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PFW's top 100 free agents

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Posted March 13, 2012 @ 4:57 p.m. ET
By Mike Wilkening

Updated March 13, 2012 @ 4:57 p.m. ET

We can say this much for the 2012 free-agent class: There have been worse years to be looking for WR help.

Four of the 10 highest-rated players in PFW's top 100 free-agent rankings — Pittsburgh's Mike Wallace, San Diego's Vincent Jackson, Philadelphia's DeSean Jackson and Kansas City's Dwayne Bowe — are Pro Bowl receivers. Wallace, the highest-ranked of the wideouts at No. 3, is a restricted free agent who was reportedly tendered at the first-round level. While DeSean Jackson and Bowe received the franchise tag, V-Jax is slated to test free agency, and there is strong depth in the UFA WR class beyond him.

Even with the franchise tag widely used by clubs, the start of the 2012 league year still figures to bring no shortage of big-money, multiyear deals.

Several teams could have especially tough decisions in free agency. The Saints were able to retain QB Drew Brees with the exclusive franchise tag and to re-sign WR Marques Colston, but can they keep OLG Carl Nicks? WR Robert Meachem and CB Tracy Porter are other Saints unrestricted free agents who could draw interest if unsigned at the start of the new league year, March 13.

The Texans are also in a challenging spot. Signing Pro Bowl RB Arian Foster to a long-term deal doesn't help the odds of finding the money necessary to bring back top pass rusher Mario Williams, even at the franchise number. The Chiefs, Colts, Falcons and 49ers are other clubs with numerous desirable free agents.

PFW ranked these free agents on the basis of these criteria: talent, position value, age and all other relevant factors. The PFW editorial staff provided feedback throughout the process, and multiple league evaluators were polled for their insight. All evaluators participated on condition of anonymity. 

Players who received the non-exclusive franchise tag — Brees was the only one of the 21 players who received the franchise tag to get the exclusive designation — are permitted to negotiate a contract with any club, with the compensation of two first-round draft choices going to his old team in the event he signs with a new club.

(Listed age is as of Sept. 1, 2012)

1. Drew Brees
QB | New Orleans Saints
Age: 33 | FA Type: Franchise player (exclusive)

One of the greatest free-agent additions of all time, Brees broke the single-season passing yardage record in 2011. He has led New Orleans to four playoff berths in six seasons with the team and captured Super Bowl XLIV MVP honors after helping the Saints to the first NFL title in franchise history. Players like Brees, a difference maker of the highest order, don't hit free agency very often, and with good reason. The exclusive franchise tag precludes other clubs from negotiating with him.

2. Mario Williams
OLB-DE | Houston Texans
Age: 27 | FA Type: Unrestricted

Williams, one of the game's top pass rushers, who has shown he can play in 4-3 and 3-4 fronts, is expected to draw major interest if he tests free agency. He possesses a rare combination of size, speed, strength and athleticism and can be downright dominant at times. His durability is something of a concern — he missed most of last season with a pectoral injury and missed multiple games with a sports hernia in 2010 — but there is no doubting his talent.

3. Peyton Manning
QB | Indianapolis Colts
Age: 36 | FA Type: Cut (unrestricted)

 
A future Hall of Famer, Manning is one of the most valuable players to have ever stepped on an NFL field. To wit: After making the postseason the previous 10 seasons, the Colts collapsed without him in 2011, winning a mere two games. All eyes turn to the market for Manning — and whether he can recapture his previous form after a season on the sidelines. Health is the only concern with Manning, but it is a material one, as he has undergone several neck surgeries. But if he is healthy, and if he quickly shakes off any rust, he could again be a difference-maker at the toughest position to fill in football.

4. Mike Wallace
WR | Pittsburgh Steelers
Age: 26 | FA Type: Restricted (reportedly tendered at first-round level)

We don't see many restricted free agents tendered at the first-round level drawing offer sheets, but the fleet Wallace can stretch any secondary with his speed and has improved his all-around game, too. Will someone make a big offer and see if Pittsburgh blinks?

5. Ray Rice
RB | Baltimore Ravens
Age: 25 | FA Type: Franchise player

Versatile and productive, Rice is a true dual-threat back, with an NFL-best 2,068 total yards in 2011. That made him the second player in NFL history (along with Marshall Faulk) to tally multiple seasons of 1,000 rushing yards and 700 receiving yards. The Ravens haven't been able to work out a long-term contract, so they game him the franchise tag on March 2.

6. Carl Nicks
OG | New Orleans Saints
Age: 27 | FA Type: Unrestricted

Nicks was one of the best interior offensive linemen in football a season ago. Considering the Saints gave ORG Jahri Evans a monster contract last offseason, they could be challenged to keep the powerful Nicks, who is likely to be the latest in a growing line of guards to strike it rich in free agency.

7. Vincent Jackson
WR | San Diego Chargers
Age: 29 | FA Type: Unrestricted

Will this be the year that Jackson finally gets to test free agency unfettered? The Chargers gave him the franchise tag a season ago, but such a move would be even more costly this year. Jackson's size and speed can present major problems for secondaries, and he fits Norv Turner's offense well. Will the Chargers ink him to a long-term deal, or will he sign elsewhere? He's clearly one of the top offensive players available in free agency.

8. Matt Forté
RB | Chicago Bears
Age: 26 | FA Type: Franchise player

Forté's 2011 season was cut short by an MCL sprain in early December, but before the injury, he was one of the NFL's top all-around threats at his position. Quick, tough and versatile, Forté is a major threat as a runner and as a pass catcher. The Bears slapped the franchise tag on him on March 2, although it is believed both sides will continue to negotiate a long-term deal to keep him in Chicago.

9. DeSean Jackson
WR | Philadelphia Eagles
Age: 25 | FA Type: Franchise player

Jackson wasn't as productive in 2011 as he had been in previous seasons, and his contract situation admittedly affected him. Considering that Jackson still hauled in 56 passes for 961 yards and four TDs, the expectations for him are quite clear. His speed is his greatest gift, and he can be an elite playmaker on offense and on special teams. However, he is on the small side, and he could be tough for a coaching staff to manage. Whether he remains in Philadelphia or goes elsewhere, he's a wonderful talent who figures to be highly compensated.

10. Dwayne Bowe
WR | Kansas City Chiefs
Age: 27 | FA Type: Franchise player

Strength and physicality define Bowe's game. Concerns about his consistency have subsided a bit after two strong seasons, though dropped passes still can be an issue for him. The Chiefs could give the franchise tag to Bowe, who has exceeded 1,000 yards receiving three times in the past four seasons and has a total of 31 TD catches the past three campaigns. If he hits the market, he figures to draw considerable interest.

11. Cortland Finnegan
CB | Tennessee Titans
Age: 28 | FA Type: Unrestricted

Finnegan is one of the game's better players at a position that has become exceedingly valuable with passing on the increase and the stellar play of quarterbacks one of the defining traits of the 2011 season. He is instinctive, competitive and tough, will not back down from opponents and is capable of shutting down quality receivers when he's at his best. He will be very much in demand if Tennessee allows him to test the market. 

12. Cliff Avril
DE | Detroit Lions
Age: 26 | FA Type: Franchise player

Pass-rushing skill like Avril possesses is a valuable talent to have in this pass-happy league. Avril, who notched a career-high 11 sacks in 2011, is quick off the edge and has a good motor. He fits the Lions' hard-charging scheme well. Detroit used the franchise tag to retain him after being unable to strike a long-term deal with him.

13. Wes Welker
WR | New England Patriots
Age: 31 | FA Type: Franchise player

Welker is the Patriots' top priority in free agency. A quick, tough, productive slot receiver, Welker caught 122 passes in 2011 — 22 more than any other player. No AFC pass catcher was targeted more (173), and he is adept at working open for QB Tom Brady. Welker has made a strong comeback from a 2009 knee injury and continues to play at a high level.

14. Calais Campbell
DE | Arizona Cardinals
Age: 26 | FA Type: Franchise player

Campbell set career highs in tackles (72), passes defended (10) and sacks (eight) in 2011. The 6-8, 300-pound defensive end works hard and has produced at a high level since entering the starting lineup. The Cardinals are unlikely to let him go. 

15. Brandon Carr
CB | Kansas City Chiefs
Age: 26 | FA Type: Unrestricted

With the Chiefs signing ex-Raiders CB Stanford Routt to a three-year deal on Feb. 21, Carr might price himself out of Kansas City. A productive starter who has defended 65 passes and grabbed eight interceptions in four NFL seasons, Carr is likely to be in demand when free agency begins. 

16. Ben Grubbs
OG | Baltimore Ravens
Age: 28 | FA Type: Unrestricted

Grubbs, who made the Pro Bowl in 2011, doesn't make many mistakes and is solid both as a run blocker and as a pass protector. The Ravens would like to keep him. "Ben is a player that we'd love to have back in Baltimore," GM Ozzie Newsome said at the NFL Scouting Combine.

17. Matt Flynn
QB | Green Bay Packers
Age: 27 | FA Type: Unrestricted

Flynn's résumé is short — two regular-season starts — but his potential is considerable, and he plays the most valuable position on the field. There's reason to believe he can be a successful full-time player. He is mobile and has improved his arm strength. Moreover, he had a valuable apprenticeship behind Aaron Rodgers. The question is: Can Flynn be elite? The team that acquires him will place high expectations on him.

18. Brent Grimes
CB | Atlanta Falcons
Age: 29 | FA Type: Franchise player

Grimes, who has very good ball skills, has emerged as one of the NFC's better cornerbacks the past three seasons. Despite the high cost, the Falcons decided to use the franchise tag with the goal of working out a long-term deal for the 2010 Pro Bowler.

19. John Abraham
DE | Atlanta Falcons
Age: 34 | FA Type: Unrestricted

With 112 career sacks, including 9½ in 2011, Abraham is one of the premier pass rushers of his time. However, his age and the wear and tear sustained over a long career are issues that have to be weighed. The Falcons would like to re-sign him, but at their price, and Abraham likely will test the market.

20. Michael Griffin
S | Tennessee Titans
Age: 27 | FA Type: Franchise player

Griffin has special physical traits for the safety position. He has very good range and solid ball skills, too, as evidenced by his 17 career interceptions. However, his play has left something to be desired at times. He seems to get caught in-between on some plays. He draws this ranking on production, but he has the potential to do even more.

21. Michael Bush
RB | Oakland Raiders
Age: 28 | FA Type: Unrestricted

A physical inside runner, Bush has been a capable fill-in for, and complement to, Darren McFadden in Oakland. However, Bush lacks breakaway speed. With McFadden's durability a concern, re-signing Bush would make sense for Oakland. But will Bush be offered a starting job elsewhere? With the franchise tag potentially thinning the UFA RB ranks, Bush could do quite well in free agency.

22. Lardarius Webb
CB | Baltimore Ravens
Age: 26 | FA Type: Restricted (tendered at first-round level)

Webb is one of the better restricted free agents available. Tough, quick and instinctive, Webb is capable of baiting quarterbacks into mistakes. He also brings value as a return specialist. It won't be surprising if the Ravens sign him to a multiyear deal.

23. Fred Davis
TE | Washington Redskins
Age: 26 | FA Type: Franchise player

Davis received the franchise tag on March 2. He set career highs in catches (59) and yards (796), and his yards-per-catch average (13.5) highlights his ability to challenge defenses down the field. However, he was suspended for the final four games of the 2011 season after violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy.

24. Paul Soliai
NT | Miami Dolphins
Age: 28 | FA Type: Unrestricted

The Dolphins are moving to a 4-3 scheme, which could open the door for Soliai, who received the franchise tag from Miami in 2011, to go elsewhere. This run-stuffing interior lineman fits best in a 3-4 scheme.

25. Carlos Rogers
CB | San Francisco 49ers
Age: 31 | FA Type: Unrestricted

Rogers starred in his first season in San Francisco, intercepting a career-best six passes for one of the NFL's top defenses. Considering his skill and how well he fit in the secondary as sort of an extra coach on the field, look for San Francisco to work to bring him back.

26. Reggie Wayne
WR | Indianapolis Colts
Age: 33 | FA Type: Unrestricted

Wayne has lost a step, but he still can be an effective starter because of his route running, excellent hands, durability and run-after-catch ability. There's a good chance he could move on from the Colts, a club in transition.

27. Dashon Goldson
S | San Francisco 49ers
Age: 27 | FA Type: Franchise player

In addition to being a physical presence on the back end of the Niners' secondary, Goldson intercepted a career-high six passes in a breakout season. The 49ers are expected to try to re-sign him, and with good reason — he's one of the top playmakers at his position.

28. LaRon Landry
S | Washington Redskins
Age: 27 | FA Type: Unrestricted

Landry's durability is a major question mark. An Achilles injury suffered in 2010 also bothered him in 2011, and he has played in only 17-of-32 games the past two seasons. When healthy, Landry can be a force in the back of the secondary.

29. Alex Smith
QB | San Francisco 49ers
Age: 28 | FA Type: Unrestricted

Smith took a big step forward in 2011, playing efficiently and taking care of the ball (five interceptions). The 2005 No. 1 overall pick is still relatively young, and his persistence really paid off a season ago. His stock definitely has risen.

30. Brandon Lloyd
WR | St. Louis Rams
Age: 31 | FA Type: Unrestricted

Lloyd's last two seasons have been his best. He has proven capable of being a go-to target, but he might be best as a dynamic No. 2 receiver. The athletic Lloyd is capable of the highlight-reel catch, but he can struggle to get separation.

31. Kyle Orton
QB | Kansas City Chiefs
Age: 29 | FA Type: Unrestricted

Orton is a starter-caliber player at a valuable position. He is not an elite difference maker — he lacks mobility and isn't an especially accurate passer — but he can be a winner in the right system with good talent surrounding him. 

32. Eric Winston
OT | Houston Texans
Age: 28 | FA Type: Cut (unrestricted)

Winston, a dependable and talented right tackle for one of the NFL's better offensive lines, was surprisingly let go leading up to free agency. He bolsters a tackle class that was lacking in depth and could draw considerable interest.

33. Pierre Garcon
WR | Indianapolis Colts
Age: 26 | FA Type: Unrestricted

With good size and speed, Garcon has the tools to be a standout, but he must be more consistent   with cutting down on his drops and running better routes two areas of note  to be ranked among the game's elite at his position. However, he's coming off his best season (70 catches, 947 yards, six TDs).

34. Mario Manningham
WR | New York Giants
Age: 26 | FA Type: Unrestricted

One of the stars of the Giants' Super Bowl XLVI victory, Manningham boasts starting talent. However, the Giants already have two standout receivers in Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks. The worry about Manningham isn't his ability but his consistency, which has been lacking at times.

35. London Fletcher
MLB | Washington Redskins
Age: 37 | FA Type: Unrestricted

Fletcher continues to play at a high level, and the Redskins are likely to re-sign him. He has had a remarkably productive career. Want to know what consistency looks like in numerical form? Pull up Fletcher's career statistics and look at his games started and tackles recorded each season. Every week, he shows up, and every season, he's a good bet for triple-digit tackles.

36. Anthony Spencer
OLB | Dallas Cowboys
Age: 28 | FA Type: Franchise player

Spencer is stout vs. the run and has shown moderate pass-rush ability — he has notched better than 60 tackles and at least five sacks in all three of his seasons as a starter. Had he not been tagged, he likely would have drawn interest from other 3-4 clubs.

37. Tyvon Branch
S | Oakland Raiders
Age: 25 | FA Type: Franchise player

Branch is the Raiders' top priority among their free agents, and he was informed by the team he will be franchised. He has recorded more than 100 tackles in each of the past three seasons, and he is also solid vs. the pass.

38. Curtis Lofton
MLB | Atlanta Falcons
Age: 26 | FA Type: Unrestricted

The Falcons are expected to work to retain Lofton, their starting middle linebacker. The franchise tag is an option, but a multiyear deal is more likely. He recorded a career-best 147 tackles in 2011.

39. Laurent Robinson
WR | Dallas Cowboys
Age: 27 | FA Type: Unrestricted

Robinson's fifth NFL season (and first with Dallas) was far and away his best. Robinson, signed just before the season after being released by San Diego, set career highs in catches (54), yards (858) and TDs (11). Robinson's playmaking ability and dependability — he caught two-thirds of the passes thrown his way — are two of his selling points as he enters free agency.

40. Chris Myers
C | Houston Texans
Age: 30 | FA Type: Unrestricted

Myers has become one of the game's better players at his position. Undersized but athletic, he's one of the leaders of the Texans' line. He's a very good fit for Houston's zone-blocking scheme.

41. Jason Jones
DT | Tennessee Titans
Age: 26 | FA Type: Unrestricted

Jones played defensive end for Tennessee in 2011, but he might be best inside, where his strength and quickness can make him a tough matchup for interior linemen. He has shown significant potential at times and might have upside to develop further.

42. Robert Meachem
WR | New Orleans Saints
Age: 27 | FA Type: Unrestricted

The Saints wouldn't mind re-signing Meachem, their 2007 first-round pick. The question is: What sort of offers will the speedy former Tennessee star receive in free agency? If another team wants to pay him like a go-to receiver, Meachem could be on the move.

43. Kendall Langford
DE | Miami Dolphins
Age: 26 | FA Type: Unrestricted

Solid against the run, the 6-6, 295-pound Langford wasn't as productive in 2011 as he had been in past seasons, but he certainly could hold appeal to clubs employing 3-4 fronts. He might be on the underrated side.

44. Scott Wells
C | Green Bay Packers
Age: 31 | FA Type: Unrestricted

A key part of the Packers' offensive line, Wells has a good rapport with QB Aaron Rodgers and ranks as one of the top interior linemen available. The question is: Will Packers GM Ted Thompson give a multiyear deal to a lineman on the wrong side of 30? Considering Wells' value to the line, there are some who believe that would be a good move.

45. Eric Wright
CB | Detroit Lions
Age: 27 | FA Type: Unrestricted

Consistency is the issue with Wright. He will be dependable for stretches but can struggle mightily at times, such as he did in the regular-season loss at New Orleans in December. Overall, though, he played well in his first season in Detroit.

46. Red Bryant
DE | Seattle Seahawks
Age: 28 | FA Type: Unrestricted

A giant defensive end, Bryant is an excellent run stuffer. He is also a difference maker on special teams; note his two blocked field goals at Cleveland in a 6-3 Seattle loss last season. Though he is not much of a pass rusher, he fits Seattle's scheme very well.

47. Aaron Ross
CB | New York Giants
Age: 29 | FA Type: Unrestricted

Ross, who has contributed to two Super Bowl-winning Giants teams, could cash in as an unrestricted free agent. With the CB position so highly valued, do not be surprised if he does very well for himself and signs elsewhere. However, he's more of a complementary player than a shutdown corner.

48. Stephen Tulloch
MLB | Detroit Lions
Age: 27 | FA Type: Unrestricted

The quick, instinctive but undersized Tulloch notched 111 tackles in his first season with Detroit in 2011. He's a strong fit it the Lions' 4-3 scheme, and it won't be a surprise if they look to re-sign him.

49. Antonio Garay
NT | San Diego Chargers
Age: 32 | FA Type: Unrestricted

Garay has come into his own the past two seasons, starting 28 games for San Diego. The run-stuffing nose tackle recorded a career-best 57 tackles last season. He plays a valuable position well.

50. Demetrius Bell
OLT | Buffalo Bills
Age: 28 | FA Type: Unrestricted

It is possible that Bell, who didn't play football until college and has only 31 NFL games to his credit, still could be developing. Though he played in only seven games a season ago because of injuries, he showed marked improvement when he was in the lineup.

51. Jeremy Mincey
DE | Jacksonville Jaguars
Age: 28 | FA Type: Unrestricted

Mincey notched a career-best eight sacks and four forced fumbles in 2011. A late developer, Mincey knows his effort is one of his defining attributes. He does come with some durability concerns, however.

52. Peyton Hillis
RB | Cleveland Browns
Age: 26 | FA Type: Unrestricted

Hillis struggled in 2011. A thigh injury cost him five games, and his unhappiness with his contract was a distraction. However, at season's end, he started to play well. Whether that was enough to convince the Browns to try to re-sign him remains to be seen. At his best, he's a power back who is strong enough to run between the tackles and athletic enough to help in the passing game.

53. Richard Marshall
CB | Arizona Cardinals
Age: 27 | FA Type: Unrestricted

Marshall's experience (55 career starts) and versatility (he can play cornerback or safety) are assets. Moreover, he is still relatively young. The Cardinals would like to re-sign him, but he figures to draw interest from other clubs.

54. Jared Gaither
OLT | San Diego Chargers
Age: 26 | FA Type: Unrestricted

Gaither impressed in a late-season stint with the Chargers, who want to re-sign him. He has rare size for the position (6-9, 340 pounds) and has, at times, shown great promise at tackle. However, he missed the entire 2010 season with a back injury, and both Baltimore and Kansas City have given up on him. If he becomes more consistent and can stay healthy, he could be a productive starter for years to come. 

55. David Hawthorne
MLB | Seattle Seahawks
Age: 27 | FA Type: Unrestricted

Hawthorne has led the Seahawks in tackles in each of the past three seasons. The question is: Will Seattle re-sign him or veteran LB Leroy Hill? There are some questions about Hawthorne's durability.

56. Tracy Porter
CB | New Orleans Saints
Age: 26 | FA Type: Unrestricted

Porter, one of the stars of the Saints' Super Bowl XLIV win, has good ball skills and 39 career starts to his credit — and young, talented cornerbacks like him can do quite well in free agency. However, he has never played in all 16 regular-season games.

57. John Carlson
TE | Seattle Seahawks
Age: 28 | FA Type: Unrestricted

Carlson missed the 2011 season with a shoulder injury, but he has been productive when healthy. He could be a nice value signing if he is able to return to his pre-injury form.

58. Reggie Nelson
FS | Cincinnati Bengals
Age: 28 | FA Type: Unrestricted

Nelson has jump-started his career in Cincinnati. The former Jaguars No. 1 pick runs well, but he has occasionally struggled with consistency. Were he to depart, the Bengals would have a clear need in the secondary.

59. Cedric Benson
RB | Cincinnati Bengals
Age: 29 | FA Type: Unrestricted

Teams have a pretty good idea of what they are going to get from Benson. He's a rugged power back who wants a heavy workload, and he can handle it. However, he lacks long speed, turns 30 years old in December and had ball-security issues late last season (five fumbles combined in Weeks 15-16). It will be interesting to see where he lands and what sort of role he earns.

60. BenJarvus Green-Ellis
RB | New England Patriots
Age: 27 | FA Type: Unrestricted

Green-Ellis' calling card? His dependability. He has never fumbled, and he has been a productive member of one of the NFL's top offenses the past two seasons. He possesses good vision and balance and fits the Patriots' scheme well.

61. Evan Mathis
OG | Philadelphia Eagles
Age: 30 | FA Type: Unrestricted

Mathis played well in his first season in Philadelphia, and there's some belief that he's an underrated player. He equaled his career high with 15 starts in 2011 and didn't allow a sack.

62. Mark Anderson
DE | New England Patriots
Age: 29 | FA Type: Unrestricted

The pass-rush specialist had 10 sacks in the regular season and added 2½ more in the playoffs, with 1½ coming in Super Bowl XLVI. While Anderson isn't an every-down player, he has shown he can get after opposing QBs, which gives him value in a pass-happy league.

63. Aubrayo Franklin
NT | New Orleans Saints
Age: 32 | FA Type: Unrestricted

The Saints, who have their work cut out for them in free agency, could bring back Franklin, who was decent in his first season in New Orleans, at the right price. He could appeal to clubs looking for a 3-4 nose tackle.

64. Mike Brisiel
OG | Houston Texans
Age: 29 | FA Type: Unrestricted

Brisiel is a tough, hardworking interior lineman whose hard-nosed mentality makes him a favorite of the Texans' coaches. The Texans ran well off the right side last season, and he allowed only one sack. However, Brisiel was penalized eight times in 13 games.

65. Mike Tolbert
RB | San Diego Chargers
Age: 26 | FA Type: Unrestricted

The 5-9, 243-pound Tolbert brings value as a tough red-zone back, as a receiver out of the backfield and as a strong special-teams performer. He likely fits best as part of a rotation. His versatility is an asset.

66. Harry Douglas
WR | Atlanta Falcons
Age: 27 | FA Type: Unrestricted

Douglas, the Falcons' No. 3 receiver, has some big-play ability, with 10 of his 39 catches in 2011 going for 20 yards or more. He would appeal to clubs looking for a quick slot receiver.

67. Aaron Maybin
DE-OLB | New York Jets
Age: 24 | FA Type: Restricted (reportedly tendered at originai-round level)

As the Bills' 2010 first-round pick, Maybin lasted two dismal seasons in Buffalo before landing with the Jets. Though he was just a part-time player, Maybin flourished in Rex Ryan's system and notched six sacks and four forced fumbles. Considering his youth and pass-rush ability, it will be interesting to see how Maybin's career progresses.

68. Israel Idonije
DE | Chicago Bears
Age: 31 | FA Type: Unrestricted

Idonije is a capable starter whose last two seasons — playing opposite Julius Peppers — have been his best. The Bears are not likely to break the bank to re-sign him, but it will not be a surprise if he returns. He notched a career-high 52 tackles in 2011 and has 13 sacks the past two seasons, including five last season. 

69. E.J. Henderson
MLB | Minnesota Vikings
Age: 32 | FA Type: Unrestricted

After a very good nine-year career with the Vikings, Henderson could move on from this rebuilding club in the offseason. Teams looking for a tough, experienced 4-3 middle linebacker could be interested in him.

70. Jason Campbell
QB | Oakland Raiders
Age: 30 | FA Type: Unrestricted

With the Raiders making a major commitment to Carson Palmer, Campbell could sign elsewhere. He was having a solid season before suffering a broken collarbone in October, leading then-head coach Hue Jackson to trade for Palmer. Campbell has thrown more touchdown passes than interceptions in all six NFL seasons in which he has played.

71. Brodrick Bunkley
DT | Denver Broncos
Age: 28 | FA Type: Unrestricted

With 65 career starts, the 6-2, 306-pound Bunkley, a 2006 first-round pick by the Eagles, could appeal to clubs that are looking for help up the middle. A serviceable starter, Bunkley notched 43 tackles for Denver a season ago.

72. Jarret Johnson
OLB | Baltimore Ravens
Age: 31 | FA Type: Unrestricted

Johnson may be appealing to clubs that are looking for a tough, run-stuffing outside linebacker. He does not provide much of a pass rush, and he would fit best with a club where he could come off the field in obvious passing situations.

73. Vince Young
QB | Philadelphia Eagles
Age: 29 | FA Type: Unrestricted

Young had some good moments in his first season with the Eagles, most notably in Philadelphia's Week 11 win over the Giants. However, he threw nine interceptions in 114 attempts. His mobility is his greatest asset, but his accuracy remains too scattershot.

74. Andre Carter
DE | New England Patriots
Age: 33 | FA Type: Unrestricted

Carter proved he still can get after the quarterback by notching 10 sacks in 14 games in 2011 — his third double-digit sack season in the past five campaigns. The primary questions with Carter are age and health; a leg injury that led to quadriceps surgery ended his '11 campaign in December.

75. Chad Henne
QB | Miami Dolphins
Age: 27 | FA Type: Unrestricted

A shoulder injury ended Henne's 2011 season after four games. The knocks on him are his accuracy and ability to come through in clutch situations. However, he did play well in two of his three full games a season ago, and he could have the upside to develop further. He likely will get a fresh start elsewhere.

76. Visanthe Shiancoe
TE | Minnesota Vikings
Age: 32 | FA Type: Unrestricted

Shiancoe is getting up in age, and it would not be surprising if the Vikings allowed him to depart. Minnesota drafted TE Kyle Rudolph in Round Two in the 2011 NFL draft, and he's poised to become the team's top target at the position.

77. Steve Weatherford
P | New York Giants
Age: 29 | FA Type: Franchise player

Weatherford's 2011 season was his best, continuing a pattern of recent improvement. And he was excellent when the Giants needed him most. Three of his four punts in Super Bowl XLVI were downed inside the New England 10. Also, he posted a 40.6-yard net average on 12 punts in difficult conditions in the NFC title game at Candlestick Park.

78. Michael Bennett
DE | Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Age: 26 | FA Type: Restricted (reportedly tendered at first-round level)

The 6-4, 274-pound Bennett started 10 games a season ago, notching 39 tackles and four sacks, and he was mentioned as a restricted free agent who merited inclusion on this list — no small feat, considering the depth of this free-agent class.

79. Levi Brown
OT | Arizona Cardinals
Age: 26 | FA Type: Cut (unrestricted)

Brown, the Cardinals' first-round pick in 2007, has started 72 straight games, and he showed improvement last season. However, he surrendered 11½ sacks in 2011, according to STATS LLC.

80. Eddie Royal
WR | Denver Broncos
Age: 26 | FA Type: Unrestricted

Royal caught 91 passes as a rookie in 2008, but he has made just 115 catches in three seasons since. Quick but slight, Royal adds value as a returner, too. He developed a good rapport with QB Tim Tebow in 2011.

81. Ted Ginn Jr.
WR | San Francisco 49ers
Age: 27 | FA Type: Unrestricted

Ginn has elite speed and can be a difference maker as a returner, as he showed when he returned a kickoff and a punt for scores vs. Seattle in the 2011 season opener. He also can be a vertical threat on offense.

82. Brandon Jacobs
RB | New York Giants
Age: 29 | FA Type: Cut (unrestricted)

The 6-4, 264-pound Jacobs is a powerful inside runner who can be a nightmare to bring down once he gets his legs churning. He might be best suited for a part-time role getting about 8-10 carries a game. He does not bring much value in the passing game, and he has gained less than four yards per carry in two of the past three seasons. His age and running style could somewhat limit his value, though he does have his strong suits, had a solid postseason for New York (4.4 ypc) and figures to draw some interest. 

83. Matt Prater
PK | Denver Broncos
Age: 28 | FA Type: Franchise player

Prater's leg strength is enhanced when playing in Denver's thin mountain air. His range can extend to 60 yards on field goals, and more than two-thirds of his kickoffs were touchbacks in 2011. What's more, he connected on all three of his FG attempts in overtime as Denver won the AFC West.

84. Mat McBriar
P | Dallas Cowboys
Age: 33 | FA Type: Unrestricted

A two-time Pro Bowler, McBriar had left knee surgery in February to remove a cyst, but he reportedly told ESPN Radio in Dallas that he expects to be ready for the season. When healthy, he's one of the game's better punters.

85. Jay Feely
PK | Arizona Cardinals
Age: 36 | FA Type: Unrestricted

Feely has connected on 82 percent of his field-goal attempts in his career, and last season was the first time he had made less than 83 percent of his FG attempts since 2004. Consistent and confident, he's a proven performer at a pressure-packed position.

86. Jeremy Shockey
TE | Carolina Panthers
Age: 32 | FA Type: Unrestricted

Though not the dynamic playmaker that he was earlier in his career, Shockey is still a solid contributor who could help a club that's looking to improve its TE corps.

87. Josh Scobee
PK | Jacksonville Jaguars
Age: 30 | FA Type: Franchise player

Scobee comes off his finest season, having connected on 23-of-25 field-goal attempts, with no misses inside 40 yards. He also has a strong leg on kickoffs, with 39 of his 62 kicks going for touchbacks in 2011.

88. Phil Dawson
PK | Cleveland Browns
Age: 37 | FA Type: Franchise player

Dawson's reliability is his greatest asset. He connected on 24-of-29 field-goal attempts a season ago (82.8 percent). Overall, he has hit 83.1 percent of his FG attempts throughout his 13-year career, all of which has been spent in Cleveland. His ability to kick well in cold weather is an asset.

89. Martellus Bennett
TE | Dallas Cowboys
Age: 25 | FA Type: Unrestricted

Dallas' No. 2 tight end has playmaking ability. Will he earn a bigger role with another club? Finding consistency is a key for him.

90. Brian Hoyer
QB | New England Patriots
Age: 26 | FA Type: Restricted
(reportedly tendered at second-round level)

Hoyer has shown promise in three seasons in New England, with the bulk of his opportunities coming in the preseason and in relief of QB Tom Brady in a handful of regular-season games. New England is expected to give the backup quarterback a high tender offer. There are some league evaluators who are not sold on him, however.

91. Michael Robinson
FB | Seattle Seahawks
Age: 29 | FA Type: Unrestricted

The one-time collegiate quarterback earned Pro Bowl honors as a blocker in 2011. He also is an exceptional special-teams player.

92. Dimitri Patterson
CB | Cleveland Browns
Age: 29 | FA Type: Unrestricted

Patterson rebounded in 2011, playing well as the Browns' third cornerback after having struggled in a starting role for Philadelphia. It will be interesting to see if he gets another shot at a first-team role.

93. Early Doucet
WR | Arizona Cardinals
Age: 26 | FA Type: Unrestricted

Doucet caught a career-best 54 passes for 689 yards and five TDs a season ago. He could be a sleeper of sorts.

94. Manny Lawson
OLB | Cincinnati Bengals
Age: 28 | FA Type: Unrestricted

Lawson, who has starting experience in 3-4 and 4-3 fronts, notched 51 tackles and 1½ sacks for Cincinnati a season ago. He's shown some pass-rush ability in the past, most notably in 2009 with San Francisco, when he recorded 6½ sacks.

95. Jameel McClain
ILB | Baltimore Ravens
Age: 27 | FA Type: Unrestricted

He has started 31 of the last 32 regular-season games for the Ravens, who would like to re-sign him but have quite a few big decisions to make in free agency. He fared well when Ray Lewis was out of the lineup a season ago, which does not hurt his value.

96. Ryan Grant
RB | Green Bay Packers
Age: 29 | FA Type: Unrestricted

Grant started 14 games in 2011, rushing for 559 yards on 134 carries. The Packers could bring back Grant, who turns 30 in December, but James Starks' role (133 carries) does not figure to wane next season and could increase.

97. Jeff Saturday
C | Indianapolis Colts
Age: 37 | FA Type: Unrestricted

Saturday told The Indianapolis Star in January that he was considering retirement. However, if he still wants to play in 2012, he likely would draw starting consideration, whether it be in Indianapolis or elsewhere. The Colts would welcome him back.

98. Adam Carriker
DE | Washington Redskins
Age: 28  | FA Type: Unrestricted

Carriker is a solid, unspectacular worker who fits best as a left end in a 3-4 defense. Had career-best 5½ sacks last season but does not make many big plays.

99. Marcus McNeill
OT| San Diego Chargers
Age: 28 | FA Type: Cut (unrestricted)

Durability is the primary concern with McNeill; a neck injury ended his 2011 season. If healthy, he's a starter-caliber left tackle, as he showed in San Diego.

100. Jarrett Bush
CB | Green Bay Packers
Age: 28 | FA Type: Unrestricted

Bush has no peers when it comes to special-teams gunners. In addition, he was the most physical of the Packers' DBs last season. Considered one the hardest workers on the team, the extremely committed Bush has developed into a decent blitzer from the slot and is a very good tackler. He has ideal size and a defensive temperament and could attract more interest on the open market than one might suspect.

 

 

 

 

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