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Top 40 free agents still on the market

The market has been picked over, but there are still some potentially helpful players available on the market as the third wave of free agency kicks in.

1. S Reggie Nelson, Cincinnati
Ranking on March 16: 3


Husain Abdullah's retirement Monday further thins an already watered-down safety market.

Nelson's age (32) works against him, but whoever signs him has a ready-made starter who has been one of the league's best at his position, a safety who retains his youthful aggression while taking better angles than he ever has to this point in his career.

He's the classic mature safety who will end up being a bargain once he finds a home. He can be as productive as Ravens signee Eric Weddle but with a much lower cap figure.

2. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, N.Y. Jets
Ranking on March 16: 4

Cleveland's decision to sign Robert Griffin III and the continued buzz of rumors regarding Colin Kaepernick and a potential trade to the Broncos leave Fitzpatrick with few options. He could end up returning to the Jets — at perhaps significantly less than he hoped for when he hit the market.

3. G Jahri Evans, ex-New Orleans
Ranking on March 16: 6

4. ILB Karlos Dansby, Cleveland
Ranking on March 16: 7
(Agreed to terms with Cincinnati)

5. CB Leon Hall, Cincinnati
Ranking on March 16: 9

6. Louis Vasquez, ex-Denver
Ranking on March 16: 11

7. OLB Mike Neal, Green Bay
Ranking on March 16: 12

8. DE Jason Hatcher, ex-Washington
Ranking on March 16: 13


9. G Geoff Schwartz, ex-N.Y. Giants
Ranking on March 16: 15
(Signed with Detroit)

ESPN reported that Schwartz visited the Steelers, but he left without a contract. In an interview with last week, Schwartz said that he could wait until the draft to sign, but "it's a risk. Do you wait to see if a team who needs guards will draft a guard?"

10. DE Jason Jones, Detroit
Ranking on March 16: 16

11. RB Arian Foster, ex-Houston
Ranking on March 16: 20

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Monday that Foster will visit with the Dolphins, who are still formulating their backup plan at running back following the Broncos' decision to match their offer sheet to C.J. Anderson.

12. G/C Manny Ramirez, Detroit
Ranking on March 16: 21

13. WR Anquan Boldin, San Francisco
Ranking on March 16: 22

Interest has been scant in Boldin, despite his consistent production and his ability to make receptions without needing much separation, which has helped extend his effective life in the NFL.

14. C Stefen Wisniewski, Jacksonville
Ranking on March 16: 23

Wisniewski reportedly met with the Steelers last week.

15. NT Kevin Williams, New Orleans
Ranking on March 16: 24

A rotational component at this point in his career, Williams is still effective, but the Saints on Monday opted to move on by signing former Lions and Rams defensive lineman Nick Fairley to a one-year deal.

16. CB Sterling Moore, Tampa Bay
Ranking on March 16: 25

17. ILB Zach Brown, Tennessee
Ranking on March 16: 26


18. TE Scott Chandler, ex-New England
Ranking on March 16: 27

Age (30) and his release with a "failed physical" designation limited interest in him, and he's likely to go to a team where any contributions from him would be a bonus and not something they would go into the season relying upon.

19. TE Owen Daniels, ex-Denver
Ranking on March 16: 29

20. NT Terrance Knighton, Washington
Ranking on March 16: 32

According to reports, Knighton met with the Patriots on Monday after New England lost out on Fairley to the Saints.

21. C Lyle Sendlein, Arizona
Ranking on March 16: 34

22. DE Wallace Gilberry, Cincinnati
Ranking on March 16: 35

23. TE Garrett Graham, ex-Houston
Ranking on March 16: 37

24. WR Roddy White, ex-Atlanta
Ranking on March 16: 38

25. K Josh Brown, N.Y. Giants
Ranking on March 16: 39


26. DE Greg Hardy, Dallas
Ranking on March 16: 40

Talent isn't the question, of course; character and the ability to accept coaching and not be a locker-room distraction is. Is his best bet now waiting until after the draft? That worked out for Shaun Phillips in 2013, when he joined the Broncos on the third day of the draft and posted 10 sacks. They're different players with different skill sets, but Hardy could benefit by waiting to see how needs shake out, because he remains a premium talent with a rare skill set.

27. CB Antonio Cromartie, ex-N.Y. Jets
Ranking on March 16: Not in top 40

28. ILB DeMeco Ryans, ex-Philadelphia
Ranking on March 16: Not in top 40

29. G Amini Silatolu, Carolina
Ranking on March 16: Not in top 40

30. OLB Aldon Smith, Oakland
Ranking on March 16: Not in top 40

When asked about pass rushers last week at the NFL Annual Meeting, Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said, "I think you need three." Whether that means the Raiders bring back Smith is in question, and with his current suspension he would not be eligible for reinstatement until November.

31. WR/KR/PR Percy Harvin, Buffalo
Ranking on March 16: Not in top 40

32. K Greg Zuerlein, Los Angeles
Ranking on March 16: Not in top 40


33. WR Brandon LaFell, ex-New England
Ranking on March 16: Not in top 40

Given that Tom Brady's presence typically provides a nitro boost to a wide receiver's numbers, it's not a surprise that the 29-year-old receiver hasn't drawn furious interest, since he didn't break 1,000 yards while with the Patriots and didn't score any touchdowns last year.

34. RB Ronnie Hillman, Denver
Ranking on March 16: Not in top 40

35. RB LeGarrette Blount, New England
Ranking on March 16: Not in top 40

36. ILB Craig Robertson, Cleveland
Ranking on March 16: Not in top 40

37. FB John Kuhn, Green Bay
Ranking on March 16: Not in top 40

Green Bay has been patient while letting Kuhn test the market, and at this point it seems like Kuhn will end up back in green and gold. The market for 33-year-old fullbacks isn't great.

38. QB Johnny Manziel, ex-Cleveland
Ranking on March 16: Not in top 40

An Instagram photo from chef Mario Batali of Manziel in Las Vegas last weekend is not the best look given Manziel's litany of issues. It will do little to change the perception that Manziel is not serious about his career or dealing with his personal issues.

39. S Walter Thurmond, Philadelphia
Ranking on March 16: 1

Dropped because of persistent rumors that he is considering retirement.

40. S Will Hill, ex-Baltimore
Ranking on March 16: 30

It's not just a looming 10-game suspension that hurts Hill's prospects, it's that this will be his fourth suspension in the last four years. Teams have justifiable questions at this point about Hill's reliability and trustworthiness.

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