NFL Free Agency: Top 10 Available Defensive Ends

A strong defensive end is one of the most vital pieces of a championship puzzle. Today, we mix it up with our 10 best available in the current free agency pool.

#10 Cory Redding 

You can’t say that Corey Redding has not had a good career. As it stands now, a concussion injury from last season may devalue his stock with some clubs if he does not return to Baltimore.  He’s 31 but at 6’4 and 298 lbs he still has a lot of fight left in him going forward.

#9 Kroy Biermann

The word out of Atlanta is that DE monster John Abraham will not return to Atlanta.  This assumingly bodes well for Beirmann’s chances of a return. Biermann is always talked about as that guy who is always poised for a breakout season yet never quite gets there.

I can’t imagine the Falcons giving him long-term money if he stays puts, but most importantly for now he might just get the chance to live up to his potential as a pass rusher.

If not, a shallow DE market this year means that Biermann will suit up for somebody.

#8 Juqua Parker

The Eagles are allegedly not going to offer Parker a new deal. Common sense will tell you that Parker may end up suiting up with his former DC Steve Spagnuolo in New Orleans.

If it does not go that way, even in a situational role, there are plenty of teams that are in dire need of a veteran pass rusher that can wreak havoc in the backfield.  Parker wins thanks to theory of supply and demand.

#7 Andre Carter

Much like Biermann, Andre Carter spent a good bit of his career being touted as a guy that was always one step away from going to the next level.  In 2011, he took that leap as one of the few positive notes on the Patriots defense.

To his bad fortune, the 32 year old Carter suffered a season-ending quad injury just as he was settling into his role as a national name associated with strong production.

If his rehab goes well, somebody will take a run at him in a high risk/high reward scenario.

#6 Jeremy Mincey

There are no guarantees that Mincey will return to Jacksonville as he has shuffled around the league for most of his career.

2011 was good to him in the stats column as he posted up eight sacks, 57 tackles and four forced fumbles.

That type of consistency is needed by teams such as Atlanta, San Diego and Tennessee who have secondaries that can create turnovers out of imperfect passes generated  by that kind of stable disruption in the backfield.

#5 Calais Campbell

It’s very rare that you hear a player state that they are perfectly happy with getting the franchise tag. It’s even rarer that you hear the host franchise say in the same breath that they are only going to use it as a potential crutch to building a long-term deal. The end result out of all of this love?  The Cardinals get to  hold onto their rising star.

#4 Michael Bennett

Tampa Bay has already put it out there that they are expecting a fair amount of compensation for the restricted free agent.

They have parts to spare at this position but they value Bennett enough to where they won’t just let him go easy.   His contributions at worse keep their depth chart very, very strong in a division where the opposing QBs run the gamut of Matt Ryan, Drew Brees and Cam Newton.

Expect Osi Umenyora’s potential trade scenario to get sorted out before teams open the purse strings to bid on Bennett.

#3 John Abraham

They call him the Predator and even in a situational role in 2011 he still continued to be a cause for concern for opponents; just ask Jaguars QB Blaine Gabbert.

Injuries have kept him on various medical reports as of late but wherever he ends up, the veteran will continue to make lives miserable.

Expect him to land in a spot such as Philadelphia that  needs his brand of  depth, pressure and locker room leadership to get them on a championship run.

#2 Robert Mathis

Mathis is certainly in the prime of his career.  Being at the top of his game is the primary reason why our guess is that he will not remain with the Colts who have begun to rebuild their team.

Mathis is an every down guy that can make any defense much better just by walking in the door. Free agency often separates great players from bad situations.

Unless Colts owner Jim Irsay breaks the bank with the kind of deal that can that makes you say ‘what Super Bowl?,’  Mathis will  head to a contender.

#1 Mario Williams

When the Houston Texans picked him as the #1 selection in the 2006 draft over RB Reggie Bush, you could feel the weight of the football world falling on its head; thankfully Twitter didn’t exist then.

Now, he’s free man and while you would think a player of his caliber would never get or take a chance to leave the nest, it appears as if younger guys such as J.J. Watt have emerged as the new leaders of the Houston defense.

The number he commands will be high and you can use the original $91.5 million dollar deal that Julius Peppers did with Chicago as a good barometer for the kind of money he will be looking for.

  • Chris Lindsay

    I’m pretty surprised to not see Lions DE Cliff Avril on this list. I’d put him somewhere around 4 or 5. He had 36 tackles, 11 sacks and six forced fumbles last year, and a combined total of 19.5 sacks over the past two seasons.