The following is from NFL Network’s Adam Schefter on next years Free Agent Class
After 12 seasons in Baltimore, Lewis is heading into the last year of his contract. The two sides have engaged in contract talks, the Ravens have weighed in with their multi-year offer, Lewis has spelled out his asking price, and too much of a gap now exists to make anyone think a deal is anywhere near imminent.
But Baltimore knows Lewis will still play all out without an extension. Lewis knows he’s going to get paid somewhere. And heading into this weekend’s mandatory minicamp in Baltimore, each side is comfortable with where the situation is at.
While Lewis tops the headlines for this upcoming offseason’s free agent class, check out the rest of the list of star-studded free agents for 2009, though any could be wiped off it with a long-term extension at any time. The list of potential free agents is a highly decorated one. It will garner a record amount of money.
Here is a look at arguably the top 10 players poised for free agency this winter:
1. Julius Peppers, Panthers defensive end — Coming off a down year, but teams pay premium for pass rushers.
2. Steven Jackson, Rams running back — Hard to imagine St. Louis parting ways with its most popular player.
3. Tommie Harris, Bears defensive tackle — Talks on a long-term contract hit a standstill last month.
4. Marion Barber, Cowboys running back — Last season, one NFC coach said Barber is an elite back in the same class as LaDainian Tomlinson or Adrian Peterson. Now he wants to be paid that way.
5. Chris Snee, Giants guard — At a time when interior offensive linemen are cashing in, the son-in-law of Giants coach Tom Coughlin is going to cash in.
6. Nnamdi Asomugha, Raiders cornerback — Oakland plans to franchise him again if he remains unsigned, which is a distinct possibility.
7. Albert Haynesworth, Titans defensive tackle — Tennessee wouldn’t let Haynesworth leave this offseason, and its stance is unlikely to change.
8. Terrell Owens, Cowboys wide receiver — At the age of 34, T.O. is performing like he were 24.
9. Will Smith, Saints defensive end — New Orleans defensive end Charles Grant got his money and Smith intends to do the same.
10. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Bengals wide receiver — Still waiting for his first big-money deal.
Of course, the list hardly stops there. It goes on and on, like the money that could be spent on some of these players.
The free-agent class of 2009 also is scheduled to include Lions wide receiver Roy Williams, Bills wide receiver Lee Evans, Giants running back Brandon Jacobs, Cowboys cornerback Terence Newman, Cowboys safety Ken Hamlin, Falcons linebacker Keith Brooking, Texans cornerback Dunta Robinson, Cardinals linebacker Karlos Dansby, Buccaneers quarterback Jeff Garcia and Giants wide receiver Amani Toomer.
It stands right now as one of the more attractive free-agent classes in recent memory — maybe the most attractive. It is rare that so many talented players hit the market. But it could have something to do with the skyrocketing prices now being paid to players.