NFL Free Agency: Ranking the 10 best available DBs.
NFL free agency starts March 13. So it’s time to start looking at who is available and what the future could hold for them.
Today we look at 10 defensive backs that will make the most immediate impact in 2012/2013. Names such as Cortland Finnegan, Brent Grimes, Tracy Porter and Carlos Rogers have been cited as amongst the most coveted.
The league’s offenses continue to shift their focus towards the aerial attack in lieu of a solid ground game, so the value of the DB can never be overvalued.
Let’s sort them out and rank them.
#10 Will Allen
There are arguably other names that could sit here but Allen has a knack for making a play from time to time when his squad needs it the most. He may or may not be staying in the sunshine state. If he can slide into a secondary that is already solid, it will provide him with the nice low-pressure environment that he needs to shine.
Tampa Bay has two things going right now that work against a return to the pirate ship for Barber. The first is new HC Greg Schiano and the second is the team’s youth movement. At 36, Barber can’t really mentor that locker-room anymore than he already has, so I would suspect if he continues on that a situation like Detroit would appeal to both his championship aspirations and a desire for a competitive opportunity.
#8 Aaron Ross
There is still a feeling out there that Ross has not played his best football yet. His knack for mental mistakes and concussions probably won’t help his dollars in an open market. I’m sure both the Giants and Ross would like to work something out possibly, so this deal could be done early. Unless….
#7 Terrell Thomas
With some key additions to the Giants’ secondary, it’s hard to envision a world where Thomas and Ross both get new fruitful deals. I won’t pick which one that GM Jerry Reece is more smitten with at the moment but Iogic says Thomas could get the duke simply for the fact that his healed ACL is a lot more digestible than Ross’ frequent concussions. Plus, Thomas’ upside athletically is off-the-charts. If the Giants let him go, barring injury, he will light it up somewhere like Minnesota that needs an entire over-haul in their secondary.
#6 Lardarius Webb
The Ravens love him so they will be very aggressive in ensuring he stays in the house that Ray built. Webb wants to stay there as well, so restricted status or not. You can more or less file this one under dead issue.
#5 Rashean Mathis
A year ago, I expected Mathis to headline this list. The funny thing about football is that people get hurt.
It’s not the injury as much as the late-season timing of the injury that is killing Mathis’ potential value right now.
He’s 31 and he’s been a crucial piece of the Jaguars defense. With all of the turbulence that has rocked that club over the past 18 months, it would make sense to keep Mathis on site for both his play and his leadership.
This one could go spiral into multiple scenarios but Mathis will start somewhere this upcoming season. He is just to good not to.
#4 Carlos Rogers
Remember the classic film line ‘what we have here is a failure to communicate?’ That might best describe what is going on with the 49ers and Rogers. Word is that he wants a long term deal and that the 49ers don’t see why they should give him one at 30 years old.
Rogers has performed pretty well for them and it would be wise for both sides to settle on something like a incentive laden three year situation mixed in with some guaranteed money that would show good faith across the board.
#3 Tracy Porter
If the buzz is that Porter is heading off to Oakland according to sources such as ESPN, then obviously the Saints have chosen not to fight for him.
New Orleans obviously can’t commit to much right now as they sort out what it’s going to take to keep Drew Brees around, but if they let Porter walk it’s not wise.
Porter’s got nice ball skills and is playing more disciplined football as time goes by. He’s not fighting off age yet so again, it does not make a whole lot of sense for New Orleans to let him go. He’s someone I would normally expect to get the franchise tag to be honest with you.
#2 Brent Grimes
Grimes has a style that is uniquely his and I would bet a chili dog that the Falcons serve him up a cool 10.2 million as they slap the franchise tag on him.
He’s by far the best CB on their roster and no more so was that felt when the Giants torched the Falcons through the air in the playoffs as he sat on the sideline with a knee injury.
#1 Cortland Finnegan
We know Finnegan won’t be heading off to the Texans thanks to his nemesis Andre Johnson, but beyond that all bets are off.
Finnegan is that guy that talks way-too-much but can usually back up each and every one of his words with his aggressive style of play.
He’s in the number one slot because he is the ultimate finisher at this position. He finishes tackles in run support, he plays through the whistle and he never gives up especially in man coverage.
His style isn’t pretty but with the Titans apparently giving him the green-light to look for new digs, the line could be pretty long with teams such as Washington looking to bring in a hybrid thumper/ball hawk.