With the 2012 NFL Free Agency period among us, let’s have a look at the top available cornerbacks in the free agent class:
- Carlos Rogers
Carlos Rogers began his career with the Washington Redskins after being selected 9th in the 2005 NFL Draft, but never fulfilled his potential there. After signing with the San Francisco 49ers in 2011, Rogers found new life in his new surroundings and was one of the best corners in the NFL this past season.
2011 Stats: 43 tackles, 18 passes deflected, 6 interceptions
- Brent Grimes
Brent Grimes is like the super hero who comes from nowhere to save the day. After attending Shippensburg University, Grimes went undrafted in 2006 and was picked up by the Atlanta Falcons that year. In his 5 years in the NFL, Grimes has become respected as one of the best cover corners in the league. Quarterbacks now avoid Grimes whenever possible as he has developed a reputation to making plays only the very best are capable of. Grimes has been tagged by the Falcons but he is refusing to sign the contract so watch this space.
2011 Stats: 49 tackes, 14 passes deflected, 1 interception, FF
- Cortland Finnegan
A late round pick by the Tennessee Titans in 2006, Cortland Finnegan has had one of the more interesting NFL careers. He is one of the more talented corners in the league but interest in him lies in his attitude and behaviour. Finnegan has a reputation as a dirty player having been penalised and fined multiple times for poor sportsmanship. This was compounded in 2010 with his much talented on-field brawl with Andre Johnson which resulted in both players being ejected and fined $25000.
2011 Stats: 75 tackles, 11 passes deflected, 1 interception, FF
- Brandon Carr
One of the young up and coming cornerbacks in the NFL, Brandon Carr is in line for a hefty payday. Drafted low in the 2008 NFL Draft, he has proven himself on the Kansas City Chiefs although often he is overshadowed by his more famed teammate Brandon Flowers. With the Chiefs signing former Raiders cornerback Stanford Routt to a massive contract recently, Carr is expected to be leaving the team.
2011 Stats: 45 tackles, 15 passes deflected, 4 interceptions
- Terrell Thomas [re-signed with New York Giants]
Terrell Thomas is, like Carr, a very young player but one who takes on a massive workload. Thomas is a corner whose focus is more on tackling as he also plays safety at times in the Giants pressure 4-3 scheme. Thomas is the epitomy of the first round talent who falls to the second round having been 63rd there in the 2008 NFL Draft. Thomas missed the whole 2011 season due to a torn ACL in the preseason.
2010 Stats: 101 tackles, 21 passes deflected, 5 interceptions, 4 forced fumbles
- Richard Marshall
Originally of the Carolina Panthers, Marshall was signed by the Arizona Cardinals prior to the 2011 season after five solid but unspectacular seasons. Marshall played well last year and as such has been cited as being a high priority to be re-signed by the Reds. However, Marshall is currently not slated for the franchise tag as Arizona have indicated it will be defensive end Calais Campbell who most likely is to receive the tag.
2011 Stats: 69 tackles, 11 passes deflected, 3 interceptions
- Rashean Mathis
Mathis is one of the few bright spots on an otherwise putrid Jaguars defense. Always a star of the Jacksonville team, 2011 began as his best yet until he tore his ACL in a game at Indianapolis in November. Mathis is expected to miss the start of the season but given his talent should still make decent money.
2011 Stats: 34 tackles, 4 passes deflected, 1 interception
- Aaron Ross
A former first round draft pick, Aaron Ross has been one of the more frustrating picks for the Giants in recent years. He’s made his mark in only one arena – the Super Bowl. In Super Bowl’s XLII and XLVI, Ross impressed, stepping up in big situations and making plays. However, the drafting of Prince Amukamara in 2011 was a sign the writing is on the wall and after a disappointing 2011 season things don’t look good. With Terrell Thomas also a free agent, Ross could be the odd man out.
2011 Stats: 60 tackles, 12 passes deflected, 4 interceptions
- Tracy Porter
Porter has been one of the more stable players in the Saints defense since being drafted in 2008. He’s had possibly the two biggest plays in Saints history during that time – his interception of Brett Favre to send the 2011 NFL Championship game to overtime and his interception for a touchdown off Peyton Manning that effectively ended Superbowl XLIV. Now after an injured plagued 2011 and with new DC Steve Spagnuolo bringing in a system that doesn’t fit Porter’s style, expect him to be one of the better CB pickups of this class.
2011 Stats: 52 tackles, 9 passes deflected, 1 interception, 2 FFs
- William Gay
One of the more underrated players on the vaulted Steelers defense, William Gay has had his ups and downs since being drafted in the 2007 NFL Draft. He’s been in and out of the starting lineup in recent years but made a nice comeback in 2011, albeit in a year when the Steelers secondary as a whole was arguably the best in football. Gay may be one of the casualties of the Steelers recent cap dilemmas unless he takes a meager paycheck – a possibility given that he has said previously he wants to stay.
2011 Stats: 61 tackles, 13 passes deflected, 2 interceptions