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.

Miami

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.

Buffalo

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.

Cincinnati

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.

Pittsburgh

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.

Cleveland

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.

Tennessee

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.

Jacksonville

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.

Houston

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.

Denver

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.

Dallas

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.

Washington

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.

NFC NORTH Green Bay

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.

Minnesota

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.

Chicago

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.

Detroit

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.

Atlanta

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.

Seattle

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.

Arizona

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.