2011 Free Agent Focus: Cornerbacks

Nnamdi Asomugha (OAK)

Asomugha is arguably the biggest prize of the 2011 offseason, but I find it unlikely that the Patriots will be the team to sign him. The Patriots won’t pay him $10 million a year when they already invested around $4-5 million in Bodden and a first round pick in McCourty and have bigger needs elsewhere on the team. If the Patriots did decide to make a big splash in the free agent pool, Asomugha would be high on New England’s list of potential targets.

Drayton Florence (BUF)

The Patriots are an attractive option for many aging veterans who want one last shot at a ring (Fred Taylor, Junior Seau, Joey Galloway, etc.). The Pats also have a reputation for taking talented players away from division rivals. Florence would fit the bill on both counts. Florence is an average starter, but he would excel as a nickel corner and may even be able to move over to safety in certain packages. The Bill may look to get younger at corner this offseason, so there is a decent chance he will be available.

Fabian Washington (BAL)

The top three cornerbacks of the Ravens are all free agents, and Washington appears likely to be the odd man out. He struggled in 2010 and was eventually benched due to a few mental lapses, but he has plenty of experience as a starter and could provide veteran leadership in the secondary. The biggest hurdles to him playing in New England could be price and playing time, as he will likely expect to start and earn a starter’s salary. If winning is more important to him than money or playing time, he could definitely bolster the defense.

Brandon Carr (KC)

Carr was a very pleasant surprise for the Chiefs and held his own while facing a larger percentage of targets across from emerging star Brandon Flowers. He has adequate speed and ball skills, and his size is a plu, allowing him to play physical against larger receivers. Carr is a restricted free agent, but if the tender is not outrageous, it wouldn’t be out of the question for the Pats to make an offer. If he’s tender at a 2nd round level, he would likely be a better value than any corner that would be available at the 60th pick.

Richard Marshall (CAR)

Marshall may have some hurt feelings after not receiving a contract extension he requested (loudly) prior to the season, so there is a reasonable chance he could be available. He is tough in run support and decent in coverage. He would push Bodden for a spot in the starting lineup and might be able to earn a starting role against certain opponents, especially if the other AFC East teams continue to move toward implementing a run-heavy attack.

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