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Top 2012 DB Free Agents

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Before a year officially ends in the NFL, preparations have already been underway for months as to whom all 32 teams are looking to target for the upcoming draft, and in the free-agent market. While teams still hold rights to franchise tags, and have the ability to retain various players before free agency begins in March, I have a list of the players I feel are top defensive backs listed below.

When free agency opens up I will update this list, and all other positions linked below. Outside of the actual season taking place, the anticipation of free agency has to be one of my favorite times of the year, as NFL Futures will change, not just for the players who sign with new teams – but for their new fellow teammates as well.

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Last Updated – 3/20

Cornerbacks

Player (former team) New Team Notes
Cortland Finnegan (Ten)  Rams,5 yr, 50 million  Finnegan is re-united with former head coach Jeff Fisher. Finally, the Rams have a respectable No.1 corner and he will be an asset against receivers like Larry Fitzgerald, Sidney Rice and Randy Moss.Sure the Rams had to pay a high price for a corner that will be 30 in a couple of years, but that’s what it takes when your one of the worst teams in the league.
Brent Grimes (Atl)  Franchise Tag  Somewhat of a lost year in 2011 with nagging injuries, Grimes should bounce back with another strong year, if healthy in 2012.
Lardarius Webb (Bal)  Tender  Really stepped up for a secondary that needed a youth movement. Hopefully Jimmy Smith will develop this year, giving the Ravens to solid corners, allowing Ed Reed to roam around freely.
Brandon Carr (KC)  Cowboys,5 yr, 50.1 million  Coming off a great year with the Chiefs, Brandon Carr remains in a 3-4 defensive scheme with the Cowboys. Dallas was hot for Carr after they released Terence Newman a few days ago.This is a solid addition for a secondary that needed talented youth.
Carlos Rogers (SF)  Re-Signed4 yr, 29.3 million  This was a must sign in my opinion as Rogers was a terrific addition to this secondary, a year ago.
Richard Marshall  Dolphins3 yr, 16 million  A respectable No.2 corner opposite Davis, Marshall will give up some big plays however.

 

Terrell Thomas  Re-Signed  If Thomas can return to the form he had before his ACL tear in August, he would be higher on this list. Thomas will be a nice addition back to New York, even if he’s the No.3 corner this year.

 

Tim Jennings  Re-Signed  Respectable No.2 corner, however he tends to struggle at the line with receivers, and is prone to big plays.
William Gay
Aaron Ross  Jaguars3 yr One day the Jaguars will actually figure out that to have solid corners, you have to go out and get the top talent in the draft or free agency.Ross will help ensure the Jaguars have an average defense against the pass once again.

 

 

Safeties

Player (former team) New Team Notes
Tyvon Branch (Oak)  Franchise Tag  At least the Raiders have held onto Branch, but I’m not impressed with the changes going on in Oakland. Branch should be one of the teams top tacklers again, as they switch to a 3-4 base.
Dashon Goldson (SF)  Franchise Tag  Goldson really had a nice year, and his Pro Bowl birth was a reflection of that. San Francisco has done a great job of holding onto key defensive talent this off-season, and Goldson is set up to make plays, once again.
Michael Griffin (Ten)  Franchise Tag  Griffin has proven to be a reliable veteran, so this is a solid hold on the Titans part.
LaRon Landry (Was)  Jets1yr, 4 million  After a monster start to the 2010 season, Landry hasn’t been the same after an Achilles injury. Why the heck he decided to bulk up as big as he has this off-season is beyond me, but I can’t imagine it will help relive stress on his Achillie tendon.In the end, the Jets are taking a chance on Landry with a one-year deal, but at least Landry will play in a scheme that runs some 3-4 fronts.

 

Thomas DeCoud (Fal)  Re-Signed5 yr, 17.5 million Not sure DeCoud was worth 5 years but for the price it wasn’t that bad. DeCoud will help in run support, but with Newton, Brees and now Vincent Jackson in Tampa Bay, the deep ball will continue to be a problem for Atlanta, with DeCoud in the backfield.

 

Reggie Nelson (Cin) Re-Signed  Nelson had his ups and downs last year, but he’s a playmaker and will remain in the secondary for the Bengals.
Brodney Pool (NYJ) Cowboys
Jim Leonhard (NYJ)
Dwight Lowery (Jac)  Re-Signed While I’m not in love with the Ross signing, keeping Lowery is a respectable hold.
Craig Stelz (Chi)

 

Recommended Sites For FA Info: Rotoworld | Pro Football Focus | Walter Football | Football’s Future

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