Originally created 02/29/04

Free agency capsules

How each team is approaching NFL free agency, which begins Wednesday (all players are unrestricted free agents unless otherwise noted):

AFC EAST New England

Key free agents: NT Ted Washington; DE Bobby Hamilton; OL Damien Woody; RB Kevin Faulk.

Salary cap situation: Good, with some room to maneuver.

Needs: Running back, with Antowain Smith released; offensive linemen; possibly a cornerback if they can't restructure All-Pro Ty Law's contract.


Key free agents: OT Todd Wade; S Shawn Wooden; S Arturo Freeman, DE Adewale Ogunleye (restricted).

Salary cap situation: Way over, must cut some players and renegotiate some deals.

Needs: Seem to have found a QB in Philadelphia's A.J. Feeley; receivers and offensive linemen.


Key free agents: CB Antoine Winfield; RB Sammy Morris; CB Dainon Sidney.

Salary cap situation: Have room and some flexibility to add more.

Needs: Cornerback if Winfield leaves; quarterback to be groomed behind Drew Bledsoe; interior offensive linemen; speed receiver.

N.Y. Jets

Key free agents: PK Doug Brien; OT Kareem McKenzie.

Salary cap situation: Close to ceiling, but could cut fading LBs Mo Lewis and Marvin Jones and CB Aaron Beasley to create room.

Needs: Linebacker, receiver and defensive back, especially a cover cornerback. Re-signing the developing McKenzie is a must.

AFC NORTH Baltimore

Key free agents: DE Adalius Thomas; C Mike Flynn; PK Matt Stover; LB Ed Hartwell (restricted); WR Marcus Robinson.

Salary cap situation: Went through cap purgatory after winning Super Bowl, now in great shape.

Needs: Receivers, offensive lineman. Ravens have promising roster.


Key free agents: RB Rudi Johnson (restricted); G Mike Goff; C Rich Braham; S Mark Roman.

Salary cap situation: Enough room for a couple of free agents.

Needs: Defense, particularly tackle, cornerback and linebacker. Will look for a running back to add depth if Corey Dillon is dealt or cut.


Key free agents: LB Clark Haggans; FB Dan Kreider; S Mike Logan.

Salary cap situation: Must clear room by releasing veterans such as CB Dewayne Washington, TE Mark Bruener, RB Amos Zereoue, perhaps LB Jason Gildon.

Needs: Good coverage cornerback; running back with breakaway speed; offensive tackle; quarterback, although more likely to draft one.


Key free agents: P Chris Gardocki; OLs Shaun O'Hara and Barry Stokes.

Salary cap situation: About $3 million under, but attempting to renegotiate huge contracts of QB Tim Couch, DE Courtney Brown and DT Gerard Warren to clear room.

Needs: Offensive line, ravaged by injuries last season; a playmaking receiver or tight end.

AFC SOUTH Indianapolis

Key free agents: CB David Macklin; OT Ryan Diem; RB Dominic Rhodes.

Salary cap situation: Not good if they can't reach agreement with Peyton Manning on a long-term deal. An agreement could free up enough for two free agents.

Needs: Defensive line; linebackers; secondary; depth on the offensive line.


Key free agents: DE Jevon Kearse; TE Erron Kinney; DT Robaire Smith; QB Billy Volek; WRs Justin McCareins and WR Drew Bennett.

Salary cap situation: Way over, but will trim by restructuring deals. However, LB Randall Godfrey restructured last year and still was cut.

Needs: Defensive line, especially if they don't re-sign Kearse or Smith; backup QB if Volek leaves; tight end; offensive line.


Key free agents: CB Fernando Bryant; S Donovan Darius was made franchise player.

Salary cap situation: Will be well under when they trade Mark Brunell to Washington.

Needs: Receiver; linebacker; kicker.


Key free agents: RB Stacey Mack; OT Greg Randall; S Marlon McCree (restricted).

Salary cap situation: Have some room, could free up more if they can't rework DT Gary Walker's deal.

Needs: Mostly defense. And mostly everywhere, particularly on the line and at safety.

AFC WEST Kansas City

Key free agents: OT John Tait (transition player); S Jerome Woods; DE Eric Hicks.

Salary cap situation: Have about $8 million to spend, which could increase.

Needs: Shutdown cornerback; pass-rushing end; inside linebacker. Offense is championship-quality, defense is sieve.


Key free agents: LB Ian Gold; DE Bertrand Berry; RB Reuben Droughns; DL Reggie Hayward (restricted).

Salary cap situation: Over the cap, and if they trade for Washington CB Champ Bailey, Broncos must cut elsewhere.

Needs: Running back if Clinton Portis is dealt for Bailey; everywhere on defense; tight end; offensive line. Oakland

Key free agents: LB Eric Barton; DE Rod Coleman; S Anthony Dorsett; C Matt Stinchcomb.

Salary cap situation: Well over and will need to juggle to find room to sign anyone.

Needs: Wide receivers if Jerry Rice and/or Tim Brown don't return; both lines; linebacker; quarterback; more youth.

San Diego

Key free agents: P Darren Bennett; OT Damion McIntosh; Gs Kelvin Garmon and Solomon Page; LB Carlos Polk (restricted).

Salary cap situation: Have some room and have several underachievers they can release to make more room.

Needs: Talent on both lines; inside linebacker; safety.

NFC EAST Philadelphia

Key free agents: LB Carlos Emmons; CBs Bobby Taylor and Troy Vincent; RB Correll Buckhalter and QB A.J. Feeley (both restricted), with Feeley likely headed to Miami in a trade.

Salary cap situation: Not a problem. Plenty of room to make deals.

Needs: Wide receivers and cornerbacks if Taylor and Vincent both leave; also need defensive line help and a stronger middle linebacker.


Key free agents: CB Mario Edwards; DE Ebenezer Ekuban; C Gennaro DiNapoli; RB Troy Hambrick (restricted).

Salary cap situation: Plenty of money available, especially if they get rid of WR Joey Galloway, as they've discussed.

Needs: A workhorse running back tops the wish list; defensive end; offensive linemen; wideout.


Key free agents: S David Terrell; WR Patrick Johnson; WR Darnerien McCants (restricted); S Ifeanyi Ohalete (restricted).

Salary cap situation: Redskins franchised CB Champ Bailey and are prepared to trade him to Denver for Clinton Portis, who will get a new deal. That could take up some of the room.

Needs: If Bailey's not back, CB becomes a top priority. Also defensive linemen (at least one run-stopper and one pass-rusher); a reliable running back; safeties.

N.Y. Giants

Key free agents: C Chris Bober; DE Cornelius Griffin; LB Dhani Jones; LB Brandon Short; CB Will Peterson (restricted).

Salary cap situation: Have some room, as much as $4.5 million, but must find more space.

Needs: Help on both lines and at linebacker, especially if Short and Jones leave. Offensive line is a sieve.


Key free agents: P Josh Bidwell; QB Doug Pederson; OL Marcus Spriggs; TE Wesley Walls; DB Bhawoh Jue (restricted).

Salary cap situation: A little bit of room after franchising tackle Chad Clifton. Need to be creative to add free agents.

Needs: Aid pass rush, find another linebacker; safety; offensive line depth; younger backup QB for Brett Favre.


Key free agents: TE Jim Kleinsasser; DT Fred Robbins.

Salary cap situation: Far under the cap with plenty of maneuverability.

Needs: Pass-rushing defensive end; cornerback; complementary wide receiver for Randy Moss; depth on the offensive line.


Key free agents: OG Chris Villarrial; WR Dez White; OT Mike Gandy (restricted).

Salary cap situation: Very good, perhaps as much as $16 million after the Bears cut some veterans.

Needs: A backup QB sturdier than Chris Chandler; running back; defensive lineman; depth on offensive line.


Key free agents: LB Barrett Green; DE James Hall; RB Shawn Bryson; QB Mike McMahon (restricted).

Salary cap situation: Enough room to get whomever the Lions go after. Needs: Running back; receiver; defensive backs; guard; linebacker.

NFC SOUTH Carolina

Key free agents: WR Steve Smith (restricted) is most significant. Also S Deon Grant; OG Jeno James; CB Reggie Howard.

Salary cap situation: Have some room, but must redo QB Jake Delhomme's deal, which will take up much of that space.

Needs: Cornerback, even with development of Ricky Manning Jr.; another wideout; depth on offensive line.

New Orleans

Key free agents: C Jerry Fontenot; FB Terrelle Smith; CB Fred Thomas.

Salary cap situation: Well under and with plenty of money to fill defensive holes.

Needs: Need help at defensive tackle; they franchised DE Darren Howard. Also will look for linebackers and a cornerback.

Tampa Bay

Key free agents: DT Warren Sapp; RB Thomas Jones; QB Shaun King; DT Chartric Darby (restricted); FB Jameel Cook (restricted).

Salary cap situation: Must restructure a bunch of contracts (likely Derrick Brooks, Simeon Rice, John Lynch, Keenan McCardell) to have room to do anything.

Needs: Receiver; offensive line; running back.


Key free agents: G Travis Claridge; CB Juran Bolden; S Keion Carpenter; PK Jay Feely (restricted).

Salary cap situation: Have room and will make more by cutting some veterans, probably CB Ray Buchanan and DT Travis Hall.

Needs: Starters at left tackle, left guard, both cornerbacks; an experienced backup quarterback.

NFC WEST St. Louis

Key free agents: DE Grant Wistrom; OG Adam Timmerman; QB Marc Bulger (restricted); CB Jerametrius Butler (restricted); TE Brandon Manumaleuna (restricted).

Salary cap situation: Not much maneuvering room due to big contracts of Marshall Faulk, Kurt Warner, Orlando Pace (franchise player), Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce.

Needs: Offensive line depth; secondary depth.


Key free agents: LB Randall Godfrey; WR Darrell Jackson; CB Shawn Springs; S Reggie Tongue; WR Alex Bannister (restricted); OT Floyd Womack (restricted).

Salary cap situation: Good, and they're willing to spend after making playoffs last year.

Needs: They franchised OT Walter Jones for second straight year, which solidifies good line. Holes are on defense - line, middle linebacker, backs.

San Francisco

Key free agents: WR Tai Streets; CB Ahmed Plummer; S Jason Webster; DE John Engelberg; TE Jed Weaver; RB Kevan Barlow (restricted).

Salary cap situation: Just over the cap, but will save money when they lose some of their free agents.

Needs: Franchised LB Julian Peterson, team's best player, and need to keep as much of the core together as possible. Won't likely be big players in the market.


Key free agents: CB David Barrett; S Adrian Wilson (restricted); CB Renaldo Hill (restricted).

Salary cap situation: About $8 million to $10 million under.

Needs: Defensive line; cornerback; wide receiver; maybe a veteran backup quarterback. Team can address one major need with third overall pick in draft.


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