NFL Agency: The Best 10 Overall Pick-Ups Left On The Board
The doors for NFL Free Agency open in four days and we have our final overall top 10 list of which guys stand to make the most impact in the open market place.
After the franchise tags were handed out and a few choice deals were done, we have arrived here.
#10 Curtis Lofton- LB
His 87 solo tackle, two interceptions run in 2011 was again excellent value for the team that would like to keep their LB core together.
Recently, names such as Channing Crowder and now Lofa Tatupu have either been talking about or been seen working out for the Falcons, so it looks like the Dirty Birds might just let Lofton fly.
The doors open for business next week and he’s still not on paper, so look for him to find a home in another group that needs his style of play such as the Eagles or the Giants.
#9 Matt Flynn -QB
If there is anybody in the world right now that is anti-Peyton Manning, it’s Matt Flynn. Without the ongoing saga of The Peyton & The Restless, Flynn would more than likely be able to pick his own shots come next week.
As it stands, he’ll have to wait until Manning makes a move to see what kind of market develops for him. Also killing his dollars are a handful of choice draft picks that may not command as much money as he is likely to ask for.
I would not rule out a surprise destination for Flynn, who has all of the tools to become a top 15 quarterback in this league.
#8 Mike Tolbert -RB
San Diego has a habit of preparing great running backs for other teams and not getting anything back in return.
The Running Back Committee is a staple force these days and there are plenty out there that are missing that head buster that will give up his body to get that extra yard or clear out a gap or two.
Tampa could be the perfect destination as QB Josh Freeman would love to have him as a check down option.
#7 Martellus Bennett -TE
We all know the tight end position has evolved into the type of affair where if you don’t have extreme athletic skills, you will be left behind.
He’s a vertical threat, a physical blocker and is the one playmaker that the Cowboys failed to make sincere use of.
If he were to slide into an environment like Atlanta and begin to take the throne from veteran Tony Gonzales, he could be the final piece that could make them unstoppable. However, the NFC West has the Cardinals, Seahawks and Rams that could all greatly benefit from his skill set.
#6 Cortland Finnegan -CB
The scrappy cornerback with the attitude to spare will generate serious interest. The way he carries himself off the field though makes him a true fit in a few markets.
The Steelers have both the need and the emotional make-up to support Finnegan as do the Patriots. Another key point about those groups is that they both have the internal leadership to help Finnegan take that next step in his development by learning when to temper his aggression and use it to his benefit. So may teams need secondary help (Detroit, Carolina) that I will be surprised at his future destination.
But if we’re talking what’s best for all parties involved, it has to be New England or Pittsburgh.
#5 Peyton Manning-QB
Thinking with the head and not the heart, it must be understood that we have no idea what is about to happen when he gets back under center.
The risk factor is definitely there as if his neck injury was severe enough to require multiple operations and it took him away from the game for in theory for well over a year.
The only thing that is known now is that somebody is about to roll out the best mind in football. The body? We just have no idea.
#4 Mike Wallace-WR
His status is restricted so there’s a great chance that he will return to Steel City. The 49ers have been mentioned as the team that is in hot pursuit of Wallace. But with QB Alex Smith still yet to sign, how deep the 49ers will go is another question.
This year’s WR class is very deep, so my feeling is that there will not be an offer made on Wallace that is out-of-reach for the Steelers to match.
Unless the Steelers have their sights set on another WR in the draft, Wallace should remain Big Ben’s favorite target. Besides, who unless can get that deep, that fast?
#3 Carl Nicks-G
As the world at large whispers about how upset QB Drew Brees is allegedly at the Saints right now, one reason that is not brought up is how they are letting one of his best guards walk out of the door.
At 26, Nicks is a lifesaver that is still young enough to put roots down with another club and enjoy a long run there.
In a league that only fields champions that can dominate the line of scrimmage, I can think of 31 other teams that would probably love to have him.
#2 Vincent Jackson-WR
No matter what the route is, Vincent Jackson can own it; just as Chargers QB Phillip Rivers. The SD front office has spent two years going back and forth with Jackson and now is the time where the rubber must meet the road.
If he stays, he will go down as a legend in a town that has seen some amazing wide receivers in its day. If he goes, it’s plausible to see him snatching balls in Chicago from Rivers’ nemesis Jay Cutler or whomever the QB will be in Seattle this season.
He’s a guy that you look at and say ‘ it would be weird to see him in another city.’
#1 Mario Williams-DE
The Texans struck gold with defensive end J.J. Watt so it looks as if they will not pony up to keep Williams in house; especially after being placed on injured reserve last year.
A handful of teams such as the Falcons, the Patriots, the Jets, the Chargers, the Cowboys and the Seahawks already have allegedly leaked their intentions on bringing him on board.
The number will be obnoxiously large and he will most likely be amongst the first pieces off the board come the 13th.