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: January 18, 2013, 12:16:02 AM

Top 10 NFL Free Agents Heading Into 2013
By Michael Quinn

January 13, 2013 2:47 pm

In 2011, it was Nnamdi Asomugha.

 In 2012, it was Mario Williams.

Who will be this year's hot name?

After a stellar 2012 season, there are several names to choose from. Chances are, the best available free agent will stay with their respective team, though that wasn't the case the last two years.

This year will be unlike any other however, because there are some seriously scolding hot names on this list.

From Joe Flacco to Dwayne Bowe, this year's list has stud after stud.

Along with their 2012 performance, I will also be determining where I believe some possible places are the player will land in 2013.

With that said, who are the top 10 free agents heading into 2013?

10. WR Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs

Dwayne Bowe made it very obvious in the 2012 offseason that he wanted out of Kansas City.

After not getting what he wanted, Bowe still managed to have a respectable season, posting over 800 yards and three touchdowns.

Many assumed he would still want out of Kansas City after the 2012 season, but with new head honcho Andy Reid calling the shots, and a No. 1 pick in the 2013 Draft (Geno Smith) he might want to stick around.

Reid knows talent when he sees it, and short of Jamaal Charles, Bowe is just about the only talent on the offense.

2013 Destination: Kansas City Chiefs

9. WR Mike Wallace, Pittsburgh Steelers

Like Bowe, Mike Wallace was unhappy in the 2012 offseason.

He valued himself more than what he was getting paid, and held out during the offseason to make his point.

After signing a tender with Pittsburgh, he is back to square one probably demanding more than he's worth; once again.

2012 was arguably Wallace's worst season (if you can call eight touchdowns and over 800 yards a failed year) considering he posted over 1,100 yards his last two seasons.

Despite taking a step back in 2012, Wallace's value is still very high.

If the Steelers don't pick him up, look for him to land somewhere like Cleveland or Carolina.

2013 Destination: Carolina Panthers

8. WR Greg Jennings, Green Bay Packers
Jennings had a rough 2012 season, only playing in eight games.

He was unable to pass 500 yards for the first time in his career.

Maybe he had it coming, considering he filmed about 35 'Old **CENSORED**e' commercials before the season started talking about how to be a "great player". (Karma?)

Either way, Jennings finished off the season strong despite a loss to the Vikings, posting two touchdowns and well over 100 yards.

With the emergence of Randall Cobb, it looks like Jennings is the odd man out in Green Bay despite seven long years of success with the team.

2013 Destination: Miami Dolphins

7. CB Brent Grimes, Atlanta Falcons
Let's take a break from the wide receiver shuffle, and take a trip to Atlanta, where one of the top NFL cornerbacks will be a free agent when his team's season is over.

After suffering a gruesome Achillies injury, Grimes sat out for just about the whole year.

Thankfully Asante Samuel was able to step in and help lead the Falcons to an impressive 13-3 record.

Grimes will return to full health (hopefully) in the offseason, but it would be hard for him to ask for top dollar after suffering a season-ending injury.

Plus, why would you want to leave a team that has made it to the Playoffs three years in a row?

2013 Destination: Atlanta Falcons

6. WR Wes Welker, New England Patriots

Welker, at the ripe age of 32, just put together his second-consecutive (fifth overall) season with over 100 catches and 1,000 receiving yards.

He's one of - if not the best - slot receivers in the league and he uses his height and speed to his advantage as he easily gets past defenders on a daily basis.

Welker's age would normally present a problem in terms of getting a big contract, but he's going to be among the top players available.

Welker has proved year in and year out, that despite being an 'over-the-middle' guy, he can still take the big hits like everyone else.

New England is a full-house and I have a hard time believing Welker will return ever since Tom Brady found out what a tight end is.

It's more than possible though, that Welker returns to New England for another year.

2013 Destination(s): New England Patriots, Cleveland Browns

5. OT Jake Long, Miami Dolphins

Jake Long has most definitely lived up to the No. 1 pick he was supposed to be during his time in Miami.

After an injury however in the middle of the 2012 season, Long's value may have dropped (even if just a little).

Long demanded an outrageous amount of money last year, but he can still get a pretty penny despite the gruesome injury.

I don't think Miami will be coughing up the money though, considering how badly they need to revamp their receiving corps, and freeing up a big contract like Long would allow them to do wonders for their team.

Don't doubt it though, only four years into his All-Pro career, Long has more than enough left in the tank.

2013 Destination: Philadelphia Eagles

4. WR Victor Cruz, New York Giants

Victor Cruz seriously came out of nowhere in the 2011 season when he torched the Philadelphia Eagles for two touchdowns on the road to his first Super Bowl title.

After his second consecutive 1,000-yard season and first double digit touchdown season, Victor Cruz is the No. 1 wide receiver on the free agency bill.

Cruz has made himself an icon in New York so I can't imagine him leaving the 'Big Blue' after just two seasons as a starter.

Who knows though, maybe he wants the role of the No. 1 receiver, and Hakeem Nicks isn't ready to give it up.

I can think of one team that could use his talents, if he were to leave the Giants...

2013 Destination: New York Jets

3. OT Ryan Clady, Denver Broncos
Ryan Clady is the primary reason Peyton Manning didn't spend the season on IR.

He is easily one of the most talented linemen in the league, and long story short, the Broncos would be complete idiots (like not going for it with 50 seconds left and two timeouts heading into overtime) if they were to let go of Ryan Clady.

If they value Peyton Manning at all, they have to keep Clady, no matter the price.

2013 Destination: Denver Broncos

2. QB Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens

Before last night's (1/12) playoff game against Denver, I had Flacco rated near the bottom of the list, but I figured I'd better just wait for the game to end since I would be writing about him

Good thing I did.

Flacco had the unfortunate task of having to take on Von Miller and the Broncos' defense on a chilly Saturday eve.
Against a Broncos' defense that was 10th against the pass, Flacco threw for 331 yards and three touchdowns against zero interceptions.

Any questions about Flacco being an elite quarterback have seemed to fade away, and it is now a fact that Joe Flacco is a top NFL quarterback.

Flacco will retire a Raven.

2013 Destination: Baltimore Ravens

1. FS Jairus Byrd, Buffalo Bills

As a Philadelphia Eagles fan, and someone who knows how awful the secondary of the Eagles is, I have been personally blowing up Byrd's Twitter account begging him to come to the City Of Brotherly Love.

It is a stretch though, that Byrd leaves Buffalo, a city that is in love with him.

Why wouldn't they be? He's obviously the biggest play-maker on their team.

His 2012 stats: 76 tackles, four forced fumbles, and five interceptions.

Clearly, Byrd has a knack for the ball. His whole career he has been known as the ball-hawking freak, but rarely gets credit for being the big hitter he is (10 total forced fumbles in last three years).

Wherever Byrd winds up, he will bring drastic improvement and incredible skill with him.

2013 Destination(s): Buffalo Bills, Philadelphia Eagles, Green Bay Packers


Lord Jenkins

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#1 : January 18, 2013, 12:23:14 AM

If we get Grimes, Long and Byrd I won't whine about a TE in the first x)


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#2 : January 18, 2013, 12:27:54 AM

Gas up the Brinks truck Dom. We want Jarius Byrd.

I would try to see what would it take to sign Mike Wallace too. Especially coming off a down year for him.


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#3 : January 18, 2013, 12:36:27 AM

Welker, Byrd, and a first round corner would be awesome.

Naismith was right about Revis. Everyone else is a dummy.

The Anti-Java

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Posts : 23376
#4 : January 18, 2013, 02:03:52 AM

I think most of those guys will get tagged or resigned.

I am not a big Grimes fan.

Long is/was a helluva player, but who knows if he is 100% healthy. If he is healthy, I would think they tag him.

Welker is getting up there in age.

sig pic by chace1986

\\\\\\\"Java, do you understand this a perfect example of why people beg me to suspend or ban you on a daily basis? Are you actually trying to make a point? Seriously what is the reason for even commenting. In fact why do you even bother coming to the boards? What happened to the intelligent poster from years ago?  A real shame. Like the Bucs yesterday, a wasted effort.\\\\\\\"


Second String

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#5 : January 18, 2013, 03:39:05 AM

If they tag Long, that means that Randy Starks and Sean Smith probably become available


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#6 : January 18, 2013, 05:29:49 AM

I can't see Buffalo letting Jairus Byrd escape, they will have plenty of cap to resign him. Grimes is probably gone, but who knows what he will be like after his injury. Wallace is gone in Pittsburgh.


User is banned from postingMuted
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#7 : January 18, 2013, 05:47:46 AM

 Welker to leaving Tom Brady and Bill Belicheck would be such a stupid move for him.

Best to stay, even if it means taking a big pay cut.


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#8 : January 18, 2013, 08:33:31 AM

These lists are worthless until the franchise tags are done.


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#9 : January 18, 2013, 08:36:14 AM

Mike Wallace to the Panthers would be huge. I don't see the Giants giving up Cruz. I don't see it.


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#10 : January 18, 2013, 10:25:24 AM

I can't see Jake Long going anywhere. If he wasn't tagged I would hand him the check book though.

Would love Grimes and Byrd as well, I can see Grimes here.


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Posts : 13437
#11 : January 18, 2013, 10:29:02 AM

Gas up the Brinks truck Dom. We want Jarius Byrd.

No joke. Get Byrd in here ASAP. At least then we'll have one "baller" back at S. 

Unfortunately...he will probably get tagged.


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#12 : January 18, 2013, 10:40:12 AM

I can't see Jake Long going anywhere. If he wasn't tagged I would hand him the check book though.

Would love Grimes and Byrd as well, I can see Grimes here.

Long has really, really fallen off. I will say this, and tremble at how low my opinion of him has sunk if you know my thoughts on this player, I don't think he is better than Penn at this stage.

All posts are opinions in case you are too stupid to figure that out on your own without me saying it over and over.



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#13 : January 18, 2013, 11:36:17 AM

I'll be damned if Mike Wallace goes to Carolina


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#14 : January 18, 2013, 11:47:30 AM

I can't see Jake Long going anywhere. If he wasn't tagged I would hand him the check book though.

Would love Grimes and Byrd as well, I can see Grimes here.

Long has really, really fallen off. I will say this, and tremble at how low my opinion of him has sunk if you know my thoughts on this player, I don't think he is better than Penn at this stage.
And plus they drafted Martin last year in the 2nd round who is a bad fit at RT at this very second. Reggie Bush needs a new contract, Sean Smith while overrated is a UFA too and has a lot of promise.  Long isn't a good fit for Miami anymore. They aren't a power-schematic running team anymore so I fully expect them to let Long walk or at least try to trade him. They are working on an extension for Rashad Jones this second and still have cap space to fill in the void for a true #1.

I really wouldn't mind Byrd but he is overrated as well. Makes good plays in coverage but takes poor angles in pursuit. Great athlete, rangy, long, and fast but he will come at a hefty price and be overpaid - and no way BUF doesn't tag him. I rather go after Goldson and Grimes to fix our secondary needs.
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