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Shutdown Corner

2014 NFL free-agent rankings (offensive players)

Frank Schwab
Shutdown Corner

At 4 p.m. ET on March 11, the spending spree began. That’s when NFL free agency officially opened. Teams had their wallets ready, with the salary cap increasing past $130 million, and hundreds of free agents available to drop millions on.

Every team hopes that pass rusher or wide receiver they just dropped eight figures on will be the one to push them to the playoffs. There’s a little something for everyone this year, between instant stars and fine young bargains at almost all positions.

Here’s the ranking of every significant offensive free agent (you can find the defensive free agents here) who teams will be clamoring to sign in hopes of building a winner for 2014:

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TIER 1

1. Michael Vick: He's 33 and that 2010 revival season with the Philadelphia Eagles is getting further in the rear-view mirror. But he's still the most exciting player of this group.

2. Josh Freeman: Despite all that went on last year in Tampa Bay and Minnesota, he's still young, was once a first-round pick and has played well at times. Might not be signed as a starter but he's interesting.

3. Josh McCown (SIGNED): The 13:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio with the Chicago Bears came out of nowhere at age 34. He's talked about retiring but will give it another go, this time with the Bucs on a two-year deal.

4. Chad Henne (RE-SIGNED): He's not exciting, but he has recent starting experience. The Jags are bringing him back for a two-year, $8 million deal.

5. Matt Cassel (RE-SIGNED): Was very mediocre in Minnesota last season, but the Vikings are bringing him back on a two-year deal, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

6. Shaun Hill: Has thrown 16 passes in three seasons, which has done nothing to harm his longstanding reputation as a good, solid backup for the Detroit Lions.


TIER 2

7. Tarvaris Jackson (RE-SIGNED): He started 14 games and threw 450 passes for the Seattle Seahawks in 2011, and it's certain he'll never get a shot like that again. But he can hang on for a few years as a backup. He'll be back for a season in Seattle.

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Matt Flynn (USA TODAY Sports)

8. Kellen Clemens (SIGNED): He wasn't all that bad in nine starts with the St. Louis Rams, throwing for 1,673 yards and eight touchdowns, but it's probably for the best if he doesn't get nine starts anymore. He'll be Philip Rivers' backup, getting a two-year deal in San Diego.

9. Matt Flynn: Had one of the all-time great games, a 480-yard, six-touchdown outing against the Lions in the 2011 regular-season finale. He hasn't done anything since, preserving that game as one of the most random great performances in NFL history.

10. Colt McCoy: Great college player who doesn't have the arm to be an NFL starter. But might have another decade as a backup.

11. Rex Grossman: He has been in the NFL for 11 seasons. Hasn't thrown a pass since 2011, but the checks cash the same.

12. David Garrard: Was a fun comeback story, as he was signed by the New York Jets after being out of football for two seasons. But the Jets would like a better backup plan.

 


TIER 3

13. Luke McCown: In 10 seasons, McCown has 2,035 yards and nine touchdowns. He has thrown one pass in the past two seasons.

14. Charlie Whitehurst (SIGNED): Want an odd fact? He has been with the San Diego Chargers for six seasons, and has never thrown a regular-season pass for San Diego. He's moving on to the Titans, who gave him a two-year, $8 million deal.

15. Derek Anderson: Has spent three quiet years in Carolina after the failure in his one Arizona Cardinals season.

16. Dan Orlovsky: Has spent the past two years with Tampa Bay, throwing seven passes.

17. Curtis Painter: Barely played for the New York Giants last year, but still threw two interceptions in 16 attempts.

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Jimmy Clausen (USA TODAY Sports)

18. Jimmy Clausen: He's only 26, and was once well thought of, but hasn't taken a snap in two seasons since an awful rookie season.

19. Brady Quinn: Has been on five teams over the past five seasons. It's still uncertain why he keeps getting work.

20. Seneca Wallace: He was out of football in 2012 but improbably was Green Bay's backup last season at age 33. It wasn't pretty when he appeared in two games after Aaron Rodgers' injury before getting hurt himself.

Last-minute cuts: Brandon Weeden (signed with Cowboys); Jason Campbell.

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TIER 1

1. Ben Tate (SIGNED): Tate is only 25 and has a 4.7-yard career average. But can he stay healthy? It's a big question for the Browns, who signed him to a two-year deal.

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Knowshon Moreno (USA TODAY Sports)

2. Maurice Jones-Drew: You're not buying the longtime Jaguar for the long haul after 1,804 career carries, but he should be good for another year or two. Chalk up a horrible 2013 to being on a toothless Jacksonville team. 

3. Knowshon Moreno: A former first-round pick, Moreno had his best season in 2013 with 1,038 yards and 10 touchdowns. Did being a part of a Peyton Manning offense help? Unquestionably. 

4. Rashad Jennings (SIGNED): He was good for Oakland in the second half after Darren McFadden was hurt. He had 593 yards and six touchdowns in his final eight games. It's probably why the Giants nabbed him.

5. Darren McFadden (RE-SIGNED): The injuries will likely define his career. But the talent is so tempting, and surprisingly enough, he's only 26. Surprisingly, he'll be back in Oakland on a one-year, $4 million deal.

6. LeGarrette Blount: He's limited, but he runs hard. His 166-yard, four-touchdown game in the playoffs will generate some free-agent buzz.

7. Donald Brown (SIGNED): He was mostly a first-round bust in Indianapolis, but averaged 5.3 yards last season on 102 carries and surpassed the disappointing Trent Richardson on the depth chart. Perhaps he'll surpass Ryan Mathews in San Diego, where he got a deal with the Chargers for $10.5 million over four years, according to Pro Football Talk.

8. Toby Gerhart (SIGNED): Has never had more than 109 carries in a season, working behind the incomparable Adrian Peterson. That might be a plus, as the 26-year-old with the 4.7-yard career average doesn't have much mileage on him. He's headed to Jacksonville, getting a three-year, $10.5 million deal, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

9. Andre Brown: He spent time on four teams in 2010 and didn't see any time in 2011, but looked OK the last two years with the Giants. Could contribute for someone.

10. Rashard Mendenhall (RETIRED): He looked lethargic for most of the season in Arizona, averaging 3.2 yards per carry. Could be a reason he called it quits in the league after six years.


 

TIER 2

11. Ahmad Bradshaw (RE-SIGNED): The longtime Giant looked OK for Indianapolis last year until he suffered a season-ending injury, reminding us that health is his biggest problem at this point. Indy is still sticking with him, announcing his return Tuesday.

12. Jonathan Dwyer: He never could quite get it right in Pittsburgh, as questions about weight and desire hovered over him. But he's just 24.

13. James Starks (RE-SIGNED): He hasn't always been great, or healthy, for Green Bay but he has been good at times. He was fantastic for the Packers in the playoffs in 2011 as they won the Super Bowl. He got a one-year deal to stick around.

14. Anthony Dixon: He didn't carry the ball a ton for the San Francisco 49ers, but he's the kind of big, tough and versatile back that is a good fit on any roster.

15. Willis McGahee: A 2.7-yard average on 138 carries with the Cleveland Browns last year probably signals the end is near. But the 8,474 yards he has are way more than many expected after that horrific Fiesta Bowl injury.

16. Brian Leonard: Best known for his receiving and hurdling of defenders, he always seems to find a job. He was a solid contributor for Tampa Bay last season.

17. Ronnie Brown: A 58-yard touchdown in the playoffs for San Diego was his longest run since 2008. He's nothing like the back he was coming out of Auburn, but maybe he can find another job.

18. Peyton Hillis (RE-SIGNED): The desperate Giants gave the faded star a shot, and he was mostly mediocre. Finished with 56 yards on 17 carries in the finale, and maybe that helps him get another contract. He got a two-year deal to stay in New York, the Daily News reported.

19. LaRod Stephens-Howling: Small change-of-pace back has value, but a torn ACL limited him to one game last season and makes his future unclear.


 

TIER 3

20. Leon Washington: Got just one carry between Tennessee and New England last season but usually can find work as a kick returner.

21. Jackie Battle (RE-SIGNED): He's a plodder who has somehow lasted seven years in the NFL. He's safe and reliable which is why he got a one-year deal to stay in Tennessee.

22. Felix Jones: Remember when he was a big-play threat? Two straight seasons with an average of less than 4 yards per carry should signal those days are done.

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Felix Jones (USA TODAY Sports)

23. Deji Karim: Got a few carries late for a depleted Houston Texans team and did OK. Maybe a team gives him a chance to come to camp.

24. Tashard Choice: Once looked like a rising star with the Dallas Cowboys, and three teams later he's just hoping to stick in the league a little longer.

25. Bernard Scott: He spent four years with the Bengals, but his speed never translated into a bigger role, and he had just four carries with the Baltimore Ravens last season.

26. Kahlil Bell: He was with the Packers last season, got in three games but never saw a carry.

Last-minute cuts: Michael Bush.

Notable restricted free agents: Matt Asiata (exclusive rights free agent); Joique Bell (re-signed with Lions); Bobby Rainey (ERFA) Da'Rel Scott;  Alfonso Smith;  Philip Tanner and Jordan Todman (ERFA). 

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1. John Kuhn: A popular player for the Packers since 2007, he always finds his way into a few carries. He has 20 total touchdowns.

2. Greg Jones: It seems like a lifetime ago that he was a dynamic runner at Florida State. He has 17 carries over the past six season, including two with the Texans last year.

3. Chris Pressley: He's a prototypical bruising fullback at 260 pounds. He started 17 games over the past two seasons with Cincinnati.

4. Erik Lorig (SIGNED): Lorig has started 23 games for Tampa Bay over the last three seasons and has zero career carries. He'll prove decent out of the backfield for the Saints, who got him on a four-year deal.

5. Lex Hilliard: A broken scaplula kept him out for the entire 2013 season with the Jets.

6. Michael Robinson: The Seahawks released the popular veteran but re-signed him in October, and he earned a Super Bowl ring.

7. Spencer Larsen: Out of football in 2012, the former Denver Bronco re-emerged with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2013 and played in 13 games.

Last-minute cuts: Vonta Leach; Le'Ron McClain.

Restricted free agents: Jed Collins; Henry Hynoski.

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TIER 1

1. Eric Decker (SIGNED): After 24 touchdowns the past two seasons, he got the Jets to pay him big. Decker's deal is for $36.25 million over five seasons, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.

2. Julian Edelman (RE-SIGNED): Edelman put up the numbers big free-agent addition Danny Amendola was supposed to produce in New England, with 105 catches for 1,056 yards and six touchdowns. He took advantage of the most playing time of his five Patriots seasons, and just before his contract expired. His reward was a four-year deal to stay in Foxborough.

3. Jeremy Maclin (RE-SIGNED): A solid, steady and consistent receiver for his first four Eagles seasons, he tore his ACL in training camp last year and missed all of the 2013 season. He's still a great option at age 25. The Eagles and Maclin reached a one-year deal, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

4. Anquan Boldin (RE-SIGNED): The 49ers stole Boldin in a trade with Baltimore last offseason, and Boldin turned in 1,179 yards and seven touchdowns. San Francisco got the 33-year-old back for a two-year deal, according to CSNBayarea.com's Matt Maiocco.

5. Hakeem Nicks (SIGNED): He's talented, injury prone and picked a terrible time to have a bad season. He had just 896 yards in 15 games. He got a one-year, $4 million deal with the Colts.

6. James Jones (SIGNED): With 37 touchdowns in seven Packers seasons, including 14 in 2012, he'll be an intriguing addition to the Raiders, who got him on a three-year deal.

7. Golden Tate (SIGNED): He has never put up great numbers (64 catches for 898 yards and five touchdowns last year) but that's partially because of Seattle's offensive approach. He'll be Calvin Johnson's sidekick in Detroit, telling ESPN's Josina Anderson that it'll be $31 million for five years.

8. Emmanuel Sanders (SIGNED): He was a rare hot name in restricted free agency last year. Pittsburgh kept him, and he hit the unrestricted market after a fairly disappointing 740-yard, six-touchdown season in 2013. The Broncos got him on a three-year deal valued at $18 million.

9. Andre Roberts (SIGNED): He didn't see that many targets with Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd commanding most of them in Arizona, but he is a reliable third option for any offense. He's going to be a target for Robert Griffin III in Washington, getting a four-year, $16 million deal according to an ESPN report. 

10. Jerricho Cotchery: Grabbing 10 touchdowns for the Steelers before hitting free agency is a nice touch. He's 31 but showed he can still contribute.

11. Jerome Simpson (RE-SIGNED): He had 15.1 yards per catch last season despite Minnesota's treacherous quarterback situation. He'll be back with the Vikings on a one-year deal.


TIER 2

12. Nate Burleson: Was hurt saving a pizza in a car accident and then was cut by the Lions after the season. He's 32, and has had just 701 yards in his past two injury-filled seasons.

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Nate Burleson (USA TODAY Sports)

13. Santana Moss (RE-SIGNED): He'll be 35 by next season and his role and numbers have diminished. But he can still contribute in a certain role. The Redskins are bringing him back on a one-year deal, according to Pro Football Talk.

14. Jacoby Jones (RE-SIGNED): One of Baltimore's Super Bowl heroes from two seasons ago got hurt in the season opener and then didn't have much of a breakout year. Still, he can help the Ravens again as a receiver and a returner. He got a four-year deal valued at $14 million.

15. Kenny Britt: Most likely, his career will be known for unfulfilled promise, thanks to injuries and off-field problems. He had just 96 yards last year. But he's just 25 and someone will take a chance on his massive upside, which he has flashed here and there.

16. Brandon LaFell: He's been maddeningly inconsistent for the Carolina Panthers with drops, which is why he never had a breakout season despite good athleticism and a capable quarterback in Cam Newton. At age 27 he still has time to take the next step, but it's becoming less likely.

17. Ted Ginn: Finally, Ginn showed signs of life as a receiver for Carolina. He had 556 yards, his most since 2008, and a career-best five touchdowns. And, he's still an electric kick returner.

18. Devin Hester: The greatest punt and kickoff returner in NFL history, if Hester's time is up with the Chicago Bears after eight seasons he still has more than enough left at age 31 to help someone else.

19. Dexter McCluster (SIGNED): McCluster seems like a great weapon, but Kansas City never really figured out how to use him. He had just six rushing or receiving touchdowns in four years. The Titans believe it has the answer as they signed him to a three-year deal worth up to $12 million, reports Yahoo Sports' Rand Getlin.

20. Andre Caldwell (RE-SIGNED): Caldwell did have a six-catch, two-touchdown game for the Broncos against San Diego last December. Denver made room for him with a two-year, $3.45 million deal, according to Pro Football Talk.

21. Tiquan Underwood: He has the highest high-top fade in the NFL and maybe America, and he has some value as a player too. In his last game he had five catches for 93 yards and a touchdown, so it might make sense for the Buccaneers to bring him back.

22. Mario Manningham (SIGNED): Injuries have significantly slowed Manningham, who has 1,057 yards over the last three seasons. He had just 85 yards last year as he dealt with knee problems. He returns to the Giants on a one-year deal.

23. Robert Meachem: A massive free-agent bust with San Diego in 2012, Meachem returned to New Orleans and had just 324 yards with the Saints. Don't expect another team to give him a significant contract.

24. Darrius Heyward-Bey: He'll forever be the guy Oakland foolishly took ahead of Michael Crabtree. A 29-catch, 309-yard season with Andrew Luck in Indianapolis wrecked any hope that he could be a late bloomer.

25. Domenik Hixon (SIGNED): His final-minute touchdown for Carolina against the Saints last season won that game, and it was the reason the Panthers won the NFC South. He didn't do much else last season, but has been a good third receiver in the past and might be again for the Bears, who signed him to a one-year deal.

26. Damian Williams: He had a lot of talent coming out of USC but it never materialized in four Tennessee Titans seasons. He had just 178 yards last year. A change of scenery might help.

27. Jacoby Ford: He's small and quick, and at this point maybe his best chance to make an impact is as a returner.

28. Danario Alexander: He has had multiple surgeries on both knees, robbing what might have been a tremendous career. Now he is having complications from his latest ACL reconstruction. He's great when he plays, but that happens very infrequently.


TIER 3

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Concussions have hindered Austin Collie's career. (USA TODAY Sports)

29. Austin Collie: He made a comeback this season, after concussions ended his Colts career. He had just six catches for 63 yards for New England, and faces a long road back to getting his career where it once was.

30. Brandon Tate (RE-SIGNED): He hasn't done much as a receiver, but he averaged 26.1 yards per kickoff return with the Bengals last season. They're bringing him back, reports Yahoo's Rand Getlin

31. Josh Morgan: He's physically imposing at 220 pounds, but has never had his breakout season and regressed last year with just 214 yards with the Redskins.

32. Seyi Ajirotutu: His memorable game-winning touchdown against the Chiefs was one of just three catches all season, but he is a quality special-teams contributor.

33. Louis Murphy: Murphy showed some good things in his first three years with the Raiders, but had just 336 yards with the Panthers in 2012 and 37 with the Giants last season.

34. Joshua Cribbs: His value as a receiver and a gadget player is pretty much done, and if he rebounds it will be because of his ability as a returner.

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Josh Cribbs

35. Kevin Ogletree (RE-SIGNED): He hasn't done much since leaving the Cowboys two years ago, and had just 199 yards for Detroit last year. He got a one-year deal with the Lions.

36. Kevin Walter: Once known as the ineffective receiver opposite Andre Johnson in Houston, Walter's time in the NFL might be done after not playing a snap with Tennessee last year because of a back injury.

37. Deion Branch: The one-time Super Bowl MVP somehow caught on with the Colts in January.  

38. Marc Mariani: After two straight seasons on injured reserve it's fair to wonder if Mariani is done, but he'll be just 27 next season and when we last saw him he was an electric returner.

39. Joe Webb: Once an exciting quarterback for the Vikings, Webb transitioned to being a boring receiver with just five catches for 33 yards all of last season.

40. Plaxico Burress: Burress will turn 37 before next season, and he missed 2013 after suffering an injury in training camp. It would be a surprise if he resurfaced.

Last-minute cuts: Sidney Rice; Jason Avant; Davone Bess; Lance Moore; Santonio Holmes.

Notable restricted free agents: Doug Baldwin; Tandon Doss (signed with Jaguars); Kris Durham (exclusive rights free agent); Andrew Hawkins (signed by Cleveland Browns); Trindon Holliday (agreed to one-year deal with Giants); Joe Morgan (re-signed with Saints); Dane Sanzenbacher; Miles Austin; Steve Smith (got a three-year deal with Ravens).

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TIER 1

1. Jimmy Graham (FRANCHISE TAGGED): What's the difference between a tight end and wide receiver? Nearly $5 million when it comes to the franchise tag, which the Saints reportedly will use on the Pro Bowler. Expect a nasty battle between Graham's camp and Saints management.  

2. Dennis Pitta (RE-SIGNED): Played in only four games last season after recovering from a hip injury. His talent is enough to command franchise tag talk, but that was avoided after he agreed to a five-year, $32 million deal to stay in Baltimore, according to Pro Football Talk.

3. Brandon Pettigrew (RE-SIGNED): His receiving production dropped last season to what he did as a rookie, but Pettigrew cut down his drops. The Lions stuck with him, signing him to a four-year, $16 million deal.

4. Garrett Graham: Before he was placed on injured reserve with a bum hamstring, Graham set career highs in catches (49), yards (545) and touchdowns (five).

5. Brandon Myers (SIGNED): After coming off a 79-catch campaign in his final season in Oakland, Myers struggled to find consistency in the Big Apple. The team voided the remaining three years of his four-year deal. The Bucs are taking a shot at him with a two-year, $4 million deal, according to ESPN.   

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Jermichael Finley (AP)

6. Jermichael Finley: While he might want to remain in Green Bay, the Packers would be taking a huge risk in bringing back a player recovering from spinal fusion surgery.

7. Scott Chandler: It's best to have a career season during your walk year. Chandler, coming off an ACL injury, did as such, leading the Bills in receptions and receiving yards.

8. Ed Dickson: The stage was set for a breakout season with starter Dennis Pitta out the first 12 games of the season, but Dickson failed to grab more than three receptions in a game until his injured teammate returned to the field.

9. Clay Harbor (RE-SIGNED): When you factor in the putrid quarterback situation in Jacksonville, 24 catches for 292 yards and two TDs isn't all that bad for the 26-year-old. The Jaguars re-signed him to a two-year deal.


TIER 2

10. Dustin Keller: A nasty knee injury and the emergence of Charles Clay will prevent the former Jet from ever playing a down with Ryan Tannehill and Co.

11. Tony Scheffler: Veteran's last game was early Oct. 6, when he suffered a concussion against the Packers, his third head injury in four years.

12. Andrew Quarless: Became Green Bay's top TE after Jermichael Finley's scary injury. Quarless' best receiving stats were six catches for 66 yards in a pair of December games.

13. Jeff Cumberland (RE-SIGNED): Fun fact: The 260-pound Cumberland ran a 4.45 in the 40-yard dash at the 2010 combine. His speed has helped him snag seven TDs in his last two seasons with the Jets. He'll be back for more, getting a three-year deal, according to the New York Daily News.

14. Bear Pascoe: Coach Tom Coughlin lauds Pascoe for his versatility, which included playing some fullback last season.

15. Chase Coffman: Not much of a contribution last season. Won't be confused for Tony Gonzalez.

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Kellen Winslow Jr. (USA TODAY Sports)

16. Ben Hartsock: The blocking tight end has made the playoffs with all five of his teams (Indianapolis, Tennessee, Atlanta, New York Jets, Carolina). So, if you want to make the playoffs next season, Hartsock is your guy. 

17. Kellen Winslow: Gained more attention for a trip to Target than his play this past season, when he caught 31 passes and two TDs over 12 games.

18. Dante Rosario: Served as Martellus Bennett's backup and stood out on special teams.

19. Dallas Clark: This might be the end for one of Peyton Manning's top targets back in their Indy days.


TIER 3

20. Anthony McCoy (RE-SIGNED): Served as a solid backup behind Zach Miller before a torn Achilles tendon cost him the entire 2013 season. Still, the Seahawks are bringing him back, reports Yahoo's Rand Getlin.

21. Michael Hoomanawanui (RE-SIGNED): "Hooman" saw more playing time thanks to Rob Gronkowski's various injuries and Aaron Hernandez's … well … ya know. The Patriots are bringing him back on a two-year deal, reports Yahoo Sports' Rand Getlin.

22. Kellen Davis: The writing is on the wall about your future with a team when you go from starting in the NFC championship game to losing your spot on the Super Bowl roster to a rookie offensive lineman.

23. D.J. Williams: Earned the "journeyman" tag after getting cut three times in three months last season.

24. Jeff King: Two knee operations during training camp prevented King from playing in 2013. His statistics have been headed in the wrong direction since catching 46 passes in 2007.

25. Jim Dray: In his fourth season in the NFL, the former Stanford Cardinal emerged as a solid No. 2 tight end. Prior to his 26 receptions in 2013, Dray caught just seven passes in his first three seasons.

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Fred Davis's offseason includes an indefinite league suspension and a DWI arrest. (Getty Images)

26. David Johnson: He's no more than a third tight end option after playing only five games in the last two seasons following a torn ACL.

27. Alex Smith: Provided depth in every game for the Bengals before suffering a wrist injury in the regular-season finale.

28. Fred Davis: The 70 receiving yards in 10 games hurts his free agency options. The indefinite suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy doesn't help either.

29. Kory Sperry: Didn't see much action in 2013. When he did, he produced two catches for 25 yards.

30. Matthew Mulligan: You know you aren't a great tight end when you're best known for getting name-dropped in a Hulk Hogan YouTube video, brother.

31. Michael Palmer: Special teams and some run blocking. That's about it from a Steelers team that was heavy at this position.

32. Nate Byham: Reserve is coming off a season in which he played only four games due to calf and knee injuries.

33. Jeron Mastrud: He's bounced around the league since going undrafted in 2010, but has managed only seven career receptions.

Last-minute cuts: Owen Daniels.

Notable restricted free agents: Kyle Adams; Jake Ballard.

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TIER 1  

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Eugene Monroe (USA TODAY Sports)

1. Eugene Monroe (RE-SIGNED): The Ravens traded for Monroe last season, and didn't going to want him to hit the open market. He got a scent of free agency, but eventually settled on staying in Baltimore on a five-year, $37.5 million deal. 

2. Branden Albert (SIGNED): After six seasons with the Chiefs, Albert got a huge payday from the Miami Dolphins. He got a five-year deal worth more than $9 million per season, reports Shutdown Corner's Eric Edholm.

3. Jared Veldheer (SIGNED): He missed 11 games for the Raiders last year due to a triceps injury suffered in training camp, but at age 26 the monstrous Veldheer cashed in with the Cardinals for a reported five-year, $35 million deal.

4. Alex Mack (TRANSITION TAGGED): The best center available, Mack has started every game in his five seasons with the Cleveland Browns.

5. Geoff Schwartz (SIGNED): In his fourth season, Schwartz became a full-time starter late in the season for the Chiefs. The 340-pounder cashed in as perhaps the top guard on the market, getting a deal with the Giants for four years and $16.8 million.

6. Rodger Saffold (RE-SIGNED): In the wackiest story of free agency, he agreed to a $42.5 million deal with the Raiders, but failed his physical. He's staying with the Rams on a five-year deal.

7. Travelle Wharton: Wharton looked like he was done but latched back on with the Panthers after Cincinnati cut him, got into the starting lineup and had a fine season at age 32.

8. Michael Oher (SIGNED): The “Blind Side” guy has always played better at right tackle. He didn't have a great season for the Ravens but doesn't turn 28 until May and should rebound for the Titans, who got him on a four-year, $20 million deal.

9. Jon Asamoah (SIGNED): The Chiefs' offensive line takes another hit with Asamoah getting a deal done with the Falcons, reports CBS's Jason La Canfora. 

10. Zach Strief (SIGNED): The nine-year veteran had a very good season at right tackle for the New Orleans Saints, starting 15 games. He'll stay in the Big Easy after agreeing to a five-year deal.

11. Breno Giacomini (SIGNED): Giacomini broke into the starting lineup for the Seahawks in 2011 after barely getting on the field his first three seasons and hasn't looked back. He started at right tackle for the Super Bowl champs. Now he'll be with the Jets,

12. Chad Rinehart: Rinehart can play either guard spot and did so pretty well after the Chargers acquired him and made him a starter.

13. Willie Colon: Colon was never great as a tackle for the Steelers, but did fine at right guard for the Jets in 2013, starting all 16 games.

14. Evan Dietrich-Smith: After being a role player his first four years, Dietrich-Smith became the Packers' starting center in 2013 and played well, starting all 16 games.

15. Brian De La Puente: The Saints' starting center saw his play dip a bit in 2013, after a fine 2012, but at 28 he'll be in high demand.

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The bullying of Jonathan Marin is likely to cost Richie Incognito (68) significantly in the free-agent market. …

16. Richie Incognito: He's may be the most interesting free agent on the market. He's good enough to start for almost any team, but will he get signed as a result of the Jonathan Martin ordeal?

17. Zane Beadles (SIGNED): Originally projected as a tackle when he was drafted, Beadles has settled in to a nice career at guard for Denver, starting 62 of a possible 64 games in his four seasons. It was enough to attract the eyes of the Jaguars, who signed him to a five-year, $30 million deal, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

18. Shawn Lauvao (SIGNED): Cleveland's starting right guard for three straight years, Lauvao dealt with a significant ankle injury suffered in training camp, but he's healthy now. The Redskins got him on a four-year, $17 million deal. 

 


TIER 2 

19. Anthony Collins: A career backup, Collins got to start seven games at left tackle for the Bengals and fared well, and is hitting free agency at a prime age of 28.

20. Austin Howard: Howard, a huge 333-pound right guard, has started 32 games over the past two years for the Jets and will be just 27 at the start of the 2014 season.

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Jonathan Goodwin (USA TODAY Sports)

21. Brian Waters: His 2013 season ended with a triceps injury, and played just seven games for Dallas after taking 2012 off. The biggest question for the 37-year-old is if he can stay healthy for another season … if he wants to play.

22. Jonathan Goodwin: Goodwin has started all 48 games for the 49ers at center the last three years, but he's 35 now and it will be interesting if San Francisco decides to retain him or get younger.

23. Charlie Johnson: Johnson has 101 starts at tackle and guard, including 15 at left guard for the Vikings last year, and will be just 30 by the start of next season.

24. John Jerry: Richie Incognito's running mate in Miami, it's safe to say the massive guard won't be back with the Dolphins. But he's just 27 and is likely to land somewhere.

25. Charles Brown: Brown didn't play well last season as the Saints' left tackle, after being thrust into the starting lineup when Jermon Bushrod signed with Chicago.

26. Tyson Clabo: Clabo has been a regular starter since 2006, and he'll be a solid option at right tackle after starting 15 games for the Dolphins there last season.

27. Ryan Wendell: Wendell has started every game at center for the Patriots the last two years, and will be 28 years old next season.

28. Bryant McKinnie: The enormous McKinnie wore out his welcome in Baltimore, was traded to the Dolphins, and didn't play that well for either team. With his weight problems, at age 34, it'll be interesting to see who (if anyone) signs him.

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Eric Winston (USA TODAY Sports)

29. Wade Smith: Smith started every game the last four years for the zone-blocking Texans, and the undersized guard will need to be in that scheme if he doesn't re-sign with Houston.

30. Eric Winston: He's tough and durable, having started every possible game since 2007, but now he's 30 and he's been with three teams the past three seasons.

31. J'Marcus Webb: Webb, once a whipping boy in Chicago, started just one game for the Vikings last year. Hard as it is to believe, he's just 25 years old and has 45 career starts.

32. Fernando Velasco: Due to injuries, Velasco was put into the Steelers' starting lineup at center and didn't play great, not as well as he did in previous years with Tennessee.

33. Tony Pashos: Once an interesting tackle, Pashos has turned into a journeyman. He probably played well enough at right tackle with the Raiders last year to get another job.

34. Ryan Harris: Once a promising player for the Broncos, injuries set him back and Harris became a role-playing swing tackle for the Texans the last two years.

35. Khalif Barnes: Barnes had to start 11 games at left tackle for the Raiders (and was often overmatched) after Jared Veldheer's injury, then slid into left guard and started five games there.

36. Dan Koppen: Koppen was supposed to be Denver's starting center again last season, but tore his ACL. If he wants to keep playing at 34, the longtime Patriot could probably find work.

Last-minute cuts: Uche Nwaneri.


 

TIER 3

37. Jeremy Trueblood: The longtime Buccaneer started 10 games at right tackle for the Falcons last year, and struggled.

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Jeremy Trueblood (USA TODAY Sports)

38. Chris Williams (SIGNED): The former first-round flop with the Bears played left guard for the Rams last season, with middling results. He's heading to Buffalo on a four-year, $13.5 million deal.

39. J.D. Walton: The former third-round pick broke his ankle in 2012 and hasn't played in a game since. The center was cut by the Broncos and claimed by the Redskins off waivers late last season.

40. Ryan Cook: After spending all of last season on injured reserve, the Cowboys' starting center for most of 2012 might resurface in a backup role.

41. Eben Britton: The former second-round pick of the Jaguars has settled into a role as a backup and sometimes starter, as he was with the Bears last year, starting four games at guard.

42. Marshall Newhouse: Newhouse was considered for a starting job in Green Bay when Bryan Bulaga got hurt, but the Packers thought better of it and went with young unproven players instead.

43. Chris Spencer: The longtime Seahawks starter has been a backup center the last couple years, first with the Bears and then with the Titans last year.

44. Will Svitek: Svitek has played seven seasons as a backup tackle, reprising that role when the Patriots signed him last year. He missed 2012 with an injury.

45. Jason Fox: In his fourth season with the Lions, Fox got the first three starts of his career in 2013, at right tackle.

46. Vladimir Ducasse: Remember when the Jets were excited about him? The 2010 second-round pick gave the Jets five starts in four years.

47. Mike Pollak (RE-SIGNED): Cincinnati was Pollak's third team in three years, and he got a handful of starts at guard. He'll be back in Cincy.

48. Andre Gurode: The days of Gurode being a high-level center for Dallas are long gone, and he'll be 35 next year, bringing into question if any team will give him another shot.

49. Sean Locklear: The longtime Seahawks starting tackle hasn't played in a game since tearing his ACL near the end of the 2012 season.

50. Geoff Hangartner: Hangartner has 85 starts, mostly with the Panthers, but his days as a starter appear to be done, especially since the guard will be 32 next season.

51. Danny Watkins: One of the all-time regrettable draft picks, the former first-rounder didn't do much in two Eagles seasons, and last year appeared in just one game with the Dolphins, who could have used the line help.

Last-minute cuts: Kyle Cook.

Notable restricted free agents: Byron Bell; Jeff Byers and Will Yeatman.

[Related: Ranking the defensive and special teams free-agents]

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