Bob Glauber's top 15 NFL free agents in 2013
Newsday's Bob Glauber ranks the top 15 unrestricted free agents (not including players designated with the franchise tag or restricted free agents such as Giants receiver Victor Cruz).
1) Cliff Avril
Avril has a combined 29 sacks the last three seasons. Looking for a huge payday in free agency, and could command huge salary because of his pass-rush ability. He might draw interest from the Browns and Colts.
2) Sean Smith
An ascending player at 25, already one of the league’s most highly-regarded cover corners. Teams mentioned with possible interest: Bucs, Patriots, Cardinals, Chiefs and Eagles.
3) Dashon Goldson
Goldson turned down a five-year, $25-million deal with the 49ers last year in hopes of striking it rich in 2013. Now is his chance. The hard-hitting safety has been linked to the Eagles.
4) Mike Wallace
Had an off year in 2012, but still is one of the fastest downfield receivers in the game. The Vikings and Dolphins might make a play.
5) Jake Long
Miami placed the franchise tag on DT Randy Starks instead of Long, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2008 draft who has battled injuries the last two years. He is a premier pass blocker when healthy. The Bears need a left tackle badly, but Long might end up pricing himself out of the reach of most teams.
6) Wes Welker
The best third-down receiver in the game was franchised last year by the Patriots, but now gets a chance to test the waters of unrestricted free agency. Then again, maybe he won’t have to; he might end up re-signing with New England to continue as one of Tom Brady’s favorite targets.
7) Dannell Ellerbe
Ellerbe -- not Ray Lewis -- was the team’s best inside linebacker last year. He doesn’t want to leave Baltimore, and the Ravens want to re-sign him, but only if the price is right.
8) Glover Quin
Quin, center, was a mainstay of Houston’s dramatically improved pass defense. The Texans are intent on re-signing him.
9) Andy Levitre
The Bears and Titans might be in the mix for Levitre, an unheralded but accomplished inside presence.
10) Aqib Talib
The Pats took a chance trading for the Buccaneers’ cornerback, and he played well last season. The Pats weren’t the same against Baltimore when Talib was hurt in the AFC Championship Game.
11) Sebastian Vollmer
Very reliable run and pass blocker and a physical specimen at 6-8, 315.
12) Brent Grimes
Coming off an Achilles injury, which might limit his options in free agency. One of the best corners in the league before last year’s injury.
13) Andre Smith
In his prime at age 26, but has always battled weight problems and is looking for huge money, which could scare off suitors.
14) Paul Kruger
Kruger was Baltimore’s best pass rusher in the playoffs. The Browns are interested if the Ravens don’t re-sign him.
15) Greg Jennings
A highly productive receiver for Aaron Rodgers, he wants to hit it big in free agency. But the market might not be as active as the soon-to-be 30-year-old receiver would like. He has had injury issues last two years.
Honorable mentions: Jermon Bushrod, T, Saints; Charles Woodson, CB/S, Packers; Reggie Bush, RB, Dolphins; Michael Bennett, DE, Buccaneers; Louis Delmas, S, Lions; Phil Loadholt, T, Vikings; Ed Reed, S, Ravens; Sam Baker, T, Falcons; Cary Williams, CB, Ravens; Dwight Freeney, DE, Colts; John Abraham, DE, Falcons; Osi Umenyiora, DE, Giants; LaRon Landry, S, Jets; Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, Giants; Rey Maualuga, LB, Bengals; Dustin Keller, TE, Jets; Martellus Bennett, TE, Giants; Kenny Phillips, S, Giants; Steven Jackson, RB, Rams.