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Top 2012 DL 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 linemen 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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Free Agents By Position - QB | RB | WR | TE | OL | DL | LB | DB |

Last Updated – 3/20

DE

Player (former team) New Team Notes
Mario Williams (Hou)  Bills6 yr, 100 million  Great move for a franchise that needed a big name free agent to come to town. It’s been awhile since a prominent player has signed in Buffalo, and hopefully this will bring some added energy to the franchise.Moving back to a 4-3 base, Williams will play with a hand down, as an end, but if Buffalo should use some 3-4 at times, he can play linebacker as well.
Jeremy Mincey (Jac)  Re-Signed  Mincey really had a good year for Jacksonville last year, and his energy would’ve been sorely missed if he left. Staying with the Jaguars, helps this team have a chance to compete in future years.
Cliff Avril (Det)  Franchise Tag  A little overrated, but the Lions love to bring pressure from their front four, and Avril will give them that. Just don’t expect much else.
Michael Bennett (TB)  Tender Bennett has proven his worth as a legit starting end in a 4-3 base scheme, after last years’ performance.
John Abraham (Atl)  Re-Signed 3yr  Abraham is still an effective edge rusher but one has to wonder how much does he have left.
Robert Mathis (Ind)  Re-Signed 4 yr, 36 million  I was a little surprised to see this move, as the Colts are sure to play in more 3-4 looks this year with Chuck Pagano in town.Mathis is almost certain to pickup linebacker eligibility in IDP leagues, but hopefully he will keep his D-line status after this year.Either way, Mathis should still find the quarterback, whether his plays hand up or down.
Andre Carter (NE)
Anthony Spencer (Dal)  Franchise Tag  At age 28, perhaps the Cowboys are thinking Spencer is worth a little more cash in the short term, because they feel he won’t hold up in a 3-4 long term.
Mark Anderson (NE)
Israel Idonije (Chi)  re-signed 1 yr  Missing out on Williams and Mincey was a blow for the Bears, so don’t be surprised if they use a high round draft pick to bring in competition for Idonije.The veteran will likely begin the year as a starter, but may regress as the year goes on.

DT

Player (former team) New Team Notes
Calais Campbell (Ari)  Franchise Tag  The Cardinals defense played well down the stretch last year, and losing Campbell would be a blow to the front line.Keeping Campbell around, insures that  Cardinals should have a chance to post a winning record in 2012.
Sione Pouha (NYJ)  Re-Signed3 yr  The Jets moved some money around to keep Pouha in house with a three year deal. Pouha is a valuable piece to the Jets defense, and while he’s 31 years old, he doesn’t have much wear and tear.
Jason Jones (Ten)  Seahawks1 yr  A better fit at defensive tackle, Jones should have a productive year in Seattle. This will be a solid front line, and a defense to watch-out for if they put things together on the back end.

 

Paul Soliai (Mia)  Re-Signed This was considered by many analysts to be a surprise re-sign by the Dolphins. Switching to a 4-3 base, Soliai should be fine as a run plugger, and is a good hold for a respectable defense.
Red Bryant (Sea)  Re-Signed5 yr, 35 million  Solid run stuffer, I’m not sure Bryant was worth the years’ Seattle gave him, but maybe they felt it necessary to pay up, with teams like the Patriots rumored to be targeting him.
Broderick Bunkley (Den)
Antonio Garay (SD)
Shaun Rogers (NO)
Kendall Langford (Mia)
Derek Landri (Phi)
Aubrayo Franklin (NO)

 

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

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