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Linebackers, cornerbacks flooding the market


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from http://nfl.com/news/story/9290309


Linebackers, cornerbacks flooding the market


By Pat Kirwan

NFL.com Senior Analyst


(March 7, 2006) -- Every NFL player dreams of the day he hits free agency as a healthy productive athlete ready to test the market. Things really have to be just right for even the good players to cash in on their big opportunity.


Former Saints center LeCharles Bentley, for instance, is hitting free agency at the perfect time. He's young, talented and no matter who comes on to the free-agency scene late because of a salary-cap purge, he will be the lead player to get signed to a big deal from the centers this year.


The same cannot be said at other positions. I like to keep a close eye on which positions are sitting pretty and which ones are at some risk.


The flood of players at linebacker and cornerback should make it a buyer's market at those positions. Compounding the recent release of many players at these two positions is the fact that both positions seem to be fairly strong in the draft. The laws of economics have not been as kind to the linebackers and corners as they have been to Bentley and quarterback Drew Brees. Teams will be lined up at their door throwing money at those two, but the corners and linebackers may have to go door to door themselves.


Two weeks ago, linebackers like Will Witherspoon, Akin Ayodele and Ben Leber, among others, were just getting ready for teams to bid for their services. Then the NFL headed off to Indianapolis for the Scouting Combine, and as 49ers head coach Mike Nolan and Steelers director of football operations Kevin Colbert told me, the linebackers in the draft class of 2006 has quality depth in the group. That's not a great sign for the 'backers getting ready for free agency. A.J. Hawk (Ohio State), DeMeco Ryans (Alabama), Chad Greenway (Iowa), Kamerion Wimbley (Florida State), Ernie Sims (Florida State) and Bobby Carpenter (Ohio State) all caught the eye of NFL decision-makers in Indy. If that weren't bad enough timing for the prospective free agents, things got worse this week for the men who play right behind the defensive line.


With teams all around the NFL trying to figure out how to get under the salary cap, several linebackers were released and joined the free-agent pool. In fact, LaVar Arrington paid the Redskins $4 million to leave Washington and join the free-agent market. He joined Junior Seau, Kenard Lang, Barrett Green, Brandon Short, Shawn Barber, Jamie Sharper, Na'il Diggs, Chris Claiborne and Gary Stills, all of whom didn't have to pay a dime to join the ranks of the unemployed. Witherspoon is still going to make more money than he ever did in his life, but teams around the league have a lot more choices when free agency starts up later this week than some might have expected.


As for the cornerbacks, they have to be feeling the same pinch. A few short weeks ago, Charles Woodson and Will Allen watched Nate Clements get a franchise tag and the path looked wide open to big contracts. Then the Combine produced a number of interesting prospects with size or speed or both. Jimmy Williams (Virginia Tech), Tye Hill (Clemson), Ashton Youboty (Ohio State), Kelly Jennings (Miami) and Johnathan Joseph (South Carolina) are all receiving first-round grades in some draft rooms.


Adding more big-time pressure to the top corners hoping to cash in when free agency starts is the number of colleagues released in recent days. It may be an understatement to say the corner market is flooded right now, but teams have choices and that lowers the price. Now joining Woodson and Allen are Ty Law, Sam Madison, Duane Starks, Ahmed Plummer, Reggie Howard, Dexter McCleon, Eric Warfield and Andre Dyson and there are sure to be more to follow.


Timing is everything in free agency. Teams will overpay for certain positions if the market is barren, but if it is plentiful, not even the aggressive owners and general managers will spend like there is no tomorrow.


this is very good for the Giants


by the way, you can add D'Qwell Jackson (Maryland), Thomas Howard (UTEP) and Manny Lawson (North Carolina State) as rookies who impressed at the combine. Combined with the rookies mentioned in the article, thats 9 rookie LBs with legitimate first round LB talent.



It means that the veteran free agent LBs and CBs will be alot cheaper to sign than they will in other years

Edited by BigPete
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I think with the overwhelming amount of talent and potential out there we could find someone who is just as talented and smarter than Arrington for much cheaper too. I think money could be spent much better elsewhere. Defensive tackle or wide receiver to name two spots. This is assuming, of course, that we our first priority is CB.

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here is what we should consider, sign Arrington to a contract like Antonio Pierce's


draft a quality development WLB to develop behind him such as Manny Lawson




If Arrington works out, thats great. We have a probowl WLB and a stud OLB for the future developing behind him. It also means that we can release Emmons in 2007. Also Torbor is a RFA after 2006, so there is no guarantee he will be back after 2007


If Arrington doesn't work out, we have the cap room to do something about it and we have a stud WLB waiting in the wings.


Lawson will take a year or two to develop, but he will add competition for Arrington and ensure he works hard for the team.

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In free agency, I'd like to pick up a CB (like Sam Madison, Ronde Barber, Ricky Manning Jr., or Ike Taylor)

I'd also like to see an Outside Linebacker (like Witherspoon, Arrington, Peterson, June). And we'd also want a safety (like Chavous, Archuleta, Hope).


That's 3 free agents that are fairly big names, which might and might not be do-able depending on the contracts each of them are looking for. We could be easily outbid by many other teams, specifically the Eagles who now have something like 25 million in cap space, so the extra 10 million we got doesn't mean that will be able to splurge, because obviously, every team got that same 10 million. Basically, the extra 10 mil will allow us to sign our own free agents if we choose to do so as well as pursue a few free agents. I just don't think that we all the options out there that bringing in 3 guys will be that difficult.


1st round, for Linebacker


--Ernie Sims

--DeMeco Ryans

--Bobby Carpenter

(Although from what I've read about Lawson, I wouldn't be opposed to him either)


2nd round, for Defensive Tackle


--Claude Wroten

--Rodirique Wright


3rd Round, for Cornerback


--Anwar Phillips

--Will Blackmon


4th Round, for Wide Receiver


--Cory Rodgers

--Devin Aromashodu

--Brandon Marshall

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