One story in a series of free agents by position who may warrant interest from other NFL teams. Today – a look at linebackers.
Shawn Barber, Philadelphia (unrestricted):
Provided the speed and athleticism to excel in the Eagles defense.
Chris Claiborne, Detroit (unrestricted): This inside linebacker is one of the best in the free agent market but that also explains why Detroit may put the franchise tag on him.
Rosevelt Colvin, Chicago (unrestricted): He lacks a bit in coverage skills but is an outstanding speed rusher who is tough against the run.
Na'il Diggs, Green Bay (restricted): Not the bulkiest linebacker but he can really punish ball carriers.
Jay Foreman, Houston (unrestricted): The son of former Minnesota Vikings running back Chuck Foreman was not expected to be a star in the Texans' scheme but he enjoyed a breakout season.
Earl Holmes, Cleveland (possible salary cap cut): His production did not slip after going from Pittsburgh's 3-4 to Cleveland's 4-3.
Levon Kirkland, Seattle (unrestricted): Age is creeping up on the 33-year old but can still be effective on first and second downs.
Mike Maslowski, Kansas City (unrestricted): He does not have the athleticism for coverage skills but relies more on headiness.
Hardy Nickerson, Green Bay (unrestricted): He was not as productive as the Packers had in mind but the 16-year veteran can still be an asset as a leader.
Mike Peterson, Indianapolis (unrestricted): He's been an outstanding player in his four NFL seasons and continued to be a playmaker in new head coach Tony Dungy's scheme.
Shelton Quarles, Tampa Bay (unrestricted): One of many outstanding player makers on the Tampa Bay defense and enjoyed a breakout 2002 season.
Takeo Spikes, Cincinnati (unrestricted): By far the linebacker in the free agent market but the Bengals think so highly of him they are likely to franchise him. That is something rare for an organization traditionally reluctant to spend money.
Vince D'Adamo can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com