Position-by-position look at top free agents

Between now and midnight Friday, some players will re-sign and be removed from this list, and some will be released and added to this list.

But as of Thursday afternoon, here is a look at some of the top players –- restricted free agents and franchise players are not included -- heading into free agency.


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1. Kurt Warner, Cardinals -- Just a question of Warner and Cardinals finalizing a deal.
2. Kerry Collins, Titans -- No team can offer the full package that Tennessee can.
3. Jeff Garcia, Buccaneers -- Would be a perfect stop-gap quarterback for San Francisco.
4. Byron Leftwich, Steelers -- As much as he would like the chance to start, it's going to be tough to land that promise.
5. Rex Grossman, Bears -- Good enough to win an NFC Championship.
Sleeper: J.P. Losman, Bills -- With a change of scenery, maybe his talent can flourish.

Running backs

1. Derrick Ward, Giants -- Hoping to find more of a market than there was last year for his services.
2. Fred Taylor, Jaguars -- Cut last week, he already has visited Buffalo and New England.
3. Maurice Morris, Seahawks -- Seattle would like to keep him and have him compete for starting job.
4. Cedric Benson -- Emerged from the scrap heap to become a possibility for a running-back needy team.
5. Warrick Dunn -- Still produced for Tampa Bay last year and will help some team this year.
Sleeper: J.J. Arrington, Cardinals -- As an added bonus, can help as a return man.

Wide receivers

1. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Bengals -- Cincinnati is making a last-ditch effort to re-sign him.
2. Laveranues Coles, Jets -- Miami would be a great fit for Coles.
3. Nate Washington, Steelers -- Proved to be enough of a downfield threat that will be attractive to somebody.
4. Michael Clayton, Buccaneers -- Never blossomed the way many thought he would after his rookie season.
5. Marvin Harrison, Colts -- At 36, not what he once was, but still could be a solid No. 3 wideout.
Sleeper: Bobby Engram, Seahawks -- Still can be productive despite his age.

Offensive linemen

1. Jason Brown, Ravens (C-G) -- Would not be surprising to see the Dolphins make a major push for him.
2. Jon Stinchcomb, Saints (T) -- The top tackle free agent has been a full-time starter for Saints.
3. Jeff Saturday, Colts (C) --Colts already have informed him they don't expect to bring him back.
4. Stacy Andrews, Bengals (T) -- The Bengals' franchise player last offseason, he suffered a serious knee injury this season.
5. Khalif Barnes, Jaguars (T) -- It's rare that a 26-year-old starting left tackle hits the market.
Sleeper: Ray Willis, Seahawks -- Pay attention to his name; the contract he lands will be eye-opening.

Defensive linemen

1. Albert Haynesworth, Titans (DT) -- If it goes the way he wants, he will become football's first $100 million defensive player.
2. Chris Canty, Cowboys (DE) -- Dallas can't afford him, and other teams are after him.
3. Antonio Smith, Cardinals (DE) -- High-motor pass-rushers always will have a market.
4. Colin Cole, Packers (DT) -- With so many teams switching to the 3-4, Cole will be in demand.
5. Bertrand Berry, Cardinals (DE) -- An oldie but goodie, Berry still can rush the passer.
Sleeper: Kevin Carter, Buccaneers (DE) -- A good player to have on the line and in the locker room.


1. Ray Lewis, Ravens -- Make no secret, he's going to the highest bidder, either the Ravens or the Jets.
2. Bart Scott, Ravens -- Wherever Lewis doesn't wind up is where Scott likely will.
3. Jonathan Vilma, Saints -- New Orleans would love to be able to afford to bring him back.
4. Michael Boley, Falcons -- With the emergence of the 3-4, Boley will have plenty of suitors.
5. Derrick Brooks, Buccaneers -- A trusted veteran of Tampa Bay's defense, he could help a team on run downs.
Sleeper: Angelo Crowell, Bills -- Good enough to help somebody.

Defensive backs

1. Bryant McFadden, Steelers -- The only unrestrictred free-agent starter off Pittsburgh's championship defense.
2. DeAngelo Hall, Redskins -- Washington is determined not to let him get away.
3. Ron Bartell, Rams --Rams have been trying for days to resign him before free agency.
4. Jabari Greer, Bills -- Has been waiting to test the free-agent market.
5. Jermaine Phillips, Buccaneers (S) -- Packs a wallop.
Sleeper: Sean Jones, Browns (S) -- A former second-round pick who can make plays.

Other notables

Tight ends: L.J. Smith, Philadelphia; Chris Baker, Jets.
Fullbacks: Lorenzo Neal, Ravens; Tony Richardson, Jets.
Specialists:Mike Nugent, Jets (K); Jay Feeley, Jets (K); Matt Stover, Ravens (K); Justin Miller, Raiders (returner)

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