Brian Billick's top 50 free agents

Brian Billick on his top free agents
Brian Billick on his top free agents
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Brian Billick

Brian Billick served as head coach of the Baltimore Ravens from 1999-2007, winning Super Bowl XXXV. He has also authored books, including More Than A Game: The Glorious Present and Uncertain Future of the NFL. Follow him on Twitter.


Below is my list of the Top-10 “value” free agents followed by a Top-50 free-agent ranking (signed, franchised and unsigned).


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Typically, we focus on free agents who sign with new teams, but a signing of an existing player with his former team is just as significant when building a roster.

The first Top 10 is a ranking of value, with overall rank listed in parenthesis. Value can be defined as total cost, schematic fit, on-field performance, personality fit and off-field concerns.

Top-10 Value

1. (1) Peyton Manning, QB

Outside the obvious injury concerns, if I have to explain why he is No. 1 on the list, you probably got to this site by accident. --- UPDATE: Sources confirm he has told agent to negotiate contract with Denver.

2. (3) Mario Williams, DE/OLB

Coming off of an injury that caused him to miss 11 games last season has to be a concern, but this is a weak draft class for elite edge rushers, and that makes obtaining Williams even more valuable. He is a game changer, if healthy. --- UPDATE: Agreed to deal with Bills.

3. (4) Carl Nicks, OG

An elite interior offensive lineman whose only limitation in free agency is the overall value placed on guards. But the interior line is usually the final missing piece to solidifying a strong offensive line. Nicks will be a huge loss to the Saints if he goes elsewhere, especially in the running game. --- UPDATE: Agreed to deal with Bucs.

4. (11) Vincent Jackson, WR

Wide receiver has been a classic miss position in free agency, but Jackson has proven he is a legit No. 1. Jackson could be the proverbial “one player away from being a Super Bowl team.” --- UPDATE: Agreed to deal with Bucs.

5. (13) Mike Wallace, WR

Impact player, but could fall into the aforementioned overpaying-for-a-player category, especially with his tender.

6. (14) Cortland Finnegan, CB

Proven ability at a position with limited options. Needs to go to a team that can control his mental breakdowns. --- UPDATE: Agreed to deal with Rams.

7. (15) Ben Grubbs, OG

See Carl Nicks above. --- UPDATE: Agreed to deal with Saints.

8. (16) Matt Flynn, QB

Huge risk to pay what the market will demand for a player with just two starts on his resume. Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin is intimately familiar with Flynn, and if he doesn’t make a run for him, there will be major questions as to why. --- UPDATE: Agreed to deal with Seahawks.

9. (17) Marques Colston, WR

Solid wide receiver, but hard to project outside of the Saints' passing system. He has No. 1 credentials, but something always seems to happen (injuries, drops, disappears in games) when on the verge of being named amongst the league’s elite. --- UPDATE: Re-signed with Saints.

10. (19) Lardarius Webb, CB

Hard to imagine the Ravens letting him get away. Corner is a need position and he brings return skills as well.


Top 50 Free Agents

1. Peyton Manning QB 36 Indianapolis Selected DEN
2. Drew Brees QB 33 New Orleans Franchised
3. Mario Williams DE 27 Houston Joining BUF
4. Carl Nicks OG 27 New Orleans Joining TB
5. Ray Rice RB 25 Baltimore Franchised
6. Arian Foster RB 26 Houston Re-signed
7. Calais Campbell DT 26 Arizona Franchised
8. Matt Forte RB 26 Chicago Franchised
9. Jermichael Finley TE 25 Green Bay Re-signed
10. Cliff Avril DE 26 Detroit Franchised
11. Vincent Jackson WR 29 San Diego Joining TB
12. Dwayne Bowe WR 27 Kansas City Franchised
13. Mike Wallace WR 26 Pittsburgh Tender
14. Cortland Finnegan DB 28 Tennessee Joining STL
15. Ben Grubbs OG 28 Baltimore Joining NO
16. Matt Flynn QB 27 Green Bay Joining SEA
17. Marques Colston WR 29 New Orleans Re-signed
18. Robert Mathis DE 31 Indianapolis Re-signed
19. Lardarius Webb DB 26 Baltimore FA
20. Wes Welker WR 31 New England Franchised
21. Carlos Rogers DB 31 San Francisco Re-signed
22. Stephen Tulloch ILB 27 Detroit FA
23. Alex Smith QB 28 San Francisco FA
24. Curtis Lofton ILB 26 Atlanta FA
25. Marshawn Lynch RB 26 Seattle Re-signed
26. Anthony Spencer DE 28 Dallas Franchised
27. Paul Soliai DT 28 Miami Re-signed
28. Red Bryant DT 28 Seattle Re-signed
29. DeSean Jackson WR 25 Philadelphia Franchised
30. Stevie Johnson WR 26 Buffalo Franchised
31. Brandon Carr DB 26 Kansas City Joining DAL
32. D'Qwell Jackson ILB 28 Cleveland Re-signed
33. Jared Gaither OT 26 San Diego Re-signed
34. Peyton Hillis RB 26 Cleveland Joining KC
35. John Abraham DE 34 Atlanta Re-signed
36. Brodrick Bunkley DT 28 Denver FA
37. Brent Grimes DB 29 Atlanta Franchised
38. David Hawthorne ILB 27 Seattle FA
39. Cory Redding DT 31 Baltimore Joining IND
40. Tyvon Branch S 25 Oakland Franchised
41. Chris Myers C 30 Houston Re-signed
42. Cedric Benson RB 29 Cincinnati FA
43. Stanford Routt DB 29 Oakland Signed by KC
44. Brandon Lloyd WR 31 St. Louis Joining NE
45. Kyle Orton QB 29 Kansas City Joining DAL
46. Pierre Garcon WR 26 Indianapolis Joining WAS
47. Ahmad Brooks OLB 28 San Francisco Re-signed
48. Evan Mathis G 30 Philadelphia Re-signed
49. Michael Griffin S 27 Tennessee Franchised
50. Mario Manningham WR 26 New York Giants Joining SF
Tagged: Falcons, Bears, Browns, Packers, Titans, Colts, Chiefs, Rams, Saints, Giants, Eagles, 49ers, Seahawks, Buccaneers, Ravens, Steelers, Chargers, Texans, Peyton Manning, Vincent Jackson, Mario Williams, D'Qwell Jackson, Marques Colston, Cortland Finnegan, Ben Grubbs, Matt Forte, DeSean Jackson, Matt Flynn, Peyton Hillis, Red Bryant, Carl Nicks, Mario Manningham, Mike Wallace, Lardarius Webb

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