NFL Free Agency 2012: From Mario Manningham To DeSean Jackson, The Top Free Agents In The NFC

Since free agency is the next big thing in the NFL, here's a list of each NFC team's top free agent and where they could end up playing in 2012. Want to see the top AFC free agents? Check out this link.

The 2011 season is officially over and the 2012 offseason is just starting. Free agency for the 2012 season opens on March 13 and we'll be able to see what the rosters of different teams will look like before the draft in April.

There are big name free agents available on every team so we've identified the No. 1 free agent for each team and determine where they could end up.

NFC East:

New York Giants: WR Mario Manningham

Manningham became the team's third wide receiver after the emergence of Victor Cruz this season, but he still showed his worth in the Super Bowl as he caught five passes for 73 yards, including the catch everyone talks about. With Hakeem Nicks and Cruz, I doubt they make a major effort to bring Manningham back to the Big Apple.

Where He Could End Up: The Cincinnati Bengals need a new No. 2 receiver to play opposite of A.J. Green to replace Jerome Simpson who was inconsistent and is facing drug charges. The Patriots, coincidentally, also need a receiver.

Philadelphia Eagles: WR DeSean Jackson

There is no question that Jackson has game-changing ability and his speed makes him a dangerous deep threat and a punt and kick returner. But his attitude is something to worry about. Without that attitude, I say he's guaranteed to be back in an Eagles uniform in 2012 but that may not be the case.

Where He Could End Up: Call me crazy, but the New England Patriots have been known to take on troubled wide receivers (see Randy Moss, Chad Ochocinco) in the past and Tom Brady could really use some help outside because Ochocinco and Deion Branch aren't getting the job done.

Dallas Cowboys: LB Anthony Spencer

This 2007 first-round pick for the Cowboys knows how to rush the passer, and in a passing league, that is a must-have. The Cowboys have DeMarcus Ware on the other side but you can never have too many guys who know how to get to the quarterback. Especially when you play against Michael Vick and Eli Manning twice a year.

Where He Could End Up: I doubt Spencer goes anywhere in free agency. He's still pretty young and I would think he'll be sticking around Dallas for a couple more years.

Washington Redskins: S LaRon Landry

Due to injuries, Landry has only played in 17 games over the last two seasons but that doesn't change the fact that this guy has a ton of upside. He is solid in run support and has a lot of range in coverage. His injuries and his ability to stay on the field are his main red flag right now.

Where He Could End Up: The Redskins would likely want him back but at a reduced price due to his injuries. If somebody is willing to pay they could probably steal him away, but they have to worry about his health, too. For now, I say the best bet is he stays in Washington.

NFC South:

New Orleans Saints: QB Drew Brees

Brees proved again in 2011 that he is among the elite quarterbacks in the NFL by breaking Dan Marino's single-season passing yards record. Brees threw for 5,476 yards and 46 touchdowns for an overall quarterback rating of 110.6. He didn't win the league MVP award, but many believe he should have.

Where He Could End Up: Brees isn't going anywhere. He'll probably be the quarterback of the Saints until he retires. Anybody thinking otherwise is crazy.

Atlanta Falcons: DE John Abraham

Abraham finished the 2011 season with 9.5 sacks, coming just half a sack short of having double digit sacks in four of the last five seasons. There's no question that he knows how to get to the quarterback, and that's an important thing in the NFL, especially when you compete with the Saints for the division title every year. But he also turns 34 this offseason.

Where He Could End Up: I would think the Falcons would see Abraham's value as a pass rusher and keep him around for a couple more years, even if they only put him in passing situations. For now I say he stays in Atlanta.

Carolina Panthers: LB Jordan Senn

The Panthers extended a handful of players with big money last offseason so they may not be inclined to spend a ton of money in free agency, but one guy they could bring back is Senn. He only started in seven games last season but he was fifth on the team in tackles with 71 and did a decent job in pass coverage.

Where He Could End Up: The Panthers probably wouldn't have to spend a ton of money to keep Senn around so I'm thinking he stays right where he is right now. He's not very well known around the league anyways.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: RB LeGarrette Blount (exclusive rights free agent)

Blount is a solid running back option. He runs behind his pads and is good between the tackles and he has a good burst of speed when he gets to the second level. He does have off-field issues but he's averaged 4.6 yards per carry in his two seasons in the league.

Where He Could End Up: Since he's an ERFA, the Bucs own his rights. He'll stay in Tampa Bay.

NFC West:

San Francisco 49ers: QB Alex Smith

Jim Harbaugh has helped change the perception of Smith. The 49ers QB had a great season under his new head coach and is now likely the team's top priority, or at least he should be.

Where He Could End Up: The 49ers aren't going to come off a season in which they went to the NFC Championship game and look for a new quarterback. They're going to stick with Smith.

Arizona Cardinals: DE Calais Campbell

The 6'8", 300-pound defensive end led the team in sacks with eight last season and is likely a priority for the Cardinals to re-sign. However, if Campbell proves he's going to cost too much, the Cardinals could find a pass rusher in the upcoming draft and let Campbell walk. That's probably not going to happen, though.

Where He Could End Up: If he doesn't stay with the Cardinals, I could see a team like the Titans, Bills or Packers going after him. All three need help at getting to the quarterback and Campbell could really help.

Seattle Seahawks: RB Marshawn Lynch

Marshawn Lynch brought Beast Mode to Seattle where went from underachiever to one of the more exciting running backs to watch in the league. With the lack of a really great quarterback, it's important to keep the running game alive and letting Lynch go would be a mistake.

Where He Could End Up: Lynch wants to stay in Seattle and the Seahawks want him to stay as well but if the two sides can't agree on a number, there are other teams that could use help in the backfield. Still, expect him to stay in Seattle.

St. Louis Rams: WR Brandon Lloyd

Lloyd is a talented wide receiver and could really help the Rams but he may cost too much money and in the past he has underachieved. The Rams are in trouble and if quarterback Sam Bradford doesn't pick it up, the last thing they should worry about is a wide receiver that they need to motivate.

Where He Could End Up: Again, the Patriots need help at wide receiver and have been known to take on players that have issues in the past and turn them around. The Browns could also use help at wide receiver.

NFC North:

Green Bay Packers: QB Matt Flynn

Matt Flynn proved his worth in Week 17 when he threw for 480 yards and six touchdowns against the Detroit Lions. The Packers have Aaron Rodgers and it's likely that teams around the league want Flynn. Another free agent to keep an eye on is tight end Jermichael Finley.

Where He Could End Up: With former Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin as the new head coach of the Miami Dolphins, don't be surprised to see Flynn taking the snaps in Miami.

Detroit Lions: DE Cliff Avril

Avril has racked up 30 sacks in the last four years and the Lions would love to keep him around. Pass rushers are a top commodity in the NFL, but they come at a price. The team is likely looking to extend Calvin Johnson's contract, which will cost them some money, and if they want to keep Avril, they may need to tag him to do so.

Where He Could End Up: If he doesn't stay in Detroit, the Buccaneers could use a guy that helps them get to the quarterback. They only had 23 sacks in 2011, the lowest amount in the league, and when playing Matt Ryan, Drew Brees and Cam Newton twice every season, they need good pass rushers.

Chicago Bears: RB Matt Forte

Forte is one of the league's better running backs and the Bears really need to keep him around. To do so, they may have to use the franchise tag since they may be unable to agree on a number for a long-term deal. I doubt that they'll let Forte slip away from them either way.

Where He Could End Up: I don't think Forte will be playing for any other team than the Bears in 2012, but if something would happen in which he did leave, there are plenty of teams that could use him. But they won't have a chance to sign him. He'll stay in Chicago.

Minnesota Vikings: TE Visanthe Shiancoe

Shiancoe was the team's third leading receiver and has only had two seasons in the last five in which he had less than 500 yards receiving. Good pass-catching tight ends are hard to come by and Shiancoe would be sought after if he hits the open market.

Where He Could End Up: I doubt the Vikings let Shiancoe walk away but if he does there are plenty of teams that could use another receiver at the tight end position. In fact, almost every team could use another pass-catching tight end, except for the team that has two of them (Patriots).

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