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Although free agency has been a bit lost in all of the lockout talk, at this point in a normal season, it would be the main topic of discussion. Teams are not currently allowed to have any contact with players whatsoever, including signing free agents. This means that those who are not currently signed to a contract are stuck in limbo, and given no choice but to wait it out. Depending upon the specifics of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement which is currently being negotiated, some rules regarding free agency may change, but one thing is for sure, these guys are not being forgotten:
Nnamdi Asomugha (CB):
Everyone better learn to say this guys name. The former raiders’ defensive back is the gem of this years free agent class. Asomugha is unquestionably one of the best defensive players in all of football, and often referred to as one of the few true “shut-down” corners in the NFL. He has the ability to blanket all of the top receivers in the league, and though he doesn’t put up incredible interception numbers, it is mostly because teams refuse to throw to his side of the field altogether. Owners better be ready to open their wallets for him, but are sure to get a star-player out of the deal.
DeAngelo Williams (RB):
If Asomugha wasn’t a free agent, the buzz would be much bigger for this former Pro-Bowl running back from Carolina. Though slowed by injuries in 2010, his 20 touchdown 2008 season showed what kind of talent he really has. His incredible speed and agility make him not only an exciting player to watch, but a big-play threat every time he touches the ball. He is yet to get the chance to play on a true contender, and at only 28 years old, many teams will be drooling over the opportunity to add some explosion to their offense for years to come.
Santonio Holmes (WR):
Super Bowl XLIII MVP, enough said. Great hands, great speed, and a thrill for the dramatic make him a highly coveted target for any quarterback to have. Last year Jets fans saw him make countless key receptions at key times, scoring six touchdowns in just 12 games to lead them all the way to the AFC Championship. Rumor has it the Jets will try to re-sign him, but with Braylon Edwards being a high-priced free agent as well, money may become a key factor. If the Jets can’t work out a deal, look for Holmes to make a big splash with a new club.
Johnathan Joseph (CB):
Most people don’t know enough about this young corner out of the University of South Carolina. He’s been far and away the best defensive player on the perennially mediocre Bengals defense, and has shown real promise in his five seasons in Cincinnati. A much better tackler than Asomugha, with much higher interception totals, teams will throw toward Joseph much less in the future. If he goes to a new team, look for him to make a big name for himself as one of the top defensive backs in the league.
Ahmad Bradshaw (RB):
Some might question his appearance on this list, but Bradshaw could be a key contributor to a team lacking in the running department. Coming into his own in 2010, racking up 1,235 yards and 8 touchdowns, Bradshaw showed signs of things to come in the future. Standing at just 5-foot-9, he’s not just the everyday speed back that every team seems to have these days, he’s a bruiser. Countless times Giants fans saw him run not just around, but through defenders on his way to big plays. If he can fix his fumbling problem, Bradshaw will be the sleeper of the 2011 free agent class.
The entire 2011 NFL season to date is one giant question mark. Will the season start on time? Will there be a season at all? What will the new Collective Bargaining Agreement mean for the players and the owners? Nobody knows the answers to these questions just yet. What we do know is that football fans around the world are patiently waiting for everything to get back to normal and see their favorite teams vie for the top unsigned players around the league.