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Dec 1, 2013; Toronto, ON, Canada; Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Darius Johnson (13) runs after a catch as Buffalo Bills free safety Jairus Byrd (31) defends during the second half at the Rogers Center. Falcons beat the Bills 34-31. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Top NFL free agents getting defensive

If defense wins championship, then the remaining 2014 NFL free agent class is all about the Lombardi Trophy. With Jimmy Graham getting the franchise tag from the New Orleans Saints and the Baltimore Ravens re-signing Dennis Pitta, the top remaining free agents are starting to have something in common. They almost all play of the defensive side of the ball, and the numbers aren’t even close.

According to Rotoworld and NFL.Com, 15 of the top 20 free agents still available are all about stopping the opposing offense from putting the ball in the zone. The 15 players on the Rotoworld list includes:

Free safety Jairus Byrd, Buffalo Bills

Outside linebacker Brian Orakpo, Washington Redskins

Defensive end Michael Johnson, Cincinnati Bengals

Cornerback Brent Grimes, Miami Dolphins

Cornerback Aqib Talib, New England Patriots

Cornerback Alterraun Verner, Tennessee Titans

Defensive lineman Lamarr Houston, Oakland Raiders

Defensive lineman Michael Bennett, Seattle Seahawks

Cornerback Vontae Davis, Indianapolis Colts

Defensive tackle Henry Melton, Chicago Bears

Outside linebacker Jason Worilds, Pittsburgh Steelers

Defensive tackle Linval Joseph, New York Giants

Strong safety T.J. Ward, Cleveland Browns

Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Denver Broncos

Defensive lineman Jason Hatcher, Dallas Cowboys


Of the five remaining free agents in the top 20, four of them are on the offensive line. Not coincidentally, these are the players that are tasked with stopping or moving a hard charging defense. The lone skill position player on the offensive side of the ball to crack the top 20 is Denver Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker.

This is why teams looking for defensive help in free agency should have the feeling of a kid in a candy store. Meanwhile, teams looking to add some offense to their squad are left out in the cold. Maybe this is why Graham, Pitta, Riley Cooper and even Jeremy Maclin have already been taken off the market before the bidding got started.


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