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After Brees, QB pool drops off

The following is a position-by-position look at the notable offensive players scheduled to become free agents March 3.

Quarterback

Drew Brees is by far the top quarterback in this free-agent class, but he was tabbed by San Diego as its franchise player last year and is recovering from a fairly serious shoulder injury. The Chargers have former first-round pick Philip Rivers waiting in the wings and conceivably could allow Brees to leave, especially if his shoulder doesn't progress as hoped.

If he hits the open market and can pass physicals from potential suitors, Brees will be a very hot commodity. He has established himself as a player a team can build around. If Brees is healthy and can't work out a long-term contract with San Diego, he probably will be franchised again. Quarterbacks take too much time and energy to develop for teams to just let them walk. Ideally, the Chargers would like to sign Brees to a long-term deal and trade Rivers to the highest bidder. San Diego is a talented club that is close to being a serious contender. Swinging a deal for Rivers could bring the picks and/or players that put the Chargers over the top.