Top 25 free agents

March 02, 2001|By Brent Jones

1. Corey Dillon, RB, Cincinnati: After rushing for nearly 1,500 yards, is the best of a deep but unspectacular crop of free agents. Bengals can match any offer he gets, making it unlikely he will get out of Cincinnati.

2. Brad Johnson, QB, Washington: Lost in the embarrassing way the Redskins finished the season is that Johnson was 7-4 as a starter. Accurate but immobile passer who threw for more than 4,000 yards in 1999.

3. Marcellus Wiley, DE, Buffalo: Had a Bruce Smith-type year (10.5 sacks) after replacing the legend as a full-time starter. He's young and will only get better.

4. Ted Washington, DT, Buffalo: A cap casualty who clogs up the middle as well as any tackle in the league.

5. Derrick Mason, WR, Tennessee: Kick and punt return ability make him a great bargain. The only impact receiver for the Titans last year.

6. Dexter Coakley, LB, Dallas: The bright spot in a poor Cowboys defense, Coakley racked up 90 tackles last year. Undersized (5 feet 10) but runs a 4.46 and has started every game the past four seasons.

7. Jerome Bettis, RB, Pittsburgh: Only a few more good years for "The Bus," which should be enough to get him another contract with the Steelers.

8. Charlie Garner, RB, San Francisco: Versatile back whose 1,789 rushing/receiving yards accounted for nearly 30 percent of offense. Wants more ($4 million a year) than the 49ers want to pay.

9. Elvis Grbac, QB, Kansas City: Wanted a $20-million signing bonus, which sealed his fate in Kansas City. Grbac started 47 games in four seasons with the Chiefs and threw 66 touchdowns.

10. Jason Sehorn, CB, New York Giants: Disastrous Super Bowl may have hurt stock but still had a good year.

11. Tiki Barber, RB, New York Giants: Great speed and elusiveness (1,006 rushing, 719 receiving yards last year), but size makes him a question as a feature back. Giants want to re-sign him but don't want to overpay him.

12. Jamie Sharper, LB, Ravens: Always seemed to make big plays when defense needed someone to. If he leaves, he better be prepared to be the main guy, something he wasn't here.

13. Doug Flutie, QB, Buffalo: The loser of the most interesting off-season soap opera, Flutie, 38, would be a good fit with archrival Miami or Tampa Bay. Was 4-1 as a starter last season.

14. Rickey Dudley, TE, Oakland: Ideal size at 6-6, 255 pounds. Good blocker but took a step back in pass catching last season.

15. Kenny Holmes, DE, Tennessee: Collected eight sacks playing opposite Jevon Kearse. Won't have such a luxury if he leaves.

16. Ronde Barber, CB, Tampa Bay: Played opposite Pro Bowler Donnie Abraham, but some thought he was just as good.

17. Tre Johnson, G, Washington: Tore up his knee last year. If Johnson makes a full recovery, he will be a Pro Bowler again.

18. Trace Armstrong, DE, Miami: An amazing 16.5 sacks last year as a backup who played less than half the snaps. Age (35) hurts.

19. Trent Dilfer, QB, Ravens: Probably the least sought-after Super Bowl winning quarterback ever, Dilfer went 11-1 as a starter last season.

20. John Randle, DE, Minnesota: Had just eight sacks last year after recording double-digit sacks the previous eight years. Skills are declining but would be a good addition to a playoff-ready team.

21. Brock Marion, S, Miami: After a subpar 1999, Marion recorded 96 tackles and five interceptions as the leader of the Dolphins' secondary last season.

22. Howard Griffith, FB, Denver: Has blocked for three different 1,000-yard rushers the past three seasons.

23. Richmond Webb, T, Miami: Older and more susceptible to injury, Webb, a former Pro Bowler, is still the top tackle available.

24. Jeff Mitchell, C, Ravens: Run blocking now just as good as pass blocking. Adding in his durability, Mitchell has become one of the better centers in the league.

25. Simeon Rice, DE, Arizona: Could be an effective pass rusher with the right team. Needs to work on stopping the run.

Note: This list does not include free agents designated as franchise players by their respective clubs.

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