Aug 23, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson (93) attempts to block a pass by the Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) during the first half at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

2013 NFL Free Agents: Defensive End Rankings and Predictions

1. Michael Johnson, Cincinnati Bengals (26)

Johnson is one of the up-and-coming studs in the NFL. He plays for one of the best defenses in the league, and he is a key piece of their puzzle going forward. He will be tagged and re-signed.

Prediction: Re-signs with Bengals

Actual: Franchise Tagged by Bengals

2. Anthony Spencer, Dallas Cowboys (29)

Spencer could get a little pricy for the Cowboys, who have invested some huge money into their defense in recent years. If that’s the case, he’ll find a huge contract in another NFL city. I think the Cowboys will work hard to re-sign him, however. He had an excellent 2012 campaign.

Prediction: Re-signs with Cowboys

Actual: Franchise tagged by Cowboys

3. Michael Bennett, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (27)

Bennett was a fantastic revelation for the Bucs this past season. The question I have is, will they be able to keep him with first rounder Adrian Clayborn returning from injury and Da’Quan Bowers in the fold?

Prediction: Signs with Lions

Actual: Signed with Seattle Seahawks

4. Cliff Avril, Detroit Lions (27)

The Lions claim they will be very active on the free agent market. Avril is a guy who will be able to attract top dollar on the open market, and he may want a change of scenery.

Prediction: Re-signs with Lions

Actual: Signed with Seattle Seahawks

5. Dwight Freeney, Indianapolis Colts (33)

Freeney is done with the Colts, something he didn’t want to happen. I find it surprising he was so blindsided by the news that he’d not be coming back to Indy, but at this point in his career, he’ll be chasing rings. Look for Freeney to sign with a championship contender who runs a 4-3 defense. Candidates in my opinion include Denver and Atlanta.

Prediction: Signs with Falcons


6. Osi Umenyiora, New York Giants (31)

Umenyiora clearly was distracted by a lack of a new contract this past year. His play diminished, he is now 31 years old, and he likely has lost a lot of money. Still, he will be sought after on the open market.

Prediction: Signs with Seahawks


7. William Hayes, St. Louis Rams (28)

Hayes is a really good player, he just has the daunting task of getting playing time with Chris Long and Robert Quinn ahead of him on the depth chart. He should look for a starting gig in a new city. Hayes talked to the Titans and Broncos last season before deciding on the Rams. He’s one of the best run-stopping DEs in the NFL.

Prediction: Signs with Broncos

Actual: Re-signs with St. Louis Rams

8. Israel Idonije, Chicago Bears (32)

9. John Abraham, Atlanta Falcons (34)

10. Wallace Gilberry, Cincinnati Bengals (28) — Re-signs with Cincinnati Bengals

11. Robert Geathers, Cincinnati Bengals (30) — Re-signs with Cincinnati Bengals

12. Junior Gallette (RFA), New Orleans Saints (25) — Re-signed (3-years) with Saints

13. Matt Shaughnessy, Oakland Raiders (26)

14. Juqua Parker-Thomas, Cleveland Browns (35)

15. Kyle Moore, Buffalo Bills (26)

16. Kyle Vanden Bosch, Detroit Lions (34)

17. Frostee Rucker, Cleveland Browns (29)

18. Lawrence Jackson, Detroit Lions (28)

19. Shawne Merriman, Buffalo Bills (29) — Announced Retirement

20. Trevor Scott, New England Patriots (29)

21. Andre Carter, Oakland Raiders (34)

Tags: 2013 Nfl Free Agents NFL

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