Evan Silva

Offseason Low Down

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There's a Lot More Left

Thursday, July 28, 2011


The post-lockout frenzy is in full swing, and Adam Levitan got you up to speed on Wednesday's moves in his late-night column. Now, let's look ahead to Thursday.

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While some of the top free agents already reached "agreements in principle", there is plenty of elite talent left on the board. Here are the top-ten remaining unsigned veterans:

1. Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha

Cornerback is free agency's deepest position, but there's a holdup. It's because Asomugha hasn't agreed to terms yet. The Jets and 49ers have been his most ardent pursuers, and the Texans also remain in the mix. Look for Asomugha's agent to broker a deal by this afternoon.

Prediction: Jets on a five-year, $65 million contract.

2. Cornerback Johnathan Joseph

Joseph is a ball-hawking "off-man" corner with elite talent but a checkered injury history. The Texans consider him a viable fall-back option if they don't land Asomugha, and it's reasonable to think the 49ers feel the same way. When Asomugha agrees to terms, Joseph will soon follow.

Prediction: Texans on a four-year, $33 million contract.

3. Nose Tackle Aubrayo Franklin

Rumors have been scant about Franklin's suitors, but 320-pound, true 3-4 nose tackles are hard to find. The Chiefs lost incumbent Ron Edwards to the Panthers on Tuesday, creating a hole inside. Kansas City has been active in free agency and needs to prioritize signing Franklin quickly.

Prediction: Chiefs on a four-year, $30 million contract.

4. Running Back Ahmad Bradshaw

The Dolphins and Giants are in hot pursuit of Bradshaw, who runs angry for a small back and excels in the passing game. One report claimed Bradshaw priced himself out of the Fins' range on Wednesday. The G-Men should swoop in today, because he's a necessity in their offense.

Prediction: Giants on a five-year, $37 million contract.

5. Defensive Tackle Brandon Mebane

Mebane is a classic "three-technique," pass-rushing tackle who played out of position in new Seattle coach Pete Carroll's system last year. The Seahawks have considered keeping him, but the Broncos are strongly in the mix. There's a bigger need and better fit for Mebane in Denver.

Prediction: Broncos on a five-year, $28 million contract.

6. Defensive End Ray Edwards

The media has touted Edwards as a better pass rusher than he actually is; he was single blocked throughout his time as a starter in Minnesota. Character concerns have also affected Edwards' market. He won't get Charles Johnson money, but the Titans, Browns, and Eagles have sniffed around him enough to suggest Edwards will emerge from free agency very well compensated.

Prediction: Titans on a four-year, $40 million contract.

7. Wide Receiver Braylon Edwards

Edwards confirmed via Twitter on Wednesday that the Jets haven't even contacted him about a contract. New York's focus is elsewhere. It's fair to wonder if Edwards will even approach Santonio Holmes and Sidney Rice money, because there have been more reports of teams having "no interest" than in pursuit. A deep-pocketed, free-spending owner can change that.

Prediction: Redskins on a six-year, $40 million contract.

8. Offensive Guard Davin Joseph

Pro personnel departments have mixed opinions on Joseph because 1) He only fits power-blocking schemes and 2) He's been so injury prone that there's limited recent film on the 27-year-old. The Bucs are smartly slow-playing Joseph's market, which hasn't developed quickly.

Prediction: Buccaneers on six-year, $30 million contract.

9. Cornerback Antonio Cromartie

Cromartie can be a head case on the field and only fits defenses that run a lot of press-man coverage. He was a perfect match for Rex Ryan, but the Jets are targeting bigger fish. The Raiders and Seahawks have both been mentioned as teams with interest. At 6-foot-2, 210 with reported 4.3 speed, this is the kind of player Al Davis covets in his back end.

Prediction: Raiders on a four-year, $32 million contract.

10. Outside Linebacker Matt Roth

The 3-4 outside linebacker market is plodding along. Roth, Manny Lawson, and Mathias Kiwanuka all remain unsigned and have been sparingly connected to teams. Perhaps Roth is the domino that must fall in order for this position to generate more buzz. A terrific edge setter with underrated pass-rushing skills, Roth could be New England's next Mike Vrabel.

Prediction: Patriots on a five-year, $27 million contract.

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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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