NFL Free Agency: Defensive Ends

Since last August, the Bears have handed out nearly $50 million in new contracts to starting defensive ends Adewale Ogunleye and Alex Brown, so the team is unlikely to be a player in the free agent market at the position. But we'll still list those ends scheduled to hit the market in March, with comments on the unrestricted types, just in case the organization surprises us. There are a handful of productive players in their prime scheduled to hit the market.

2005 Free-Agent Defensive Ends

A listing of the defensive ends scheduled for NFL free agency in 2005. UFA=Unrestricted Free Agent; RFA=Restricted Free Agent; ERFA=Exclusive Rights Free Agent. For definitions of free-agent terms, click here. The "Best of the Bunch" is sorted by rankings from Scout.com's Lane Adkins. The "Rest of the Bunch" is sorted by free-agent type, then by most recent team. Comments provided for unrestricted free agents.
BEST OF THE BUNCH
Player Free-Agent Type 2004 Team
Darren Howard UFA Saints
Comment: The former Kansas State Wildcat could be in line for a huge paycheck. He led the Saints with 11 sacks, which was the same number he had his rookie season. He could be the second-best defensive end on the market unless the Saints franchise him, which is possible.
John Abraham UFA Jets
Comment: Probably the best defensive end on the market. However, his playoff snub where he refused to play in either of the Jets' playoff games in January could keep some teams from the bidding process. But numbers speak loudly, as Abraham has amassed 43 sacks in five seasons. Jets are wavering and not sure if they'll place the franchise tag on him before March 2.
Reggie Hayward UFA Broncos
Comment: The former Iowa State Cyclone has enjoyed four solid seasons with Denver. In 2004, he had career highs in sacks with 10.5 and tackles with 31. He's the type of ascending player that could strike gold in March, but the Broncos could also put the franchise tag on him to restrict his movement.
Chike Okeafor UFA Seahawks
Comment: This Boilermaker is headed for a big payday come March. With Seattle's organization in a state of flux with numerous pending free-agent defections, Okeafor is entering the prime of his career. He's increased his sacks total in each of his six seasons in stints in San Francisco and Seattle.
Marques Douglass UFA Ravens
Comment: Despite dislocating his elbow in training camp, Douglass managed 5.5 sacks. He's another player that could get a serious look from NFL teams based on his future potential.
Hugh Douglas UFA Eagles
Comment: After making the rounds two years ago as one of the hottest free agents on the market, he signed with Jacksonville, where he struggled and was eventually released. He tried to make a comeback in Philly, but he's likely headed somewhere else next season.
Derrick Burgess UFA Eagles
Comment: He has spent his entire four-year career with the Eagles but he lost his job in December to Hugh Douglas. Though he rebounded last season with 2.5 sacks; he's looking at a backup position if he leaves Philly.
Bryan Robinson UFA Dolphins
Comment: In eight NFL seasons, Robinson has bounced around between defensive tackle and defensive end. Either home has yielded only three sacks the last three seasons.
Bobby Hamilton UFA Raiders
Comment: Not many teams are looking for a player entering his 11th NFL season; especially when you factor in the fact he recorded a single sack in 2004.
Bryce Fisher UFA Rams
Comment: Not many players make the jump from the Air Force to the NFL but Fisher has done it with flying colors. He had a career year in St. Louis in 2004, recording 8.5 sacks, 37 sacks and two fumble recoveries. He'll be one of the hottest prospects in the market.
Carl Powell UFA Bengals
Comment: In six seasons in the NFL, Powell has barely averaged one sack per season. He spent the last two seasons in Cincinnati, where he struggled to get on the field.
Carlos Hall RFA Titans
Kavika Pittman UFA Panthers
Comment: The last two seasons have been unkind to Pittman. He's missed the majority of the last two years with the Panthers. Last summer he had surgery on his ACL, and how that responds in workouts could determine his value. If his knee is sound, he'd be a great pickup for a team searching for veteran leadership.
Peppi Zellner UFA Cardinals
Comment: This former small-college standout played his four seasons with Dallas but has been a journeyman the last two years, struggling to get playing time in both Washington and Arizona.
Chidi Ahanotu UFA Buccaneers
Comment: Ahanotu ended his second stint with the Buccaneers with 4.5 sacks, but this journeyman is at best a backup and could be looking for his fifth team in as many years.
Brandon Mitchell UFA Seahawks
Comment: Eleven career sacks in eight NFL seasons won't earn him much of a paycheck. Though, because of looming free-agent defections in Seattle, Mitchell might get an unexpected bump in pay.
Marco Coleman UFA Broncos
Comment: This 13-year veteran had a rebound year with Denver last season after coming over from the Jaguars before the 2004 season. Coleman only managed two sacks last year, and the rest of his career could be short-lived.
Jerry DeLoach UFA Texans
Comment: Another member of the two-career-sack club. Like his teammate Corey Sears, DeLoach could be facing another career come next season.
Raheem Brock UFA Colts
Comment: After three years in Indy, Brock could be ready for a bigger paycheck. Like Reggie Hayward, he's an ascending player who recorded 6.5 sacks for Indy last year.
Karon Riley UFA Falcons
Comment: Another linebacker/defensive end prospect who's struggled in Atlanta.
REST OF THE BUNCH
Player Free-Agent Type 2004 Team
Anton Palepoi UFA Broncos
Comment: After breaking into the league with Seattle, Palepoi spent last season with Denver, where he had a career year with three sacks and 17 tackles.
Tyrone Rogers UFA Browns
Comment: Converted back to linebacker but has experience at defensive end. The former Alabama State product statistically is in for an uphill battle to make it on an NFL roster in 2005.
Kyle Vanden Bosch UFA Cardinals
Comment: This former Cornhusker has spent four pitiful years with Arizona. After a decent career at Nebraska, he's only managed four career sacks and has recorded zero the last two seasons.
Chuck Wiley UFA Giants
Comment: Seven-year veteran could be playing for his fifth team next season. His career year was 2000, when he had 14 tackles and four sacks while playing for Atlanta.
Regan Upshaw UFA Giants
Comment: Injuries have shot down his career. He only played in three games for New York last year and only has 34.5 sacks in nine NFL seasons.
Rodney Bailey UFA Patriots
Comment: Some guys are lucky. After struggling with the Steelers for three seasons, Bailey found himself with a Super Bowl ring despite the fact he didn't record a sack.
Erik Flowers UFA Rams
Comment: Unlike his fellow free-agent teammate Bryce Fisher, Flowers has struggled mightily in St. Louis. Injuries have slowed his career.
Tony Bryant UFA Saints
Comment: After starting his career in Oakland, the six-year veteran moved to the Saints two years ago. However, the transition from the Bay to the Big Easy has not been kind. Neither will his search for a big payday in March, April, May or June.
Corey Sears UFA Texans
Comment: Five teams in six years and 2.5 career sacks don't equate to major bucks in the NFL. In fact, not even moderate bucks can be had with those statistics.
Juqua Thomas UFA Titans
Comment: He had his best year in 2003, when he recorded four sacks, but he struggled last year playing in only 10 of 16 games on a bad Tennessee defense.
Aaron Kampman RFA Packers
R-Kal Truluck RFA Packers
Kemp Rassmussen RFA Panthers
Jarvis Green RFA Patriots
Demetric Evans RFA Redskins
Brett Keisel RFA Steelers
Bryant McNeal ERFA Broncos
Felip Claybrookes ERFA Browns
Robert Pollard ERFA Chargers
Buck Rasmussen ERFA Patriots
Demetrin Veal ERFA Ravens
Ron Warner ERFA Redskins
Eric Taylor ERFA Steelers
Shawn Johnson ERFA Titans


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