Evan Silva

Free Agency Update

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Top 100 Free Agency Forecast

Monday, March 11, 2013



16. Guard Andy Levitre -- The top guard on the market -- just ahead of Louis Vasquez -- Levitre turns 27 in May after grading out as Pro Football Focus' No. 9 overall guard last season, and first in pass protection. As of March 1, the Bills hadn't even made Levitre a contract offer. The Titans are in good shape under the cap and annually desperate for interior offensive line help.

Free Agent Forecast: Titans on a six-year, $48 million contract.

17. Cornerback Keenan Lewis -- A physical, 6-foot, 208-pound zone cornerback, Lewis is coming off a breakout year in which he led the NFL in pass breakups. Pittsburgh can't afford him, and the division-rival Browns make sense as a landing spot. Cleveland is needy opposite Joe Haden, and new Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton is Lewis' former position coach.

Free Agent Forecast: Browns on a five-year, $30 million contract.

18. Cornerback Derek Cox -- 26-year-old Cox would rank higher if not for injuries. Too often the victim of muscle-tissue ailments, Cox has missed 17 games the past three years. A talented man or zone defender when healthy, Cox does have 12 interceptions across four NFL seasons, flashing No. 1-corner skills in spurts. Old Jags coach Jack Del Rio now runs Denver's defense, but weekend buzz indicated Washington is a likelier suitor once DeAngelo Hall is cut.

Free Agent Forecast: Redskins on a four-year, $24 million contract.

19. Wide receiver Greg Jennings -- Jennings is the No. 2 wideout on the market but he'll struggle for big-money offers. Going on age 30 with 11 missed games the past two seasons, Jennings would do well to surpass Reggie Wayne's three-year, $17.5 million deal. He probably will, but not by much. Minnesota is desperate for an established, playmaking outside receiver.

Free Agent Forecast: Vikings on a four-year, $27 million contract.

20. Right tackle Phil Loadholt -- Vikings GM Rick Spielman realizes Loadholt's worth. Minnesota plays run-first offense, and Loadholt is a crucial puzzle piece as a 343-pound mauler. The sides have discussed an extension off and on since last fall. 27 and coming off a career-best season, Loadholt could command left-tackle money from a Vikings team that can't afford to lose him. Matt Kalil costs under $5 million a year, making "overpaying" Loadholt more feasible.

Free Agent Forecast: Vikings on a three-year, $24 million contract.

21. Defensive end John Abraham -- Abraham isn't an every-down player anymore, but there's plenty of juice left in his tank. He racked up ten sacks and six forced fumbles in 2012, and has missed only two games over the past six years. 35 in May, Abraham will be limited to short-term offers. Seattle, Tennessee, Tampa Bay, and San Francisco have all expressed interest.

Free Agent Forecast: Seahawks on a two-year, $12 million contract.

22. Defensive end Osi Umenyiora -- A younger if slightly less explosive version of John Abraham, Umenyiora has at least six sacks in eight straight seasons but is better suited as a situational rusher at this stage. He's coming off a six-sack, two-forced fumble campaign. At age 31, Umenyiora should command two- and three-year offers. In Nashville, he'd give beleaguered coordinator Jerry Gray a rotational end to help keep Derrick Morgan and Kamerion Wimbley fresh.

Free Agent Forecast: Titans on a three-year, $20 million contract.

23. Wide receiver Danny Amendola -- The Rams don't value Amendola at $6 million per year, which is probably his floor after Brian Hartline's deal. He's likely to leave St. Louis. Amendola would be a sensible Patriots fallback option if Wes Welker departs Foxboro. If not, Amendola has been linked to the Eagles as a more dynamic replacement for Jason Avant. Chip Kelly's offense spreads the field with four and five wideouts, and explosive slot receivers are a necessity.

Free Agent Forecast: Eagles on a three-year, $18.5 million contract.

24. Free safety Ed Reed -- Reed has clearly entered his decline phase going on age 35, but remains a playmaker on the ball after intercepting five passes and breaking up 17 across 20 games last season, including the playoffs. Colts head coach Chuck Pagano was on Baltimore's staff for four years with Reed, and Indianapolis has cap space to beat any other teams' offers.

Free Agent Forecast: Colts on a two-year, $10.5 million contract.

25. Guard Louis Vasquez -- Andy Levitre is this year's top free-agent guard, but Vasquez is younger and not far off. Vasquez has both coaching-staff and front-office ties in Indianapolis, and the Chargers can't compete with the Colts under the salary cap. Expect him to land in Indy.

Free Agent Forecast: Colts on a seven-year, $44 million contract.

26. Tight end Martellus Bennett -- 26-year-old Bennett gets the nod over Jared Cook as the top free-agent tight end behind Tony Gonzalez because "Black Unicorn" can block. Also a weapon via the pass, Bennett's receiving game reached new heights last season with career bests in catches (55), yards (626), and touchdowns (5). The Giants will face competition, but provide Bennett with his best opportunity at a true breakout year. They need to keep him.

Free Agent Forecast: Giants on a four-year, $22 million contract.

27. Tight end Jared Cook -- The Nashville Tennessean has estimated that Cook will draw offers worth $8 million annually, while the Miami Herald has suggested Cook's price tag could trend toward $10 million. That's awfully rich for a blocking-deficient tight end who's never reached 50 catches. The Eagles, Dolphins, Bears, Rams, and Titans have all been floated as potential suitors. Cook would add a new dimension to Marc Trestman's offense in Chicago.

Free Agent Forecast: Bears on a four-year, $32 million contract.

28. Tight end Dustin Keller -- More of a true seam stretcher than Martellus Bennett but much less of a blocker, Keller's value took a hit in 2012 when a hamstring injury cost him half of the season and limited his effectiveness when on the field. Keller is going on age 29 and is a one-dimensional tight end. He'll still be a coveted fallback option for clubs that miss out on Jared Cook. A reunion with old Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer makes sense on paper.

Free Agent Forecast: Rams on a four-year, $22 million contract.

29. Defensive end Dwight Freeney -- At age 33, Freeney is looking to finish his career with a contender. Regardless of whether the Broncos release Elvis Dumervil, they could use an additional edge presence to work in waves with Von Miller, Derek Wolfe, and Robert Ayers. Freeney ranks third in the group of late-career free-agent pass rushers that also includes John Abraham and Osi Umenyiora. He should be relatively cheap coming off a five-sack season.

Free Agent Forecast: Broncos on a two-year, $10 million contract.

30. Running back Reggie Bush -- Beyond Mike Wallace landing in Miami, Bush to the Lions has been one of free agency's worst-kept secrets. 28-year-old Bush could be Detroit's version of Darren Sproles, working in tandem with Mikel Leshoure and adding explosion to the backfield on passing downs. The Saints signed Sproles to a four-year, $14 million deal in 2011.

Free Agent Forecast: Lions on a four-year, $16 million contract.

31. Left tackle Sam Baker -- Baker is a middling left tackle, but helped his cause with a career-best 2012 season and is just effective enough in pass protection to be worth keeping on Matt Ryan's blindside, assuming the price is right. It will be. Turning 28 in May, Baker should command well south of Will Beatty's $37.5 million over five years. Baker isn't as good as Beatty.

Free Agent Forecast: Falcons on a six-year, $30 million contract.

32. Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie -- Rodgers-Cromartie's lack of physicality has always had a limiting effect on his game, but he's a fluid, fast, 27-year-old with playmaking ability and room to get better. The Eagles seem to have moved on. Andy Reid traded for Rodgers-Cromartie in Philly and knows his potential. Experiencing a soft market thus far, "DRC" could be a cost-effective Chiefs signing, and allow Dunta Robinson to focus on free safety and the slot.

Free Agent Forecast: Chiefs on a five-year, $25 million contract.

33. Safety Louis Delmas -- The Lions made Delmas an offer on Friday, but he deemed it unacceptable and will shop his wares. Turning 26 in April, Delmas' checkered injury history could make him a value pickup for a safety-needy club. He's capable of playing both strong and free. New Rams defensive coordinator Tim Walton coached Detroit's secondary for the last four years.

Free Agent Forecast: Rams on a three-year, $15 million contract.

34. Defensive tackle Jason Jones -- Capable of playing both left and three-technique tackle at 6-foot-5 and 276 pounds, Jones was pursued by St. Louis last offseason before signing a one-year, $5 million deal in Seattle, with mixed results. He figures to be cheaper this time around. The Rams could still use Jones as a fifth defensive lineman behind Chris Long, Michael Brockers, Robert Quinn, and Kendall Langford. Jones played for coach Jeff Fisher in Tennessee.

Free Agent Forecast: Rams on a three-year, $12 million contract.

35. Cornerback Chris Houston -- Much better suited as a No. 2 than No. 1 cornerback, Houston nevertheless spent the past three years in the latter role with Detroit. Unfortunately for Houston, he's another middling option in a free-agent cornerback class full of No. 2s. Expect him to re-sign affordably with the Lions, and GM Martin Mayhew to target a future No. 1 in April's draft.

Free Agent Forecast: Lions on a two-year, $10 million contract.

36. Right tackle Gosder Cherilus -- Cherilus, 29, is coming off a strong season protecting Matthew Stafford in Detroit, but his medicals could be a big concern. Cherilus recently underwent Regenokine therapy aimed at solving chronic knee woes. The Lions are believed to have moved on from Cherilus. He could resurface elsewhere on a one-year deal, but won't break the bank. New Jaguars line coach George Yarno was Cherilus' position coach for four seasons in Detroit.

Free Agent Forecast: Jaguars on a one-year, $3 million contract.

37. Defensive tackle Terrance Knighton -- The Knighton-to-Denver connection almost seems too obvious to come true. The Broncos have zero long-term solutions at defensive tackle, and coordinator Jack Del Rio was Knighton's head coach in Jacksonville. Only 26 years old, Knighton could try to parlay a one-year deal into something lengthier in a familiar scheme.

Free Agent Forecast: Broncos on a one-year, $5 million contract.

38. Cornerback Chris Gamble -- The Broncos missed out on Dunta Robinson when he signed for three years with the Chiefs, but Gamble would be a better option. A year younger than Robinson and a far superior cover cornerback when healthy, Gamble also knows Broncos coach John Fox's defense from Carolina. He'd be the perfect addition to play opposite Champ Bailey.

Free Agent Forecast: Broncos on a three-year, $15 million contract.

 

UPDATE: Stunningly, Gamble's agent announced Monday that his client will be retiring at age 30. The Broncos could look to Derek Cox as another option to book end Bailey. Cox played for Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio in Jacksonville. Denver is also rumored to be interested in trading for Darrelle Revis.

39. Linebacker Daryl Smith -- Smith is coming off a lost season due to injury, but should have quality football left at age 31. He was one of the league's most underrated linebackers for many years before 2012. The Giants have repeatedly been floated as a potentially interested party. They could play Smith at SAM linebacker and move Mathias Kiwanuka back down to end.

Free Agent Forecast: Giants on a three-year, $10 million contract.

40. Cornerback Antoine Cason -- Although susceptible deep, 26-year-old Cason makes plays on the ball and offers impressive corner size at 6-foot-1, 195. Indianapolis is rich on cap space and in the market for a bookend across from Vontae Davis. Cason is young, should be relatively affordable, and fits defensive-minded coach Chuck Pagano's press coverage scheme. New Colts VP of Football Operations Jimmy Raye also knows Cason from their San Diego days.

Free Agent Forecast: Colts on a three-year, $16.5 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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