 124 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns
Although Joseph Addai has not had a 1,000-yard season since 2007, he did have 10 rushing touchdowns in 2009 before being injured most of 2010.
At 28, Addai still has a few productive years left in him and a number of teams will be calling for his services like the Dolphins, Raiders, Giants and others.
I do not see him getting a shot to be the No. 1 guy though unless there is an injury. However, he could definitely be an important contributor.
2011 Prediction: 850 rushing yards, 7 touchdowns, 500 receiving yards, 3 touchdowns.
RB Cedric Benson
2010 Stats: 1,111 rushing yards, 7 touchdowns, 178 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
Cedric Benson was a complete bust with the Chicago Bears, although he has found a nice home with the Bengals.
I think Benson will ultimately resign with the Bengals, and with the team possibly having to start rookie Andy Dalton right away, he could have a huge year.
Teams are not going to be able to fully gear up against the run with Chad Ochocinco and now A.J. Green on the outside.
2011 Prediction: 1,350 rushing yards, 12 touchdowns, 200 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns
RB Ahmad Bradshaw
2010 Stats: 1,235 rushing yards, 8 touchdowns, 314 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns
Here is another guy who I see staying with their team, and he had a big year for the Giants in 2010.
The only thing that Bradshaw really needs to work on is his fumbling since he put the ball on the ground seven times in 2010 and lost six of them.
The Giants could be relying on Bradshaw more than ever in 2011 because Brandon Jacobs could be gone and the only other real option is the rookie Da’Rel Scott.
2011 Prediction: 1,300 rushing yards, 10 touchdowns, 250 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns
RB Ronnie Brown
2010 Stats: 734 rushing yards, 5 touchdowns, 242 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns
The Miami Dolphins are in a tough spot with their top two leading rushers being free agents in Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams.
In the end, I see the Dolphins letting Brown go and re-signing Williams to pair with rookie Daniel Thomas.
With Brown I see him landing with a team more as a complement, say with the Ravens, rather than the No. 1 guy.
2011 Prediction: 850 rushing yards, 10 touchdowns, 300 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
RB Michael Bush
2010 Stats: 655 rushing yards, 8 touchdowns, 194 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns
Michael Bush had a very solid season as the complement to Darren McFadden with the Raiders, and I think he will be moving to a new team.
He may not be a No. 1 guy for a team, but he definitely has the ability to fill in if there’s an injury and is a great short yardage back.
A team I can really see signing Bush is the St. Louis Rams, who still have to re-sign Steven Jackson as well.
2011 Prediction: 950 rushing yards, 10 touchdowns, 100 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns
RB Steven Jackson
2010 Stats: 1,241 rushing yards, 6 touchdowns, 383 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns
Steven Jackson is one of the best running backs in the league and just finished his sixth straight 1,000-yard season.
There is no way the Rams let Jackson go, especially with the Rams being one of teams on the rise in the NFL.
I do think the Rams are going to bring in someone to help Jackson out and help prolong his career.
2011 Prediction: 1,150 rushing yards, 5 touchdowns, 500 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns
RB DeAngelo Williams
2010 Stats: 361 rushing yards, 1 touchdown, 61 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns
Coming off an injury-shortened season in 2010, DeAngelo Williams will be leaving the Panthers in 2011 I predict.
I still see Williams being a No. 1 guy for someone. However, the only team I really see needing that guy is the Washington Redskins.
Daniel Snyder has never been shy about bringing in free agents, and Williams would definitely be an upgrade over anyone the Redskins currently have.
2011 Prediction: 1,100 rushing yards, 8 touchdowns, 150 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
WR Mark Clayton
2010 Stats: 23 receptions, 306 yards, 2 touchdowns
Mark Clayton started out as one of the NFL’s biggest surprise stories of 2010 before being injured for the season.
Even if he does not return to the Rams in 2011, I think a team will give him a decent pay day to be their No. 1 receiver.
I would watch out for a team like the Chicago Bears who really only have a bunch of No. 2 receivers on the team.
2011 Prediction: 80 receptions, 1,350 yards, 6 touchdowns
WR Braylon Edwards
2010 Stats: 53 receptions, 904 yards, 7 touchdowns
I see Braylon Edwards staying with the New York Jets more because I do not think there will be many other teams that actually want him.
Edwards has always been unreliable, for the most part of his career catching the ball and has had his moments off the field as well.
He did have a pretty good season for the Jets in 2010. However, I see him reverting back more to the guy who drops everything in 2011.
2011 Prediction: 40 receptions, 700 yards, 6 touchdowns
WR Santonio Holmes
2010 Stats: 52 receptions, 746 yards, 6 touchdowns
Santonio Holmes had a lot of big catches for the Jets in his first season with the team, and I see New York doing everything to bring him back.
He has the speed to get by defenders, and his route running has been very underrated in his career.
Holmes seemed happy in New York as if he wanted to stay and be the Jets’ No. 1 receiver.
2011 Prediction: 84 receptions, 1,300 yards, 8 touchdowns
WR Steve E. Smith
2010 Stats: 48 receptions, 529 yards, 3 touchdowns
Steve Smith had a down, injury-plagued year in 2010 after catching over 100 receptions and 1,200 yards in 2009.
He could be a perfect fit as the No. 2 or slot receiver on a lot of teams like the Jaguars, Bears or Cardinals.
I do not see him putting up the numbers he had in 2009; however I think he rebounds from 2010 and has a solid season.
2011 Prediction: 85 receptions, 900 yards, 7 touchdowns
WR Brad Smith
2010 Stats: 4 receptions, 44 receiving yards, 299 rushing yards, 1 touchdown, 1,432 return yards, 2 touchdowns
Brad Smith may not put up flashy numbers, but he does everything and is a guy any team would want on their roster.
I think this is the guy the Jets are going to have a hard time keeping, and I see Smith actually leaving and getting paid elsewhere.
I could see a team like the Packers taking Smith and having him really help their kick return game.
2011 Prediction: 20 receptions, 250 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns, 200 rushing yards, 1 touchdown, 1,600 return yards, 1 touchdown
WR Sidney Rice
2010 Stats: 17 receptions, 280 yards, 2 touchdowns
Sidney Rice had a career year in 2009, then got injured and missed most of the season in 2010.
If he’s healthy, Rice has the potential to be the No. 1 guy for a team, and I think he is going to leave Minnesota in 2011.
A team I could see signing him would be the Chicago Bears or Washington Redskins who both need that top receiving threat.
2011 Prediction: 70 receptions, 1,200 yards, 5 touchdowns
TE Kevin Boss
2010 Stats: 35 receptions, 531 yards, 5 touchdowns
Kevin Boss is the top tight end out there in free agency in my opinion, and I think the Giants are going to re-sign him.
He is a lunch-pail type of player and is not only a good receiving threat, but also he is a good blocker as well.
2011 Prediction: 40 receptions, 600 yards, 6 touchdowns
DE Ray Edwards
2010 Stats: 37 tackles, 8 sacks
There is a chance that Ray Edwards stays with the Vikings. However, I really think he is going to leave in free agency.
He is still young, and there will be a ton of teams looking to add a guy who can get to the quarterback like he can.
2011 Prediction: 60 tackles, 10.5 sacks
LB Tamba Hali
2010 Stats: 52 tackles, 14.5 sacks
Tamba Hali exploded last season with 14.5 sacks and showed to be one of the better pass rushers in the league.
Although there will be many teams trying to court Hali, I really see him re-signing with the Chiefs, who are an up-and-coming team right now.
2011 Prediction: 50 tackles 12.5 sacks
LB Chad Greenway
2010 Stats: 144 tackles, 1 sack
Chad Greenway was the Minnesota Vikings' leading tackler in 2010, and I see the team bringing him back in 2011.
Greenway is not one of the flashiest players in the league or on the Vikings team, but he was a tackling machine in 2010 and I see the same happening this season.
2011 Prediction: 130 tackles, 2 sacks
LB Paul Posluzny
2010 Stats: 151 tackles, 2 sacks
Paul Posluzney put together his third straight season with over 100 tackles in 2010, and he seems to be getting better and better each season.
I do not think there is any way the Bills let Posluzney go in free agency, and he will be hitting everything that moves in Buffalo in 2011.
2011 Prediction: 150 tackles, 3 sacks
LB Barrett Ruud
2010 Stats: 120 tackles, 2 sacks
People probably tend to forget about Barrett Ruud in Tampa Bay because he isn’t a flashy player, but let's remember that he has really produced for the Buccaneers.
Ruud has four straight seasons with over 100 tackles, and I think the Buccaneers will definitely re-sign him to lead their linebacking core.
2011 Prediction: 145 tackles, 2 sacks
CB Nnamdi Asomugha
2010 Stats: 19 tackles, 0 interceptions
I thought I read the page wrong when I saw that Nnamdi Asomugha only had 19 tackles and no interceptions in 2010, but then I remembered that no quarterbacks want to throw in his direction.
Nnamdi will be out of Oakland in 2011, and I think two teams that could really use him would be the Houston Texans and the Detroit Lions.
2011 Prediction: 30 tackles, 1 interception
CB Antonio Cromartie
2010 Stats: 42 tackles, 3 interceptions
Antonio Cromartie had a decent year for the Jets in 2010 and was not shy about telling reporters what he felt during the season.
I do not think the Jets are going to re-sign Cromartie, and I think some of the same teams I mentioned in the previous slide would be very interested in him.
2011 Prediction: 25 tackles, 2 interceptions
CB Johnathan Joseph
2010 Stats: 42 tackles, 3 interceptions
Johnathan Joseph has quietly been one of the better cornerbacks in the league in Cincinnati, and I think he will be leaving in free agency.
Joseph has 14 career interceptions in his career at this point and is also a solid tackler on the outside.
2011 Prediction: 50 tackles, 4 interceptions
CB Carlos Rogers
2010 Stats: 54 tackles, 2 interceptions
Carlos Rogers is one of those second-tier guys on the market but could end up being a solid pickup by a team like the Steelers or Colts.
Rogers will most likely switch to safety in the next couple years and is a good tackler in the secondary as well.
2011 Prediction: 60 tackles, 4 interceptions
CB Ike Taylor
2010 Stats: 66 tackles, 2 interceptions
Ike Taylor is maybe the most underrated cornerback in the league even though he has great speed and is a great cover guy.
The only problem is that he has had a hard time catching interceptions in his career, and I hope the Steelers are able to re-sign him.
2011 Prediction: 50 tackles, 3 interceptions