2011 Free Agent Tracker, by Position.........
Jason Cole's listing of the top 100 Free Agents listed by position. This should be the basis for our shopping list and some good discussions over the next few days and maybe thereafter. Take a peak and see who you favor as far as the Bears 2011 FA acquisitions are concerned.
2011 NFL free agent tracker, by position
By Jason Cole, Yahoo! Sports25 minutes ago
With free agency set to formally begin Friday, here’s our rating of the top 100 players available. The list does not include players who were franchised, such as Peyton Manning(notes), Logan Mankins(notes) or Vincent Jackson(notes).
* – Denotes player who is recovering from significant injury or surgery.
# – Denotes player who may not be unrestricted depending on the rules of free agency.
1. CB Nnamdi Asomugha(notes) – It is truly a rare thing when a player this good and who is this good of a person hits free agency.
2. CB Antonio Cromartie(notes) – When you draw up what a corner is supposed to look like, Cromartie is what you see. However, he has issues and he’s tough for coaches to handle.
3. CB Johnathan Joseph(notes) – He’s more consistent and trustworthy than Cromartie, but he has also missed 12 games over the past three seasons because of injuries and he’s only 5-foot-11.
11. CB Ike Taylor(notes) – Taylor is definitely a notch below Asomugha, Cromartie and Joseph, but he’s also durable and can play just about any system. Will get paid by somebody.
13. CB Carlos Rogers(notes) – He has never quite become the great player that so many people expected, but he’s still very good, much like Taylor.
16. CB Chris Houston(notes) – Finally got his career going the right way in Detroit after three up-and-down seasons with Atlanta. Lions want to sign him long-term in a serious way.
31. CB Eric Wright(notes) – Seemed on his way to great things until taking a detour this year. He was so bad at times that he got death threats – not that such fan behavior is acceptable. Then again, CBs get a lot of lives in the NFL.
65. CB Drayton Florence(notes) – After a disastrous 2008 season in Jacksonville, Florence has rehabbed his reputation. Corners can play forever in this league if they’re decent.
70. CB Fabian Washington(notes) – He can run all day, but he’s practically guaranteed to get hurt and miss at least a few games. Beyond that, he hasn’t had an interception since 2008.
*9. DE/LB Mathias Kiwanuka(notes) – Purely on talent, Kiwanuka belongs in the top 10. However, his lingering neck injury means he’ll be lucky to get a one-year deal.
12. DE Charles Johnson(notes) – Johnson picked a good time to a have a breakout season with 12 sacks, even if they did come for a hopelessly bad Carolina team. Pass rushers get paid.
14. DT Cullen Jenkins(notes) – Has missed 17 games in the past three seasons because of injuries and injury bug was a knock even before that. However, when he plays, he’s a force.
17. DE Ray Edwards(notes) – Even in a bad season for the Vikings, Edwards had eight sacks. He’s not a superb talent, but a wonderful complementary player in the right system.
18. DT Barry Cofield(notes) – Has just enough pass-rush ability to play occasionally on third down. That fact should make him a fair amount of money.
28. NT Aubrayo Franklin(notes) – Won’t put up a lot of stats and won’t wow anybody with physical ability, but he’s a terrific nose man in a 3-4 scheme and that’s valuable.
45. DT Shaun Rogers(notes) – If this guy gets paid a lot of money, it’s pretty much a guarantee that he’ll disappoint. Rogers is a guy who needs a constant fire under his rear end.
48. DT Shaun Cody(notes) – Not even somewhat, sort of explosive as a pass rusher. He’s a pure run defender, at best a two-down player. But he’s good at that and that’s enough.
48. DT Brandon Mebane(notes) – The key is he’s still young (26). The problem is that he’s quickly losing the bit of pass-rush skill he had early in his career. In danger of being a two-down guy.
54. DT Ronald Fields(notes) – Cut from the mold of Cody. Fields is a good run defender and well-suited for a 3-4 defense, but he’s a two-down player, at best.
60. DL Anthony Hargrove(notes) – The most important thing is that it appears Hargrove has handled his drug issues. When he’s straight and healthy, he has great tackle/end versatility.
61. DL Marcus Spears(notes) – For the first time, Spears didn’t play in every game. The problem is that he’s a completely average player, a classic underachiever.
63. DE Jacob Ford(notes) – In 2008, playing next to a motivated Albert Haynesworth(notes), Ford had seven sacks. Since Haynesworth left, Ford has 8½ sacks over the past two seasons.
64. DL Tony McDaniel(notes) – At 6-7, 305 pounds, McDaniel looks the part, but he just not very motivated. Flashed some pass-rush ability last season.
66. DE/LB Jason Taylor(notes) – He has to be used carefully because age (36) and injury are catching up, but he still has a little something left in the tank if he wants to play.
77. DT Ron Edwards(notes) – He’s a poor man’s version of a part-time defensive tackle (yeah, he’s seriously limited). He can fill out a rotation, but he’ll never crack the regular lineup.
87. DT Kevin Vickerson(notes) – It has taken awhile, but Vickerson finally figured out how to be a functional pro. He’s very limited in his role, but big-body guys are hard to find.
88. DE Ray McDonald(notes) – When you’ve only had five sacks in four seasons, you’re not exactly in high demand. However, the need for defensive linemen is constant.
23. LB Paul Posluszny(notes) – In three of his four seasons, he has at least 110 tackles, including 151 last season. In three of his four seasons, he has also missed at least two games.
24. LB Barrett Ruud(notes) – Not as physically gifted at Posluszny, but has been healthier throughout his career and that can’t be understated.
25. LB/DE Manny Lawson(notes) – Hasn’t become the kind of pass rusher the 49ers expected, but is also asked to do more things in coverage in the 3-4 scheme they have run until now.
50. LB Stewart Bradley(notes) – At one time, he was an up-and-coming standout at MLB. After missing 20 games in the past two seasons, he’s working on just getting on the field consistently.
72. LB Justin Durant(notes) – He should be way better than he really is, but he gets hurt every year and his instincts are just average.
*76. LB Thomas Davis(notes) – Former first-rounder has missed the past year and a half with injuries, but is very athletic and a good tackler when healthy.
91. LB Ben Leber(notes) – Your prototype fourth linebacker who can fit in just about any spot in a pinch and does a nice job on special teams.
93. LB Ernie Sims(notes) – Sims did not earn the nickname “Cinnabon” because he gets eaten alive when he plays, but it sure works that way.
*95. LB Clint Session(notes) – He is your typical Indianapolis linebacker. Session will run hard to the ball, make his fair share of tackles, but won’t make a lot of big plays.
97. LB Kirk Morrison(notes) – He is an example of why tackle totals are one of the worst stats to follow. He has averaged 100 tackles a year for six years. But he’s completely average.
99. LB Stephen Cooper(notes) – He has toggled his way through eight seasons as a part-time starter and backup, all the while playing well on special teams.
27. S Eric Weddle(notes) – If Weddle had better players in front of him with San Diego, he might be considered one of the best in the league. For now, he’s simply really good.
32. S Melvin Bullitt(notes) – Missed 12 games last season because of injury, but has become one of the better all-around safeties in the game. Indy really needs to re-sign him.
49. S Donte Whitner(notes) – Somebody will look at his 140 tackles last year and think, “Whitner must have been awesome.” The reality is that the Bills were that bad.
55. S Dawan Landry(notes) – He has been overshadowed by Ed Reed(notes) for years, but Landry has become one of the more consistent tacklers in the league. Plays the run very well.
57. S Dashon Goldson(notes) – Very similar to Landry. The only difference between Goldson and Landry is that Landry has been more consistent for a longer time.
58. S Quintin Mikell(notes) – Put Landry, Goldson and Mikell side-by-side in football gear and you’d have a hard time picking them apart. Mikell (30) is just the oldest of the three.
74. S Roman Harper(notes) – Pretty much your typical safety. He will consistently make the tackle, but he doesn’t do enough other stuff to be in high demand.
89. S Abram Elam(notes) – He has carved out a decent career, but safeties aren’t that hard to find and he has no special characteristics.
94. S Jarrad Page(notes) – Injuries and inconsistency have derailed what appeared to be a promising career for Page. There are still coaches who like him, but he’s not a priority.
96. S George Wilson(notes) – He had one solid year as a starter in 2009, but hasn’t done much before or since. He’s closing in on 30, so this is probably his last shot.
4. WR Sidney Rice(notes) – Missed first 10 games of 2010, so this is a projection based on his great 2009 season. But he is the prototype deep threat, big receiver when he’s healthy.
5. WR Santonio Holmes(notes) – Pretty good first season in New York and the Jets would like to keep him. He’s great after the catch. The biggest concern is the off-field issues.
6. WR Braylon Edwards(notes) – Posted his best yards-after-catch average (5.7) since his rookie season. Would be better with a better passing attack. Could use a dose of humility.
*10. WR Steve Smith (Giants) – Microfracture surgery is no joke and Smith had that on his left knee in December. If he was healthy, he’d be the top wide receiver on this list.
29. WR Mike Sims-Walker(notes) – Took a step backward in his development last season, but is still a good No. 2. Not exactly explosive, but he’s better than your typical possession guy.
33. WR Randy Moss(notes) – Moss is at his best when everybody thinks he’s done. He may not have much time left, but he’s worth a low-cost flyer at this point.
45. WR Lance Moore(notes) – There are some people who believe that Moore’s flaws will be exposed if he plays with a team other than the Saints. Maybe, but somebody will take a chance.
52. WR Malcom Floyd(notes) – He’s not fast, but he uses his 6-5 frame very well, which is why he has averaged an impressive 17.3 yards per catch for his career.
56. WR Plax:ico Burress – After two years away from the game, questions about his conditioning are a given. However, his red-zone receiving skills also raise concerns.
67. WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh(notes) – When he left Cincinnati, more than a few people with the Bengals privately said a meltdown of his career was coming. How right they were.
*68. WR Mark Clayton(notes) – It’s the same old story with Clayton, who is coming off a torn patellar tendon in his right knee that cost him 11 games. He flashed some talent last season and then got hurt.
69. WR Steve Breaston(notes) – He’s a tough guy, but he’s also a little small (189 pounds). He missed three games because of a knee injury early and wore out in the second half of the season.
*80. WR Terrell Owens(notes) – Despite his agent’s insistence that he’ll be ready to go by the start of the season, offseason knee surgery severely impacts his prospects.
84. WR James Jones(notes) – This dude has all the talent in the world to be great. But when you drop two potential TD passes in the postseason, including one in the Super Bowl, people wonder.
*7. RB DeAngelo Williams(notes) – Missed 13 games the past two seasons with injuries, but is amazingly explosive when he’s right. In a spread offense, he might run for 2,000 yards.
30. RB Ahmad Bradshaw(notes) – He’s one tough nut, but he probably runs too hard for his own good and for his size (5-foot-9, 198 pounds). Chances of him having a long career are remote, at best.
36. RB Cedric Benson(notes) – Back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons are pretty nice work for a guy who was once considered a washout. Benson isn’t electric, but he’s a workhorse.
37. RB Michael Bush(notes) – Really good power runner, but has never been the bell cow runner (his 158 carries last season was a career-high). He tends to tire quickly, perhaps limiting himself to small role.
51. RB Ronnie Brown(notes) – In six years, he has cracked 1,000 just once and barely at that (1,008 in 2006). Good guy, but everything about him screams mediocrity.
71. RB Joseph Addai(notes) – Under the heading of “Disposable Running Backs,” you will see a picture of Addai. He has been plagued by injuries the last three seasons.
90. RB Ricky Williams(notes) – At age 33 and after 12 years of one of the strangest careers in NFL history, Williams will be a free agent for the first time. Man, what could have been.
100. RB Brandon Jackson(notes) – He had yet another chance this season to become the starting running back with the Packers and let it slip out of his hands. Pretty decent as a third-down guy.
8. TE Zach Miller (Raiders) – In a great era for receiving tight ends, Miller is underrated. He has performed very well while having no support from the wide receiver or quarterback spots.
41. TE Bo Scaife(notes) – He makes just enough plays every year to make people think he’s interesting, but the final production is just never really there.
43. TE Kevin Boss(notes) – Boss is the opposite of Scaife, a guy who doesn’t flash much talent, but ends up being very productive. He has never averaged less than 11 yards a catch per season.
15. QB Matt Hasselbeck(notes) – If the world is right, Hasselbeck finishes his career in Seattle as the greatest QB in the history of the organization (not that there is much competition).
75. QB Alex Smith – Considering the goofiness of the past six years in San Francisco, Smith has actually been OK. All indications are that he’ll get a fresh start with new Niners coach Jim Harbaugh.
83. QB Marc Bulger(notes) – It will be interesting to see if Bulger wants to start regularly again because Arizona will likely have some interest.
19. LT Jermon Bushrod(notes) – Unheralded former fourth-round pick has turned himself into an above average left tackle in a pass-oriented offense. What else needs to be said?
20. LT Charlie Johnson(notes) – Hasn’t been as consistent as Bushrod, but is more experienced. Don’t think for a second that the Colts really want to let him go.
21. LT Jeremy Trueblood(notes) – Again, it’s not often that capable offensive tackles get to free agency. Like Bushrod and Johnson, Trueblood isn’t an All-Pro, but he’s a good pro.
22. G Davin Joseph(notes) – Hasn’t quite achieved everything expected of him, but he has been a solid player and he’s still young (27). On the offensive line, that’s enough.
26. LT Doug Free(notes) – Like Bushrod, Free is a former fourth-round pick who has turned himself into a solid left tackle, even if he’s simply not that good an athlete for the spot.
34. RT Tyson Clabo(notes) – Not many guys work their way from being undrafted to the practice squad to the Pro Bowl. That said, Clabo is not capable of playing left tackle.
35. G Harvey Dahl(notes) – Like teammate Clabo, Dahl is a former undrafted guy who has made a career for himself. However, right guards are really not that hard to find.
38. RT Sean Locklear(notes) – Another offensive tackle who can’t play the left side, but is reasonably athletic for the right side. He may not be great, but he’ll get paid.
39. LT Matt Light(notes) – Has it really been 10 years of watching Light use his middling skills to become one of the most consistent left tackles in the game? Yes, and he has a few more in him.
40. RT Damien Woody(notes) – This guy is proof that you don’t have to be great to make a lot of money in the NFL.
42. G Robert Gallery(notes) – After failing at left tackle, Gallery has become a solid guard. He was the best OL the Raiders had the past two years, which is damning with faint praise.
47. C Olin Kreutz(notes) – He’s only 33, but there’s 13 years of NFL trench play on that body. Kreutz is one tough hombre, but he wants to finish as a Bear.
53. LT Jared Gaither(notes) – The talent is there for him to be better than guys like Bushrod and Trueblood, but a combination of injuries and attitude have gotten in the way.
59. OL Marshal Yanda(notes) – Yanda has played most of his career at guard, where he’s pretty good. He has also played right tackle, which makes him valuable.
62. G Daryn Colledge(notes) – Any way you look at Colledge, he’s a limited player. He can only play guard and some people think he’s not that good. But he’s experienced.
73. C Chris Spencer(notes) – Pretty good player, overall, but hasn’t lived up to the expectation that went with being a first-round pick.
*85. OT Willie Colon(notes) – I’m not sure what it is about this guy that the Steelers like so much, but they do. He missed all of 2010 with a torn Achilles’ tendon.
86. G Deuce Lutui(notes) – If he could keep his weight under control, Lutui could be a great player. However, he’s constantly pushing 400 pounds.
92. C Casey Wiegmann(notes) – If he plays again, it’s almost certain to be with Kansas City. At age 37, Wiegmann’s days of moving around the league are probably past him.
98. G Trai Essex(notes) – One of the many complete mediocre offensive linemen that the Steelers have collected over the past five years. Prototype JAG (“Just A Guy”).
78. K Adam Vinatieri(notes) – We might as well start a run of kickers with a guy with Hall of Fame cred. He’s clutch, had a great year, but he’s also 38 and injury-prone.
79. K Mason Crosby(notes) – Probably not getting out of Green Bay anytime soon. He has a strong leg (10 FGs of 50-plus in four years) and he’s great in bad weather.
81. K Ryan Longwell(notes) – Over the past two years, Longwell is 43 of 46 on field goals and has moved into ninth in all-time in accuracy. He’s also 36 and spent the past five years inside.
82. K Olindo Mare(notes) – Has strung together three straight good years in Seattle after a slight downward trend. Still has great leg strength on kickoffs, but he is 37.
* – Denotes player who is recovering from significant injury or surgery.
Jason Cole is a national NFL writer for Yahoo! Sports. Follow him on Twitter. Send Jason a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated 25 minutes ago