Top 10 NFL Free Agents of 2012

Posted: March 11, 2012 by vindanton in Pro Sports

By: Vin D’Anton

Peyton Manning

At the stroke of midnight on March 13, 2012, the most exciting free agent frenzy in professional sports will begin…NFL free agency. This is when the 2012 season begins because every die-hard fan sits by their computer refreshing all night and day. Before the action kicks off, here is IYF’s Top 10 free agents for the 2012 offseason…with a little wild cards at the end:

10. London Fletcher MLB – 2011 team: Washington Redskins: The ageless wonder. You won’t find him on anybody else’s top list, but the 5-10 36-year-old is someone any great team on the brink of a Super Bowl should add to their defense. The guy defies endurance and is a tackling machine. He has never missed a start and as a full time starter, he has only had fewer than 100 tackles once…and that was in his second season in the league. 2011 was Fletchers highest for total tackles with 166.

Best fit: Giants– That defensive line works perfect for him and the Giants are desperate for a linebacker. He can also mentor any young guys they bring in. Oh, there also coming off a Super Bowl title.

9. Reggie Wayne WR – 2011 team: Indianapolis Colts: One of the most consistent receivers in the National Football League, Wayne piled up 960 yards this season, his first time under 1,000 since 2003…and he had a healthy combination of Curtis Painter and Dan Orlovsky to throw to him. He has another three good seasons left in him and is worth a shot for a good team.

Best fit: Dolphins: He played his college ball in Miami and if he is a packaged deal with Peyton Manning, the team would be fools not to sign him. He’d probably come cheaper if he knew he’d play with his QB again.

8. Curtis Lofton MLB – 2011 team: Atlanta Falcons: Possibly the most underrated linebacker in the NFL, Lofton has 492 career tackles and is coming of a career high with 147 in 2011…he’s also 25-years-old. Lofton came in the same year as quarterback Matt Ryan and the two have been the leaders on their respective sides of the ball. Though I’ll never understand why they franchised tagged Brent Grimes and not Lofton, the Falcons and their GM Thomas Dimitroff can’t be dumb enough to let him slip away.

Best fit: Falcons: I can’t see him leaving Atlanta and even though they have a lot of big contracts to give out down the road, I see them getting this thing done, though chances are slim with Lofa Tatupu signing yesterday.

7. Ben Grubbs OG – 2011 team: Baltimore Ravens: Grubbs was a three year starter at Auburn and has shined in the NFL with Baltimore for five years as their starting guard. It seems he is getting left out and with Ray Rice and Joe Flacco due for contracts, he is most likely gone.

Best fit: Panthers: Teams now know Cam Newton can throw and teams will respect that this season. Time to pound the rock. Grubbs led the way for now “stud” Ray Rice and he can anchor an offensive line to open holes for DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart.

6. Marques Colston WR – 2011 team: New Orleans Saints: In six great seasons in the Big Easy (well sleazy at this point), Colston was under 1,000 yards once. He is a big target who can make the catch in traffic and has hands that are tops in the league. Some say he is too slow, but I don’t believe it. Guy can play; watch the tape.

Marques Colston

Best fit: Redskins: The ‘Skins just sold the farm for RG3 and have a bunch of cap space. Rumor has it they are ready to hand out a nice paycheck (shocker) to a wide receiver, and Colston’s quietness is perfect for a young QB trying to learn.

5. Cortland Finnegan CB – 2011 team: Tennessee Titans: Dirty, obnoxious, but scrappy and tough at the same time. I am not a fan of this guy whatsoever, but man can he play. He was a seventh round pick and blossomed into a Pro Bowl corner in a division that has Andre Johnson, Reggie Wayne and (had) Marvin Harrison. He bumps at the line of scrimmage as well as any corner and is a versatile d-back.

Best fit: Rams: I would have said the Saints (joking), but it seems Cortland’s style of play was accepted well by Jeff Fisher so I see them reuniting. He should also fit well with another dirt bag in Rams new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams…if he’s still around.  The Eagles would be a good fit as well if they have the cash.

4. Vincent Jackson WR – 2011 team: San Diego Chargers: Take away all the contract disputes and missing time due to them, Jackson is a top-flight receiver, no doubt about it. He gets open, makes amazing catches, and seems to run routes well in a great system under Norv Turner.  A lot of teams who need a big time wide-out will be willing to break the bank for him.

Best Fit: Chargers: Jackson reportedly said he would take less (but not a whole lot less) to stay in San Diego. He loves playing for Turner and quarterback Philip Rivers. Other teams to watch are the Bears and the ‘Skins.

3. Carl Nicks OG – 2011 team: New Orleans Saints: Man is a beast. Possibly best guard in football and is coveted by a lot of teams. He’ll be only 27 in May so he has ten great years left in him barring any injury.

Best Fit: Redskins: I just see them giving him the most money. They apparently have a lot of cap space so I can’t put this one past the Offseason Champs.

2. Mario Williams OLB/DE – 2011 team: Houston Texans: I’ll never forget how everybody was ripping (former) Texans GM Charlie Casserly for drafting Williams over the “Godsend” Reggie Bush. Bush is on his second team and just had his best season. Mario has 53 career sacks…that’s more than career total touchdowns for Bush. Williams is a freak of nature and comes off the edge as fast as anybody.

Best fit: Texans: They can’t lose him. His season was shortened by injury this year and Houston still almost made it to the AFC Championship. It will be exciting to see what he can do in a full season under Wade Phillips. Houston has to pay up.

1. Peyton Manning QB – 2011 team: Indianapolis Colts: I’m depressed just writing that Peyton is a free agent. To me, he is the greatest quarterback we have ever seen. I don’t need to break it down; we all know how great he is. The neck bothers me; that’s really it.

Best fit: Dolphins: Weathers beautiful and Manning signing there would make Miami the most hyped up sports city in the world. LeBron, Wade, Bosh, Reyes, Stanton, and Peyton Manning…wow. Endorsements would be insane as well. Owner Stephen Ross will pull out all the stops and the NFL would be elated to have Brady vs. Manning twice a year. Peyton has a house or condo down there as well so his family will be comfortable…and oh ya, no income tax!

Wild Cards: These are six under the radar guys to watch out for. Given the right opportunity, they can help their new teams.

Mike Tolbert RB – 2011 teams: San Diego Chargers: I call him the bowling ball; he literally rolls over defenders. He is 5-9, 243 pounds of man and is only 26. Tolbert might be the ultimate steal this free agency.

Barrett Ruud MLB – 2011 team: Tennessee Titans: Extremely underrated player who has a nose for the ball. Had over 100 tackles from 07-10 as a starter in Tampa Bay.

Terrell Thomas CB – 2011 team: New York Giants: You may not know his name even though his team won the Super Bowl. The starter tore his ACL at the beginning of camp and was lost for the year. He is a six-foot corner with speed and tackles well. Seems he wants a lot but might not get it.

Mark Anderson

Mark Anderson DE – 2011 team: New England Patriots: He’s like Joba Chamberlain; great relief guy, but terrible starter. Had twelve sacks his rookie year in 2006 and 10 this season; he is your classic third down rusher and comes off the edge like an Osi Umenyiora.

Michael Bush RB – 2011 team: Oakland Raiders: Big power back who would have been a top draft pick coming out of Louisville if he never injured his knee. Filled in well for Darren McFadden who was essentially lost for most of the season. Runs hard and never goes down after the first shot.

Mark Clayton WR – 2011 team: St. Louis Rams: Was a great target for Sam Bradford in 2010, and then was lost for the season with a knee injury. In 2011, same issue. If he gets healthy and is installed into the right offense, he can do a solid job.


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