2011 NFL FREE AGENCY BUYER'S GUIDE:
BEST FIRST MOVE FOR EVERY TEAM | BARGAINS | BEST FITS | RISKIEST MOVES | TEAMS IN DANGER | PROJECTING IMPACT | NFL RUMORS
While their bosses have spent the past six months negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement with the NFL Players Association, NFL general managers and personnel executives have been tweaking their free-agency strategies and adding contingency plans for multiple sets of free-agent rules so they would be ready to act when a new CBA was completed. With a deal now in place, hundreds of players will be looking for new contracts.
For some teams, the most important thing will be to keep one of their own players. For other teams, there's a specific free agent who would be a perfect fit. Here are some suggestions for what each team's first move in free agency should be.
Arizona Cardinals -- Trade for QB Kevin Kolb
Of the 46 quarterbacks with more than 100 passes in 2010, Cardinals quarterbacks Derek Anderson and John Skelton ranked 41st and 45th, respectively, in DYAR. Arizona chose to not add a quarterback in the 2011 draft, which means the Cardinals should attempt to acquire Kolb from the Philadelphia Eagles. The 26-year-old Kolb is only one year younger than Larry Fitzgerald, and the two could form a formidable QB-WR connection for years to come.
Atlanta Falcons -- Re-sign RT Tyson Clabo
After ranking 24th in adjusted sack rate in 2007, the Falcons' offensive line has ranked in the top six in that category in each of the past three seasons. Keeping QB Matt Ryan upright will be a key ingredient for Atlanta to continue its unprecedented run of winning seasons, which makes re-signing Pro Bowl right tackle Clabo a priority this summer.
Baltimore Ravens -- Sign OLB Matt Roth
In the 2011 draft, the Ravens did not address a pass rush that ranked 27th in adjusted sack rate in 2010. Roth, a free-agent outside linebacker, recorded just 3.5 sacks last season but, according to our game charters, posted 24.5 QB hurries, a sign that he could be the pass-rushing answer opposite Terrell Suggs.