With free agency beginning March 11, we continue our look at NFL free agent prospects by examining the cornerback position. This is a position with the potential for some instability. The huge contract of Champ Bailey and expected restructure is looming as is the free agency of Dominique Rodgers Cromartie. Add to that Chris Harris Jr. recovering from an ACL tear and you have your top three members of your secondary mired in some sort of doubt.
Beyond them you have a young group of performers that are looking to take the next step. Make no mistake, the corner position will be addressed by the Broncos.
Names to Know
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Broncos
The Broncos first order of business should be to lock up Dominique to a new multi-year deal. I've been on record saying his contract will come out to about 6-7 million per year. While the market needs to settle a bit more before concrete projections can be made, I highly doubt Cromarie's pricetag will be any lower than that especially after a guy like DeAngelo Hall will be making about 5 million per season.
Top shelf athleticism. DRC can be beat, but his athleticism always puts him back into position to make a play. He has killer straight line speed, elite leaping ability, and can close ground on a dime.
Zone coverage. On more than a couple occasions DRC failed to follow a receiver through his zone or incorrectly passed the receiver off to what amounted to no one. I know in the past tackling has been referenced, but for what it's worth I did not see much of that in 2013.
Aqib Talib, Patriots
The Patriots should be looking to resign him and keep him paired up with Dennard. It depends on the pricetag however. New England is notoriously cheap when it comes to handing out multiyear contracts.
If we're talking about adding another corner that specializes in press-man coverage, Talib is an interesting name to keep an eye on. He gave Broncos receivers fits when the Broncos played the Patriots last season.
Struggles against faster and more agile defenders. Has a knack for finding the bench due to injury. Just ask our Broncos enforcer Wes Welker how fragile Talib can be...
Alterraun Verner, Titans
Probably not a must re-sign for Tennessee with Jason McCourty emerging as a great talent. They won't apply the franchise tag on him either.
Has some ball hawking ability with 5 interceptions on the season.
A little bit on the small side and can get out physicaled by bigger and stronger receivers.
His numbers are similar to DRC's: 39 receptions on 79 tagets, 579 yards, 2 TD's, 5 INT, and 12 PD.
What about Grimes, Davis, or Tillman?
I omitted these guys because each should be resigned by their current team. Peanut has shown interest in signing with the Buccaneers in order to be reunited with former Bears Head Coach (and defensive guru) Lovie Smith.