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NFL Free-Agency Big Board: Where the Top 50 Free Agents Are Headed

Matt MillerNFL Draft Lead WriterMay 31, 2011

NFL Free-Agency Big Board: Where the Top 50 Free Agents Are Headed

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 24:  DeAngelo Williams #34 of the Carolina Panthers runs with the ball against the San Francisco 49ers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on October 24, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty I
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    So what if there's no NFL free agency right now due to a ridiculously long lockout?

    At some point, there will be an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement and when that happens, the free agency flood gates will open wide.

    You can bet that NFL teams are already assembling their own free agency big boards and making plans for which players to target once free agency is allowed.

    We've done the same, breaking down the top 50 free agents and where they will be playing in 2011.

50. Wide Receiver Randy Moss

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 26:  Receiver Randy Moss #84 of the Tennessee Titans warms up prior to the start of the game against the Kansas City Chiefs on December 26, 2010 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    2010 Team: Tennessee Titans


    2011 Team: Cincinnati Bengals


    Breakdown: It might not seem like the Bengals would essentially trade Randy Moss for Chad Ochocinco or Terrell Owens, but it makes more sense than you think.

    Cincinnati is becoming a young team and will need a mentor for wide receivers A.J. Green, Jerome Simpson and Jordan Shipley. The guy to do that is Moss.

    While some might say Moss cannot handle the task at hand, we believe it would give him a renewed purpose in 2011 and bring out whatever he has left in the tank.

49. Wide Receiver Terrell Owens

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    PITTSBURGH - DECEMBER 12:  Terell Owens #81 of the Cincinnati Bengals catches a pass in front of Ryan Clark #25 of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the game on December 12, 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Im
    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    2010 Team: Cincinnati Bengals


    2011 Team: Houston Texans


    Breakdown: The Texans do not have a huge need at wide receiver, but they would like to get a better option opposite Andre Johnson.

    What better player to bring in than Owens?

    TO may get a lot of heat for his mouth, but his play on the field is solid. He's an established blocker and can excel when a good receiver is playing opposite him.

48. Linebacker Thomas Howard

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    OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 19:  Tyvon Branch #33 is congratulated by Thomas Howard #52 of the Oakland Raiders after Branch sacked Sam Bradford #8 of the St. Louis Rams at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on September 19, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Pho
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    2010 Team: Oakland Raiders


    2011 Team: Detroit Lions


    Breakdown: The Raiders do not tend to value their linebackers. Starter Kirk Morrison was let go last year, and it appears that turnover machine Thomas Howard will be on the market this summer.

    Howard is a perfect fit in the Lions scheme. He's quick enough to cover the flats and stout enough to come up and set the edge against the run.

47. Wide Receiver James Jones

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    ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 15:  James Jones #89 of the Green Bay Packers scores a 20-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter against Brent Grimes #20 of the Atlanta Falcons during their 2011 NFC divisional playoff game at Georgia Dome on January 15, 201
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    2010 Team: Green Bay Packers


    2011 Team: Cleveland Browns


    Breakdown: James Jones leaving Green Bay is all but a foregone conclusion at this point. The Packers drafted his replacement in Randall Cobb, and the general feeling is that Jones will get No. 1 wide receiver money on the open market.

    Many teams need a receiver as talented as Jones, but none as bad as the Cleveland Browns. Jones is a great fit for the West Coast offense and will give Cleveland speed and athleticism on the outside.

46. Safety Roman Harper

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    NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 02:  Quarterback Josh Freeman #5 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers throws a pass over Roman Harper #41 and Danny Clark #55  of the New Orleans Saints at the Louisiana Superdome on January 2, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana.   The Buccan
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    2010 Team: New Orleans Saints


    2011 Team: New Orleans Saints


    Breakdown: There is a need for a good safety on other rosters, but no team has as good of a chance to make a Super Bowl run as the Saints do.

    By leaving New Orleans, Harper may see a bigger payday, but he wouldn't have a chance for a second Super Bowl ring.

45. Wide Receiver Malcom Floyd

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    SAN DIEGO - DECEMBER 05:  Stanford Routt #26 of the Oakland Raiders breaks up a pass intended for wide receiver Malcolm Floyd #80 of the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on December 5, 2010 in San Diego, California. The Raiders defeated the Chargers
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    2010 Team: San Diego Chargers


    2011 Team: San Diego Chargers


    Breakdown: While Malcom Floyd could see a bigger payday on the open market, he will not be pursued as heavily as other free-agent wide receivers due to the saturation at the position this offseason.

    Floyd is a good receiver, good enough to be a No. 1 in fact—and he will be when the team loses Vincent Jackson.

44. Cornerback Ike Taylor

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    ARLINGTON, TX - FEBRUARY 06:  James Jones #89 of the Green Bay Packers runs for yards after the catch against Ike Taylor #24 of the Pittsburgh Steelers during Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Jamie Squi
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    2010 Team: Pittsburgh Steelers


    2011 Team: Pittsburgh Steelers


    Breakdown: Pittsburgh cannot afford to let Ike Taylor hit the open market. Their need at cornerback is huge, even with Taylor back on the roster. Pittsburgh will need to re-sign Taylor and possibly look to add another top free agent at the position.

43. Tackle Jared Gaither

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    INDIANAPOLIS - JANUARY 16:  Quarterback Joe Flacco #5 of the Baltimore Ravens huddles with teammates against the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Lucas Oli Stadium on January 16, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    2010 Team: Baltimore Ravens


    2011 Team: Buffalo Bills


    Breakdown: Most casual observers would wonder why the Ravens would allow a 25-year-old offensive tackle to leave the team.

    Gaither has played left and right tackle, has amazing size and productivity.

    He's also been hurt quite a bit in his career. Gaither supposedly checks out medically now, which will be key to his value on the market.

    Buffalo is not a glamorous destination, but it will give Gaither a chance to prove he's healthy and make decent money while doing so.

42. Defensive Tackle Brandon Mebane

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    SEATTLE, WA - JANUARY 08:  Defensive tackle Brandon Mebane #92 of the Seattle Seahawks reacts in the second quarter against the New Orleans Saints during the 2011 NFC wild-card playoff game at Qwest Field on January 8, 2011 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    2010 Team: Seattle Seahawks


    2011 Team: Denver Broncos


    Breakdown: The Seahawks have a need at defensive tackle, but they are not expected to make a push to re-sign Brandon Mebane.

    If Seattle does not push to re-sign Mebane, he will be a much sought-after player on the free-agent market. Teams like the Denver Broncos, who have a huge need at defensive tackle, will overpay for the talented defensive tackle.

41. Guard Daryn Colledge

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    ARLINGTON, TX - FEBRUARY 01:  Nick McDonald #67 and Daryn Colledge #73 of the Green Bay Packers wait for the start of Super Bowl XLV Media Day ahead of Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 1, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. The Pittsburgh Steelers will
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    2010 Team: Green Bay Packers


    2011 Team: Green Bay Packers


    Breakdown: It seems the popular opinion is that Green Bay will let Daryn Colledge leave via free agency—but where will he go?

    Colledge has a starting job on the best team in football and will see a good increase in pay based on his free-agent status.

    We do think Colledge will be pursued, we just don't see anyone offering what Green Bay can.

40. Running Back Ronnie Brown

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    FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 02:  Ronnie Brown #23 of the Miami Dolphins carries the ball in the first half against the New England Patriots on January 2, 2011 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
    Elsa/Getty Images

    2010 Team: Miami Dolphins


    2011 Team: Chicago Bears


    Breakdown: Ronnie Brown's days in Miami are numbered. Where he could make his impact felt in 2011 is in a complementary role to a young running back.

    Which is why we think Chicago would be a great fit. With the Bears, Brown can platoon with Matt Forte and have a real chance to win a Super Bowl ring in the next four years.

39. Wide Receiver Brad Smith

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JANUARY 02:  Brad Smith #16 of the New York Jets runs downfield against the Buffalo Bills at New Meadowlands Stadium on January 2, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images)
    Michael Heiman/Getty Images

    2010 Team: New York Jets


    2011 Team: Pittsburgh Steelers


    Breakdown: Brad Smith is one of three free-agent wide receivers on the Jets' roster this summer. And he's likely to be left out when it comes time for new contracts.

    Where Smith would be welcome is Pittsburgh. The team is looking to get younger at receiver and would love to have a triple-threat like Smith on the roster.

    Smith will make an immediate impact as a return man, receiver and wildcat quarterback.

38. Running Back BenJarvus Green-Ellis

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    FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 16:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots drops back with BenJarvus Green-Ellis #42 of the New England Patriots against the New York Jets during their 2011 AFC divisional playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 16, 2011 in F
    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    2010 Team: New England Patriots


    2011 Team: St. Louis Rams


    Breakdown: It's uncommon for 25-year-old running backs coming off a 1,000-yard rushing season to hit the free-agent market.

    The Patriots were likely to re-sign Green-Ellis until they drafted Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley. Now, it looks like he will be able to find new employers.

    In St. Louis he would not be the No. 1 runner but work in rotation with Steven Jackson, something that may not seem ideal, but there are not many starting running back jobs available.

37. Fullback Vonta Leach

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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 02:  Vonta Leach #44 of the Houston Texans runs with the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on December 2, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    2010 Team: Houston Texans


    2011 Team: Houston Texans


    Breakdown: The Texans are not going to let the best fullback in the NFL go.

    In 2011, Leach was voted an All-Pro and named the No. 65 player in the NFL Network's Top 100—as voted by NFL players.

36. Tackle Jermon Bushrod

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    SEATTLE, WA - JANUARY 08:  Jahri Evans #73, Jermon Bushrod #74 and Reggie Bush #25 of the New Orleans Saints wait in the tunnel before running out on the field to take on the Seattle Seahawks in the 2011 NFC wild-card playoff game at Qwest Field on Januar
    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    2010 Team: New Orleans Saints


    2011 Team: New Orleans Saints


    Breakdown: The Saints have Charles Brown teed up to play left tackle in the future which could mean moving Jermon Bushrod to right tackle in replacing free-agent Zach Strief for depth or even overtaking Jon Stinchcomb as the starter.

    Bushrod would get some attention on the open market. His value is worth watching.

35. Safety Dawan Landry

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - JANUARY 09:  Safety Dawan Landry #26 of the Baltimore Ravens runs back an interception of quarterback Matt Cassel #7 of the Kansas City Chiefs in the third quarter of their 2011 AFC wild card playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium on January
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    2010 Team: Baltimore Ravens


    2011 Team: Baltimore Ravens


    Breakdown: The Ravens do a great job of keeping their own free agents, which is what we believe will happen with strong safety Dawan Landry.

    While Landry has been linked to teams like the Dallas Cowboys, we cannot see him leaving the Ravens' locker room for another city.

34. Linebacker Barrett Ruud

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    GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 31:  Barrett Ruud #51 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers tackles Beanie Wells #26 of the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium on October 31, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
    Harry How/Getty Images

    2010 Team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers


    2011 Team: Detroit Lions


    Breakdown: Tampa Bay drafted a replacement for Barrett Ruud when they added Mason Foster this year through the draft. Ruud will see attention on the market, but it is worth noting that few teams need a starting middle linebacker.

    We like the move to Detroit, as both teams running a similar defense, and Ruud would be a massive improvement over DeAndre Levy.

33. Linebacker Rocky McIntosh

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    LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 12:  Carnell Williams #2 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers runs the ball while Rocky Mcintosh #52 of the Washington Redskins defends at FedExField on December 12, 2010 in Landover, Maryland. The Buccaneers defeated the Redskins 17-16. (P
    Larry French/Getty Images

    2010 Team: Washington Redskins


    2011 Team: Washington Redskins


    Breakdown: Rocky McIntosh has been the subject of some speculation this offseason. He is a talented young linebacker with loads of potential, plus he has experience in the 3-4 defense.

    While McIntosh will have suitors on the open market the best situation for him will be in Washington—that is if he buys in to what Mike Shanahan is selling.

    Otherwise, McIntosh could be a nice addition in Kansas City or with the New York Giants.

32. Safety Quintin Mikell

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 19:  Kevin Boss #89 of the New York Giants eludes the tackle of Quintin Mikell #27 of the Philadelphia Eagles during their game on December 19, 2010 at The New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by A
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    2010 Team: Philadelphia Eagles


    2011 Team: Houston Texans


    Breakdown: The Eagles drafted Quintin Mikell's replacement in the second round when they added Jaiquawn Jarrett. Mikell will be sought after by many teams, but no one has the money to add the potential for success in 2011 like the Houston Texans.

    It is warm in Houston, they have no state income tax and the Texans are an up-and-coming team. Mikell will make them even better.

31. Running Back Cedric Benson

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    BALTIMORE, MD - JANUARY 2:  Cedric Benson #32 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs the ball against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on January 2, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Bengals 13-6. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
    Larry French/Getty Images

    2010 Team: Cincinnati Bengals


    2011 Team: Cincinnati Bengals


    Breakdown: The Bengals need Cedric Benson, and Cedric Benson needs the Bengals.

    It is unlikely that Benson would leave or even wants to leave. He has been a part of the offseason in Cincinnati and would have few starting opportunities if he did leave the Bengals.

    Cincinnati also knows they need Benson, as they have no one on the roster who could take his spot.

30. Wide Receiver Steve Smith

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 17:  Steve Smith #12 of the New York Giants against the Detroit Lions at New Meadowlands Stadium on October 17, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    2010 Team: New York Giants


    2011 Team: New York Giants


    Breakdown: The Giants may have a talented group of wide receivers, but Steve Smith is still their No. 1 guy.

    Until Hakeem Nicks and/or Mario Manningham show they can be a consistent, every-down threat, the Giants will need Smith in town.

    Expect to hear Steve Smith linked to just about every team with a need at wide receiver but also expect him to stay in New York.

29. Linebacker Stephen Tulloch

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    NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 24:  Will Witherspoon #92 and Stephen Tulloch #55 of the Tennessee Titans celebrates in the fourth quarter during the NFL game against the Philadelphia Eagles at LP Field on October 24, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans won
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    2010 Team: Tennessee Titans


    2011 Team: Jacksonville Jaguars


    Breakdown: The Titans drafted Colin McCarthy, an underrated middle linebacker from Miami, to replace Tulloch as the team's MIKE linebacker.

    The Jaguars are likely to lose Kirk Morrison to free agency, as he is looking for a ring or at least a chance to compete for one.

    This makes the signing of division rival in Tulloch doubly important.

28. Wide Receiver Santana Moss

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    LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 12:  Santana Moss #89 of the Washington Redskins runs the ball after a catch during the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers  at FedExField on December 12, 2010 in Landover, Maryland. The Buccaneers defeated the Redskins 17-16. (P
    Larry French/Getty Images

    2010 Team: Washington Redskins


    2011 Team: Houston Texans


    Breakdown: The Redskins would love to keep Santana Moss, but we believe they will be unable to do so without an established quarterback on the roster. Free agents in Washington are more likely to leave than stay this summer as it does not look like the Redskins will contend in 2011.

    Moss would be teamed with Andre Johnson, Owen Daniels and predicted free-agent signee Terrell Owens to give the Texans offense an added punch in their first ever playoff season in 2011.

27. Defensive End Charles Johnson

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 10: Running back Matt Forte #22 of the Chicago Bears runs with the ball as defensive end Charles Johnson #95 of the Carolina Panthers defends at Bank of America Stadium on October 10, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Ge
    Geoff Burke/Getty Images

    2010 Team: Carolina Panthers


    2011 Team: Carolina Panthers


    Breakdown: The offseason priorities in Carolina are to trade Steve Smith, sign a veteran quarterback and sign Charles Johnson to a long-term deal.

    As an unrestricted free agent, Johnson can sign anywhere, but we believe he's committed to staying in Carolina and seeing the Panthers turnaround first-hand.

    New head coach Ron Rivera will be key to Johnson's re-signing.

26. Wide Receiver Braylon Edwards

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    PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 23:  Braylon Edwards #17 of the New York Jets is tackled by Troy Polamalu #43 of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the 2011 AFC Championship game at Heinz Field on January 23, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Ronald Marti
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    2010 Team: New York Jets


    2011 Team: St. Louis Rams


    Breakdown: The Jets will be focused on signing wide receiver Santonio Holmes and cornerback Antonio Cromartie while Braylon Edwards is being courted by other receiver-needy teams.

    Edwards would be an ideal No. 1 receiver in St. Louis and also give the team a viable threat opposite Donnie Avery. While St. Louis does have a solid group of receivers, no one on the roster can stretch the field like Edwards.

    This move would automatically make Sam Bradford a better quarterback and make the Rams more of a contender in 2011.

25. Running Back Ahmad Bradshaw

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 19:  Ahmad Bradshaw #44 of the New York Giants runs against the Philadelphia Eagles during their game on December 19, 2010 at The New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    2010 Team: New York Giants


    2011 Team: New York Giants


    Breakdown: Let's face it, the Giants cannot afford to lose Ahmad Bradshaw, and Bradshaw will not find a better situation elsewhere in the NFL.

    Few teams are in a situation where they need a starting running back right now, and Bradshaw would not benefit from leaving New York to be a back up.

    The Giants and Bradshaw will work something out as soon as the lockout is over.

24. Tackle Matt Light

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    HONOLULU - JANUARY 30:  Matt Light #72 of the New England Patriots stands on the field during the 2011 NFL Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium on January 30, 2011 in Honolulu, Hawaii.  (Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)
    Kent Nishimura/Getty Images

    2010 Team: New England Patriots


    2011 Team: Pittsburgh Steelers


    Breakdown: It it hard to believe that a Pro Bowl left tackle would hit the open market, but the Patriots will let Matt Light go this offseason.

    Light turns 33 this summer and may have two or three good seasons at left tackle remaining. While New England has plans for Sebastian Vollmer and Nate Solder, Light simply doesn't fit their plans.

    One team's trash is another team's treasure in the NFL—Light will have plenty of options. We like his fit with the defending AFC champion Steelers due to their need for a premier left tackle. Light will also be looking for a chance to win another ring late in his career.

23. Defensive End Jason Babin

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    HONOLULU - JANUARY 30:  Drew Brees, #9 of the New Orleans Saints, looks for an open receiver while Jason Babin, #93 of the Tennessee Titans, defends during the 2011 NFL Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium on January 30, 2011 in Honolulu, Hawaii. NFC won 55-41 over
    Kent Nishimura/Getty Images

    2010 Team: Tennessee Titans


    2011 Team: Tennessee Titans


    Breakdown: We had previously written about the fact that Jason Babin may see a lot of attention on the open market, which could lead to him leaving Tennessee for more money as this will likely be his last contract.

    However, Babin knows he has a great situation in Tennessee. Babin's entire career has been plagued with inconsistency, so a chance to stay in the same city running the same defense will be appealing to him and his family.

22. Linebacker Paul Posluszny

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    ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 12:  Peyton Hillis #40 of the Cleveland Browns fumbles as he tries to jump over Paul Posluszny #51 of the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on December 12, 2010 in Orchard Park, New York. Buffalo won 13-6.  (Photo by Rick S
    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    2010 Team: Buffalo Bills


    2011 Team: Buffalo Bills


    Breakdown: Buffalo is not a glamorous location, and the football team has just been so-so over the past decade, but it's comfortable enough and the team is close enough to contending for some key free agents to come to town and re-sign instead of leaving for greener pastures.

    We feel that Paul Posluszny could see a large payday if he opted to hit the open market, but it doesn't seem like he wants to leave Buffalo.

    The Bills are getting closer to contending. Those who stick around will be rewarded.

21. Nose Tackle Aubrayo Franklin

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    SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 12:  Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck #8 of the Seattle Seahawks drops back to pass as Chris Spencer #65 and Ben Hamilton #50 defend against Aubrayo Franklin #92 of the San Francisco 49ers during the NFL season opener against at Qwest Field
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    2010 Team: San Francisco 49ers


    2011 Team: San Francisco 49ers


    Breakdown: As the only nose tackle in our top 50 free agents, Aubrayo Franklin could see a good amount of attention from other teams running a 3-4 defense.

    While there will be other suitors—we believe Denver will be one of them—Franklin is at home in San Francisco and has shown no desire to leave the team via free agency.

20. Tight End Zach Miller

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    GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 26:  Tight end Zach Miller #80 of the Oakland Raiders catches a 22 yard touchdown reception against the Arizona Cardinals during the first quarter of the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 26, 2010 in Glend
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    2010 Team: Oakland Raiders


    2011 Team: Miami Dolphins


    Breakdown: We are not sure why the Raiders used their franchise tag on average outside linebacker Kamerion Wimbley when they could have locked up a marquee player like Zach Miller, but one cannot explain Al Davis' moves.

    At 26 years old, Miller is coming off his first Pro Bowl and has shown impressive potential and ability. Given a stable offense and reliable quarterback he could really explode.

    The Dolphins are looking for an athletic tight end and would love to have Miller in South Beach.

19. Defensive End Ray Edwards

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    SAN FRANCISCO - AUGUST 22:  Ray Edwards #91 of the Minnesota Vikings stands on the sidelines during their preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on August 22, 2010 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    2010 Team: Minnesota Vikings


    2011 Team: Atlanta Falcons


    Breakdown: Ray Edwards has been famously quoted as saying he will not return to Minnesota and make less than his backup (Brian Robison). We believe him.

    Edwards has been linked to the Cleveland Browns and Atlanta Falcons this offseason. Given the chance, we think he will flee for Atlanta and a chance to win a Super Bowl.

18. Guard Marshall Yanda

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    OWINGS MILLS, MD - MAY 4:  Marshall Yanda #73, 3rd round draft pick of the Baltimore Ravens, practices during Ravens rookie camp at their practice facilty on May 4, 2007 in Owings Mills, Maryland..  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
    Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

    2010 Team: Baltimore Ravens


    2011 Team: Baltimore Ravens


    Breakdown: Marshall Yanda may not be a household name yet, but he will be after the attention he'll get from other NFL teams during free agency.

    Yanda is among the best guards in the NFL and has proven he can play tackle equally well when asked to. Teams like Washington and Oakland are likely to pursue Yanda hard once they are able to speak with him, but we believe his desire to win in Baltimore will be strong enough to see him re-sign with the Ravens.

17. Defensive End/Outside Linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 12:  Matt Moore #3 of the Carolina Panthers is sacked in the fourth quarter by Mathias Kiwanuka #94 of the New York Giants on September 12, 2010 at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants defe
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    2010 Team: New York Giants


    2011 Team: New England Patriots


    Breakdown: The New York Giants have too many free agents to sign this offseason to possibly get them all under new deals for 2011. The team also has an overstocked roster at defensive end and will need to make tough decisions on who to use and who to let go.

    Mathias Kiwanuka, a hyrid end/linebacker, is among those the team has decided to let go. Kiwi will not be without work for long.

    His athleticism and experience as an outside linebacker will make him an ideal candidate for the 3-4 defense. Expect interest from the Jets and Patriots early and often.

    In the end, we believe Bill Belichick is a better fit for Kiwi, plus his Boston College connections will help seal the deal.

16. Linebacker Chad Greenway

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    MINNEAPOLIS - OCTOBER 17:  Running back Marion Barber #24 of the Dallas Cowboys is pursued by Chad Greenway #52 of the Minnesota Vikings during the second quarter at Mall of America Field on October 17, 2010 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings defeated
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    2010 Team: Minnesota Vikings


    2011 Team: Minnesota Vikings


    Breakdown: The Vikings used their franchise tag on Chad Greenway before the lockout was started, and it is unlikely any team would give up the draft picks required to sign Greenway and compensate the Vikings.

15. Defensive End Cliff Avril

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    TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 19:  Defensive end Cliff Avril #92 of the Detroit Lions sacks quarterback Josh Freeman #5 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the game at Raymond James Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    2010 Team: Detroit Lions


    2011 Team: New York Jets


    Breakdown: Cliff Avril has spent the last three seasons rushing the passer from the defensive end position in Detroit's 4-3 defense.

    When he hits the open market this summer, many will see the 6'3", 265 lb. Avril as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense.

    If the New England Patriots go after Mathias Kiwanuka, as we expect, that will leave Avril for the Jets to make a big-money run at.

14. Wide Receiver Vincent Jackson

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    DENVER - JANUARY 02:  Wide receiver Vincent Jackson #83 of the San Diego Chargers looks on from the sidelines 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
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    2010 Team: San Diego Chargers


    2011 Team: New England Patriots


    Breakdown: The Chargers and Vincent Jackson have been arguing about a new contract for two seasons. After sitting out the first nine weeks of the 2010 season, it would appear that Jackson is ready to leave San Diego, even if they did tag him as their franchise player.

    While it takes two first-round picks to compensate a team when you sign away their non-exclusive franchise player, it is possible to work out separate compensation. This is what we believe will happen.

    With two first-round picks in 2012, one coming from New Orleans, we see the Patriots sending a first-rounder to San Diego for Jackson's rights.

13. Cornerback Brent Grimes

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    ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 15:  Brent Grimes #20 of the Atlanta Falcons returns a fumble by Greg Jenning #85 of the Green Bay Packers in the first quarter during their 2011 NFC divisional playoff game at Georgia Dome on January 15, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    2010 Team: Atlanta Falcons


    2011 Team: Atlanta Falcons


    Breakdown: Brent Grimes made the Pro Bowl in 2010 and established himself as one of the best young cornerbacks in the NFL. Perhaps even better than big-money free agent and teammate Dunta Robinson.

    The Falcons cannot afford to lose Grimes and will make a play to re-sign the restricted free agent as soon as the new league year begins.

12. Wide Receiver Santonio Holmes

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    PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 23:  Santonio Holmes #10 of the New York Jets celebrates after he scored a third quarter touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the 2011 AFC Championship game at Heinz Field on January 23, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvani
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    2010 Team: New York Jets


    2011 Team: New York Jets


    Breakdown: As mentioned before, the Jets have three wide receivers entering free agency this summer, plus cornerback Antonio Cromartie. Their ability to sign all four seems unlikely, and we've predicted both Brad Smith and Braylon Edwards to sign elsewhere.

    Holmes is the one player we have the best feeling about re-signing in New York. He's well liked in the clubhouse and by coach Rex Ryan—plus he's honestly the best of the team's wide receivers.

11. Tackle Tyson Clabo

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    ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 15:  (L-R) Tyson Clabo #77, Michael Turner #33 and Harvey Dahl #73 of the Atlanta Falcons celebrate after Turner scored a 12-yard rushing touchdown in the first quarter against the Green Bay Packers during their 2011 NFC divisional p
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    2010 Team: Atlanta Falcons


    2011 Team: Atlanta Falcons


    Breakdown: Some are higher than others when it comes to Tyson Clabo, and honestly, it depends on which film you believe and which you write off as bad play-calling or a singular bad game.

    Clabo did give up 2.5 sacks to Bucs' defensive end Stylez White, but he also paved the way for a strong running game over the last three seasons.

    When you look at Clabo's play in 2010, it's important to remember that the entire offensive line played worse and the running game's production dipped with an injured Michael Turner.

    Young offensive tackles should never hit the open market. Players with the ability of Clabo must be signed long-term.

10. Wide Receiver Sidney Rice

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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 28: Joe Webb #14 and Sidney Rice #18 of the Minnesota Vikings celebrate after a play against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on December 28, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Ima
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    2010 Team: Minnesota Vikings


    2011 Team: Chicago Bears


    Breakdown: The Vikings' decision to use the franchise tag on linebacker Chad Greenway over defensive end Ray Edwards or wide receiver Sidney Rice was met with some criticism and confusion. It also caused some division between the players not chosen and the team.

    We fully expect both Edwards and Rice to leave this summer since they were not deemed more important than Greenway.

    Rice will be highly sought after, even though he had serious hip surgery in 2010. Rice is among the best young receivers in the game and would give the Chicago Bears a legitimate outside threat in Mike Martz' offense.

9. Cornerback Johnathan Joseph

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    CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 10: Johnathan Joseph #22 of the Cincinnati Bengals breaks up a pass intended for Sammie Stroughter #18 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Paul Brown Stadium on October 10, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    2010 Team: Cincinnati Bengals


    2011 Team: Houston Texans


    Breakdown: Given the choice of living in Houston, Texas, and making a little more money working for a better company versus living in Cincinnati, Ohio, and working for what many consider the worst boss in your industry, most would easily pick Houston.

    That's what we think Johnathan Joseph will do this summer, too.

    Joseph was locked on a bad team in Cincinnati, and that team is only getting worse in the interim as Mike Brown tries to decide what to do with Carson Palmer and Chad Ochocinco.

    Joseph will read the writing on the wall and head south to a team on the brink of something special in Houston.

8. Cornerback Antonio Cromartie

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    PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 23:  Mewelde Moore #21 of the Pittsburgh Steelers catches a pass over Antonio Cromartie #31 of the New York Jets in the third quarter of the 2011 AFC Championship game at Heinz Field on January 23, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    2010 Team: New York Jets


    2011 Team: Dallas Cowboys


    Breakdown: If we have learned anything from Antonio Cromartie's tweets this summer, it is that he has no loyalty to the Jets, the NFLPA or anyone other than himself.

    This is why we believe Cromartie will leave New York for the highest bidder once free agency starts. Ironically enough, it will be his current head coach's brother Rob coaching Cromartie next season in Dallas.

    We believe Jerry Jones will open his wallet to lure a shutdown corner to Dallas. While that may be Nnamdi Asomugha or Johnathan Joseph, Cromartie makes the most sense with his familiarity in Ryan's defense.

7. Linebacker Tamba Hali

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    SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 12:  Tamba Hali #91 of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrates a stop on third down against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on December 12, 2010 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
    Harry How/Getty Images

    2010 Team: Kansas City Chiefs


    2011 Team: Kansas City Chiefs


    Breakdown: The Chiefs placed their franchise tag on Tamba Hali before the lockout began, limiting his movement in free agency this summer.

    Hali is the key to the Chiefs defense, and the front office knows this. They also have no one on the roster even close to taking over his role as the outside pass-rusher in their 3-4 defense.

    Hali will be back in Kansas City with a much larger paycheck.

6. Running Back DeAngelo Williams

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 24:  DeAngelo Williams #34 of the Carolina Panthers runs with the ball against the San Francisco 49ers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on October 24, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty I
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    2010 Team: Carolina Panthers


    2011 Team: Miami Dolphins


    Breakdown: DeAngelo Williams is considered by many to be a top-five free agent this summer. While we like his ability and production, the fact that Williams missed a large part of the 2010 season with injury hurts his value in our eyes.

    Williams will not be on the open market long before he attracts the eyes and dollars of NFL teams, though. Many have linked Williams to Miami this offseason in a move that we feel makes too much sense to not happen.

4. Guard Carl Nicks

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 07:  Carl Nicks #77 of the New Orleans Saints against the Carolina Panthers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on November 7, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    2010 Team: New Orleans Saints


    2011 Team: New Orleans Saints


    Breakdown: Many casual fans will overlook just how valuable the Saints interior offensive line is to the team's success.

    True fans know that Jahri Evans and Carl Nicks make up the best guard combination in football—a combination that cannot be broken up.

    Nicks will become a restricted free agent this summer once the lockout is over, and the Saints must have re-signing him atop their list of post-lockout priorities.

4. Running Back Arian Foster

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    HOUSTON - JANUARY 02:  Running back Arian Foster #23 of the Houston Texans rushes for major yards against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Reliant Stadium on January 2, 2011 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    2010 Team: Houston Texans


    2011 Team: Houston Texans


    Breakdown: With just two years experience in the NFL, Arian Foster qualifies as an exclusive-rights free agent—meaning he is not under contract and if the Texans make him an offer at the three-year veteran minimum salary he has to accept it. So he's a free agent only if the Texans decide not to make an offer.

    While that doesn't seem likely, it's possible, and it also reflects the need for Houston to lock up Foster long-term once the lockout is over.

    Arian Foster will not be playing elsewhere in 2011, but he makes this list because technically he is a free agent.

3. Guard Logan Mankins

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 20:  Logan Mankins #70 of the New England Patriots against the New York Jets at Giants Stadium on September 20, 2009 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    2010 Team: New England Patriots


    2011 Team: New England Patriots


    Breakdown: As the Patriots' franchise player, Logan Mankins is not playing elsewhere in 2011 unless Bill Belichick has a complete personality change and decides to let the best guard in football leave New England for a first-round pick.

    We have seen this same scenario play out previously with these two, and it resulted in Mankins sitting out half the year and still being named to the 2010 Pro Bowl.

    Mankins is just too good for the Patriots to lose. They will do all they can to re-sign him long-term.

2. Quarterback Peyton Manning

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    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JANUARY 08:  Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts looks on during warm ups against the New York Jets during their 2011 AFC wild card playoff game at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 8, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Ph
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    2010 Team: Indianapolis Colts


    2011 Team: Indianapolis Colts


    Breakdown: Something that too few national writers are talking about is that Peyton Manning has now had two neck surgeries in the last 16 weeks, and that he's also still a free agent.

    Manning is tagged as the Colts' franchise player, but what's stopping the Washington Redskins from offering him a four-year, $120 million contract and giving up two first-round picks for Manning? Doesnt that just scream Daniel Synder?

    Sure, the above scenario is as far-fetched as the world ending May 21st based on the mathematical equations of a radio host, but it could happen.

    Manning will most assuredly be in Indianapolis to close out the final three to five years of his career.

1. Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha

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    OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 28:  Nnamdi Asomugha #21 of the Oakland Raiders stands on the sidelines during the closing minutes of their loss to the Miami Dolphins at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on November 28, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra S
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    2010 Team: Oakland Raiders


    2011 Team: Philadelphia Eagles


    Breakdown: We found it very telling that the Eagles lost cornerback Ellis Hobbs to retirement and then chose to not replace him via the draft. This tells us the Eagles planned to add a cornerback through free agency.

    The Eagles are not likely to sign a second-tier cornerback to replace Hobbs. This is a franchise that is dangerously close to winning a Super Bowl if they can get better play from their back seven on defense.

    Adding the best cornerback in football would go a long way in making that Super Bowl dream a reality.

    Philadelphia has the money, star power and talent to lure Asomugha to town.

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