Peyton Manning received a lot of thanks this week from journalists and admiring Colts fans.
I’d like to thank him for kick-starting free agency before free agency really started.
This is the latest start to free agency (by far) since I started at Rotoworld in 2003. The first week of March just doesn’t feel right without non-stop signings, cuts and posts.
Manning season will get us through to Monday, when teams will make their final cuts before free agency starts at 4 p.m. ET Tuesday. (We'll post a top-50 free agents before then.)
Yes, this start time to free agency is much different. Usually free agency started at midnight and the biggest couple of days came on the weekend. Now we’ll have wall-to-wall coverage here at Rotoworld throughout next week. By Friday evening, most of the biggest names will be signed.
In the meantime, we still have some players to speculate about. And what better way to kill time than making lists?
18 Value signings
Silva did a great job digging through the bargain bin earlier in the week. His column made it unnecessary to make my own value list, but I want to anyway. I'm not going to let Silva box me in a corner!
1. Jason Campbell: During most barren years, Campbell would be the most interesting free agent quarterback available. Now he’ll get ignored because of Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn.
There are a lot of teams Campbell could upgrade. He was playing at a high level in Oakland and could be better than the starter in Kansas City, New York (Jets), and Denver. He won’t cost much.
2. Josh Johnson: The 49ers don’t really need another quarterback, but it would be fun to see what Jim Harbaugh could do with his former college pupil.
3. Vince Young: He would make a lot of sense as Tim Tebow’s backup. Young has started 50 games with solid production. You aren’t going to find many better backups with higher ceilings. He may not hold up as a 16-game starter, but he's perfect in a reserve role.
4. Kyle Orton: He will likely cost half of what the Broncos paid him last year. He’s another quarterback that is better than 5-10 starters in the league.
5. Mike Tolbert: He has the defined skill sets you want in a backup. He can catch passes, block, convert in short-yardage, and help on special teams. A glue guy player for a championship-level team.
6. Tim Hightower: He’s coming off a major injury, but Hightower would be worth signing on a low-cost two-year deal. He does a lot of things well.
7. Brandon Lloyd: It’s all relative. Compared to the other top 5-10 receivers available, Lloyd should easily provide the most bang for the buck.
8. Eddie Royal: I’m piggybacking Silva here, but the man is right. Royal would be perfect for a team like the Giants that could use a smart slot receiver.
Michael Clayton: I’m not giving up on that 2004 rookie year! (Okay, this one is a joke to see if you guys are paying attention.)
There are no great tight end options. John Carlson won’t be a value because he’ll get played plenty.
9. Evan Mathis, guard: PFF’s top-ranked guard last year. At worst, a quality starter.
10-12: Dan Koppen, Scott Wells, and Nick Hardwick, centers: Houston’s Chris Myers will cost a lot coming off a Pro Bowl year.
Good centers shouldn’t be this easy to find. It’s easy to forget Koppen was one of the game’s best before an early season-ending injury last year. Wells is coming off his best season. The Chargers will probably do what they can to keep Hardwick.
Defensive front seven
13. Red Bryant: A big man that can do a lot of things.
14. Kendall Langford: He’s been up and down as a Dolphin, but at times has flashed difference-making ability.
15. Stephen Tulloch: All this guy does is find the ball and stay on the field all three downs at linebacker for a very cheap price.
16. Larry Grant: The 49er inside linebacker is a restricted free agent, but you only need to give up a seventh-round pick for him. He showed he can make plays, but the 49ers have no room to pay him.
17. Tracy Porter: He won’t come cheaply and there's an injury risk, but Porter is an above-average cover corner coming off a down season. It’s better to buy low.
18. Terrell Thomas: Players coming off injuries routinely get underpaid in free agency. Thomas has the work ethic, intelligence, and ability to overcome his torn ACL.