Charting NFL free agency

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 10, 2012 - 10:26 PM
This is a particularly picky ranking of 15 premium players who will be available in free agency.

With the exception of four-time league MVP Peyton Manning, these players hit the market at 3 p.m. Tuesday. Manning also is an exception to most of the rules of thumb used to assemble this top 15.

Except for Manning, this top 15 doesn't include:

• Anyone older than 28. Sorry, Carlos Rogers (31) and Reggie Wayne (33).

• Any receiver older than 28 who wants in the neighborhood of $12 million a year. Sorry, Vincent Jackson (29).

• Running backs. They tend to age too quickly and good younger ones are plentiful. Sorry, Peyton Hillis.

• Anyone who was injured last season (call it our Javon Walker/Antonio Bryant Rule). Sorry, Mario Williams and LaRon Landry.

• Super Bowl heroes with inflated price tags (our Larry Brown Rule). Sorry, Mario Manningham.

• Quarterbacks with super-duper-short résumés (our Scott Mitchell Rule). Sorry, Matt Flynn.

• Restricted free agents who would cost a first-round pick. Sorry, Mike Wallace.

• Legal issues. Sorry, Jerome Simpson.

Here we go:

1. Peyton Manning, QB, unattached

If your doctors sign off on him and your team is a contender that lacks a leader, you hand the keys to Peyton.

2. Carl Nicks, LG, Saints

A dominant 6-5, 343-pound All-Pro and one of the league's top two guards. And he'll turn only 27 in May.

3. Brandon Carr, CB, Chiefs

A big cover corner coming off his best season and just entering his prime. He'll turn 26 in May.

4. Curtis Lofton, MLB, Falcons

Had 147 tackles and two interceptions last season. A leader who will be 26 when the season starts.

5. Ben Grubbs, LG, Ravens

A Pro Bowler and former first-round pick with 66 career starts. He'll be 28 when the season starts.

6. Cortland Finnegan, CB, Titans

Has a reputation for being moody and difficult. But he's physical, has 15 career interceptions and just turned 28.

7. Tracy Porter, CB, Saints

Remember him? The guy who caught Brett Favre's last throw in the 2010 NFC title game will be 26 this season.

8. Pierre Garcon, WR, Colts

A deep threat who caught a career-high 70 balls without Manning at QB last year. He'll be 26 this season.

9. Laurent Robinson, WR, Cowboys

Late-blooming deep threat who had 11 touchdowns in 2011. Will be 27 when the season starts.

10. Stephen Tulloch, MLB, Lions

Has 203 tackles playing for the Lions and Titans the past two seasons. He'll be 27 this season.

11. Jared Gaither, LT, Chargers

He's a risk. He's also a 6-9, 340-pounder who played well for the Chargers late last year. He turns 26 this month.

12. David Hawthorne, MLB, Seahawks

Has had 100-plus tackles in each of the last three years. Had three interceptions last year. Will be 27 this season.

13. Dwight Lowery, S, Jaguars

A safety with cornerback skills. Has eight interceptions the past three years. Turned 26 in January.

14. Pat Sims, NT, Bengals

A 6-2, 330-pound (or so) run plugger in the middle of a defense. Will be 26 this season.

15. Jason Jones, DL, Titans

A versatile 6-5, 276-pounder who has played tackle and end. Can rush the passer from both. He'll be 26 this year.

MARK CRAIG

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Chicago WSox 3 Top 8th Inning
NY Yankees 5
Tampa Bay 4 Bottom 9th Inning
Toronto 4
Detroit 4 Bottom 7th Inning
Minnesota 9
Seattle 7 Bottom 6th Inning
Boston 3
Baltimore 2 Delayed
Chicago Cubs 4
San Francisco - T. Lincecum 3:05 PM
Washington - J. Zimmermann
Houston - C. McHugh 6:05 PM
Cleveland - D. Salazar
St. Louis - S. Miller 6:05 PM
Philadelphia - D. Buchanan
Atlanta - E. Santana 6:10 PM
Cincinnati - M. Leake
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez 6:10 PM
Milwaukee - W. Peralta
San Diego - A. Cashner 7:10 PM
Arizona - V. Nuno
Miami - T. Koehler 7:10 PM
Colorado - J. Lyles
Detroit - J. Verlander 7:10 PM
Minnesota - T. May
Kansas City - J. Guthrie 7:25 PM
Texas - N. Tepesch
LA Angels - C. Wilson 8:05 PM
Oakland - J. Lester
NY Mets - J. deGrom 8:10 PM
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke
Tampa Bay 3:30 PM
Buffalo
Tennessee 6:00 PM
Atlanta
Dallas 6:00 PM
Miami
Washington 6:30 PM
Baltimore
New Orleans 7:00 PM
Indianapolis
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Houston 8:00 PM
Denver
San Diego 8/24/14 3:00 PM
San Francisco
Cincinnati 8/24/14 7:00 PM
Arizona
Atlanta 8/28/14 5:00 PM
Jacksonville
Detroit 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Indianapolis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Kansas City 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
St. Louis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 8/28/14 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 8/28/14 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Denver 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Dallas
Minnesota 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tennessee
San Francisco 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 8/28/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Oakland
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:00 PM
ULM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Vanderbilt
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Arizona
UCF 8/30/14 7:30 AM
Penn State
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
UAB
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Virginia
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Navy
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Michigan
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Texas
Oklahoma State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Chicago 6:00 PM
Toronto FC
Montreal 6:00 PM
Red Bull New York
Chivas USA 6:30 PM
New England
Houston 6:30 PM
Columbus
D.C. 7:30 PM
Sporting Kansas City
Vancouver FC 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Montreal 16 FINAL
Winnipeg 24
Toronto 3:00 PM
Edmonton
Calgary 8/24/14 2:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/24/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 2:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Indiana 4:00 PM
Washington
Minnesota 6:00 PM
San Antonio
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