Well, from all the reports we are hearing, as soon as Friday, the NFL lockout could be over and the league back in business. Supposedly starting Friday and ending Sunday at 11:59 pm, teams will use that time period to re-sign their own free agents or decide to let them walk. Monday at 12-midnight will be the start of free agency and training camp would commence by mid-week. I have been going over the list of potential free agents and I have compiled my top ten available players:
1. Nnamdi Asomugha, CB Raiders, 30 years old ( 11 career Int’s, 4 time All-Pro)
Is right behind Darrelle Revis as the best cornerback in football. If you looked at his career interception numbers, you might be fooled and not realize how great of a player he has been over the last 5 years since becoming a starter. Is a shutdown corner, he has the size, footwork, and technique, while being a class-act off of the field. He’s asking for $19 million per and he’s 30 years old, so there is some risk of his play falling off in maybe 3 or 4 years, but as of now he cuts off one side of the football field.
2. Ray Edwards, DE Vikings, 26 years old ( 2010 stats 37 tackles, 8 sacks)
Played the left end position opposite of Jared Allen the past two seasons and has blossomed into a nice player. Is not only a good pass rusher, but plays the point well against the right tackle and tight ends against the run. Should receive a nice contract ASAP.
3. Charles Johnson, DE Panthers, 26 years old (2010 stats 62 tackles, 11.5 sacks)
After being a part time player his first three years in the league, Johnson had a breakout season as a starter when the Carolina Panthers let Julius Peppers leave via free agency. He showed the ability to get to the QB on a consistent basis and that will get you paid.
4. Johnathan Joseph, CB Bengals, 27 years old (14 career Int’s)
Is an underrated cover corner that would be a great fit for any team. Was part of one of the NFL’s best corner tandems the last few seasons. Is great in “Bump & Run” coverage and tackles as well.
5. Carl Nicks (restricted), G, 26 years old (made the 2010 pro bowl and 2nd team all-pro)
Is one of the best Guards in football and was part of the best Guard tandem in football. He is a pure mauler and uses his size (6’5” 345lbs) to his advantage as he pummels his opposition weekly. Is only 26 years old and has plenty of great football ahead of him. A team might give him an offer even though he is a restricted free agent. He is that good.
6. Santonio Holmes, WR, 27 years old (2010 stats 12 games, 52 catches 746 yards, 6 TD’s)
When he is not serving suspensions for off the field nonsense and actually playing, Holmes is one of the most dangerous receivers in the game. His ability to change direction at full speed and control his body while making spectacular receptions, are second to none. The only risk with giving him a long-term deal is the chance he gets in trouble off of the field again.
7. DeAngelo Williams, RB Panthers, 27 years old (2010 stats 6 games 87 carries, 361 yards, 4.1 ypc, 1 TD)
Williams went down with a right foot injury in the sixth game of the season and was placed on injured reserve with a right foot sprain. He was on pace for his 3rd straight 1000 yard season and had previously established himself as one of the league’s most explosive running backs. Since the Panthers have Jonathan Stewart under contract, it’s more than likely that Williams hits the free agent market. I could see him landing in Denver with his former coach John Fox.
8. Sidney Rice, WR Vikings, 25 years old (2010 stats 5 games, 17 receptions, 280 yards, 2 TD’s)
Had a career year in 2009 but had surgery on his hip and played in only 5 games in 2010. Is 25 years old and is in the prime of his career. As long as he is healthy, he is a legit number one receiving threat in this league.
9. Stephen Tulloch, MLB Titans, 26 years old (2010 stats, 111 solo tackles, 49 assists)
Has been the starter at middle linebacker for the Titans the last three seasons and has developed into a good player. He is a physical run stopper and is very good in pass coverage as well. Underrated player in my eyes due to the fact a lot of people haven’t seen too many Titans games. He is legit.
10. Zach Miller, TE Raiders, 25 years old (2010 stats, 6o receptions, 685 yards, 5 TD’s)
Has caught over 50 passes for over 650 yards each of the last three seasons on a dreadful Oakland Raiders team. He’s actually way better than most casual NFL fans might believe. Has deceptive speed, great hands, and catches the ball well in traffic. Made the Pro Bowl last season and I see many more in his future if he leaves the Raiders and plays for a franchise that’s ready to win now.