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Five big fish for Giants, Jets and the rest of the NFL when free agency begins Friday

Forget everything you know about NFL free agency. The game has changed.

With no collective bargaining agreement in place for 2010, there will be a flurry of new rules taking effect when the bidding wars begin Friday.

Altering the landscape of free agency: There is no salary cap, many players previously slated to become unrestricted free agents can now be retained with matching offers, and the top eight playoff teams face restrictions on signing free agents. (In other words, don't expect the Jets to go on a spending spree.)

Here are some unrestricted free agents who head this year's class with guesses as to where they might sign:

Peppers, who racked up 81 sacks during his eight-year stay in Carolina, is this year's top prize. Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington are rumored to be the teams most likely to toss in excess of $12 million a year at the five-time Pro Bowler.
Projected landing spot: Chicago

The Cardinals refused to pony up a $4 million roster bonus for their top linebacker. The Dolphins, Bears and Redskins are reportedly interested in Dansby, expected to command $30 million in guaranteed money. He would make sense for the Giants, too.
Projecting landing spot: Miami

Sproles, 26, is one of the few young offensive talents who will hit the open market, but questions remain about the 5-foot-6 scatback's durability. He will likely find himself in a running back-by-committee situation.
Projected landing spot: Washington

Robinson has been adamant that he wants a big-money contract, even getting in trouble last season for writing “Pay Me” and “Rick” on his cleats. Texans general manager Rick Smith didn't listen. Maybe deep-pocketed Redskins owner Daniel Snyder will.
Projected landing spot: Washington

Bodden is regarded by many analysts as the best free-agent cover man and should come cheaper than Robinson. Bodden has said he would like to re-sign with New England, but he won't give the Patriots a hometown discount.
Projected landing spot: Atlanta


Some other top unrestricted free agents:
Chad Pennington QB Miami
Thomas Jones* RB Jets
Chester Taylor RB Minnesota
LaDainian Tomlinson RB San Diego
Brian Westbrook RB Philadelphia
Antonio Bryant WR Tampa Bay
Terrell Owens WR Buffalo
Kevin Walter WR Houston
Aaron Kampman DE Green Bay
Gary Brackett LB Indianapolis
Ryan Clark S Pittsburgh
Antrel Rolle* S Arizona
Darren Sharper S New Orleans

*Expected to be released

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