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2011 NFL Free Agents: Inside Linebackers

2011 NFL Free Agent Positions:
QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K/P | Recap

2011 NFL Free Agency: Star rating is out of five. Age listing as of Sept. 1, 2011.

  1. Stephen Tulloch, ILB, Titans. Age: 26.
    Signed with Lions (1 year, $3.25 million)

    Stephen Tulloch is a stud. At only 26 years old, he's one of the top 4-3 middle linebackers in the NFL. He's going to receive a huge contract this offseason.

  2. Paul Posluszny, ILB, Bills. Age: 26.
    Signed with Jaguars (6 years)

    The centerpiece of Buffalo's defense, Paul Posluszny had 151 tackles in 2010. The Bills can't afford to let him go.

  3. David Harris, ILB, Jets. Age: 27.
    Re-signed with Jets (4 years, $36 million; $29.5 million guaranteed)

    A talented, versatile inside linebacker who is due for a big payday this offseason.

  4. A.J. Hawk, ILB, Packers. Age: 27.
    Re-signed with Packers (5 years)

    A.J. Hawk wasn't worth a top-five pick, but he's a very good linebacker who played a key role in Green Bay's Super Bowl run. Hawk will probably return to the Packers for less money.

  5. Kevin Burnett, ILB, Chargers. Age: 28.
    Signed with Dolphins (4 years)

    After a few forgettable years in Dallas, Kevin Burnett has really come into his own in San Diego. Staying put would probably be best for his career.

  6. Lofa Tatupu, ILB, Seahawks. Age: 28.
    Lofa Tatupu is no longer the elite inside linebacker he once was. Tatupu is coming off two knee surgeries and was already somewhat of a liability in coverage. Perhaps he can recover and improve his play a bit, but it's doubtful that he'll ever be a Pro Bowl-caliber athlete again.

  7. Nick Barnett, ILB, Packers. Age: 30.
    Signed with Bills (3 years, $12 million)

    The Packers cut Nick Barnett because he was overpaid and didn't have a spot in the starting lineup with Desmond Bishop and A.J. Hawk playing ahead of him. Barnett is a solid starting-caliber inside linebacker who thrives in run support.

  8. Kirk Morrison, ILB, Jaguars. Age: 29.
    Kirk Morrison is a decent middle linebacker who thrives in run support. He's not terrible in coverage, but could be better in that department.

  9. Stewart Bradley, ILB, Eagles. Age: 27.
    Signed with Cardinals

    Stewart Bradley really struggled in coverage this past season, but that's understandable because he was only a year removed from ACL surgery. He'll move to strongside linebacker in 2011, assuming he re-signs with the team.

  10. Stephen Cooper, ILB, Chargers. Age: 32.
    Re-signed with Chargers (1 year)

    Stephen Cooper turns 32 in June, but is coming off a very good year. Cooper played well throughout until suffering an MCL sprain in December.

  11. Takeo Spikes, ILB, 49ers. Age: 34.
    Signed with Chargers (3 years)

    Takeo Spikes just enjoyed another great year with the 49ers. However, he turned 34 in December, so there could be a massive dropoff sometime soon.

  12. D'Qwell Jackson, ILB, Browns. Age: 27.
    Re-signed with Browns

    D'Qwell Jackson missed all of last year after playing in just six games in 2009. Jackson's a good player, but is a major injury risk.

  13. Channing Crowder, ILB, Dolphins. Age: 27.
    Announced retirement

    Channing Crowder doesn't live up to his trash talking, but he's a decent, two-down inside linebacker.

  14. Barrett Ruud, ILB, Buccaneers. Age: 28.
    Signed with Titans (1 year)

    I'm not sure what happened to Barrett Ruud, because he had an awful 2010 campaign after a couple of phenomenal seasons as Tampa Bay's middle linebacker. Ruud might be able to bounce back elsewhere - or he could be done.

  15. Jameel McClain (ERFA), ILB, Ravens. Age: 26.
    Jameel McClain is serviceable as Baltimore's two-down inside linebacker next to Ray Lewis, but can be upgraded.

  16. Akin Ayodele, ILB, Bills. Age: 31.
    Akin Ayodele started in the second half of the year for Buffalo, and did a decent job. He can play in both the 4-3 and 3-4.

  17. Tim Dobbins, ILB, Dolphins. Age: 28.
    Signed with Texans

    A quality reserve inside linebacker who is decent in run support.

  18. Dhani Jones, ILB, Bengals. Age: 33.
    Dhani Jones had a decent 2009, but regressed last season. The bow tie and Febreze salesman is on his last legs.

  19. Eric Barton, ILB, Browns. Age: 33.
    Eric Barton is a liability in coverage at this point in his career, but he can still be a quality two-down run-stopping inside linebacker for 3-4 teams.

  20. Kevin Bentley, ILB, Texans. Age: 31.
    Kevin Bentley did a decent job filling in for DeMeco Ryans in the second half of the season. He could be brought back as a reserve 3-4 inside linebacker.

  21. Brandon Siler, ILB, Chargers. Age: 25. -- Signed with Chiefs
  22. Gerald Hayes, ILB, Cardinals. Age: 30.
  23. Marvin Mitchell, ILB, Saints. Age: 26. -- Signed with Dolphins
  24. Dannell Ellerbe (ERFA), ILB, Ravens. Age: 25.
  25. Tavares Gooden (RFA), ILB, Ravens. Age: 26.
  26. Brandon Chillar, ILB, Packers. Age: 28.
  27. H.B. Blades, ILB, Redskins. Age: 26. -- Re-signed with Redskins (1 year)
  28. Mark Herzlich, ILB, Boston College. Age: 24. -- Signed with Giants
  29. Hunter Hillenmeyer, ILB, Bears. Age: 31.
  30. Scott Lutrus, ILB, Connecticut. Age: 23. -- Signed with Jaguars
  31. Nick Bellore, ILB, Central Michigan. Age: 22. -- Signed with Jets
  32. Jason Trusnik, ILB, Browns. Age: 27. -- Re-signed with Dolphins (2 years)
  33. Reggie Walker, ILB, Cardinals. Age: 24.
  34. Corey Mays, ILB, Chiefs. Age: 27.
  35. Chase Blackburn, ILB, Giants. Age: 28.
  36. Gerris Wilkinson, ILB, Giants. Age: 28.
  37. Spencer Havner, ILB, Packers. Age: 28. -- Tendered by Packers
  38. Omar Gaither, ILB, Eagles. Age: 27. -- Signed with Panthers
  39. Vinny Ciurciu, ILB, Lions. Age: 31.
  40. Erin Henderson (RFA), ILB, Vikings. Age: 25. -- Tendered by Vikings
  41. Anthony Waters, ILB, Saints. Age: 27.
  42. Niko Koutouvides, ILB, Buccaneers. Age: 30.
  43. Blake Costanzo (RFA), ILB, Browns. Age: 27. -- Signed with 49ers (1 year)
  44. Keyaron Fox, ILB, Steelers. Age: 29.
  45. Tracy White, ILB, Patriots. Age: 30. -- Re-signed with Patriots
  46. Cory Greenwood (ERFA), ILB, Chiefs. Age: 28.

2011 NFL Free Agent Positions:
QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K/P | Recap

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Hawthorne is a saint now
Auth 03-23-2012 12:37 am (total posts: 1)
10     10

What do you think it will take to sign Joseph, about 9 Mil per year? And Benson about 5 Mil per? Not sure what their 2010 salaries were, but that’s prolabby a 12 Mil increase.We assume they cut Chad and save 6 Mil, and Carson is traded or retired saving 11.5 Mil in 2011. If they don't trade Carson, even if he is considered retired, they will approach it like he's going to play and get paid, so the Budget will plan for 11.5 Mil being spent on Carson. This may hurt them even more because they will have to sign Dalton (about 2 Mil) plus bring in another FA QB. Figure they will spend anywhere from $500,000 to 2 Mil for another QB, so total budget allocated for Bengals QBs will be between 14 16 Mil in 2011. They also have to pay big money to A.J. Green, which will more than eat up the money freed from letting TO walk and releasing Chad.
SteveB 03-20-2012 11:50 pm (total posts: 1)
16     27

Walt...Say Ahhhhhhh...Matt Millen has one of those drug laced Kielbasa's ready to stuff in your mouth. Wait a minute...I think he already did!!!
Stephen Tulloch 03-20-2012 04:56 pm (total posts: 1)
16     15

Just resigned with the lions today
None 03-14-2012 04:24 pm (total posts: 1)
13     14

Niko Koutouvides re signed with the patriots. Check the blog at espn
jj 03-10-2012 08:49 pm (total posts: 1)
14     18

Larry Grant for a 7th round pick...I would do that in a heartbeat...what? I would thought the 49ers would have at least put a 4th round on him
Matt40 03-08-2012 06:38 pm (total posts: 1)
17     14

Can David Hawthorne or Dan Connor also play outside?
C 03-07-2012 11:45 pm (total posts: 1)
17     19

Chase Blackburn is a high energy team guy. He was a pro bowl special teams coverage guy in his career. I can't believe he wasn't the starter to replace Antonio Pierce a few years ago but sadly he's declined. He makes mistakes vs the run and is average at best vs the pass but makes up for it in energy. The Giants clearly made a mistake not having him replace Pierce a few years back

Jonathan Goff was awful in 2009. Horribly bad, didn't belong in the league bad. Took horrible angles, slow reads, couldn't shed blocks or hold the point of attack and he was not good vs the run. Goff improved a lot in 2010 ( but then got hurt.

Neither Giant ILB are as good as Bradie James who is ranked lower.
Geoff 03-06-2012 03:43 pm (total posts: 1)
521     521

Where the hell is Lance Briggs?!?!?!?!
Ryan 02-29-2012 01:55 am (total posts: 1)
18     31

So Hester isn't even a top 5 fullback? What' even more ridiculous is Barrett Ruud at the bottom of linebackers. I realize he's injured, but he's 28 and has established himself as one of the top 10 most productive middle linebackers in the game when healthy. That's ridiculous.

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