With the NFL’s free agency period set to begin in a little over two weeks from now, it’s time for our annual look at the top free agents position by position. You can view each position as we post them by clicking on the navigation links above and below the analysis.
We’ll be posting a new position as often as possible, so be sure to check back for the latest updates and to see what players will be available for your favorite team to try and sign.
Free Agents by position: QB | RB | WR/TE | OL | DL | LB | DB | P/K
Best Available Talent
Peyton Hillis (Cleveland) — Coming off a disappointing season in which he only averaged 3.6 yards per carry, Hillis isn’t likely to find the big time contract he’s seeking. That said, he still has enough talent and ability to help a team in need of a power runner to complement a smaller, faster back. The Browns still have some interest in bringing Hillis back, but if another team offers him a larger pile of cash, don’t expect Cleveland to match it.
Possible Destination(s): Kansas City, New England, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Baltimore
Mike Tolbert (San Diego) — The Chargers love Tolbert’s ability to be flexible and handle a multitude of responsibilities in their complex offense, but with Ryan Matthews expected to take on the majority San Diego’s carries, there’s little chance that they overspend to bring him back into the fold. Thanks to his aforementioned ability, Tolbert would be a great fit for a number of different teams and won’t have a shortage of suitors if he ends up on the open market.
Possible Destination(s): New England, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Detroit, San Diego, Baltimore
BenJarvus Green-Ellis (New England) — Affectionately known as “the Law Firm”, Green-Ellis is one of the best short yardage runners available in this free agent class and should find himself in high demand when the free agency period commences. The Patriots aren’t likely to go quietly into the night though, and will do what they can to keep him in the fold, but they definitely won’t go overboard to sign him with several young players waiting in the wings to fill his spot.
Possible Destination(s): Kansas City, New England, Pittsburgh, Miami, Baltimore
Michael Bush (Oakland) — It’s doubtful the Raiders will let Bush hit the open market, especially considering how often Darren McFadden gets hurt, but if he does become available, I suspect there will be a long line forming outside his door to talk with him about what he can bring to their team. Bush is a old school north-south runner that doesn’t spend much time dancing around to avoid contact and will help a club in need of someone to handle short yardage situations.
Possible Destination(s): Oakland, New England, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Kansas City
Franchise Tag Candidates
Ray Rice (Baltimore) — Both the Ravens and Rice have publicly stated their desire to work out a new long term contract this off-season, and while nothing seems to be imminent on that front, there’s little to no chance that Rice ends up on the open market, as Baltimore will undoubtedly use their franchise tag on him if they’re unable to complete a deal in time. If for some reason he did become available, Rice would instantly become the top running back available in recent memory and a feeding frenzy of epic proportions would immediately ensue.
Possible Destination(s): Baltimore
Matt Forte (Chicago) — Much like Rice before him, there’s a very slim chance that Forte becomes an available commodity in the free agent market this spring, as the Bears have no desire to lose him and will almost certainly designate him as their franchise player if they can’t work out a new contract. That said, Forte doesn’t seem to be all that enamored with the idea of having to play out another year without being paid, and given the longevity of the average NFL running back, who can blame him.
Possible Destination(s): Chicago
Marshawn Lynch (Seattle) — The Seahawks have expressed sincere interest in bringing Lynch back and I really think that at the end of the day, Seattle is by far and away the best option for Lynch, as they can offer him an offense catered to his talents and a coach that’s just as crazy as he is. Both sides are working hard to hammer out a new deal as I write this, and while the franchise tag is always a possibility, an agreement will likely be forthcoming sooner rather than later.
Possible Destination(s): Seattle
Bottom of the Barrel
- Cedric Benson (Cincinnati)
- Ryan Grant (Green Bay)
- Chester Taylor (Arizona)
- Jason Snelling (Atlanta)
- Jerome Felton (Carolina)
- Tashard Choice (Dallas)
- Sammy Morris (Dallas)
- Spencer Larsen (Denver)
- LenDale White (Denver)
- Maurice Morris (Detroit)
- Kevin Smith (Detroit)
- Derrick Ward (Houston)
- Jackie Battle (Kansas City)
- Thomas Jones (Kansas City)
- Le’Ron McClain (Kansas City)
- Steve Slaton (Miami)
- Kevin Faulk (New England)
- LaDainian Tomlinson (New York Jets)
- Rock Cartwright (Oakland)
- Ronnie Brown (Philadelphia)
- Owen Schmitt (Philadelphia)
- Mewelde Moore (Pittsburgh)
- Jacob Hester (San Diego)
- Justin Forsett (Seattle)
- Moran Norris (San Francisco)
- Jerious Norwood (St. Louis)
- Cadillac Williams (St. Louis)
- Earnest Graham (Tampa Bay)
- Ahmard Hall (Tennessee)
- Tim Hightower (Washington)
©2012 NFL News & Rumors. All Rights Reserved..
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