- Coley Harvey, ESPN Staff Writer
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CINCINNATI -- Just before free agency began in March, ESPN Insider and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik praised Ndamukong Suh for being the biggest-name free agent since Reggie White.
Apparently, that got him thinking.
Who were the other players in the league who could warrant consideration as a "32-team free agent?" That is to say, who else in the NFL would be similarly coveted by every single team and still be worth the investment from both a financial and off-field perspective?
Dominik on Thursday published a list of 24 names who he believed could be a Suh-like free agent that every team in the league would be willing to pay if it had the money.
A.J. Green appeared on the list.
The Cincinnati Bengals' receiver was praised by Dominik for his ability to run downfield and make difficult catches that other wideouts might struggle corralling. A four-time Pro Bowler, Green certainly has the pedigree to back up his status as a 32-team free agent. He has had more than 1,000 yards receiving every year of his career, including last season, when injuries plagued him and forced him to miss parts of six games.
To make Dominik's list, players couldn't have major durability or red flags that might cause multiple teams to rule out signing them. The players also had to have the ability to perform in any team's scheme. With West Coast -- or, as people in this part of the country are apt to call former Bengals assistant Bill Walsh's scheme, Ohio River -- offenses the rage in the league, Green definitely fits multiple offensive systems.
It's important to note Dominik's list is purely hypothetical. While Green may actually privately be coveted by every team in the league, there is no reason to think he would actually sign elsewhere next offseason.
Green enters this season on his fifth-year option, and will be making $10.2 million before becoming eligible for free agency next spring. He and the Bengals have both reiterated how they want to keep him in stripes, but all parties involved have plenty of time to get a new deal done.
If linebacker Vontaze Burfict was healthy and hadn't been hurt last season (he had microfracture surgery in January), he might be another Bengal to consider for this list. While he's best suited as a Will linebacker in a 4-3 system, it's hard to imagine that he wouldn't be effective as an inside linebacker in a 3-4. Burfict simply knows one thing when he's on the field: run to wherever the football is. Considering he was an undrafted free agent who got a nice pay bump when he signed an extension last August, Burfict certainly would be within the price range for other teams.
One other Bengal could draw consideration from Dominik in future seasons. Second-year running back Jeremy Hill performed well as a feature back late his rookie season. His pass-blocking is improving and he can catch passes, as well. With no red flags nor injury concerns, one has to think countless other teams would want to sign him one day in the future, too.