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Top 10 Super Bowl Plays of All-time Top 10 Super Bowl Plays of All-time /nfl/lists/Top-10-Super-Bowl-Best-Plays http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/02/06/raiders_20110206194820831_136_102.JPG
Top 10 Surprise Super Bowl Stars Top 10 Surprise Super Bowl Stars /nfl/lists/Top-10-Surprise-Super-Bowl-Stars http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/01/26/012611-NFL-Giants-David-Tyree-PI_20110126165618240_136_102.JPG
Schrager: Top 10 players searching for Super Bowl rings /nfl/lists/Top-10-players-searching-for-Super-Bowl-rings http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2010/05/05/050510-Gimme-A-Ring-SW-PI_20100505112551_136_102.JPG
Top 10 worst Super Bowl games Top 10 worst Super Bowl games /nfl/lists/Top_10_worst_Super_Bowl_games http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/01/24/012411-NFL-bills-AM-G1_20110124231547604_136_102.JPG
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NFL 5 43 The 20 best free agent signings in NFL history 31622029 Two decades of greatness Two+decades+of+greatness NFL

2013 marks the 20th anniversary of the start of NFL free agency. We’ve come a long way since Reggie White’s 37-day recruitment tour in 1993. In ranking the top 20 free-agent signings of the past 20 years, I used the following criteria:

1. Did the addition of the player drastically improve the team?
2. Did the player get the team “over the hump?”
3. Was the player’s impact felt in big moments?

Here are my top 20. And no, Albert Haynesworth did not make the cut. — Peter Schrager
 

Allen Kee - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/03/08/030813-NFL-Schrager-20-best-free-agent-signings-OB-G21_20130308180151389_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/03/08/030813-NFL-Schrager-20-best-free-agent-signings-OB-G21_20130308180151389_107_80.JPG
NFL 5 43 The 20 best free agent signings in NFL history 31626179 Drew Brees, Quarterback, New Orleans Saints, 2006 Drew+Brees%2C+Quarterback%2C+New+Orleans+Saints%2C+2006 NFL

Coming off shoulder surgery and a free agent in ’06, Drew Brees met with Nick Saban and the Dolphins before he even visited with the Saints. Miami chose to sign Daunte Culpepper over Brees. Seven years later, Brees has given the city of New Orleans its Lombardi Trophy and has broken several NFL passing records. The Brees signing coincided with the city’s recovery from Hurricane Katrina; few quarterbacks are more synonymous with his city than Brees is with the Big Easy.

Derick E. Hingle - USA TODAY Sports http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/03/08/030813-NFL-Schrager-20-best-free-agent-signings-OB-G1_20130308173948322_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/03/08/030813-NFL-Schrager-20-best-free-agent-signings-OB-G1_20130308173948322_107_80.JPG
NFL 5 43 The 20 best free agent signings in NFL history 31626177 Reggie White, Defensive End, Green Bay Packers, 1993 Reggie+White%2C+Defensive+End%2C+Green+Bay+Packers%2C+1993 NFL

The first “big” free-agent signing, White surprised many by opting to go up to Green Bay and sign with the Packers. Three years later, he was running around the Louisiana Superdome with the Lombardi Trophy in his hand. White recorded 68.5 sacks as a Packer and was named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 1998.

Peter Brouillet - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/03/08/030813-NFL-Schrager-20-best-free-agent-signings-OB-G2_20130308173947318_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/03/08/030813-NFL-Schrager-20-best-free-agent-signings-OB-G2_20130308173947318_107_80.JPG
NFL 5 43 The 20 best free agent signings in NFL history 31626175 Deion Sanders, Cornerback, San Francisco 49ers, 1994 Deion+Sanders%2C+Cornerback%2C+San+Francisco+49ers%2C+1994 NFL

The 49ers lost two straight NFC Championship Games to the Dallas Cowboys and needed a spark to get them over the hump. Deion was the man to do it. Sanders brought style and confidence to a 49ers squad that toppled the Cowboys in the NFC Championship Game and the Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX.

George Rose - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/03/08/030813-NFL-Schrager-20-best-free-agent-signings-OB-G3_20130308173947319_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/03/08/030813-NFL-Schrager-20-best-free-agent-signings-OB-G3_20130308173947319_107_80.JPG
NFL 5 43 The 20 best free agent signings in NFL history 31626176 Rich Gannon, Quarterback, Oakland Raiders, 1999 Rich+Gannon%2C+Quarterback%2C+Oakland+Raiders%2C+1999 NFL

Gannon had a fine NFL career as a tough, journeyman quarterback going for him heading into the spring of 1999. He’d played for the Vikings, Redskins and Chiefs and enjoyed moments of success with all three teams. In ’99, already a 12-year veteran, Gannon signed with the Oakland Raiders. He quickly mastered Jon Gruden’s West Coast offense and was voted to the Pro Bowl in his first year there. He’d go on to three more Pro Bowls, take the Raiders to the Super Bowl and win an MVP Award.

Allen Kee - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/03/08/030813-NFL-Schrager-20-best-free-agent-signings-OB-G4_20130308173947320_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/03/08/030813-NFL-Schrager-20-best-free-agent-signings-OB-G4_20130308173947320_107_80.JPG
NFL 5 43 The 20 best free agent signings in NFL history 31626178 Kurt Warner, Quarterback, Arizona Cardinals, 2005 Kurt+Warner%2C+Quarterback%2C+Arizona+Cardinals%2C+2005 NFL

After a year in New York in which he was brought in to start and ultimately took a backseat to top pick Eli Manning, Kurt Warner signed a 1-year deal with the Cardinals. He didn’t do much his first season, and when Matt Leinart was drafted 10th overall in year No. 2 it looked like he was destined to be a veteran backup. Then he outplayed Leinart down the stretch in ’07, got the starting gig in ‘08 and led the Cardinals to their only Super Bowl appearance in franchise history. They went back to the playoffs a year later, winning a shootout over the Packers in the Wildcard round. Warner retired in 2010 as the most successful Cardinals quarterback in franchise history.

Christian Petersen - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/03/08/030813-NFL-Schrager-20-best-free-agent-signings-OB-G5_20130308173947321_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/03/08/030813-NFL-Schrager-20-best-free-agent-signings-OB-G5_20130308173947321_107_80.JPG
NFL 5 43 The 20 best free agent signings in NFL history 31626180 Rod Woodson, Safety/Cornerback, Baltimore Ravens, 1998 Rod+Woodson%2C+Safety%2FCornerback%2C+Baltimore+Ravens%2C+1998 NFL

Woodson was likely already headed to the Pro Football Hall of Fame for what he’d accomplished as an All-Pro cornerback on the Pittsburgh Steelers. He signed with Baltimore, moved to safety, and won a Super Bowl ring with the Ravens. Ray Lewis, Tony Siragusa and Peter Boulware get a lot of the attention when people talk about the 2000 Ravens defense, but Woodson was the heart and soul of the defensive backfield.

George Gojkovich - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/03/08/030813-NFL-Schrager-20-best-free-agent-signings-OB-G6_20130308174145328_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/03/08/030813-NFL-Schrager-20-best-free-agent-signings-OB-G6_20130308174145328_107_80.JPG
NFL 5 43 The 20 best free agent signings in NFL history 31626182 Brett Favre, Quarterback, Minnesota Vikings, 2009 Brett+Favre%2C+Quarterback%2C+Minnesota+Vikings%2C+2009 NFL

Shocked to see Favre so high on the list? Don’t be. He came back to football at the age of 40, led the Vikings to a division title, beat the Cowboys in a playoff game and came a few plays shy of winning the NFC Championship Game. Favre’s first season in Minnesota was an incredible one. He took a team that wasn’t going anywhere awfully close to the Big Dance. At age 40.

Tom Dahlin - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/03/08/030813-NFL-Schrager-20-best-free-agent-signings-OB-G7_20130308174145330_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/03/08/030813-NFL-Schrager-20-best-free-agent-signings-OB-G7_20130308174145330_107_80.JPG
NFL 5 43 The 20 best free agent signings in NFL history 31626184 Deion Sanders, Cornerback, Dallas Cowboys, 1995 Deion+Sanders%2C+Cornerback%2C+Dallas+Cowboys%2C+1995 NFL

A year after he came to San Francisco and helped the 49ers topple the Cowboys, “Primetime” signed with the Cowboys and won a ring five months later. Sanders signed a big seven-year, $85 million deal with the Cowboys after a long, drawn out “Deion Sweepstakes” that finally ended in Week 2. In Super Bowl XXX, Sanders caught a 47-yard pass that set up Dallas’ first score of the game.

Brian Bahr/ALLSPORT - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/03/08/030813-NFL-Schrager-20-best-free-agent-signings-OB-G8_20130308174145332_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/03/08/030813-NFL-Schrager-20-best-free-agent-signings-OB-G8_20130308174145332_107_80.JPG
NFL 5 43 The 20 best free agent signings in NFL history 31626181 Curtis Martin, Running Back, New York Jets, 1998 Curtis+Martin%2C+Running+Back%2C+New+York+Jets%2C+1998 NFL

One of the most notorious free agent signings in NFL history, the Jets dropped “the poison pill” offer on then-Patriots restricted free agent Curtis Martin. The Patriots didn’t match, got two draft picks, and watched as Martin went on to start every game but one over the next seven seasons and retired as the Jets' all-time leading rusher.

Bernie Nunez - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/03/08/030813-NFL-Schrager-20-best-free-agent-signings-OB-G9_20130308174145329_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/03/08/030813-NFL-Schrager-20-best-free-agent-signings-OB-G9_20130308174145329_107_80.JPG
NFL 5 43 The 20 best free agent signings in NFL history 31626183 Jake Delhomme, Quarterback, Carolina Panthers, 2003 Jake+Delhomme%2C+Quarterback%2C+Carolina+Panthers%2C+2003 NFL

Delhomme was pursued by both the Panthers and Cowboys in March 2003 — ultimately signing with the Panthers, where he won the starting job early on over Chris Weinke and Rodney Peete. Five months later, he came within a score of leading the Panthers to the team’s only Super Bowl victory in franchise history. Delhomme stayed with the Panthers through 2009, making the Pro Bowl in 2005 and taking Carolina to the playoffs three more times.

Streeter Lecka - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/03/08/030813-NFL-Schrager-20-best-free-agent-signings-OB-G10_20130308174145331_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/03/08/030813-NFL-Schrager-20-best-free-agent-signings-OB-G10_20130308174145331_107_80.JPG
NFL 5 43 The 20 best free agent signings in NFL history 31626193 Ken Norton, Jr., Linebacker, San Francisco 49ers, 1994 Ken+Norton%2C+Jr.%2C+Linebacker%2C+San+Francisco+49ers%2C+1994 NFL

One of many defensive stalwarts signed by the 49ers in ’94, with Deion Sanders, Rickey Jackson and Gary Plummer included, Norton came from a two-time Super Bowl-winning Cowboys team and helped lead San Francisco to a Super Bowl victory. Norton was an NFL All-Pro in San Francisco in 1995.

Al Bello/ALLSPORT - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/03/08/030813_NFL_Schrager_20_best_free_agent_signings_OB_G11_20130308175353354_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/03/08/030813_NFL_Schrager_20_best_free_agent_signings_OB_G11_20130308175353354_107_80.JPG
NFL 5 43 The 20 best free agent signings in NFL history 31622023 Jerry Rice, Wide Receiver, Oakland Raiders, 2000 Jerry+Rice%2C+Wide+Receiver%2C+Oakland+Raiders%2C+2000 NFL

With Terrell Owens emerging as “the guy” in San Francisco, Rice signed with the Raiders to join Tim Brown in Oakland. As a Raider, Rice caught 83 balls for 1,139 yards and eight touchdowns in his first year with the team. In 2002, he caught 92 balls for 1,211 yards and hauled in seven touchdowns. Rice never won a ring in Oakland, but he took a good team and made it great.

JOHN G. MABANGLO/AFP - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/03/08/030813_NFL_Schrager_20_best_free_agent_signings_OB_G12_20130308175352352_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/03/08/030813_NFL_Schrager_20_best_free_agent_signings_OB_G12_20130308175352352_107_80.JPG
NFL 5 43 The 20 best free agent signings in NFL history 31626196 Charles Woodson, Cornerback, Green Bay Packers, 2006 Charles+Woodson%2C+Cornerback%2C+Green+Bay+Packers%2C+2006 NFL

Woodson had a career resurrection in Green Bay, where he came from a languishing Oakland Raiders team to win a Defensive Player of the Year award and a Super Bowl with the Packers. A Pro Bowl player in three different decades, Woodson is now a free agent, again, at 36-years-old.

Elsa - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/03/08/030813_NFL_Schrager_20_best_free_agent_signings_OB_G13_20130308175353355_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/03/08/030813_NFL_Schrager_20_best_free_agent_signings_OB_G13_20130308175353355_107_80.JPG
NFL 5 43 The 20 best free agent signings in NFL history 31622027 Priest Holmes, Running Back, Kansas City Chiefs, 2001 Priest+Holmes%2C+Running+Back%2C+Kansas+City+Chiefs%2C+2001 NFL

Holmes played a bit role on the Ravens' 2000 Super Bowl team and inked a deal with the Chiefs the following March. Running behind Will Shields and Willie Roaf, Holmes was a three-time All-Pro running back. Before neck injuries ravaged his career, Holmes was arguably the best back in the game. Though the Chiefs never made it past the Divisional round during his time with the team, Holmes elevated the franchise with his work out of the backfield.

Jamie Squire - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/03/08/030813-NFL-Schrager-20-best-free-agent-signings-OB-G14_20130308180011382_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/03/08/030813-NFL-Schrager-20-best-free-agent-signings-OB-G14_20130308180011382_107_80.JPG
NFL 5 43 The 20 best free agent signings in NFL history 31626205 Simeon Rice, Defensive End, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2001 Simeon+Rice%2C+Defensive+End%2C+Tampa+Bay+Buccaneers%2C+2001 NFL

After five years with the Arizona Cardinals, Rice signed with the Buccaneers in ’01. The Bucs promptly won a Super Bowl a year later, the only one in the franchise’s history. Rice had 15.5 and 15.0 sacks in his first two years as a Buccaneer. In six seasons in Tampa Bay, he recorded 69.5 sacks.

Doug Pensinger - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/03/08/030813-NFL-Schrager-20-best-free-agent-signings-OB-G15_20130308180011380_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/03/08/030813-NFL-Schrager-20-best-free-agent-signings-OB-G15_20130308180011380_107_80.JPG
NFL 5 43 The 20 best free agent signings in NFL history 31626198 Brad Johnson, Quarterback, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2001 Brad+Johnson%2C+Quarterback%2C+Tampa+Bay+Buccaneers%2C+2001 NFL

Buccaneers then-head coach Tony Dungy, the former defensive coordinator in Minnesota, helped convince Johnson to sign with Tampa Bay in ’01. When Dungy was fired at the end of another fruitless postseason run, Jon Gruden came in as the new head coach. Together they won a Super Bowl in 2002. Though that team is best known for its defense, Brad Johnson led the NFC in quarterback passer rating and set team records for touchdown passes (22) and completion percentage (62.3 percent). He’s the only Buccaneers quarterback to win a Super Bowl.

Al Messerschmidt - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/03/08/030813-NFL-Schrager-20-best-free-agent-signings-OB-G16_20130308175608362_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/03/08/030813-NFL-Schrager-20-best-free-agent-signings-OB-G16_20130308175608362_107_80.JPG
NFL 5 43 The 20 best free agent signings in NFL history 31626197 Kevin Mawae, Center, New York Jets, 1998 Kevin+Mawae%2C+Center%2C+New+York+Jets%2C+1998 NFL

Mawae left the Seahawks to join the Jets in ’98 and quickly proved himself as one of the top centers in the game. He was a seven-time All-Pro with New York and was a member of the 2000s All-Decade Team. He started 177 straight games at center; a streak that ended in 2005 when he suffered a triceps injury. Curtis Martin was one of the best running backs in football for nearly a decade, and he did much of his work running behind Mawae.

M. David Leeds - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/03/08/030813-NFL-Schrager-20-best-free-agent-signings-OB-G17_20130308175608363_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/03/08/030813-NFL-Schrager-20-best-free-agent-signings-OB-G17_20130308175608363_107_80.JPG
NFL 5 43 The 20 best free agent signings in NFL history 31626200 Mike Vrabel, Linebacker, New England Patriots, 2001 Mike+Vrabel%2C+Linebacker%2C+New+England+Patriots%2C+2001 NFL

Vrabel went from being a three-year role player with the Steelers to the Patriots’ Mr. Everything on three Super Bowl-winning squads. In seven years with the Patriots, he won three rings, played all over the field, and was an All-Pro (2007) at linebacker. He still, to this day, has one of the best individual stat lines of any player in any game—in a Week 8 win over the Redskins in 2007, he forced three fumbles, had three sacks, recovered an onside kick and scored an offensive touchdown. That game was Vrabel’s career with the Pats in New England.

Tim Umphrey - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/03/08/030813-NFL-Schrager-20-best-free-agent-signings-OB-G18_20130308175608366_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/03/08/030813-NFL-Schrager-20-best-free-agent-signings-OB-G18_20130308175608366_107_80.JPG
NFL 5 43 The 20 best free agent signings in NFL history 31626201 Adam Vinatieri, Kicker, Indianapolis Colts, 2006 Adam+Vinatieri%2C+Kicker%2C+Indianapolis+Colts%2C+2006 NFL

A kicker? Yes, a kicker. After coming up short against the rival Patriots in the playoffs countless times, the Colts went ahead and signed away their secret weapon. When New England opted not to franchise Vinatieri, it was fair game. With the Colts, the two-time Pro Bowl placekicker won a Super Bowl in his first season. Still with the team heading into 2013, he and Reggie Wayne are the bridge between the Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck eras. The Patriots, meanwhile, have not won a Super Bowl since Vinatieri left town.

Andy Lyons - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/03/08/030813-NFL-Schrager-20-best-free-agent-signings-OB-G19_20130308175608365_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/03/08/030813-NFL-Schrager-20-best-free-agent-signings-OB-G19_20130308175608365_107_80.JPG
NFL 5 43 The 20 best free agent signings in NFL history 31626199 Justin Smith, Defensive End, San Francisco 49ers, 2008 Justin+Smith%2C+Defensive+End%2C+San+Francisco+49ers%2C+2008 NFL

Since joining the 49ers in ’08, Smith has been a four-time All Pro selection, the 49ers have played in two NFC Championship Games and one Super Bowl. He’s the key to the 49ers’ 3-4 attack, earning All-Pro nods at both defensive end and defensive tackle in 2011 and 2012. Great leader; tough competitor. He’s the lifeblood of a dominant 49ers defense.

Brian Bahr - Getty Images http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/03/08/030813-NFL-Schrager-20-best-free-agent-signings-OB-G20_20130308175608364_600_400.JPG http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2013/03/08/030813-NFL-Schrager-20-best-free-agent-signings-OB-G20_20130308175608364_107_80.JPG
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http://static.foxsports.com/content/fscom/img/2011/02/06/raiders_20110206194820831_136_102.JPG Top 10 Super Bowl Plays of All-time Top 10 Super Bowl Plays of All-time Top 10 Super Bowl Plays of All-time Every Super Bowl has a defining moment. These are the coolest moments in time. Jan 24, 2014 3:04 PM ET 1 28 /nfl/lists/Top-10-Super-Bowl-Best-Plays
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