2012 NFL free agency: 5 DB’s who could make a difference
As we inch closer to NFL free agency teams will now decide what to do with some of their top players and difference makers. Defense wins championships and having after a number of teams have had record-breaking seasons throwing the ball expect teams to search for those DB’s who can compete with that come 2012. While the corner back’s are slim they do include Brent Grimes, Tracy Porter, Cortland Finnegan and Carlos Rodgers who should receive substantial contracts. The safety position also lacks a number of candidates but LaRon Landry could be a difference maker if healthy.
Brent Grimes – Atlanta Falcons
One of the most underrated corner backs in the NFL, Brent Grimes has made a name for himself in the Falcons secondary. Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2006 it took him awhile to get started and was even allocated to NFL Europe at one time. Fast forward to 2009 where he started eight games for the Falcons and led the team in interceptions with six. In 2010 he led the league in passes deflected with 23 and was named to the 2011 Pro Bowl. Grimes was hit by injuries in 2011. He missed four of the last five games because of a sore right knee. Grimes underwent minor surgery in late November and didn’t return until the Falcons’ blowout loss Dec. 26 at New Orleans.
Cortland Finnegan – Tennessee Titans
Finnegan was overlooked in the 2006 draft, but selected by the Titans in the seventh round. Finnegan has played with a chip on his shoulder ever since. In his NFL début in 2009 against the Jets he had a sack and forced fumble and continues to be a dominant corner. He may lack ideal size for a cover corner, but he is solid in coverage and run support. Easily one of the top corners in the NFL and should be looking for a pretty penny. The only thing holding him back is his on-field incidents. In September 2010, Finnegan threw New York Giants receiver Steve Smith to the ground by his helmet. Later that year he was involved in a fist fight with Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson.
LaRon Landry (Washington Redskins)
Drafted with the sixth overall pick in the 2007 NFL draft, Landry was immediately named the starting strong safety. His impressive rookie season earned him a 2007 Pro Bowl alternate selection and a member of the 2007 All-Defensive Rookie team. Landry has been switched back and forth from free to strong safety over the years but has been productive no matter where he lies. The last two years for Landry have been a struggle with injuries and teams may take that into account. In 2009, Landry injured his Achilles tendon playing the Eagles in Week 10, and eventually landed on injured reserve December 13th, ending his season having only played in nine games. This past season on December 15, he was officially placed on injured reserve after being advised to get surgery on his left Achilles tendon, ending the last season of his rookie contract having played a total of eight games. While his health may be an issue at this point if Landry can recuperate correctly he would be a solid addition for a number of teams.
Carlos Rodgers (San Francisco 49ers)
If the 49ers plan on keeping Carlos Rodgers they are going to have to pay up. Initially signing him to a one year contract worth $4 million in 2010, he is now searching for a five or six-year deal. “I want to be here,” said Rogers. “This has been great for me, and I would love to get something worked out for five, six years.” The 49ers should be interested as well. Through seven weeks, Rogers grades out as Pro Football Focus’ second-rated cornerback behind only Darrelle Revis. Rogers, was the Washington Redskins’ top pick, ninth overall, in the 2005 NFL draft.
Tracy Porter (New Orleans Saints)
Tracy Porter was one of the main reasons the Saints won Super Bowl XLIV as he had game-clinching interceptions against Brett Farve in the NFC Championship game and then Peyton Manning in the Super Bowl. Porter has a knack for the ball and while he may not be a number one corner he is versatile and has had success rushing the passer. The Saints have a number of big name free agents and may not have the room to sign Porter who has made a big impact over the years.
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