With the beginning of free agency set for March 13, NFL clubs are working to stack their pro boards after several hours of film evaluation, meetings with both scouts and coaches, and a lot of major discussions. While the NFL Draft is the bloodline for every organization, free agency can be used to fill hot spots. When you look at the most successful teams in the NFL, they are the ones that truly stick to the formula of building through the draft and developing those players. These same teams are in the mix for the Lombardi Trophy every year.

As defined by the CBA (collective bargaining agreement), free agents that can negotiate with other teams are broken into two classifications: restricted and unrestricted. An unrestricted free agent (UFA) is a player with at least four accrued seasons. A restricted free agent (RFA) is a player with three accrued seasons in the league. Exclusive-rights free agents (ERFA) have less than three accrued seasons, but as long as their team tenders an offer at the minimum salary, they can’t negotiate with other teams. A player gains an accrued season if he is on the active roster, injured reserve or reserve/physically unable to perform for at least six games.

Restricted free agents that receive tenders are able to negotiate with other teams, but the original team has the ability to match an offer sheet that is presented. Players, agents and teams cannot talk or negotiate with each other until the March 13 start of the league year.

Franchise or transition tags can be placed on one player per team starting Feb. 20 and ending March 5.

Listed below is my pro board. These are players that will make an immediate impact; playmakers, difference-makers, starters with production. Some of the players listed below may have signed back with their original team.


Player FA Status Team Accrued Seasons

Drew Brees UFA New Orleans Saints 11

Jason Campbell UFA Oakland Raiders 7

Kellen Clemens UFA St. Louis Rams 6

A.J. Feeley UFA St. Louis Rams 11

Matt Flynn UFA Green Bay Packers 4

Kyle Orton UFA Kansas City Chiefs 7

Alex Smith UFA San Francisco 49ers 7

Running Backs

Cedric Benson UFA Cincinnati Bengals 7

LeGarrette Blount ERFA Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2

Michael Bush UFA Oakland Raiders 4

Justin Forsett UFA Seattle Seahawks 4

Matt Forte UFA Chicago Bears 4

Arian Foster RFA Houston Texans 3

Ryan Grant UFA Green Bay Packers 5

BenJarvus Green-Ellis UFA New England Patriots 4

Tim Hightower UFA Washington Redskins 4

Peyton Hillis UFA Cleveland Browns 4

Marshawn Lynch UFA Seattle Seahawks 5

Ray Rice UFA Baltimore Ravens 4

LaRod Stephens-Howling RFA Arizona Cardinals 3

Mike Tolbert UFA San Diego Chargers 4

Moran Norris (FB) UFA San Francisco 49ers 11

Michael Robinson (FB) UFA Seattle Seahawks 6

Owen Schmitt (FB) UFA Philadelphia Eagles 4

Wide Receivers

Danny Amendola RFA St. Louis Rams 3

Dwayne Bowe UFA Kansas City Chiefs 5

Marques Colston UFA New Orleans Saints 6

Jerricho Cotchery UFA Pittsburgh Steelers 8

Pierre Garcon UFA Indianapolis Colts 4

Ted Ginn Jr. UFA San Francisco 49ers 5

Derek Hagan UFA Buffalo Bills 6

DeSean Jackson UFA Philadelphia Eagles 4

Vincent Jackson UFA San Diego Chargers 6

Stevie Johnson UFA Buffalo Bills 4

Brandon Lloyd UFA St. Louis Rams 9

Mario Manningham UFA New York Giants 4

Robert Meachem UFA New Orleans Saints 5

Joshua Morgan UFA San Francisco 49ers 4

Eddie Royal UFA Denver Broncos 4

Reggie Wayne UFA Indianapolis Colts 11

Wes Welker UFA New England Patriots 8

Tight Ends

Martellus Bennett UFA Dallas Cowboys 4

John Carlson UFA Seattle Seahawks 4

Fred Davis UFA Washington Redskins 4

Joel Dreessen UFA Houston Texans 6

Jermichael Finley UFA Green Bay Packers 4

Leonard Pope UFA Kansas City Chiefs 6

Visanthe Shiancoe UFA Minnesota Vikings 9

Alex Smith UFA Cleveland Browns 7

Offensive Linemen

Demetrius Bell (T) UFA Buffalo Bills 4

Vernon Carey (T) UFA Miami Dolphins 8

Anthony Collins (T) UFA Cincinnati Bengals 4

Ryan Harris (T) UFA Denver Broncos

Stephon Heyer (T) UFA Oakland Raiders 5

Kareem McKenzie (T) UFA New York Giants 11

Tony Ugoh (T) UFA New York Giants 4

Guy Whimper (T) UFA Jacksonville Jaguars 6

Leonard Davis (G) UFA Detroit Lions 11

Ben Grubbs (G) UFA Baltimore Ravens 5

Doug Legursky (G/C) RFA Pittsburgh Steelers 3

Evan Mathis (G) UFA Philadelphia Eagles 7

Carl Nicks (G) UFA New Orleans Saints 4

Chilo Rachal (G) UFA San Francisco 49ers 4

Jake Scott (G) UFA Tennessee Titans 8

Adam Snyder (G) UFA San Francisco 49ers 7

Nick Hardwick (C) UFA San Diego Chargers 8

Todd McClure (C) UFA Atlanta Falcons 13

Chris Myers (C) UFA Houston Texans 7

Scott Wells (C) UFA Green Bay Packers 8

The defensive pro board will be published Wednesday, Feb. 15