Around the League: Free Agent Cornerbacks

It's unlikely the Vikings will make a play for a starting cornerback in the free agent market, but there are some decent ones scheduled for free agency, including one of their own, Brian Williams. We get input from the beat writers covering some of the top options available.

  • Minnesota Vikings CB Brian Williams replaced Fred Smoot as a starter when Smoot broke his collarbone in early November against Detroit. Although Smoot was able to return after missing four games, he could not regain his starting spot. Williams will be an unrestricted free agent this off-season and figures to draw interest on the market. He is open to coming back to the Vikings as a starting cornerback, but it's unlikely the team will make a strong attempt to bring him back with Antoine Winfield and Smoot both on the payroll already.

  • New York Giants CB Will Allen had an erratic season, missing six sure interceptions (he wound up with zero), and he didn't cover all that well. He'll be a free agent and is probably gone.

  • Philadelphia Eagles CB Rod Hood moved into the starting lineup after starter Lito Sheppard got hurt and played very well. He's a restricted free agent who could draw some interest from other teams, but the Eagles won't let him go.

  • Chicago Bears CB Jerry Azumah is an unrestricted free agent who has a chronic hip problem and also has had neck surgery. The Bears won't get into a bidding war for him.

  • Buffalo Bills CB Nate Clements enters the off-season as the top free-agent corner on the market and it will be difficult for the Bills to meet his goal of becoming the NFL's highest paid player at his position. Buffalo could slap the franchise tag on him and buy some time. Clements, who played every game like it was an audition for 32 teams, finished with 125 tackles and two interceptions, giving him 20 for his young career. But he was inconsistent and beaten on the deep ball too frequently for someone hoping for a $10 million to $12 million signing bonus.

  • New England Patroits CB Chad Scott, who finished the season on injured reserve, is a free agent. Coach Bill Belichick spoke glowingly of him in training camp.

  • Jacksonville Jaguars CB Kenny Wright, a former Viking, is adequate at right corner, although the team would like to upgrade the position. He becomes a free agent.

  • Jaguars CB Terry Cousin was adequate as a nickel back. He becomes a free agent.

  • Oakland Raiders DB Renaldo Hill started 14 games as the Raiders used the nickel as their base defense. His body took a beating, but he was one of the defensive bright spots. An unrestricted free agent, Hill wants to return.

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