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Thread: PFW'S TOP 100 FREE AGENTS

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    PFW'S TOP 100 FREE AGENTS

    PFW'S TOP 100 FREE AGENTS

    "Updated March 5, 2012 @ 9:45 a.m. ET


    We can say this much for the 2012 free-agent class: There have been worse
    years to be looking for WR help.</p>


    About one in six players in PFW's list of the top 100 free agents is a wide
    receiver. Four of the top 10 free agents —Pittsburgh's Mike Wallace, San
    Diego's Vincent Jackson, Philadelphia's DeSean Jackson and Kansas City's Dwayne
    Bowe —are Pro Bowl receivers.</p>


    Wallace, the highest-ranked of the wideouts at No. 4, is a restricted free
    agent. At press time, the Steelers were expected to at least tender him at a
    first-round level.</p>


    The thinning of the free-agent ranks with the franchise tag is an annual
    offseason rite. But even if the tag is widely used, the start of the 2012 league
    year still figures to bring no shortage of big-money, multiyear deals.</p>


    Several teams could have especially tough decisions in free agency. With
    Saints QB Drew Brees receiving the franchse tag, what happens to OLG Carl Nicks
    and WR Marques Colston —two of New Orleans' foremost offensive stars? WR Robert
    Meachem and CB Tracy Porter are other Saints unrestricted free agents who could
    draw interest if unsigned at the start of the new league year, March 13.</p>


    The Texans are also in a challenging spot. Signing Pro Bowl RB Arian Foster
    to a long-term deal doesn't help the odds of finding the money necessary to
    bring back top pass rusher Mario Williams, even at the franchise number. The
    Chiefs, Colts, Falcons and 49ers are other clubs with numerous desirable free
    agents.</p>


    PFW ranked these free agents on the basis of these criteria: talent, position
    value, age and all other relevant factors. The PFW editorial staff provided
    feedback throughout the process, and multiple league evaluators were polled for
    their insight. All evaluators participated on condition of anonymity.</p>


    QB Peyton Manning's fate has yet to be determined by the Colts. If available,
    and if healthy, he would rank among the most in-demand players in an already
    deep free-agent class.</p>


    (Listed age is as of Sept. 1, 2012)</p>
    <p align="left">1. Drew Brees
    QB | New Orleans Saints
    Age: 33 | FA
    Type: Franchise player (exclusive)
    </p>
    <p align="left">One of the greatest free-agent additions of all time, Brees broke
    the single-season passing yardage record in 2011. He has led New Orleans to four
    playoff berths in six seasons with the team and captured Super Bowl XLIV MVP
    honors after helping the Saints to the first NFL title in franchise history.
    Players like Brees, a difference maker of the highest order, don't hit free
    agency very often, and with good reason. The exclusive franchise tag precludes
    other clubs from negotiating with him.</p>


    2. Mario Williams
    OLB-DE | Houston Texans
    Age: 27 | FA Type:
    Unrestricted
    </p>


    </p>
    <p align="left">Williams, one of the game's top pass rushers, who has shown he can
    play in 4-3 and 3-4 fronts, is expected to draw major interest if he tests free
    agency. He possesses a rare combination of size, speed, strength and athleticism
    and can be downright dominant at times. His durability is something of a concern
    —he missed most of last season with a pectoral injury and missed multiple games
    with a sports hernia in 2010—but there is no doubting his
    talent.</p>
    <p align="left">3. Mike Wallace
    WR | Pittsburgh Steelers
    Age: 26 |
    FA Type: Restricted
    </p>
    <p align="left">We don't see many restricted free agents tendered at the
    first-round level drawing offer sheets, but if the Steelers simply tender
    Wallace instead of giving him the franchise tag —which would require interested
    teams to surrender two No. 1 picks if Pittsburgh didn't match a contract
    proposal —we could see that happening. The fleet Wallace can stretch any
    secondary with his speed and has improved his all-around game, too.</p>
    <p align="left">4. Ray Rice
    RB | Baltimore Ravens
    Age: 25 | FA Type:
    Franchise player
    </p>
    <p align="left">Versatile and productive, Rice is a true dual-threat back, with an
    NFL-best 2,068 total yards in 2011. That made him the second player in NFL
    history (along with Marshall Faulk) to tally multiple seasons of 1,000 rushing
    yards and 700 receiving yards. The Ravens haven't been able to work out a
    long-term contract, so they game him the franchise tag on March 2.</p>
    <p align="left">5. Carl Nicks
    OG | New Orleans Saints
    Age: 27 | FA
    Type: Unrestricted
    </p>
    <p align="left">Nicks was one of the best interior offensive linemen in football a
    season ago. Considering the Saints gave ORG Jahri Evans a monster contract last
    offseason, they could be challenged to keep the powerful Nicks, who is likely to
    be the latest in a growing line of guards to strike it rich in free agency.</p>
    <p align="left">6. Vincent Jackson
    WR | San Diego Chargers
    Age: 29 |
    FA Type: Unrestricted
    </p>
    <p align="left">Will this be the year that Jackson finally gets to test free
    agency unfettered? The Chargers gave him the franchise tag a season ago, but
    such a move would be even more costly this year. Jackson's size and speed can
    present major problems for secondaries, and he fits Norv Turner's offense well.
    Will the Chargers ink him to a long-term deal, or will he sign elsewhere? He's
    clearly one of the top offensive players available in free agency.</p>
    <p align="left">7. Matt Forté
    RB | Chicago Bears
    Age: 26 | FA Type:
    Franchise player
    </p>


    Forté's 2011 season was cut short by an MCL sprain in early December, but
    before the injury, he was one of the NFL's top all-around threats at his
    position. Quick, tough and versatile, Forté is a major threat as a runner and as
    a pass catcher. The Bears slapped the franchise tag on him on March 2, although
    it is believed both sides will continue to negotiate a long-term deal to keep
    him in Chicago.</p>
    <p align="left">8. DeSean Jackson
    WR | Philadelphia Eagles
    Age: 25 |
    FA Type: Franchise player
    </p>


    Jackson wasn't as productive in 2011 as he had been in previous seasons, and
    his contract situation admittedly affected him. Considering that Jackson still
    hauled in 56 passes for 961 yards and four TDs, the expectations for him are
    quite clear. His speed is his greatest gift, and he can be an elite playmaker on
    offense and on special teams. However, he is on the small side, and he could be
    tough for a coaching staff to manage. Whether he remains in Philadelphia or goes
    elsewhere, he's a wonderful talent who figures to be highly compensated.</p>
    <p align="left">9. Dwayne Bowe
    WR | Kansas City Chiefs
    Age: 27 | FA
    Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    Strength and physicality define Bowe's game. Concerns about his consistency
    have subsided a bit after two strong seasons, though dropped passes still can be
    an issue for him. The Chiefs could give the franchise tag to Bowe, who has
    exceeded 1,000 yards receiving three times in the past four seasons and has a
    total of 31 TD catches the past three campaigns. If he hits the market, he
    figures to draw considerable interest.</p>
    <p align="left">10. Cortland Finnegan
    CB | Tennessee Titans
    Age: 28
    | FA Type: Unrestricted
    </p>
    <p align="left">Finnegan is one of the game's better players at a position that
    has become exceedingly valuable with passing on the increase and the stellar
    play of quarterbacks one of the defining traits of the 2011 season. He is
    instinctive, competitive and tough, will not back down from opponents and is
    capable of shutting down quality receivers when he's at his best. He will be
    very much in demand if Tennessee allows him to test the market.</p>
    <p align="left">11. Cliff Avril
    DE | Detroit Lions
    Age: 26 | FA
    Type: Unrestricted
    </p>
    <p align="left">Pass-rushing skill like Avril possesses is a valuable talent to
    have in this pass-happy league. Avril, who notched a career-high 11 sacks in
    2011, is quick off the edge and has a good motor. He fits the Lions'
    hard-charging scheme well. Detroit could use the franchise tag to retain him if
    it cannot strike a long-term deal with him.</p>
    <p align="left">12. Wes Welker
    WR | New England Patriots
    Age: 31 |
    FA Type: Unrestricted
    </p>
    <p align="left">Welker is the Patriots' top priority in free agency. A quick,
    tough, productive slot receiver, Welker caught 122 passes in 2011 —22 more than
    any other player. No AFC pass catcher was targeted more (173), and he is adept
    at working open for QB Tom Brady. Welker has made a strong comeback from a 2009
    knee injury and continues to play at a high level.</p>
    <p align="left">13. Calais Campbell
    DE | Arizona Cardinals
    Age: 26 |
    FA Type: Franchise player
    </p>
    <p align="left">Campbell set career highs in tackles (72), passes defended (10)
    and sacks (eight) in 2011. The 6-8, 300-pound defensive end works hard and has
    produced at a high level since entering the starting lineup. The Cardinals are
    unlikely to let him go.</p>
    <p align="left">14. Robert Mathis
    DE | Indianapolis Colts
    Age: 31 |
    FA Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    Mathis, who has notched at least 9½sacks in seven of the last eight NFL
    seasons, will appeal to clubs looking for a disruptive, high-motor (if
    undersized) pass rusher. (He also has improved vs. the run.) He has always
    played in Dwight Freeney's shadow; the question is: How will he fare if he's the
    rush threat that opponents focus on?</p>
    <p align="left">15. Brandon Carr
    CB | Kansas City
    Chiefs
    Age: 26 | FA Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    With the Chiefs signing ex-Raiders CB Stanford Routt to a three-year deal on
    Feb. 21, Carr might price himself out of Kansas City. A productive starter who
    has defended 65 passes and grabbed eight interceptions in four NFL seasons, Carr
    is likely to be in demand when free agency begins.</p>
    <p align="left">16. Ben Grubbs
    OG | Baltimore Ravens
    Age: 28 | FA
    Type: Unrestricted
    </p>
    <p align="left">Grubbs, who made the Pro Bowl in 2011, doesn't make many mistakes
    and is solid both as a run blocker and as a pass protector. The Ravens would
    like to keep him. "Ben is a player that we'd love to have back in Baltimore," GM
    Ozzie Newsome said at the NFL Scouting Combine.</p>
    <p align="left">17. Matt Flynn
    QB | Green Bay Packers
    Age: 27 | FA
    Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    Flynn's résumé is short —two regular-season starts —but his potential is
    considerable, and he plays the most valuable position on the field. There's
    reason to believe he can be a successful full-time player. He is mobile and has
    improved his arm strength. Moreover, he had a valuable apprenticeship behind
    Aaron Rodgers. The question is: Can Flynn be elite? The team that acquires him
    will place high expectations on him.</p>
    <p align="left">18. Brent Grimes
    CB | Atlanta Falcons
    Age: 29 | FA
    Type: Franchise player
    </p>


    Grimes, who has very good ball skills, has emerged as one of the NFC's better
    cornerbacks the past three seasons. Despite the high cost, the Falcons decided
    to use the franchise tag with the goal of working out a long-term deal for the
    2010 Pro Bowler.</p>
    <p align="left">19. John Abraham
    DE | Atlanta Falcons
    Age: 34 | FA
    Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    With 112 career sacks, including 9½in 2011, Abraham is one of the premier
    pass rushers of his time. However, his age and the wear and tear sustained over
    a long career are issues that have to be weighed. The Falcons would like to
    re-sign him, but at their price, and Abraham likely will test the market.</p>
    <p align="left">20. Marques Colston
    WR | New Orleans Saints
    Age: 29
    | FA Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    Colston is a tall, strong, sure-handed possession target who has a notable
    injury history with microfracture surgeries on each knee the past three years.
    He caught 80-of-107 passes thrown to him a season ago, an impressive statistic
    when you consider that his average reception was 11.1 yards downfield. Look for
    him to draw interest if he's unsigned at the beginning of the league year.</p>
    <p align="left">21. Michael Griffin
    S | Tennessee Titans
    Age: 27 |
    FA Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    Griffin has special physical traits for the safety position. He has very good
    range and solid ball skills, too, as evidenced by his 17 career interceptions.
    However, his play has left something to be desired at times. He seems to get
    caught in-between on some plays. He draws this ranking on production, but he has
    the potential to do even more.</p>
    <p align="left">22. Michael Bush
    RB | Oakland Raiders
    Age: 28 | FA
    Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    A physical inside runner, Bush has been a capable fill-in for, and complement
    to, Darren McFadden in Oakland. However, Bush lacks breakaway speed. With
    McFadden's durability a concern, re-signing Bush would make sense for Oakland.
    But will Bush be offered a starting job elsewhere? With the franchise tag
    potentially thinning the UFA RB ranks, Bush could do quite well in free
    agency.</p>
    <p align="left">23. Lardarius Webb
    CB | Baltimore Ravens
    Age: 26 |
    FA Type: restricted
    </p>


    Webb is one of the better restricted free agents available. Tough, quick and
    instinctive, Webb is capable of baiting quarterbacks into mistakes. He also
    brings value as a return specialist. It won't be surprising if the Ravens sign
    him to a multiyear deal.</p>
    <p align="left">24. Fred Davis
    TE | Washington Redskins
    Age: 26 | FA
    Type: Franchise player
    </p>


    Davis received the franchise tag on March 2. He set career highs in catches
    (59) and yards (796), and his yards-per-catch average (13.5) highlights his
    ability to challenge defenses down the field. However, he was suspended for the
    final four games of the 2011 season after violating the NFL's substance-abuse
    policy.</p>
    <p align="left">25. Paul Soliai
    NT | Miami Dolphins
    Age: 28 | FA
    Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    The Dolphins are moving to a 4-3 scheme, which could open the door for
    Soliai, who received the franchise tag from Miami in 2011, to go elsewhere. This
    run-stuffing interior lineman fits best in a 3-4 scheme.</p>
    <p align="left">26. Carlos Rogers
    CB | San Francisco 49ers
    Age: 31 |
    FA Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    Rogers starred in his first season in San Francisco, intercepting a
    career-best six passes for one of the NFL's top defenses. Considering his skill
    and how well he fit in the secondary as sort of an extra coach on the field,
    look for San Francisco to work to bring him back.</p>
    <p align="left">27. Reggie Wayne
    WR | Indianapolis Colts
    Age: 33 |
    FA Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    Wayne has lost a step, but he still can be an effective starter because of
    his route running, excellent hands, durability and run-after-catch ability.
    There's a good chance he could move on from the Colts, a club in transition.</p>
    <p align="left">28. Sione Pouha
    NT | New York Jets
    Age: 33 | FA
    Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    The 6-3, 325-pound Pouha comes off his best season. Teams struggled to run up
    the middle on the Jets in 2011, gaining 2.93 yards per carry on such rushes,
    according to NFL statistics. While he is on the wrong side of 30, he has been a
    starter for only three seasons.</p>
    <p align="left">29. Dashon Goldson
    S | San Francisco 49ers
    Age: 27 |
    FA Type: Franchise player
    </p>


    In addition to being a physical presence on the back end of the Niners'
    secondary, Goldson intercepted a career-high six passes in a breakout season.
    The 49ers are expected to try to re-sign him, and with good reason —he's one of
    the top playmakers at his position.</p>
    <p align="left">30. LaRon Landry
    S | Washington Redskins
    Age: 27 |
    FA Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    Landry's durability is a major question mark. An Achilles injury suffered in
    2010 also bothered him in 2011, and he has played in only 17-of-32 games the
    past two seasons. When healthy, Landry can be a force in the back of the
    secondary.</p>
    <p align="left">31. Alex Smith
    QB | San Francisco 49ers
    Age: 28 | FA
    Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    Smith took a big step forward in 2011, playing efficiently and taking care of
    the ball (five interceptions). The 2005 No. 1 overall pick is still relatively
    young, and his persistence really paid off a season ago. His stock definitely
    has risen.</p>
    <p align="left">32. Brandon Lloyd
    WR | St. Louis Rams
    Age: 31 | FA
    Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    Lloyd's last two seasons have been his best. He has proven capable of being a
    go-to target, but he might be best as a dynamic No. 2 receiver. The athletic
    Lloyd is capable of the highlight-reel catch, but he can struggle to get
    separation.</p>
    <p align="left">33. Kyle Orton
    QB | Kansas City Chiefs
    Age: 29 | FA
    Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    Orton is a starter-caliber player at a valuable position. He is not an elite
    difference maker —he lacks mobility and isn't an especially accurate passer
    —but he can be a winner in the right system with good talent surrounding
    him.</p>
    <p align="left">34. Pierre Garcon
    WR | Indianapolis Colts
    Age: 26 |
    FA Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    With good size and speed, Garcon has the tools to be a standout, but he must
    be more consistent <span></span><span>—</span><span></span>with cutting down
    on his drops and running better routes two areas of
    note<span>—</span><span></span>to be ranked among the game's elite at his
    position. However, he's coming off his best season (70 catches, 947 yards, six
    TDs).</p>
    <p align="left">35. Mario Manningham
    WR | New York Giants
    Age: 26 |
    FA Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    One of the stars of the Giants' Super Bowl XLVI victory, Manningham boasts
    starting talent. However, the Giants already have two standout receivers in
    Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks. The worry about Manningham isn't his ability but
    his consistency, which has been lacking at times.</p>
    <p align="left">36. London Fletcher
    MLB | Washington Redskins
    Age:
    37 | FA Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    Fletcher continues to play at a high level, and the Redskins are likely to
    re-sign him. He has had a remarkably productive career. Want to know what
    consistency looks like in numerical form? Pull up Fletcher's career statistics
    and look at his games started and tackles recorded each season. Every week, he
    shows up, and every season, he's a good bet for triple-digit tackles.</p>
    <p align="left">37. Anthony Spencer
    OLB | Dallas Cowboys
    Age: 28 |
    FA Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    Spencer is stout vs. the run and has shown moderate pass-rush ability —he
    has notched better than 60 tackles and at least five sacks in all three of his
    seasons as a starter. Will he be back in Dallas, or could he draw interest from
    other 3-4 clubs?</p>
    <p align="left">38. Tyvon Branch
    S | Oakland Raiders
    Age: 25 | FA
    Type: Franchise player
    </p>
    <p align="left">Branch is the Raiders' top priority among their free agents, and
    he was informed by the team he will be franchised. He has recorded more than 100
    tackles in each of the past three seasons, and he is also solid vs. the
    pass.</p>
    <p align="left">39. Curtis Lofton
    MLB | Atlanta Falcons
    Age: 26 | FA
    Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    The Falcons are expected to work to retain Lofton, their starting middle
    linebacker. The franchise tag is an option, but a multiyear deal is more likely.
    He recorded a career-best 147 tackles in 2011.</p>
    <p align="left">40. Laurent Robinson
    WR | Dallas Cowboys
    Age: 27 |
    FA Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    Robinson's fifth NFL season (and first with Dallas) was far and away his
    best. Robinson, signed just before the season after being released by San Diego,
    set career highs in catches (54), yards (858) and TDs (11). Robinson's
    playmaking ability and dependability —he caught two-thirds of the passes thrown
    his way —are two of his selling points as he enters free agency.</p>
    <p align="left">41. Chris Myers
    C | Houston Texans
    Age: 30 | FA
    Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    Myers has become one of the game's better players at his position. Undersized
    but athletic, he's one of the leaders of the Texans' line. He's a very good fit
    for Houston's zone-blocking scheme.</p>
    <p align="left">42. Jason Jones
    DT | Tennessee Titans
    Age: 26 | FA
    Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    Jones played defensive end for Tennessee in 2011, but he might be best
    inside, where his strength and quickness can make him a tough matchup for
    interior linemen. He has shown significant potential at times and might have
    upside to develop further.</p>
    <p align="left">43. Robert Meachem
    WR | New Orleans Saints
    Age: 27 |
    FA Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    The Saints wouldn't mind re-signing Meachem, their 2007 first-round pick. The
    question is: What sort of offers will the speedy former Tennessee star receive
    in free agency? If another team wants to pay him like a go-to receiver, Meachem
    could be on the move.</p>
    <p align="left">44. Kendall Langford
    DE | Miami Dolphins
    Age: 26 |
    FA Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    Solid against the run, the 6-6, 295-pound Langford wasn't as productive in
    2011 as he had been in past seasons, but he certainly could hold appeal to clubs
    employing 3-4 fronts. He might be on the underrated side.</p>
    <p align="left">45. Scott Wells
    C | Green Bay Packers
    Age: 31 | FA
    Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    A key part of the Packers' offensive line, Wells has a good rapport with QB
    Aaron Rodgers and ranks as one of the top interior linemen available. The
    question is: Will Packers GM Ted Thompson give a multiyear deal to a lineman on
    the wrong side of 30? Considering Wells' value to the line, there are some who
    believe that would be a good move.</p>
    <p align="left">46. Eric Wright
    CB | Detroit Lions
    Age: 27 | FA
    Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    Consistency is the issue with Wright. He will be dependable for stretches but
    can struggle mightily at times, such as he did in the regular-season loss at New
    Orleans in December. Overall, though, he played well in his first season in
    Detroit.</p>
    <p align="left">47. Red Bryant
    DE | Seattle Seahawks
    Age: 28 | FA
    Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    A giant defensive end, Bryant is an excellent run stuffer. He is also a
    difference maker on special teams; note his two blocked field goals at Cleveland
    in a 6-3 Seattle loss last season. Though he is not much of a pass rusher, he
    fits Seattle's scheme very well.</p>
    <p align="left">48. Aaron Ross
    CB | New York Giants
    Age: 29 | FA
    Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    Ross, who has contributed to two Super Bowl-winning Giants teams, could cash
    in as an Unrestricted free agent. With the CB position so highly valued, do not
    be surprised if he does very well for himself and signs elsewhere. However, he's
    more of a complementary player than a shutdown corner.</p>
    <p align="left">49. Stephen Tulloch
    MLB | Detroit Lions
    Age: 27 | FA
    Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    The quick, instinctive but undersized Tulloch notched 111 tackles in his
    first season with Detroit in 2011. He's a strong fit it the Lions' 4-3 scheme,
    and it won't be a surprise if they look to re-sign him.</p>
    <p align="left">50. Antonio Garay
    NT | San Diego Chargers
    Age: 32 |
    FA Type: Unrestricted
    </p>
    <p align="left">Garay has come into his own the past two seasons, starting 28
    games for San Diego. The run-stuffing nose tackle recorded a career-best 57
    tackles last season. He plays a valuable position well.</p>
    <p align="left">51. Demetrius Bell
    OLT | Buffalo Bills
    Age: 28 | FA
    Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    It is possible that Bell, who didn't play football until college and has only
    31 NFL games to his credit, still could be developing. Though he played in only
    seven games a season ago because of injuries, he showed marked improvement when
    he was in the lineup.</p>
    <p align="left">52. Jeremy Mincey
    DE | Jacksonville Jaguars
    Age: 28
    | FA Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    Mincey notched a career-best eight sacks and four forced fumbles in 2011. A
    late developer, Mincey knows his effort is one of his defining attributes. He
    does come with some durability concerns, however.</p>
    <p align="left">53. Peyton Hillis
    RB | Cleveland Browns
    Age: 26 | FA
    Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    Hillis struggled in 2011. A thigh injury cost him five games, and his
    unhappiness with his contract was a distraction. However, at season's end, he
    started to play well. Whether that was enough to convince the Browns to try to
    re-sign him remains to be seen. At his best, he's a power back who is strong
    enough to run between the tackles and athletic enough to help in the passing
    game.</p>
    <p align="left">54. Richard Marshall
    CB | Arizona Cardinals
    Age: 27
    | FA Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    Marshall's experience (55 career starts) and versatility (he can play
    cornerback or safety) are assets. Moreover, he is still relatively young. The
    Cardinals would like to re-sign him, but he figures to draw interest from other
    clubs.</p>
    <p align="left">55. Jared Gaither
    OLT | San Diego Chargers
    Age: 26 |
    FA Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    Gaither impressed in a late-season stint with the Chargers, who want to
    re-sign him. He has rare size for the position (6-9, 340 pounds) and has, at
    times, shown great promise at tackle. However, he missed the entire 2010 season
    with a back injury, and both Baltimore and Kansas City have given up on him. If
    he becomes more consistent and can stay healthy, he could be a productive
    starter for years to come.</p>
    <p align="left">56. David Hawthorne
    MLB | Seattle Seahawks
    Age: 27 |
    FA Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    Hawthorne has led the Seahawks in tackles in each of the past three seasons.
    The question is: Will Seattle re-sign him or veteran LB Leroy Hill? There are
    some questions about Hawthorne's durability.</p>
    <p align="left">57. Tracy Porter
    CB | New Orleans
    Saints
    Age: 26 | FA Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    Porter, one of the stars of the Saints' Super Bowl XLIV win, has good ball
    skills and 39 career starts to his credit —and young, talented cornerbacks like
    him can do quite well in free agency. However, he has never played in all 16
    regular-season games.</p>
    <p align="left">58. John Carlson
    TE | Seattle Seahawks
    Age: 28 | FA
    Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    Carlson missed the 2011 season with a shoulder injury, but he has been
    productive when healthy. He could be a nice value signing if he is able to
    return to his pre-injury form.</p>
    <p align="left">59. Reggie Nelson
    FS | Cincinnati Bengals
    Age: 28 |
    FA Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    Nelson has jump-started his career in Cincinnati. The former Jaguars No. 1
    pick runs well, but he has occasionally struggled with consistency. Were he to
    depart, the Bengals would have a clear need in the secondary.</p>
    <p align="left">60. Cedric Benson
    RB | Cincinnati Bengals
    Age: 29 |
    FA Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    Teams have a pretty good idea of what they are going to get from Benson. He's
    a rugged power back who wants a heavy workload, and he can handle it. However,
    he lacks long speed, turns 30 years old in December and had ball-security issues
    late last season (five fumbles combined in Weeks 15-16). It will be interesting
    to see where he lands and what sort of role he earns.</p>
    <p align="left">61. BenJarvus Green-Ellis
    RB | New England
    Patriots
    Age: 27 | FA Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    Green-Ellis' calling card? His dependability. He has never fumbled, and he
    has been a productive member of one of the NFL's top offenses the past two
    seasons. He possesses good vision and balance and fits the Patriots' scheme
    well.</p>
    <p align="left">62. Nick Hardwick
    C | San Diego Chargers
    Age: 30 |
    FA Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    Hardwick, who has started all 103 games in which he has played over eight
    seasons in San Diego, reportedly wants to return to the team. According to STATS
    LLC, Hardwick didn't allow a single sack in 2011 and was penalized only once.
    Also, he has a good rapport with QB Philip Rivers.</p>
    <p align="left">63. Evan Mathis
    OG | Philadelphia Eagles
    Age: 30 |
    FA Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    Mathis played well in his first season in Philadelphia, and there's some
    belief that he's an underrated player. He equaled his career high with 15 starts
    in 2011 and didn't allow a sack.</p>
    <p align="left">64. Terrell Thomas
    CB | New York Giants
    Age: 27 | FA
    Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    Thomas missed the 2011 season with a torn ACL suffered in August. It will be
    interesting to see how the injury affects his value. Stacking him and teammate
    Aaron Ross on this list was challenging: There is some sentiment that Thomas
    —he had 31 passes defensed and 10 interceptions in 2009-10 —is the better
    player, but he is coming off a serious injury, which affected his standing in
    these rankings.</p>
    <p align="left">65. Mark Anderson
    DE | New England Patriots
    Age: 29
    | FA Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    The pass-rush specialist had 10 sacks in the regular season and added 2½more
    in the playoffs, with 1½coming in Super Bowl XLVI. While Anderson isn't an
    every-down player, he has shown he can get after opposing QBs, which gives him
    value in a pass-happy league.</p>
    <p align="left">66. Aubrayo Franklin
    NT | New Orleans Saints
    Age: 32
    | FA Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    The Saints, who have their work cut out for them in free agency, could bring
    back Franklin, who was decent in his first season in New Orleans, at the right
    price. He could appeal to clubs looking for a 3-4 nose tackle.</p>
    <p align="left">67. Mike Brisiel
    OG | Houston Texans
    Age: 29 | FA
    Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    Brisiel is a tough, hardworking interior lineman whose hard-nosed mentality
    makes him a favorite of the Texans' coaches. The Texans ran well off the right
    side last season, and he allowed only one sack. However, Brisiel was penalized
    eight times in 13 games.</p>
    <p align="left">68. Mike Tolbert
    RB | San Diego Chargers
    Age: 26 |
    FA Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    The 5-9, 243-pound Tolbert brings value as a tough red-zone back, as a
    receiver out of the backfield and as a strong special-teams performer. He likely
    fits best as part of a rotation. His versatility is an asset.</p>
    <p align="left">69. Harry Douglas
    WR | Atlanta Falcons
    Age: 27 | FA
    Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    Douglas, the Falcons' No. 3 receiver, has some big-play ability, with 10 of
    his 39 catches in 2011 going for 20 yards or more. He would appeal to clubs
    looking for a quick slot receiver.</p>
    <p align="left">70. Aaron Maybin
    DE-OLB | New York Jets
    Age: 24 | FA
    Type: Restricted
    </p>


    As the Bills' 2010 first-round pick, Maybin lasted two dismal seasons in
    Buffalo before landing with the Jets. Though he was just a part-time player,
    Maybin flourished in Rex Ryan's system and notched six sacks and four forced
    fumbles. Considering his youth and pass-rush ability, it will be interesting to
    see how Maybin's career progresses.</p>
    <p align="left">71. Israel Idonije
    DE | Chicago Bears
    Age: 31 | FA
    Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    Idonije is a capable starter whose last two seasons —playing opposite Julius
    Peppers —have been his best. The Bears are not likely to break the bank to
    re-sign him, but it will not be a surprise if he returns. He notched a
    career-high 52 tackles in 2011 and has 13 sacks the past two seasons, including
    five last season.</p>
    <p align="left">72. E.J. Henderson
    MLB | Minnesota Vikings
    Age: 32 |
    FA Type: Unrestricted
    </p>
    <p align="left">After a very good nine-year career with the Vikings, Henderson
    could move on from this rebuilding club in the offseason. Teams looking for a
    tough, experienced 4-3 middle linebacker could be interested in him.</p>
    <p align="left">73. Jason Campbell
    QB | Oakland Raiders
    Age: 30 | FA
    Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    With the Raiders making a major commitment to Carson Palmer, Campbell could
    sign elsewhere. He was having a solid season before suffering a broken
    collaRBone in October, leading then-head coach Hue Jackson to trade for Palmer.
    Campbell has thrown more touchdown passes than interceptions in all six NFL
    seasons in which he has played.</p>
    <p align="left">74. Brodrick Bunkley
    DT | Denver Broncos
    Age: 28 |
    FA Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    With 65 career starts, the 6-2, 306-pound Bunkley, a 2006 first-round pick by
    the Eagles, could appeal to clubs that are looking for help up the middle. A
    serviceable starter, Bunkley notched 43 tackles for Denver a season ago.</p>
    <p align="left">75. Jarret Johnson
    OLB | Baltimore Ravens
    Age: 31 |
    FA Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    Johnson may be appealing to clubs that are looking for a tough, run-stuffing
    outside linebacker. He does not provide much of a pass rush, and he would fit
    best with a club where he could come off the field in obvious passing
    situations.</p>
    <p align="left">76. Thomas Decoud
    S | Atlanta Falcons
    Age: 27 | FA
    Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    The Falcons would like to bring back DeCoud, a three-year starter, at the
    right price. He set career highs in tackles (86) and interceptions (four) in
    2011.</p>
    <p align="left">77. Vince Young
    QB | Philadelphia Eagles
    Age: 29 |
    FA Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    Young had some good moments in his first season with the Eagles, most notably
    in Philadelphia's Week 11 win over the Giants. However, he threw nine
    interceptions in 114 attempts. His mobility is his greatest asset, but his
    accuracy remains too scattershot.</p>
    <p align="left">78. Andre Carter
    DE | New England Patriots
    Age: 33 |
    FA Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    Carter proved he still can get after the quarterback by notching 10 sacks in
    14 games in 2011 —his third double-digit sack season in the past five
    campaigns. The primary questions with Carter are age and health; a leg injury
    that led to quadriceps surgery ended his '11 campaign in December.</p>
    <p align="left">79. Chad Henne
    QB | Miami Dolphins
    Age: 27 | FA
    Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    A shoulder injury ended Henne's 2011 season after four games. The knocks on
    him are his accuracy and ability to come through in clutch situations. However,
    he did play well in two of his three full games a season ago, and he could have
    the upside to develop further. He likely will get a fresh start elsewhere.</p>


    80. Visanthe Shiancoe
    TE | Minnesota Vikings
    Age: 32 | FA Type:
    Unrestricted
    </p>


    Shiancoe is getting up in age, and it would not be surprising if the Vikings
    allowed him to depart. Minnesota drafted TE Kyle Rudolph in Round Two in the
    2011 NFL draft, and he's poised to become the team's top target at the
    position.</p>
    <p align="left">81. Steve Weatherford
    P | New York Giants
    Age: 29 |
    FA Type: Unrestricted
    </p>
    <p align="left">Weatherford's 2011 season was his best, continuing a pattern of
    recent improvement. And he was excellent when the Giants needed him most. Three
    of his four punts in Super Bowl XLVI were downed inside the New England 10.
    Also, he posted a 40.6-yard net average on 12 punts in difficult conditions in
    the NFC title game at Candlestick Park.</p>
    <p align="left">82. Michael Bennett
    DE | Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    Age:
    26 | FA Type: Restricted
    </p>


    The 6-4, 274-pound Bennett started 10 games a season ago, notching 39 tackles
    and four sacks, and he was mentioned as a restricted free agent who merited
    inclusion on this list —no small feat, considering the depth of this free-agent
    class.</p>
    <p align="left">83. Jeremy Zuttah
    OG | Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    Age: 26
    | FA Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    Zuttah has been a reliable starter in Tampa Bay, starting 44-of-58 games
    since entering the NFL. He also can play center. The Buccaneers are said to want
    to re-sign him.</p>
    <p align="left">84. Eddie Royal
    WR | Denver Broncos
    Age: 26 | FA
    Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    Royal caught 91 passes as a rookie in 2008, but he has made just 115 catches
    in three seasons since. Quick but slight, Royal adds value as a returner, too.
    He developed a good rapport with QB Tim Tebow in 2011.</p>
    <p align="left">85. Ted Ginn Jr.
    WR | San Francisco 49ers
    Age: 27 |
    FA Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    Ginn has elite speed and can be a difference maker as a returner, as he
    showed when he returned a kickoff and a punt for scores vs. Seattle in the 2011
    season opener. He also can be a vertical threat on offense.</p>
    <p align="left">86. Matt Prater
    PK | Denver Broncos
    Age: 28 | FA
    Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    Prater's leg strength is enhanced when playing in Denver's thin mountain air.
    His range can extend to 60 yards on field goals, and more than two-thirds of his
    kickoffs were touchbacks in 2011. What's more, he connected on all three of his
    FG attempts in overtime as Denver won the AFC West.</p>
    <p align="left">87. Mat McBriar
    P | Dallas Cowboys
    Age: 33 | FA
    Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    A two-time Pro Bowler, McBriar had left knee surgery in February to remove a
    cyst, but he reportedly told ESPN Radio in Dallas that he expects to be ready
    for the season. When healthy, he's one of the game's better punters.</p>
    <p align="left">88. Jay Feely
    PK | Arizona Cardinals
    Age: 36 | FA
    Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    Feely has connected on 82 percent of his field-goal attempts in his career,
    and last season was the first time he had made less than 83 percent of his FG
    attempts since 2004. Consistent and confident, he's a proven performer at a
    pressure-packed position.</p>
    <p align="left">89. Jeremy Shockey
    TE | Carolina Panthers
    Age: 32 |
    FA Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    Though not the dynamic playmaker that he was earlier in his career, Shockey
    is still a solid contributor who could help a club that's looking to improve its
    TE corps.</p>
    <p align="left">90. Josh Scobee
    PK | Jacksonville Jaguars
    Age: 30 |
    FA Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    Scobee comes off his finest season, having connected on 23-of-25 field-goal
    attempts, with no misses inside 40 yards. He also has a strong leg on kickoffs,
    with 39 of his 62 kicks going for touchbacks in 2011.</p>
    <p align="left">91. Phil Dawson
    PK | Cleveland Browns
    Age: 37 | FA
    Type: Franchise player
    </p>


    Dawson's reliability is his greatest asset. He connected on 24-of-29
    field-goal attempts a season ago (82.8 percent). Overall, he has hit 83.1
    percent of his FG attempts throughout his 13-year career, all of which has been
    spent in Cleveland. His ability to kick well in cold weather is an asset.</p>
    <p align="left">92. Martellus Bennett
    TE | Dallas Cowboys
    Age: 25 |
    FA Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    Dallas' No. 2 tight end has playmaking ability. Will he earn a bigger role
    with another club? Finding consistency is a key for him.</p>
    <p align="left">93. Brian Hoyer
    QB | New England Patriots
    Age: 26 |
    FA Type: Restricted
    </p>


    Hoyer has shown promise in three seasons in New England, with the bulk of his
    opportunities coming in the preseason and in relief of QB Tom Brady in a handful
    of regular-season games. New England is expected to give the backup quarterback
    a high tender offer. There are some league evaluators who are not sold on him,
    however.</p>
    <p align="left">94. Michael Robinson
    FB | Seattle Seahawks
    Age: 29 |
    FA Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    The one-time collegiate quarterback earned Pro Bowl honors as a blocker in
    2011. He also is an exceptional special-teams player.</p>
    <p align="left">95. Dimitri Patterson
    CB | Cleveland Browns
    Age: 29
    | FA Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    Patterson rebounded in 2011, playing well as the Browns' third cornerback
    after having struggled in a starting role for Philadelphia. It will be
    interesting to see if he gets another shot at a first-team role.</p>
    <p align="left">96. Early Doucet
    WR | Arizona Cardinals
    Age: 26 |
    FA Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    Doucet caught a career-best 54 passes for 689 yards and five TDs a season
    ago. He could be a sleeper of sorts.</p>


    97. Manny Lawson
    OLB | Cincinnati Bengals
    Age: 28 | FA Type:
    Unrestricted
    </p>


    Lawson, who has starting experience in 3-4 and 4-3 fronts, notched 51 tackles
    and 1½ sacks for Cincinnati a season ago. He's shown some pass-rush ability in
    the past, most notably in 2009 with San Francisco, when he recorded 6½
    sacks.</p>


    98. Jameel McClain
    ILB | Baltimore Ravens
    Age: 27 | FA Type:
    Unrestricted
    </p>


    He has started 31 of the last 32 regular-season games for the Ravens, who
    would like to re-sign him but have quite a few big decisions to make in free
    agency. He fared well when Ray Lewis was out of the lineup a season ago, which
    does not hurt his value.

    99. Ryan Grant
    RB | Green Bay
    Packers
    Age: 29 | FA Type: Unrestricted
    </p>


    Grant started 14 games in 2011, rushing for 559 yards on 134 carries. The
    Packers could bring back Grant, who turns 30 in December, but James Starks' role
    (133 carries) does not figure to wane next season and could
    increase.

    100. Jeff Saturday
    C | Indianapolis Colts
    Age: 37
    | FA Type: Unrestricted"
    </p>
    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1


  2. #2

    Re: PFW'S TOP 100 FREE AGENTS

    no steve smith or plax in top 100..i think they're better than several other wr's that made the list

  3. #3

    Re: PFW'S TOP 100 FREE AGENTS

    Randy Moss working out for the Saints.

    http://www.nfl.com/news/story/09000d...headline_stack

    Still trying to get his first Superbowl ring. Can't wait for Brees to blow up on him sometime in the regular season.

  4. #4

    Re: PFW'S TOP 100 FREE AGENTS

    [quote user="NYGRealityCheck"]Randy Moss working out for the Saints.

    http://www.nfl.com/news/story/09000d...headline_stack

    Still trying to get his first Superbowl ring. Can't wait for Brees to blow up on him sometime in the regular season.[/quote]

    saints need to divert attention away from bountygate..no better diversion than randy moss

  5. #5

    Re: PFW'S TOP 100 FREE AGENTS

    [quote user="alau53"][quote user="NYGRealityCheck"]Randy Moss working out for the Saints.

    http://www.nfl.com/news/story/09000d...headline_stack

    Still trying to get his first Superbowl ring. Can't wait for Brees to blow up on him sometime in the regular season.[/quote]

    saints need to divert attention away from bountygate..no better diversion than randy moss[/quote]

    Saints should not be worried about what the media and fanbases are thinking as much as worrying about what Roger Goodell plans to do to them. There's no diverting Roger Goodell... haha

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