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2013 NFL free agents: Top defensive linemen

A look at the top defensive linemen who will be available in free agency this offseason.


Every NFL team can always use more defensive linemen. Each year defensive tackles and ends are some of the top targets in free agency to help stuff the run, improve the pass rush or just to add depth. 2013 is no different. There will be big names, up-and-comers and older veterans all available once free agency gets under way.

Some of these players will stay put, signing new deals or getting hit with the franchise tag, but several will be available and demand a good price for their services. The top free agent defensive linemen are listed below:

Cliff Avril: The pass-rushing defensive end was franchised by the Detroit Lions last year, making him a free agent for the second consecutive offseason. Avril, 26, had another strong year in 2012 with 9.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. If the Lions don't sign him to a long-term deal, the money needed to franchise him again and keep him in Detroit may be too much.

Michael Johnson: An athletic freak at 6'7, 270 pounds, the 25-year-old Johnson is coming off his best season with the Bengals, finally realizing his potential. In 2012 he recorded 52 tackles, 11.5 sacks, defended two passes and made one interception.

Henry Melton: Melton has become an important part of the Chicago defense and is coming off his best season at age 26. He was named to his first Pro Bowl with 43 tackles, six sacks and two forced fumbles from the defensive tackle position this past season.

Dwight Freeney: Although he switched to outside linebacker in 2012, the longtime Colts defensive end can still get to the quarterback. He had his worst season in 2012 with only 12 tackles and five sacks, but the 32-year-old still has gas in his tank and could still succeed in the right system.

Randy Starks: A versatile lineman who has played both defensive end and nose tackle, Starks, 29, is effective as both a run-stopper and pass-rusher. In 2012 he recorded 27 tackles, 4.5 sacks, defended four passes and had one interception for the Dolphins.

Osi Umenyiora: The longtime New York Giant will likely be looking for a new home this offseason as he wants to be an every-down defensive end at age 31. If he remains in New York, he'll be part of a platoon and primarily used in passing situations. In 2012 he had 43 tackles, six sacks, and two forced fumbles while only starting in four games.

Michael Bennett: Bennett has come a long way from undrafted rookie in 2009 to become one of the top free agent defensive ends in 2013. The 27-year-old had his best season by far in 2012 with 41 tackles, nine sacks, and three forced fumbles for Tampa Bay.

Desmond Bryant: Another solid player from football powerhouse Harvard, Bryant, 27, has put together some good seasons for the Raiders. The defensive tackle had 36 tackles and four sacks in 2012 after signing a one-year deal with Oakland last offseason.

Richard Seymour: Seymour may not be what he once was, but the 33-year-old defensive tackle still has some years left. He missed the last eight games of the season in 2012 with hamstring and knee injuries, but recorded 15 tackles and three sacks in the eight games he did play for the Raiders.

Complete list of 2013 free agent defensive linemen

All players are unrestricted free agents except where noted.

Arizona Cardinals

Ronald Talley, DE - Exclusive rights
Nick Eason, DT
Vonnie Holliday, DT

Atlanta Falcons

Lawrence Sidbury, DE
Vance Walker, DT

Baltimore Ravens

Arthur Jones, DE - Restricted
Ryan McBean, DE
Bryan Hall, DT - Exclusive rights
Ma'ake Kemoeatu, DT

Buffalo Bills

Shawne Merriman, DE
Kyle Moore, DE
Spencer Johnson, DT

Carolina Panthers

Antwan Applewhite, DE
Andre Neblett, DT - Restricted
Dwan Edwards, DT

Chicago Bears

Cheta Ozougwu, DE - Exclusive rights
Israel Idonije, DE
Nate Collins, DT - Restricted
Henry Melton, DT
Amobi Okoye, DT

Cincinnati Bengals

Robert Geathers, DE
Wallace Gilberry, DE
Michael Johnson, DE
Pat Sims, DT

Cleveland Browns

Auston English, DE
Emmanuel Stephens, DE - Exclusive rights
Juqua Parker, DE
Frostee Rucker, DE

Dallas Cowboys

Kenyon Coleman, DE
L.P. Ladouceur, DE

Denver Broncos

Mitch Unrein, DE - Exclusive rights
Jason Hunter, DE
Justin Bannan, DT
Kevin Vickerson, DT
Ty Warren, DT

Detroit Lions

Willie Young, DE - Restricted
Kyle Vanden Bosch, DE
Cliff Avril, DE
Lawrence Jackson, DE
Sammie Lee Hill, DT
Corey Williams, DT

Houston Texans

Shaun Cody, DT

Indianapolis Colts

Dwight Freeney, DE
Martin Tevaseu, DT - Exclusive rights
Antonio Johnson, DT
Fili Moala, DT

Jacksonville Jaguars

John Chick, DE - Exclusive rights
George Selvie, DE - Restricted
Terrance Knighton, DT

Kansas City Chiefs

Ropati Pitoitua, DE - Restricted
Glenn Dorsey, DT
Shaun Smith, DT

Miami Dolphins

Tony McDaniel, DT
Randy Starks, DT

New England Patriots

Trevor Scott, DE
Ron Brace, DT

New Orleans Saints

Turk McBride, DE
Junior Galette, DT - Restricted
Sedrick Ellis, DT

New York Giants

Justin Trattou, DE - Exclusive rights
Osi Umenyiora, DE
Rocky Bernard, DT
Martin Parker, DT
Chris Canty, DT

New York Jets

Mike DeVito, DE

Oakland Raiders

Andre Carter, DE
Matt Shaughnessy, DE
Desmond Bryant, DT

Philadelphia Eagles

Darryl Tapp, DE
Derek Landri, DT

Pittsburgh Steelers

Steve McLendon, DT - Restricted
Casey Hampton, DT

San Diego Chargers

Vaughn Martin, DE
Aubrayo Franklin, DT

San Francisco 49ers

Ricky Jean-Francois, DT
Isaac Sopoaga, DT

Seattle Seahawks

Clinton McDonald, DT - Restricted
Alan Branch, DT
Jason Jones, DT

St. Louis Rams

William Hayes, DE
Jermelle Cudjo, DT - Exclusive rights
Trevor Laws, DT

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Corvey Irvin, DE - Restricted
Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, DE - Restricted
Michael Bennett, DE
Corvey Irvin, DT - Restricted
Roy Miller, DT

Tennessee Titans

Dave Ball, DE
Keyunta Dawson, DE
Jarius Wynn, DE
Leger Douzable, DT
Sen'Derrick Marks, DT

Washington Redskins

Chris Baker, DE - Restricted
Kentwan Balmer, DE
Kedric Golston, DT

No Team

Phillip Merling, DE
Antwan Odom, DE
Matt Roth, DE
Jonathan Fanene, DE
Ray Edwards, DE
Albert Haynesworth, DT