With free agency set to open Friday, Scouts Inc. takes a look at five available players who are most important to their current teams.
Kurt Warner, QB, Arizona
The Cardinals are in negotiations with Warner for a deal that would allow him to finish his career with the franchise. Warner proved last season that he can still play at a high level, leading the Cardinals to the Super Bowl. His value on the open market isn't nearly as high to other teams as it is to the Cardinals, who don't have a lot of confidence in Warner's backup, former first-round pick Matt Leinart.
Kerry Collins, QB, Tennessee
Collins' situation has many parallels to that of Warner. While the Titans are not ready to make Collins a huge offer, they do respect the solid season he had in 2008. And like Arizona, they don't have a lot of confidence in their former first-round pick, Vince Young. Like Warner, Collins doesn't have great leaguewide value on the open market (One team to watch, however, is the New York Jets, who could up the ante a bit). Collins still has a very good arm and can make all the throws. His presence and leadership would be missed in Tennessee.
Albert Haynesworth, DT, Tennessee
Even though defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz has moved on to coach the Lions, his system remains intact, and there are few teams that build their system around a defensive tackle. Haynesworth makes all the other defenders in the Titans' scheme better, and though they have good defensive line depth, the Titans don't have anyone who can fill his massive shoes in the middle of their scheme.
Ray Lewis, ILB, Baltimore
In an age when superstar players rarely spend their whole career with one team, Lewis has a chance to finish his career with the Ravens. Even after 13 seasons, there hasn't been much visible evidence that his level of play has dropped off. Sure, on tape he might have lost an eighth of a step last season, but he makes up for it with a motor that never stops, a high level of intensity and leadership that is unmatched. As much as the Ravens would miss him on the field, they might miss him just as much off the field.