Free Agency - Who's Left for Defense?


The Ravens have made several moves to shore up their defense via free agency already this year.

Stalwart linebacker Ray Lewis![](/team/roster/ray-lewis/1c6d5ed3-fe49-4a89-a6b5-9e358e906ae7/ "Ray Lewis") was re-signed to help stabilize the unit in a transition from Rex Ryan to **Greg Mattison** at defensive coordinator.

Cornerback **Domonique Foxworth** was brought in to give Baltimore two of the NFL's fastest cover men when he teams with the speedy **Fabian Washington**.

And, it has been widely reported that former Tennessee Titans defensive back and return specialist Chris Carr is expected to sign a new contract soon.

As teams around the league continue to snap up talent on the open market, there are still some players available that could make an impact for any defense.

With an eye trained intently on league movements, here is a look at some of the top defensive candidates left:

Defensive Linemen

Bertrand Berry (ARI) - It's been a while since Berry, 33, was a full-time starter in the league, but there is no question that he can still rush the passer. He notched five sacks for the Cardinals last year in 14 games played. Berry's also a good locker room guy for a team looking to add character.

Jason Taylor (WAS) - He may turn 35 before the 2009 season opener, but keep in mind that Taylor has been to six Pro Bowls and hit four consecutive All-Star games from 2004-07. And, he's only two seasons removed from the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year. His one-year tryout with the Redskins probably didn't go the way both sides thought, but he was hampered by injuries.

Tank Johnson (DAL) - The troubled defensive tackle has been a good boy in recent years, and his talent is undeniable. He's only 27 and has good size (6-foot-3, 305 pounds) to man the middle.

Kevin Carter (TB) - Carter has 15 seasons under his belt and is still producing at a high level. As a leader on the Buccaneers' defense last season, he posted 49 stops and four sacks. Carter is also 6-foot-6, 305 pounds and is most suited to a 4-3 alignment.


Derrick Brooks (TB) - Brooks, known around the league as the consummate professional, is an 11-time Pro Bowler that will turn 36 on April 18. Still, he says he wants to continue to play. After totaling 73 tackles last season, he may not be the machine he once was, but Brooks can still make an impact.

Angelo Crowell (BUF) - Crowell has struggled with injuries in the past, but he is only 27 and has 42 career starts. He missed all of last year after having knee surgery in the preseason. Crowell was a defensive captain for the Bills in 2007 and led the team in tackles, with 140.

Napoleon Harris (MIN) - Harris has been a starter in the past, but really hasn't really panned out like the Oakland Raiders thought when they used a first-round pick on him in the 2002 draft. Even so, Harris is experienced and only 30 years old. He has also topped 100 tackles twice in his career.

Monty Beisel (ARI) - A career backup, Beisel is a versatile special teams stud. Defensively, he has experience in both the 3-4 and 4-3 fronts, and can help in many areas of the game.


Daven Holly (CLE) - Holly, 26, played in 29 games for the Browns in 2006-07, starting 18. But, his 2008 campaign was cut short when he tore up his knee competing for a jump ball with wideout Braylon Edwards in practice. Holly had five interceptions in 2006, returning one for a touchdown.

Chris McAlister (BAL) - The longtime Raven still hasn't signed with any team yet, but someone wanting a veteran to bolster their secondary could use "C-Mac." McAlister ended his past two years on IR, but he recently told that he feels healthy after getting knee surgery in the offseason.

Ken Lucas (CAR) - Lucas started all 16 games in 2008 for the Panthers, totaling 60 tackles and two interceptions. Perhaps surprisingly, he was released in a cost-cutting move. The nine-year veteran has consistently produced over his career. Lucas actually nixed a trade to the Lions at the start of free agency, or he would have been off the market already.


Darren Sharper (MIN) - Sharper has been one of the league's top playmaking safeties for years. The 33-year-old has an impressive 54 career picks, and he's been durable recently, starting in all 16 games for the past three campaigns. Sharper currently has an offer on the table from the New Orleans Saints, according to reports.

Roy Williams (DAL) - Williams publicly requested his release from the Cowboys, and owner Jerry Jones obliged. He is known more for his hard hits than coverage ability, but there is no question that he patrols the middle of the field. Williams is a five-time Pro Bowler.

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