2009 NFL Free Agents
By: Greg Davis
Kurt Warner, UFA, Arizona Cardinals
The former MVP and Super Bowl winner is having a resurgent season in Arizona. He has 3,155 yards passing through ten games, having thrown 20 touchdowns to just seven interceptions. He has also posted a passer rating of 105.5. His yardage total is second in all of the NFL, while his touchdown total is second in the league and the passer rating is easily tops in the game. Warner will be looking for an extension from the team shortly, but if both sides can’t agree to a deal, Warner will still earn good money on the market even for an older player.
Matt Cassel, UFA, New England Patriots
While he was inconsistent for a majority of the season, Cassel has come on strong the past couple of weeks. It appears as though he has adjusted to being a starter. He has reached the 400-yard passing mark the past two games and tallied six touchdowns to just one interception in that time. His passer rating for the season is 90.5 and he has a decent touchdown to interception ratio for a first time starter. Cassel may continue being a backup in New England, but if he keeps playing as well as he has lately, a team may risk luring him away in hopes he can be a legitimate starter.
Jeff Garcia, UFA, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Garcia could retire at season’s end given that he is nearing forty years of age, but many expected he would have hung up his cleats by now already. The veteran just keeps going and is playing to keep his team in games. He had a strong showing in Philadelphia in ’06 and last season the veteran passer threw for over 2,400 yards and 13 touchdowns in 13 games. This season, he has thrown for just over 1,600 yards and only five touchdowns in seven games, but he has only three total turnovers. He may be asked to stick around somewhere in the league for another season.
Rex Grossman, UFA, Chicago Bears
With all of the criticism that Grossman has had to face, he did lead a Bears team that reached a Super Bowl in ’06. During that season he threw for over 3,100 yards and 23 touchdowns; he also turned the ball over 25 times. Grossman lost his starting role to Kyle Orton this season and has thrown just 62 passes, completing only 32 and having a pair of touchdowns and picks. Grossman appears headed towards being a career backup.
Kyle Boller, UFA, Baltimore Ravens
Boller has never lived up to the hype that came with him when he was placed on the injured reserve this season. In five seasons of earning sporadic playing time, Boller has thrown more touchdowns than picks just twice. The presence of Joe Flacco and Troy Smith almost guarantee that Boller will be gone after the season, and it is hard to imagine that he’ll be given a shot at starting anywhere. Like Grossman, he seems destined to be a career backup.
Charlie Batch, UFA, Pittsburgh Steelers
Kerry Collins, UFA, Tennessee
J.P. Losman, UFA, Buffalo Bills
Patrick Ramsey, UFA, Denver Broncos
2009 NFL Free Agent Running Backs
Brandon Jacobs, UFA, New York Giants
Jacobs is a tough runner, and that type of running kept him from being on the field in parts of the two seasons prior to 2008. This season, Jacobs has seen action in every game, and while carries are limited at times, he has still been able to rush for 879 yards and score 11 touchdowns. Jacobs was injured in the Giants most recent game, so the team will monitor his situation closely. He averaged five yards a carry during the Giants Super Bowl season, gaining over 1,000 yards in just 11 games and is averaging well over five yards a carry this season. He is a quality goal line back, but has become more than that. Derrick Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw contribute to New York’s backfield as well, so while the team likely wants Jacobs to stick around, Jacobs could have other plans and may bolt for a team willing to give him more of the carries. There will be some tough decisions concerning the Giants backfield and who will play what role in the future.
Maurice Morris, UFA, Seattle Seahawks
Morris has always been a back under the radar—mainly because he was backing up Shaun Alexander for a period—but he has good vision and speed. He cracked the 100-yard mark in week twelve for the first time since week ten of the ’06 season. He is receiving limited carries but has averaged more than five yards per rush and may be a useful backup come next season. Seattle has a lot of questions to answer and Morris may not be in the plans for the future.
Ricky Williams, UFA, Miami Dolphins
Williams has shown flashes of the back that he was in his early days, but he has been inconsistent and less than impressive most of the time. Williams is over 30 and not likely to be a starter with anyone, but he gets a mention because of his controversial past. There is a team out there that will take a chance on him if the Dolphins are unwilling to retain his services. Look for Williams to try and land somewhere as a backup.
Darren Sproles, UFA, San Diego Chargers
Sproles is a spark plug of a runner, who doesn’t shy away from contact and has excellent speed. He has done most of his work on special teams, where he is averaging more than 25 yards per kick return and almost 11 yards per punt return. Sproles’ best hope is to be a number two back while doing the special teams work as well; that’s just the position he finds himself in with the Chargers. Sproles will likely stay unless a team offers him a chance at a starting role. Michael Turner has found some success having left San Diego, but Sproles doesn’t have the same skill set.
Other Running Backs
J.J. Arrington, UFA, Arizona Cardinals
Correll Buckhalter, UFA, Philadelphia Eagles
Jesse Chatman, UFA, New York Jets
Heath Evans, UFA, New England Patriots
Rudi Johnson, UFA, Detroit Lions
LaMont Jordan, UFA, New England Patriots
Ryan Moats, UFA, Philadelphia Eagles
Dominic Rhodes, UFA, Indianapolis Colts
Aaron Stecker, UFA, New Orleans Saints
Derrick Ward, UFA, New York Giants
2009 NFL Free Agent Receivers
T.J. Houshmandzadeh, UFA, Cincinnati Bengals
A Pro Bowl player, Houshmandzadeh is one of the league’s top receivers and arguably the best number two receiver in the entire league. A seventh round selection, Houshmandzadeh now has more than 5,600 career receiving yards. Amazingly, he has increased his reception and touchdowns totals in each of his six seasons and is coming off of a league-leading 112 receptions with 12 touchdowns. Also, he has been able to put up strong numbers this season even without Carson Palmer throwing to him for most of this season. He may once again reach a triple-digit total for receptions and might also break the 1,000-yard plateau for the third straight season. Losing Houshmandzadeh would be a major setback for Cincinnati. Look for the Bengals to make every effort to retain and possibly promote Houshmanzadeh.
Bobby Engram, UFA, Seattle Seahawks
Engram likely won’t be the most desired receiver on the market this offseason, but he will provide a veteran option for team’s looking to add experience with their youth and others. Engram has an injury history that has caused him to miss a fair amount of time, but he’s been a solid receiver when healthy. His 2007 campaign was the best of his career. His 94 receptions helped him rack up 1,147 yards and six touchdowns without a strong running game supporting the offense. In six games this season, he has 22 receptions for 222 yards, but no trips to the endzone. With his history of injury and a struggling offensive unit not helping his numbers, he’ll likely wind up back in Seattle with his career closer to the end than the beginning.
Devery Henderson, UFA, New Orleans Saints
Henderson’s career high in receptions may be 32, but he’s a deep threat and seems to make big plays almost on a weekly basis when things are clicking. He’s had at least three scores in each season of his four-year career and is currently on pace to surpass his career high of 745 yards receiving that he posted in ’06. If the Saints let Henderson go, someone may give him a shot at a bigger role.
Shaun McDonald, UFA, Detroit Lions
McDonald has had to play behind the likes of Torry Holt, Roy Williams, and Calvin Johnson during his six seasons. He hasn’t been spectacular, but he has shown that he can be a quality receiver. He had a career-high with 79 receptions last season with the Lions and converted six of them into touchdowns. His numbers have dropped this season as the entire team has struggled, but considering his situation, 35 catches for 332 yards isn’t a poor showing. McDonald has the ability to be a solid number two, and chances are he’ll look to play for a more competitive team.
Other Wide Receivers
Hank Baskett, RFA, Philadelphia Eagles
Jabar Gaffney, UFA, New England Patriots
Dante' Hall, UFA, St. Louis Rams
Sam Hurd, UFA, Dallas Cowboys
Brandon Jones, UFA, Tennessee Titans
Ashley Lelie, UFA, San Francisco *****
Koren Robinson, UFA, Green Bay Packers
Amani Toomer, UFA, New York Giants
Roydell Williams, UFA, Tennessee Titans
Cedrick Wilson, UFA, Pittsburgh Steelers
Other Tight Ends
Owen Daniels, UFA, Houston Texans
Will Heller, UFA, Seattle Seahawks
Eric Johnson, UFA, New Orleans Saints
Jeff King, RFA, Carolina Panthers
Jim Kleinsasser, UFA, Minnesota Vikings
Leonard Pope, UFA, Arizona Cardinals
Daniel Wilcox, UFA, Baltimore Ravens
L.J. Smith, UFA, Philadelphia
Bo Scaife, UFA, Tennessee
2009 NFL Free Agent Offensive Linemen
Matt Birk, UFA, Minnesota Vikings
Birk is a Pro Bowl center who has gotten the job done for the Vikings for the last decade. He’s fairly athletic for a lineman and is playing alongside another great lineman, guard Steve Hutchinson, making Birk’s life even easier on the field. He’s grounded in Minnesota, so the chances of him choosing to leave seem slim at the moment. However, Minnesota is grooming John Sullivan in hopes that he will eventually replace Birk.
Mike Goff, UFA, San Diego Chargers
While the Chargers would probably prefer to keep Goff, the franchise has been effective in drafting and developing linemen and might look for Goff’s replacement at a better price. Goff has been a leader who simply goes about his business and players like running back Ladainian Tomlinson have benefited from his level of play. Goff has played for a quality line for some time and he’s a big part of the equation when it comes to success.
Jordan Gross, UFA, Carolina Panthers
A first round pick in 2003, Gross earned a starting role in his rookie season and held that role as a tackle for the entire season. His ability to step in and play well right away paid off for the Panthers, as the team put together a run to an NFC Championship. He’s continued being a starter since that rookie season and is a solid player. Carolina slapped the franchise tag on him for this season, and chances are he will be another team come ’09.
Mark Tauscher, UFA, Green Bay Packers
Tauscher is a seventh round pick that became a success story. In his first season in the NFL, he was forced into a starting role because of an injury to another player. Tauscher isn’t an elite player, but he is solid in his role as a starter and hasn’t missed a game since 2002. Tauscher could be at the top of many team’s lists because he could come cheaper than some of the other free agent lineman, but could be nearly or equally effective.
Other Offensive Lineman
Stacy Andrews, UFA, Cincinnati Bengals
Khalif Barnes, UFA, Jacksonville Jaguars
Jordan Black, UFA, Houston Texans
Jason Brown, UFA, Baltimore Ravens
Vernon Carey, UFA, Miami Dolphins
Jahri Evans, UFA, New Orleans Saints
George Foster, UFA, Detroit Lions
Chris Gray, UFA, Seattle Seahawks
Pete Kendall, UFA, Washington Redskins
Seth McKinney, UFA, Cleveland Browns
Jon Runyan, UFA, Philadelphia Eagles
Jeff Saturday, UFA, Indianapolis Colts
Marvel Smith, UFA, Pittsburgh Steelers
Tra Thomas, UFA, Philadelphia Eagles
Fred Weary, UFA, Houston Texans
John Welbourn, UFA, Kansas City Chiefs
2009 NFL Free Agent Defensive Linemen
Julius Peppers, UFA, Carolina Panthers
A freakish athlete, Peppers struggled in ’07, but has come back strong in ’08. Teams will be lining up to try and lure him away from Carolina with a huge contract offer. The 6’7” end has nine sacks and five forced fumbles through ten games. He could be the top free agent player as teams look to add an end that has had double-digit sack totals four times in six seasons, including 13 in ’06. He also has four career interceptions and has been making quarterback’s lives miserable since he entered the league. Peppers probably shouldn’t be able to do some of the things that he can and many teams would prefer to have those things happening for them rather than against them.
Albert Haynesworth, UFA, Tennessee Titans
Haynesworth has had his share of controversy surrounding him, but lately he’s turned things around and has focused on simply playing the game. He has improved upon his ’07 season when he made six sacks and 40 tackles in 13 games. Through week eleven he has 39 tackles, seven sacks, and two forced fumbles. The Titans look like a different team on defense depending on whether or not Haynesworth is on the field; with him on the field they are one of the best defenses in the league because of the pressure he took off of others. Expect Tennessee to work hard to keep him in hopes that he continues to bolster their defensive play as a whole.
Terrell Suggs, UFA, Baltimore Ravens
Being a converted linebacker has helped Suggs become a defensive end that can track the ball above average. In his first five seasons, Suggs had 299 tackles and 45 sacks to his credit. Through eleven weeks of the current season he is putting together another strong showing with 47 tackles, five sacks, and two interceptions. Suggs may not be as rewarded as Peppers or Haynesworth will be in free agency, but he will certainly be pursued by a number of teams who want to save a little money and still come away with a quality defensive end. Baltimore is constantly pumping out quality defensive players, so they may not be willing to match a big offer if one comes along, but they will miss Suggs if they lose him.
Bertrand Berry, UFA, Arizona Cardinals
Berry has four sacks and two forced fumbles for the Cardinals in eight games of action. He may not be the most coveted potential free agent at his position, but he’s definitely effective when he’s healthy and playing his best. He’ll be looked at as a role player on the market and there’s a decent chance that the Cardinals will move on.
Other Defensive Linemen
Jonathan Babineaux, UFA, Atlanta Falcons
Rocky Bernard, Seattle Seahawks
Kevin Carter, UFA, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Chris Canty, UFA, Dallas Cowboys
Shaun Cody, UFA, Detroit Lions
Jovan Haye, UFA, Tampa Bay Bucs
Tank Johnson, UFA, Dallas Cowboys
John Thornton, UFA, Cincinnati Bengals
Marcus Tubbs, UFA, Seattle Seahawks
2009 NFL Free Agent Linebackers
Ray Lewis, UFA, Baltimore Ravens
With over 1,500 tackles, 31 sacks, and 28 interceptions during his 13 seasons, Lewis isn’t just a Pro Bowl player and Super Bowl winner, but also a future Hall of Famer. Since entering the league, Lewis has been a force and helped the Ravens to be one of the league’s best defensive units year in and year out. He’s been in Baltimore his entire career so it’s hard to imagine him with another franchise. The Ravens will make him an offer that should lock him up until almost the end of his career and rumor has it that he is close to signing an extension.
Eric Barton, UFA, New York Jets
While Barton’s ’07 productionwas down, he was playing for a defense that didn’t get much help from the offensive unit. Brett Favre’s arrival has improved the offense, which has also helped alleviate pressure on the defense. Barton made 100 tackles and 4.5 sacks in ’06, probably his best season since he left Oakland, and he is on a similar pace this season with 73 tackles and 1.5 sacks through ten games. There are a fair amount of teams that could look to acquire Barton and save some money.
Karlos Dansby, UFA, Arizona Cardinals
Dansby is becoming a consistent linebacker in the NFL. In his last three full seasons, he has tackle totals of 89, 82, and 99. He has also tallied at least three sacks in each of his five seasons as a pro. His three interceptions last season tied a career high and Dansby is young and athletic. So far in ’08, he has made a pair of picks, has three sacks, and has made 70 tackles. He isn’t in the same class as some of the linebackers on this list, but he may eventually be pretty close. Dansby will appeal to several teams because of his age, size, and potential.
Mike Peterson, UFA, Jacksonville Jaguars
Peterson had played in just 15 games over the course of the last two seasons, but he played ina ll but one game this season. When healthy, he is one of the better middle linebackers around. He has six seasons in triple-digit tackles and the three seasons he failed to reach that mark were injury-shortened years. In ’05, his most recent full season, he also had six sacks and three interceptions. His health concerns will scare some teams away, but Peterson may still have some quality seasons left in him.
Bart Scott, UFA, Baltimore Ravens
Even though Scott was an undrafted free agent, he has managed to become a quality linebacker. While he has benefited from playing alongside Pro Bowlers like Ray Lewis, he has also helped them benefit from his own contributions. He had just one sack last season as the Ravens defense struggled more than usual, but he showed in ’06 that he is capable of over 100 tackles and 9.5 sacks. He has added a sack in ’08 and has 50 tackles at this point. The Ravens will probably pay Scott enough to keep him around, but they may let him go if they are unimpressed with his play this year.
Jonathan Vilma, UFA, New Orleans Saints
Vilma has returned from a serious injury and is making a good impression with his new team in New Orleans. He has 79 tackles and an interception through week eleven. Prior to his shortened ’07 season, Vilma had registered 108 tackles or more in three straight seasons, including 173 in ’05; he also has six interceptions in his four seasons of work. Vilma is quick to the ball and consistently makes the right play. At 26 years of age, he will be a point of interest for several teams if he hits the market.
Jordan Beck, UFA, Denver Broncos
Monty Beisel, UFA, Arizona Cardinals
Michael Boley, UFA, Atlanta Falcons
Angelo Crowell, UFA, Buffalo Bills
Channing Crowder, UFA, Miami Dolphins
James Farrior, UFA, Pittsburgh Steelers
Tyjuan Hagler, UFA, Indianapolis Colts
Leroy Hill, UFA, Seattle Sehawks
Willie McGinest, UFA, Cleveland Browns
Carlos Polk, UFA, San Diego Chargers
Sam Williams, UFA, Oakland Raiders
2009 NFL Free Agent Defensive Backs
Nnamdi Asomugha, UFA, Oakland Raiders
Asomugha’s numbers don’t overwhelm other than his eight interceptions in ’06, but the big reason that he has only 241 career tackles and 10 interceptions is because opponents attack the side of the field that Asomugha isn’t on. He has 40 passes defensed over the past three seasons prior to ‘08 and he’s one of the NFL’s best in coverage. He’s held some of the game’s best receivers in check in single coverage and when he becomes a free agent, he may command the most attention of the lot. With the release of DeAngelo Hall, the Oakland may look to pay Asomugha, considering how talented he is.
Mike Brown, UFA, Chicago Bears
When healthy, Brown has proven to be a valuable part of the Bears defense. Brown’s best season was in 2001, when he had five interceptions and three sacks, but he been a steady contributor when he has been in the lineup. In four seasons, from ’04 through ’07, he played in just 21 games. To this point this year, he has a sack and an interception to go along with 55 tackles, while playing in every game. Teams will be concerned about his health history, so Chicago appears to be the right fit for him. However, there are teams willing to take a risk in the NFL, and Brown has been healthy so far this season.
Brian Dawkins, UFA, Philadelphia Eagles
Dawkins has been one of the better safeties in the league for some time now. He’s in his mid-thirties, but he will still be of interest to several teams because of his track record. He has had at least one interception in each year of his 13-year career, and he’s had only one during the two seasons he missed considerable time. As recently as two seasons ago, he had five forced fumbles, four picks, and 98 tackles. While he may not be quite the same player he once was when he becomes a free agent, he’s having a decent season and will probably still be a better option than many other safeties in the league. He’s played in Philadelphia his entire career and chances are it’ll stay that way.
Dawan Landry, RFA, Baltimore Ravens
It is difficult to imagine that the Ravens would let Landry get away considering he is young and showed major potential during his first two seasons in the NFL. Landry, a safety, made a significant impact in his first year when he made 69 tackles and had five interceptions as well as three sacks. While his sacks and interceptions dropped in year two, he tallied 83 tackles, still making plays on the ball but just not coming up with turnovers. He was placed on injured reserve for this season after playing in just two games this year. Landry is athletic and finds the ball well. It’s a safe bet that Baltimore wants to keep him around through his prime.
Dunta Robinson, UFA, Houston Texans
Robinson missed nearly half the season last year, but before he was injured he was being mentioned alongside the top corners in the league, even though he played for a struggling Texans team. He also missed the first five games of this season, but has 18 tackles and a pick in the five games he has played in since. He made a name for himself in his rookie season when he made six interceptions, three sacks, and 88 tackles. Any team would like to have his services in their defensive backfield if he can stay healthy, and if Houston doesn’t start winning, Robinson could look for a change of scenery with a more successful franchise.
Other Defensive Backs
Oshiomogho Atogwe, UFA, St Louis Rams
Tyron Brackenridge, UFA, Kansas City Chiefs
Mike Brown, UFA, Chicago Bears
Phillip Buchanon, UFA, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Chris Gamble, UFA, Carolina Panthers
Jabari Greer, UFA, Buffalo Bills
Rodney Harrison, UFA, New England Patriots
Kelvin Hayden, UFA, Indianapolis Colts
Renaldo Hill, UFA, Miami Dolphins
Daven Holly, UFA, Cleveland Browns
Sean Jones, UFA, Cleveland Browns
Bryant McFadden, UFA, Pittsburgh Steelers
R.W. McQuarters, UFA, New York Giants
Justin Miller, UFA, New York Jets
Lawyer Milloy, UFA, Atlanta Falcons
Deltha O'Neal, UFA, Cincinnati Bengals
Jarrad Page, UFA, Kansas City Chiefs
Jermaine Phillips, UFA, Tampa Bay Bucs
Allen Rossum, UFA, San Francisco *****
Darren Sharper, UFA, Darren Sharper