@David I get it. You are a Broncos fan. Of course you are going to think they are the best team. The season is 3 weeks old. Let the teams play a few more before touting your team. They are very good and perhaps have the best defense in the league. Minnesota's may be better, but that is a toss up also. Simien is OK. Do not go throwing him as great yet. I seem to remember a QB named Foles having 27 TD's and 2 INT's one year and look how that turned out.... Walt has him in the top 5 and I feel it could be any of those 5 as the top team by years end. You take this whole ranking thing way too seriously dude...
2012 NFL Free Agency: Star rating is out of five. Age listing as of Sept. 1, 2012.
Follow me @walterfootball for updates.
Stephen Tulloch, ILB, Lions. Age: 27. Re-signed with Lions (5 years)
The Lions committed Grand Theft Linebacker when they signed Stephen Tulloch to a 1-year, $3.25 million deal this past offseason. They won't be able to get him so cheap this time. Tulloch is one of the top players at his position.
D'Qwell Jackson, ILB, Browns. Age: 28. Re-signed with Browns (5 years, $42.5 million; $19 million guaranteed)
D'Qwell Jackson is really good if he's healthy. He played in just six total games in 2009 and 2010, but he dominated in 2011 because he was finally able to stay on the field.
David Hawthorne, ILB, Seahawks. Age: 27. Signed with Saints (5 years)
David Hawthorne is one of the better inside linebackers in the NFL. He had a nagging knee injury that plagued him throughout 2011, but he still performed on a really high level.
Curtis Lofton, ILB, Falcons. Age: 26. Signed with Saints (5 years)
Curtis Lofton is a Pro Bowl-caliber linebacker. Re-signing him is Atlanta's No. 1 priority this offseason because he's the soul of the defense.
Dan Connor, ILB, Panthers. Age: 26. Signed with Cowboys
Don't expect Dan Connor to be back with the Panthers; otherwise, he'll have to play behind Jon Beason. Connor is talented and young, and could easily be a starter somewhere else.
London Fletcher, ILB, Redskins. Age: 37. Re-signed with Redskins
London Fletcher amazingly just keeps getting it done. He played on a really high level last year despite being 36. The Redskins absolutely need to re-sign him.
DeAndre Levy (RFA), ILB, Lions. Age: 25.
I guess we know that DeAndre Levy's true position is at inside linebacker because he struggled at the weakside spot this past season.
Jovan Belcher (RFA), ILB, Chiefs. Age: 25. Re-signed with Chiefs (1 year, $1.927 million)
Jovan Belcher is a very underrated player. He's a slight liability in coverage sometimes, but he's terrific in run support.
Chase Blackburn, ILB, Giants. Age: 29. Re-signed with Giants
Chase Blackburn was the best of New York's inside linebackers in 2011, but that's not saying much. He's good in run support and finished the season really strong. He's not as good in coverage, but that certainly wasn't the case in the Super Bowl.
Larry Grant (RFA), ILB, 49ers. Age: 27. Re-signed with 49ers (1 year, $1.26 million)
Larry Grant played terrifically in relief of an injured Patrick Willis down the stretch. He'll have to wait a year to get more playing time elsewhere, however.
Jameel McClain is a solid, two-down linebacker who thrives in run support. While he's not completely inept in coverage, that's definitely a weakness of his.
Jonathan Goff, ILB, Giants. Age: 26. Signed with Redskins
Jonathan Goff did a solid job as New York's inside linebacker in 2010, but he missed the entire 2011 campaign with a torn ACL.
Lofa Tatupu, ILB, Falcons. Age: 29.
Lofa Tatupu (or Taptua) oddly received no interest in 2011. Maybe a year off was what he needed to recover from all of his injuries.
Joe Mays, ILB, Broncos. Age: 27. Re-signed with Broncos
Joe Mays is usable as a two-down thumper in run support, but he is completely clueless in coverage.
Bradie James, ILB, Cowboys. Age: 31. Signed with Texans
No longer a three-down linebacker, Bradie James struggled at times in 2011.
E.J. Henderson, ILB, Vikings. Age: 32.
E.J. Henderson used to be a really good linebacker, but age and injuries have sapped him of his coverage skills. He can still be an OK two-down linebacker somewhere.
James Farrior, ILB, Steelers. Age: 37.
James Farrior is a major liability in coverage, but he can still play the run pretty well as a two-down linebacker.