Pete Prisco’s Top 50 NFL Free Agents

Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com ranks his top 50 NFL free agents and to no one’s surprise, he has Titans’ defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth ranked No. 1. No other free agent should be ranked ahead of Haynesworth given his age and talent. But anyone that thinks he isn’t a major risk is fooling themselves.

Haynesworth wants $72 million, as in, seventy-two million dollars. He would be the highest paid defender in the league and while his talent is unquestioned, he’s coming off a career season in a contract year. Would anyone be surprised if he caught Tommie Harris’s disease and his production drops off after he gets paid? I wouldn’t, and I firmly believe that if he winds up signing with the Redskins, there’s a great chance he’ll be a major disappointment considering Washington is the black hole for defensive linemen.

I think Prisco hit the nail on the head by ranking Ravens’ center Jason Brown No. 2. Even though guys like Matt Birk (Vikings) and Jeff Saturday (Colts) will be available, Brown is the best center on the market and can help anchor the interior of somebody’s line for years to come.

Where Prisco loses me is his ranking of the cornerbacks.

5. Bryant McFadden, CB, Pittsburgh Steelers: He’s a solid starter and teams are always looking for corners. Plus, his best football will come in the next three years.

8. DeAngelo Hall, CB, Washington Redskins: He’s not nearly as good as he thinks, but he played well for the Redskins after the Raiders let him go last season. But how does he play after he gets paid? He had to play well in Washington to get another big contract.

12. Philip Buchanon, CB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: He started last year for the Bucs, and at 28 he still has some good football left. He’s another player who is a perfect second corner.

31. Chris McAlister, CB, Baltimore Ravens: He’s getting up in years and has injury issues last season, but he can still help a team for a year or two. When he’s healthy, he can still cover well.

33. Ronald Bartell, CB, St. Louis Rams: He’s a young player who emerged last year in his first as a starter. He’s the kind of rising player teams need to sign.

McFadden is a good young player, but I don’t know if he should be listed in the top 5 of available free agents. Hall proved last year in Oakland that he’s an overrated and overpaid, while Buchanon is a classic underachiever and McAlister (as Prisco noted) is getting up there in years.

But how is Bartell the fifth best cornerback on the market? There’s no way. He’ll be overpaid (he’s likely to command $40 million over five years), but he offers more upside than every free agent Prisco rated higher outside of maybe McFadden.

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Offseason Blueprint: Oakland Raiders

Notable Free Agents: Nnamdi Asomugha (re-signed), CB; Shane Lechler (re-signed), P; Chris Johnson (re-signed), CB; Jake Grove, C; Cooper Carlisle, G.

Projected 2009 Cap Space: $4,000,000

Draft Order: 7

Top Needs: Not unlike other teams selecting at the top of the draft, the Raiders are mostly in need of offensive line help. Defensive line, wide receiver and linebacker could also be addressed.

Offseason Outlook: The Raiders’ top priority was to ensure that cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha didn’t hit the open market, and they accomplished that by inking him to a new three-year, $45 million contract. Asomugha’s deal is complex and you can read more details here, but the bottom line is that he’ll once again anchor the Raiders’ secondary in 2009.

Al Davis also re-signed punter Shane Lechler to a four-year, $16 million contract. That might not be big news to some, but considering how much the Raiders punt during the regular season, re-signing Lechler was a wise move.

The biggest challenge Davis now faces is how will he free up enough cap space to address other needs. The Raiders were sitting at $4 million under the cap before the re-signings of Asomugha and Lechler. Are cuts coming? If so, who will be shown the door?

One name that has recently come up in trade speculation is defensive end Derrick Burgess, who the Raiders are rumored to be shopping. Burgess becomes a free agent after the 2009 season so it would make sense that Oakland would trade him now in order to gain compensation. If they were able to trade him, they would free up $3.5 million in cap space, which isn’t a huge amount but it would help.


Read the rest after the jump...

Five best and worst NFL offseason acquisitions from 2008

Michael TurnerThe 2008 NFL Season has entered its second half and while some teams are rejoicing over the moves they made this past summer in either signing or trading for players, others are wondering what the hell they were thinking.

Below are five of the best acquisitions from the 2008 NFL offseason, as well as five of the worst. Granted, these moves might look differently at the end of the season or in a year or two, but for now, these are the best of the best and the worst of the worst from the 2008 offseason.

Five Best Offseason Acquisitions:

1. Michael Turner, RB, Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons handed “The Burner” a six-year, $34.5 million contract in early March and while some pundits loved the move, others thought it was too much for the unproven Turner, who had spent his entire career backing up LaDainian Tomlinson. But the signing has paid huge dividends for a Falcons team that ranks second in the league in rushing thanks to his bruising running style. He’s formed a nice “Thunder and Lighting” combo with Jerious Norwood and more importantly, has taken a lot of pressure off rookie Matt Ryan by demanding opponents to focus on taking away the run. He hasn’t fared well against top defenses this season, which is a concern, but outside of that he’s been everything Atlanta had hoped for. He has rushed for 890 yards on 203 carries and has scored seven times.

2. Asante Samuel, CB, Philadelphia Eagles
There was a lot of talk last offseason that Samuel would never live up to the hype that surrounded him in New England. But through 10 games this season, it’s hard to argue that the former Patriot hasn’t lived up to his big play billing. Samuel has recorded three interceptions on the year and has fit into Jim Johnson’s defense better than most expected. He’s not a shutdown corner, but he plays well in zone and rarely gets burned deep. He has also helped the Eagles rank sixth in the league in pass defense and ninth overall in yardage allowed. He was pricey at just over $57 million for six years, but so far Samuel has been worth the money.


Read the rest after the jump...

Fantasy Football Podcast: Week 10

Listen in as Anthony Stalter and I discuss all of the Week 10 happenings, including the DeAngelo Hall release, Brady Quinn’s first start, the Denver and Baltimore running games, and Larry Johnson’s possible return to action. I also throw out a few waiver wire quarterbacks that would be good pickups this week.

Click here to listen to the podcast.

(The opening and closing music is Devo’s “Girl U Want“)

Raiders waive DeAngelo Hall – is Javon Walker next?

DeAngelo HallThe Oakland Raiders officially parted ways with cornerback DeAngelo Hall on Wednesday.

Hall admittedly struggled to adapt to the Raiders’ style of man-coverage defense, enough so that Raiders owner Al Davis decided he’d seen enough. Hall is due $16.5 million next season in injury-guaranteed bonuses. Davis would rather take that money and load up a long-term contract offer for cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, according to a league source familiar with the situation.

The Raiders could have let Hall play out the season, but if he gets hurt, they could be on the hook for the injury-proof portion of his deal.

Will wide receiver Javon Walker be the next high-priced player to be waived?

Hall isn’t the only Raider under consideration for release. Wide receiver Javon Walker received an $11 million signing bonus and a $1 million base salary this year, but he has only 13 catches in his first seven games with the Raiders. The other players on Davis’ list are unknown.

This is shocking to say the least. Kind of ironic how Hall was considered by many to be one of the only true “cover corners” left in the league and he couldn’t hack it in man coverage.

Regardless, Al Davis has officially lost his mind. You don’t revive a sinking franchise by paying free agents gobs of money only to release them half way through the season in efforts to hit the reset button and start over. This is Madden 09.

The Raiders are going to be in cap hell for a long time and things only get worse when they have to add another top 5 pick to the roster.

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