2011 NFL Top Free Agents: These 10 Players Could Win Your Team a Super Bowl
The NFL lockout is already hurting some players. A normal offseason would have the best free agents signed by teams prior to the draft. This is, however, not a normal season.
There have been some secret meeting that hopefully are working towards getting the NFL owners and the NFLPA closer to a deal that will give everyone professional football this fall.
How those meetings are going, obviously no one outside of them knows.
Today we are going to look at the top 10 players who could have the most impact on your team next season.
Ray Lewis said the Baltimore Ravens are minutes away from winning a Super Bowl.
Maybe the Ravens are more than minutes away, but if they were to add one of these next 10 players it could make the difference to bring Ravens and Ray Lewis back to the Super Bowl. And if you’re not a Baltimore Ravens fan, maybe one of these next great players could take your particular team affiliation to the next level.
10. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB
The New England Patriots have placed a second-round tender on Green-Ellis, which simply means if another team was to sign BenJarvus, they would be required to give the Patriots their second-round pick. This shows that the New England Patriots do value BenJarvus Green-Ellis to some extent.
Bill Belichick has shown throughout the years that he can and will win with any number of running backs. He was one of the first to implement and be successful at interchanging running backs during situational downs.
The Patriots' third and fourth overall picks in the second and third round respectively were running backs: Shane Vereen from California and Stevan Ridley from LSU. If the Patriots were still looking long-term for BenJarvus Green-Ellis to be their main running back, they would not have drafted two running backs in succession that early in the draft.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis would be a great pick up for any team in need a running back. BenJarvus Green-Ellis is coming off his best season so far in his career by rushing for over 1,000 yards for the first time.
9. Willie Colon, OL
Willie Colon was part of the Steelers' last Super Bowl Championship. Winning a Super Bowl and taking away that experience on what it takes to succeed is about the only thing Willie Colon can bring to a particular club.
But is that necessarily a bad thing?
Colon is not the best offensive linemen in the National Football League, but he is still a good player. He brings in the knowledge of the hard work and the discipline it takes to win the Super Bowl teams looking to get over the hump. Chicago Bears, Atlanta Falcons, New York Jets and plenty more teams out there could benefit from Willie Colon's experience.
8. DeAngelo Williams, RB
In college DeAngelo Williams considered rushing for less than 200 yards a bad game. Granted he was playing for the Memphis Tigers in Conference USA, so he was not exactly facing SEC defenses every Saturday, but still an incredible goal to achieve.
Once in the NFL, DeAngelo Williams continued his success as a running back for the Carolina Panthers. Rushing for 200 yards a game in the NFL is an impossible task, but DeAngelo has still continued to play well.
In 2008 DeAngelo rushed for 1,500 yards and 18 touchdowns. Last year he injured his foot and only six games.
Because of his recent injuries and decline in rushing yards the Carolina Panthers are choosing to part ways with DeAngelo.
This does not mean he can no longer play in the NFL. If put in the right situation, DeAngelo could be great player to help a team in need of a few extra yards on the ground, even if that means going to a team that already has a good running back.
7. Steve Smith, WR
Steve Smith of the Carolina Panthers had his worst seasons since his second season in the league. Part of the reason is because of the quarterback throwing to Steve Smith haven’t been nearly as good as he had early in his career with Jake Delhomme in his prime.
So with Cam Newton coming to town to be the future franchise quarterback, Steve Smith has packed up his locker and left the Carolina Panthers.
I know he is not officially a free agent, but with his trade demand, teams may be lining up to get him. He can still have an impact as soon as next year and be a good mentor to a young wide receiver who may be in need of some guidance.
6. Plaxico Burress, WR
Plaxico Burress just recently was released from prison. The question is, can he replicate what Michael Vick did and return to be an even better player than what he was prior to be incarcerated?
That’s a big unknown and will be a huge risk for any team that chooses to pursue Plaxico. A big reason Michael Vick has had such success in his second year is because he sat out the entire first year back in the league.
Plaxico Burress will not have this luxury. If a team signs him, that particular team will require him to at least play some downs and have an impact in his first season back. Michael Vick didn’t have that pressure his first season and didn’t have that pressure going into his second year.
Will Plaxico go back to being his old self or even become an even better player? That has yet to be seen. But it will all be up to Plaxico Burress as to how well he does in his future in the NFL.
5. Quintin Mikell, SS
Quintin Mikell is quietly one of the best players in this free-agent pool. Two years removed from a Pro Bowl season. Mikell could be a steal for any team that doesn’t currently have a star strong safety on their team.
The Colts have released Bob Sanders due to his constant injury issues. The reason Bob Sanders is not on this list is because of his injuries.
But remember it was the return of Bob Sanders that led Peyton Manning to his only Super Bowl. The Colts could be a good and healthy strong safety away from another Super Bowl.
Quintin Mikell could be that guy that gives Peyton Manning his second ring.
4. Santana Moss, WR
Santana Moss is coming off his best season statistically since joining the league in 2001, and 1,115 yards on 93 receptions is a great year for any wide receiver.
The issue is Santana is getting up there in age. So what allowed him to have the best season of his career last year? He had Donovan McNabb throwing to him.
His entire career has been with the pre-Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez New York Jets and the Jason Campbell led Washington Redskins. When he finally had a great quarterback in the back field, Santana Moss lit up the league.
The Chicago Bears are looking in to signing Santana Moss, but if you’re Santana would you want to go to another questionable quarterback? A better situation may be the San Diego Chargers who may look for a veteran wide receiver to help mentor Vincent Jackson.
3. Braylon Edwards, WR
A huge player for the New York Jets, Braylon Edwards helped take the Jets to the AFC championship game. Even with only 53 catches last year, he still had a huge impact on that team. Also he helped out a young quarterback in Mark Sanchez.
Braylon says he still wants to play for the Jets and the Jets will more than likely want to keep Braylon, but nothing can be done about it right now.
If Braylon Edwards does not re-sign with the New Your Jets, then several teams will be after him to acquire his talents.
2. Kirk Morrison, MLB
The Jacksonville Jaguars have let Kirk Morrison test the market but have gone on record saying they would still like to have a shot at retaining him.
Kirk is one of the best inside linebackers in the league. He is coming off his worst season ever in his NFL career. For the first time he didn’t have at least 100 tackles in a season.
In 2009 he had 133 tackles and then was traded to Jacksonville. Kirk Morrison last season only had 89 tackles for the Jaguars. This does not mean Kirk is now washed up.
Kirk can join any team and immediately have a positive impact for that team. This is why the Jaguars would love to still have him on their team.
1. Nnamdi Asomugha, CB
The best player this year on the free-agent market is Nnamdi Asomugha. There are very few (maybe three) shut down corners in the NFL today, Nnamdi Asomugha is one of them.
So talented quarterbacks threw to the wide receiver being covered by Nnamdi Asomugha only 27 times all season. Out of those 27 passes thrown, only 10 were completed.
If there was a Madden Fantasy Draft this offseason Nnamdi Asomugha would be drafted in the first round. Since the NFL has the Franchise Tag option, typically the best players in the league never become free agents in their prime. This is truly a rare occurrence that a player of this caliber will be available.
The reason this happened is a small and unusual clause in Nnamdi Asomugha contract that voided his deal with the Oakland Raiders if certain incentives were not met.
This clause will be the worst thing for the Oakland Raiders if they cannot re-sign one of the best players in the league.