July 20, 2011

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Top NFL Free Agents

By: Rick Jarrell

After news broke last week the NFL owners and players were closing in on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, I honestly was not that excited. Part of me cares more about the NBA, but part of me can’t believe it until it is set in stone. Rumors are rumors for a reason, and while they entertain us, without potential action, it’s pointless. So this spring and summer, usually dominated by NFL and NBA rumors and training camp news, has been extremely boring for sports fans. The typical sports fan doesn’t want to diagnose the various legal matters involved in CBA negotiations.

Despite my skepticism that a deal is actually in place, I’ve begun to give in to the rumor mill a little bit, as it seems a safe bet something will be worked out soon. So here we go, with the top NFL free agents to keep an eye on.

Note: I’m excluding players that are technically NFL free agents, like Peyton Manning and Michael Vick, who we’re 99% sure they will resign with their current teams.

Deangelo Williams

Williams has been a top 10 running back the past few years, despite splitting carries with Desaun Foster and Jonathon Stewart, respectively. The two headed ground attack worked well initially for the Carolina Panthers, but the team has moved into a rebuilding stage. Williams will likely bolt for a playoff contender, where he can potentially be a feature back. He missed 10 games last year, and backs tend to break down as their careers progress, but he’s still arguably the top player available.

Nnamdi Asomugha

Asomugha’s free agency is strange, to say the least. He signed a huge contract with the Oakland Raiders, but after a contractual loop hole, he was able to opt out of his contract. Another tough luck incident for Raider Nation will likely be good luck for Asomugha and whoever signs him. His numbers were down last year, but he still made his fourth Pro Bowl because teams literally stopped throwing in his direction (I refer to this as the Champ Bailey Syndrome, who’s also a free agent). We’ve seen young talented cornerbacks switch teams only to fall out of the limelight, but I don’t expect Asomugha to be anything less than stellar. Every team could use another corner in this pass happy league, we’ll just have to see who wants him enough and who has room under the new salary cap and CBA stipulations.

Sidney Rice

Before last year, I envisioned Sidney Rice as a Viking for life. Not sure why, he just seemed like a good fit there, especially due to his connection with Brett Favre. One year later, we find that Favre is mortal, the quarterback situation is undetermined, and Minnesota may not be a long term home for the team. Rice has every reason to leave for a team that has the opposite of all that.

Randy Moss

Moss is not the player he used to be. No one can argue against that. But underestimating his abilities would be nieve. During the prime of his career, he was hands down the best receiver in the league – and he had not only one peak in Minnesota, but another in New England. Would you be surprised if he was able to resurrect himself for one last run? A lot of teams need a big play receivers – someone will take a chance. The best fit would be with a respected, veteran coach able to get Moss to dedicate himself to football again.