Evan Silva

Offseason Low Down

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FA Primer: The Secondary

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Unrestricted Free Agent Cornerbacks

Franchised: Nnamdi Asomugha (Raiders), Marcus Trufant (Seahawks)

1. Asante Samuel (Patriots) - Samuel was not as effective in coverage in 2007 and is considered a "system player" by some GMs. However, he is experienced in a man-coverage scheme and has elite ball skills. Samuel, who just turned 27, has 19 picks and a startling 58 pass breakups over the last three seasons. He is in search of a ten-year, $100 million contract, which he won't get from the Patriots.

Prediction: Saints - 10 years, $100 million ($24 million guaranteed)

2. Drayton Florence (Chargers) - Since being a second-round pick in 2003 out of Tuskegee, Florence has had one legitimately strong season (2006). He couldn't help losing his starting job to Antonio Cromartie last year. We know what Florence is: a league average starter with decent playmaking ability and mediocre tackling skills. But in this market, he's the No. 2 cornerback available and will be a rich man shortly.

Prediction: Cowboys - 7 years, $42 million ($19 million guaranteed)

3. Randall Gay (Patriots) - Gay can play both safety and cornerback and rarely lets plays get behind him. He's an LSU product who will tackle and can play inside and outside. None of Gay's physical measurements stand out and he's never been a full-time starter. But he is coming off a career best three-interception season, is only 25, and has No. 2 corner potential.

Prediction: Falcons - 5 years, $30 million ($11 million guaranteed)

4. Brian Kelly (Bucs) - Kelly, who paid the Bucs $3.85 million to opt out of his deal, was arguably a better all-around corner than Ronde Barber in his prime. Now 32 and coming off back-to-back injury plagued campaigns, Kelly's value is at a low. But if he can put his toe problems behind him, Kelly will be an asset in a Cover 2. He is a fine tackler and will make plays on the ball. There's no better fit for him than with old Bucs DL coach Rod Marinelli.

Prediction: Lions - 3 years, $14 million ($6 million guaranteed)

5. Fernando Bryant (Lions) - Bryant turns 31 soon and isn't outstanding in any area, but has extensive experience in both zone and man-to-man schemes. He led Lions cornerbacks with 69 tackles and 13 pass breakups in 2007. Bryant's build (5'10/175) would translate well as a slot corner for his next team. He'll be a low upside signing, but can be a steady No. 2 or 3 CB.

Prediction: Patriots - 3 years, $8 million ($3 million guaranteed)

6. Keith Smith (Lions) - Has never started full time, but probably should've last year. Smith, 27, had three INTs, one returned for a score. He'd be a fine nickel back signing.
7. Travis Fisher (Lions) - Approaching early-career journeyman status. Fisher is somewhat injury prone, but can cover the slot. He's 28 but should come cheap.
8. Will James (Eagles) - Apparently, the name change (from Will Peterson) hasn't helped. James lost his third corner job to Joselio Hanson down the stretch last year. He has good size (6'0/200), but has an injury history and is unreliable.
9. Jacques Reeves (Cowboys) - Picked up starts last year with Terence Newman and Anthony Henry hobbled, but isn't excellent in any area and will be searching for a megadeal. Like Jason David at this time last year, he's someone to avoid.
10. Ricardo Colclough (Browns) - Toolsy former second-round pick couldn't crack the Steelers' CB rotation 2004-2006 or Cleveland's in 2007. Colclough can return punts, but is also fumble prone. He's worth a look, but shouldn't be guaranteed anything.

Others of note: Andre Dyson (Jets), Frank Walker (Packers), Von Hutchins (Texans), Benny Sapp (Chiefs), Terry Cousin (Jaguars), Hank Poteat (Jets), Chad Scott (Patriots), Jason Webster (Bills), Ralph Brown (Cardinals), Nathan Jones (Cowboys), David Macklin (Redskins), Aaron Glenn (Jaguars), Dante Wesley (Panthers), Sammy Davis (Bucs), Lewis Sanders (Falcons), Fred Thomas (Saints)

Restricted Free Agent Cornerbacks

1. Domonique Foxworth (Broncos) - May project more favorably at free safety than corner. With John Lynch contemplating retirement, Foxworth has too much value to the Broncos for them to let him get away. He should at least get a second-round tender.
2. Eric Green (Cardinals) - Green can unload on ball carriers, but also misses his share of tackles. He hasn't intercepted a pass since 2005. Still, Arizona will retain him.
3. Stanley Wilson (Lions) - The only cornerback with experience Detroit currently holds the rights to. Inconsistency has plagued Wilson, but the Lions still think he can evolve into a starter. He'll get another look, likely with a low or second-round tender.
4. Daven Holly (Browns) - Not spectacular, but a good football player. Holly had five picks in 2006, but lost his job to Eric Wright in 2007. He'll still be tendered.
5. Joselio Hanson (Eagles) - Undersized, but highly reliable. If the Eagles don't sign Asante Samuel and keep Lito Sheppard, he'll be their nickel back this year.
6. Karl Paymah (Broncos) - Nice measurables, but has been locked into the No. 4 cornerback job in Denver for three years. He'll get a low tender.
7. Reynaldo Hill (Titans) - Started as a rookie seventh-rounder in 2005, but is susceptible deep. He should get a low tender at best.
8. Chris Carr (Raiders) - Has return value and can help at free safety in a pinch. Carr was originally undrafted, so if he gets a low tender, he'll be worth a flier.


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Evan Silva is a senior football editor for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Evan Silva



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