Commentary

Finding the best fits for '08 free agents

It's never easy to figure out where a free agent might sign, but it is easy to figure out which team would be the best fit for him.

Updated: February 28, 2008, 12:22 PM ET
By Matt Williamson | Scouts Inc.

It's never easy to predict which team a free agent will sign with, because many factors come into play. But it is easy to see which team would be the best fit for some of the top names out there.

Samuel
Samuel
Free agent: CB Asante Samuel
Best fit: Miami Dolphins
Here's why: Bill Parcells could make a big splash by stealing one of the AFC East's best players. Miami desperately needs a veteran presence in its secondary, and acquiring Samuel, who has been part of so many successful seasons in New England, could be infectious in the locker room of a team that managed to win just one game a season ago. Samuel obviously will have many teams after his services, but Miami should get in the hunt for a difference-maker at cornerback to lead their struggling secondary.

Faneca
Faneca
Free agent: G Alan Faneca
Best fit: New York Jets
Here's why: LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson and C Nick Mangold are both very talented young players, but inconsistent. Putting Faneca between these two former first-round picks would go a long way toward shoring up both the Jets' run and passing attack. Left guard and right tackle are gaping holes in the Jets' line and addressing these needs through the draft may not be particularly prudent due to the inexperience of Ferguson and Mangold. New York never recovered from the loss of Pete Kendall at left guard.

Berrian
Berrian
Free agent: WR Bernard Berrian
Best fit: Oakland Raiders
Here's why: The Raiders' receiving corps is mediocre at best and it isn't a secret that Al Davis loves to see his quarterback throw the ball deep downfield. Berrian has some Cliff Branch-like qualities with his elite deep speed and with JaMarcus Russell's amazing arm strength, this could be an excellent fit. Russell absolutely needs a receiving threat to lean on as he matures, and while Berrian is not an elite wideout, he is clearly an upgrade to what the Raiders played with at the position in 2007.

Hackett
Hackett
Free agent: WR D.J. Hackett
Best fit: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Here's why: The Buccaneers do not have a lot of pressing needs to address in free agency, but wide receiver is clearly one of them. Tampa Bay has a surplus of cap room and should be able to compete for the services of Hackett or any of the other top wide receivers in this year's free agency class. If Hackett can just stay healthy he has an excellent chance to develop into an outstanding complement to Joey Galloway. When he is on the field, all Hackett does is produce.

Adams
Adams
Free agent: OT Flozell Adams
Best fit: Miami Dolphins
Here's why: Obviously Parcells and Tony Sparano are very familiar with Adams and adding an experienced left tackle from a winning organization could have a positive impact in the locker room. The Dolphins' offensive line isn't that far away and Adams would allow Miami to put Vernon Carey at right tackle. This would give the Dolphins two very solid bookends to team with second-year C Samson Satele to keep their quarterback -- whoever that may be -- upright and aid in the running game. This move makes a lot of sense, and with all the roster cuts Parcells has made, the Dolphins should have the cap room to make a splash. Adams has been to four of the past five Pro Bowls.

Briggs
Briggs
Free agent: LB Lance Briggs
Best fit: Buffalo Bills
Here's why: Briggs is only 27 years old and in the prime of his productive career. Briggs didn't receive as much of the limelight as Brian Urlacher in Chicago, but with the Bills, he would very quickly establish himself as this defense's top dog, something that Buffalo needs very badly. Of course, Dick Jauron is familiar with what Briggs brings to the table from their time together with the Bears, and with Paul Posluszny returning from injury, the Bills could all of a sudden have a very formidable group of linebackers.

Turner
Turner
Free agent: RB Michael Turner
Best fit: Chicago Bears
Here's why: If the Bears are willing to admit that the Cedric Benson project was a complete failure, Turner would be an excellent signing. Turner played his college ball at nearby Northern Illinois and is a rare free agent running back who has experience, but also do not have a lot of mileage on his body. The Bears need a lot of help on offense, but Turner would be an excellent start.

Anderson
Anderson
Free agent: QB Derek Anderson
Best fit: Minnesota Vikings
Here's why: The Vikings have plenty of offseason needs, but adding a quarterback who can consistently make plays would alleviate some of the other issues. With Adrian Peterson in the fold, the Vikings will always be a run-first offense. That suits Anderson extremely well. While he was very impressive last season and has a big arm, Anderson is a glorified caretaker behind center. His greatest strength is protecting the football. Minnesota needs a good decision-maker who can make all the throws, and that's exactly what Anderson does. Tarvaris Jackson has only 16 career starts, but his accuracy and decision making is holding the Vikings back. The Browns tendered Anderson, meaning it would cost a first- and third-round pick for someone to sign him so it is unlikely he moves, but he's someone who could immediately help Minnesota.

Smith
Smith
Free agent: DE Justin Smith
Best fit: Philadelphia Eagles
Here's why: With edge pass-rusher Trent Cole on the right side demanding a ton of attention from opposing pass protection schemes, Smith could do very well in a complementary role on the strong side, which best suits his abilities. The Eagles need an end to pair with Cole's and Smith's motors, and Smith's all-around game should suit Jim Johnson's scheme very well.

Stallworth
Stallworth
Free agent: WR Donte' Stallworth
Best fit: Tennessee Titans
Here's why: The former University of Tennessee Volunteer floundered a bit in New England, but he could be a difference-maker for the Titans. Tennessee doesn't have anyone who can get deep and consistently stretch the field, and that is Stallworth's specialty. The Titans looked at Stallworth a year ago and would surely attack him more aggressively this offseason. Tennessee has a lot of money they can spend and absolutely must upgrade Vince Young's weapons.

Moss
Moss
Free agent: WR Randy Moss
Best fit: New England Patriots
Here's why: This is obvious. Moss caught a record 23 touchdowns in his first season in a Patriots uniform and helped lead the team to a remarkable 18-0 record before losing in the Super Bowl. Although every quarterback in the league would love to throw to this fantastic wide receiver, there isn't a better fit in the world than Tom Brady throwing to Moss.

Boley
Boley
Free agent: LB Michael Boley
Best fit: New York Giants
The Super Bowl champions do not need much, but New York will likely lose Kawika Mitchell and it does have some money to spend in free agency. Boley, while unlikely to leave Atlanta as a restricted free agent, is a big-time playmaker and extremely versatile -- exactly the kind of player that defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo can use to the best of his ability. Adding Boley to his already outstanding defense would make a very good group much better.

Wilson
Wilson
Free agent: S Gibril Wilson
Best fit: Philadelphia Eagles
Here's why: Ken Hamlin was franchised by the Cowboys, which will put Wilson's services at a premium -- especially with a really weak safety draft on the horizon. Spagnuolo is a Jim Johnson prodigy and runs an extremely similar defense to what the Eagles play. Philadelphia could use a safety of Wilson's caliber in its thin secondary, and stealing an important player from a divisional rival would pay double dividends.

Jones
Jones
Free agent: RB Julius Jones
Best fit: Chicago Bears
Here's why: Jones views himself as a starting NFL running back, but it is very questionable if he is truly among the best 32 running backs right now. With a deep running back draft, Jones could be disappointed with the interest he receives once free agency opens. He hasn't proven to be a workhorse or a powerful inside runner. Teams like Seattle and Houston could really use a bell cow to carry the rock, but we are not convinced that Jones is that player. For those reasons, put Jones into the mix in Chicago with Benson and let those two -- among others -- battle it out for carries like Julius' brother, Thomas, did two years ago.

Just For Fun

Yes, it's awfully tough for a franchised player to go anywhere else. For those given the nonexcluding franchise tag, it would cost another team two first-round picks to sign these players. So don't expect any of the following franchised players to be leaving their teams just yet, but if someone was brave enough to pay the cost, here would be the best fits.

Suggs
Suggs
Franchised player: Baltimore LB Terrell Suggs
Best fit: Arizona Cardinals
Here's why: The Ravens are already a terrific fit for Suggs, but the Arizona State product would be an outstanding addition to the Cardinals. Suggs' return to the desert would provide the Cardinals' defense with the flexibility and potency that Baltimore has had for years.

Trufant
Trufant
Franchised player: Seattle CB Marcus Trufant
Best fit: Houston Texans
Here's why: It is a massive understatement to say that Houston's secondary needs to be upgraded. Dunta Robinson is very talented and was coming into his own, but his November knee injury very well could cut into his 2008 season. Trufant picked off seven passes in 2007, clearly the best season of his career. He is peaking at the right time.

Allen
Allen
Franchised player: Kansas City DE Jared Allen
Best fit: Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars very well could have the best defense in the NFL if they could land Allen, a ferocious pass-rusher who is in the prime of his career. The Jaguars have an awful lot of money to spend and don't have a wealth of needs. Clearly Kansas City is in no position to let its best defensive player walk out the door without compensation.

Hamlin
Hamlin
Franchised player: Dallas S Ken Hamlin
Best fit: Jacksonville Jaguars
Here's why: Hamlin went to the Pro Bowl last season after intercepting five passes and registering 102 tackles. He is a playmaker with excellent toughness and leadership. While he played free safety for Dallas, Hamlin is probably better suited to be a strong safety due to his hitting and tackling ability. The Jaguars could use an upgrade at strong safety and adding an established player like Hamlin next to second-year FS Reggie Nelson makes a lot of sense.

Williams
Williams
Franchised player: Green Bay DT Corey Williams
Best fit: Oakland Raiders
Here's why: Williams has 14 sacks over the past two seasons, and finding that kind of interior pass-rushing production is hard to do and expensive to obtain. Outside of Albert Haynesworth, Williams is the best defensive tackle in a shallow market and will be sought after in a big way. No team needs help up the middle like Oakland. This defense was excellent two years ago, but fell apart at this position and the entire group crumbled because of it. The Raiders must address this problem by acquiring a veteran like Williams, trading for Shaun Rogers or (most likely) drafting Glenn Dorsey or Sedrick Ellis. However, the Packers franchised Williams to keep him around for another year while they make a run at the big prize.

Gross
Gross
Franchised player: Carolina OT Jordan Gross
Best fit: Denver Broncos
Here's why: Gross is capable of playing both right and left tackle, but is more comfortable and productive on the right side. Matt Lepsis recently retired and the Broncos' offensive line is in need of a bit of an overhaul. Mike Shanahan has gotten outstanding production from his running game without having to dedicate a plethora of high draft picks or major free agency dollars on offensive linemen or running backs. There are more and more teams running similar systems to Denver's, like the one Gross was in with Carolina a year ago, and it might be time to throw some serious money at the situation.

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