Ten Players To Watch As NFL Free Agency Looms Large.

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Free Agency in the NFL begins on Tuesday. Here we take a look at some of the prized possessions that can expect a big pay day from their current team, or possibly a new one. 1. Jake Long, LT, Miami Dolphins. Long is expected to be one of the hottest properties on the free agent market. A perennial Pro-Bowler, the former Number 1 pick has become one of the top tier Tackles in the business. How the Dolphins haven't tied him up to a long term deal I don't know. He is one of the few constants on an inconsistent offense and it would be a huge blow to the developing Quarterback Ryan Tannehill if his blind side is no longer protected by one of the NFL's best. Miami had the opportunity to put the Franchise Tag on Long but opted instead to use it on Defensive Tackle Randy Starks, which indicates tha Long will be leaving Miami. He has had his troubles with injuries without question but a healthy Jake Long would be an outstanding addition to any NFL team. A top 5 Left Tackle when healthy, Long will be looking for a contract around $8/9 million per season. Dr. Andrews has recently stated that Long's tricep 'Looks Great' which indicates he should be at 100% next season. 2. Wes Welker, WR, New England Patriots. The Patriots decided not to Franchise Wes Welker again and let him test free agency. This has been a long drawn process trying to get Welker's contract sorted for the Patriots. No doubt Tom Brady wants Welker back, he has re-structured his contract so that they have the cap space to bring him back if they choose to. Sources around the NFL have stated that Welker will test the market to see what he is being offered before making a commitment. There is no doubt that Welker is still one of the best slot receivers in the league. Despite his contract uncertainty, he still amassed 1354 yards last season along with 6 touchdowns. He was a key component in the Patriots making the AFC title game and if he was to depart then Brady and the fans alike would be livid. However, it's no slam dunk that Welker will return as they have been reluctant to give him the long-term deal he has been seeking. Welker will be looking for $9-11 million annually. 3. Dannelle Ellerbe, LB, Baltimore Ravens. With Ray Lewis heading to retirement, it was somewhat surprising that the Ravens as yet haven't agreed a deal with Ellerbe. He had a breakout year this past season and was a key contributor to the Ravens Super Bowl victory. He totalled 92 tackles and 4.5 sacks last season and it was widely thought that he would be the heir apparent to Lewis as the leader of the Linebacking corps. However, the Ravens don't appear to be too eager to mortgage their future for a chance to repeat and Ellerbe could be too expensive to hold onto. They have a number of critical free agents on the defensive side of the ball and they have some tough decisions to make in the coming weeks. There will be no shortage of takers for Ellerbe should he leave Baltimore that's for sure. He's shown he has an appetite for the big occasion and at 27 years old it appears his best years are ahead of him. He will be looking for around $6-8.5 million a year with his new deal. 4. Steven Jackson, RB, St. Louis Rams. At 29, Steven Jackson has finally ran out of patience with the Rams. He has voided the last year of his deal and is set to sign for a team with a legitimate chance of winning a Championship. Jackson has had his problems with injuries over the years, show me a Running Back who hasn't! On his day, Jackson is still an extremely gifted runner able to break tackles at will and can still carry a team on his back should need be. Despite the limitations on the Rams offensive Line last season Jackson still gained 1042 yards and 4 touchdowns last season and if his health allows it, playing on a more talented team should allow him to surpass those totals this year. He should command $5-6 million annually although money won't be the main objective when Jackson chooses his team. Running Backs have a short lifespan in the NFL and he will want to play for a serious contender. It is believe the Atlanta Falcons are poised to take a run at Jackson and with the release of Michael Turner this seems like an ideal fit for both parties. 5. Andy Levitre, G, Buffalo Bills. Levitre is one of, if not the top Guard in the entire NFL. The Bills may have made a huge mistake in not franchising Levitre as there will be a host of teams who will be acquiring his services. With the state of the Bills franchise there would appear little hope of Levitre returning. Levitre is an outstanding run blocker who can penetrate to the next level and will be sorely missed by Running Backs C.J Spiller and Fred Jackson should he depart. There is still an outside chance of Buffalo agreeing but as of today he has not received a new offer. He will become a rich man in free agency and could command anywhere from $6-10 million annually. 6. Dashon Goldson, S, San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers have stated that they hope to bring Goldson back, but Salary Cap restrictions could prevent this from happening. Goldson has had two outstanding seasons in a row and will look for a lucrative deal with long-term security, something the 9ers may be unwilling to provide. They have a bounty of draft picks and may look to the future and let Goldson leave via free agency. Goldson had 3 interceptions and 69 tackles last season as the 49ers made it to the Super Bowl, falling at the final hurdle. He is considered one of the top Safeties in the League on current form and at 28 years old he is smack bang in the prime of his career, as the last two years have confirmed. He is reported to be looking for a long term deal in the region of $4-7 million annually and should get that from somebody. 7. Mike Wallace, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers. Wallace's love affair with the Steelers could be over, with the Speedy Wideout set to test the free agent market. Both parties seem resigned to the fact he is moving on as neither seems keen to strike a deal. Wallace received a first round tender last year which angered him and things don't seemed to have improved much since. Wallace totalled just 836 yards and 8 touchdowns last season, with the entire Steelers organisation struggling towards the end. Wallace will still be a hot property on the free agent market and he has elite speed and is able to stretch the field. Reports suggest the Miami Dolphins and Minnesota Vikings are preparing offers for him. He should command about $7-10 million annually with his new deal. 8. Cliff Avril, DE, Detroit Lions. Avril has become another sacrifice in these strict salary cap times in the NFL. The Lions simply couldn't afford to keep Avril around and he will now seek pastures new in Free Agency. Avril is only 26 and has plenty improvement in him. He is a consistent pass-rusher, having gained 9.5 sacks and 35 tackles last season. He has some issues with his run support and this may have contributed to his release but he is comfortably the best Defensive End in the market and he would instantly upgrade half of the teams in the NFL. He should get around $5-7 million per year from a team looking to get more pressure on opposing Quarterbacks. 9. Reggie Bush, RB, Miami Dolphins. The enigma that is Reggie Bush. Undoubtedly talented, often injured and is a mystery to everyone who coaches him. In Miami he has shown signs that he could be an every down back with some eye catching displays. The one slight on him is he doesn't run between the tackles well due to his build and has difficulty staying injured. The Dolphins had too many high profile free agents to franchise Bush and he will now test the market. He is a gifted runner and also an exceptional receiver out of the backfield so there will be demand for him. His statistics last year were impressive as he amassed 986 yards rushing and 9 touchdowns. He should command a salary of $5-8 million and it is reportedly the Detroit Lions who are most keen to sign Bush. 10. Paul Kruger, OLB, Baltimore Ravens. Paul Kruger had a sensational year and has a Super Bowl ring to show for it. With 42 tackles, 9 sacks and an interception, plus some exceptional play in the Playoffs have made Kruger a hot commodity this offseason. If the Ravens can't get a deal done then 90% of the teams in the NFL will be taking a serious look at Kruger. He is a relentless pass rusher with an incredible engine. The Ravens organisation will be foolish to part with Kruger but with their priorities perhaps lying elsewhere (Reid, Ellerbe) then they might not have the Cap space to keep him around. Kruger would then become subject of a bidding war between NFL teams and could command anywhere from $5-10 million per year depending on how badly a team pursues him. No doubt a couple of teams will be on the phone at Midnight on the 12th when free agency opens to make Kruger an offer he can't refuse. Other Notables: Ed Reed, S, Baltimore Ravens. Greg Jennings, WR, Packers. William Moore, S, Falcons. Phil Loadholt, OT, Vikings. Matt Moore, QB, Dolphins. Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, Giants. Andre Smith, OT, Bengals. Richard Seymour, DT, Raiders. Aqib Tailb, CB, Patriots. Dean Jones: Follow me on Twitter @DeanJones_