The NFL lockout will be ending soon and free agency will be starting. In an effort to prepare for the onslaught of new signings and contract extensions, we have a primer on the players that are expected to be available on the open market.
We've already looked at the offensive side of the ball so here's the top defensive players available.
Defensive line: Ray Edwards will get a contract from someone after several productive years in Minnesota while the Panthers will try to keep Charles Johnson from signing elsewhere on the open market. The top two defensive tackles available -- Haloti Ngata and Paul Soliai -- were franchised so they'll stay in Baltimore and Miami, respectively. The next big name is Aubrayo Franklin, who could command big money at nose tackle for a 3-4 defense.
Linebackers: Outside linebacker is an important position so it's easy to see why three of the top guys available -- LaMarr Woodley, Chad Greenway and Kamerion Wimbley -- received the franchise tag. After those guys, Manny Lawson, who could leave San Francisco, is the next biggest name. On the inside, David Harris got the franchise tag and A.J. Hawk re-signed a long-term deal so they're off the market. Stephen Tulloch and Paul Posluszny are the best inside 'backers out there.
Secondary: The biggest name on all of the open market is Nnamdi Asomugha. He'll command a major contract, among the most expensive we've ever seen, as the best cornerback in the game. It's rare that someone of his caliber hits the free agent market.