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Thoughts on top free-agent rushers

7/25/2011

One theme that came to the forefront on Twitter this morning was some of the available free agents the Patriots might target after news of outside linebacker Tully Banta-Cain's surgery.

Here are some thoughts on free agents who would be either 3-4 outside linebackers or a rush end on a four-man line or a different type of sub package:

Mark Anderson (Texans) -- Rush end for 4-3 teams who had 12 sacks as a rookie in 2006 with the Bears, but whose production has declined since.

Jason Babin (Titans) -- Has been a 3-4 outside linebacker, but after playing end in the Titans' 4-3 last season and racking up a career-high 12.5 sacks, that looks like his best fit.

Ray Edwards (Vikings) -- A pure 4-3 end who has totaled 29.5 sacks over his first five seasons. Played opposite Jared Allen, so some wonder how he'd do without such a dynamic player opposite him, but he still figures to command big cash.

Mathias Kiwanuka (Giants) -- The 28-year-old former Boston College star has had a few different roles with the Giants (4-3 end, 4-3 outside linebacker); was limited to three games in 2010 because of injury.

Travis LaBoy (49ers) -- Has totaled 28.5 sacks over six seasons, playing for three different teams.

Manny Lawson (49ers) -- Playing the first five years of his career in San Francisco, the former first-round pick has totaled 14.5 sacks.

Matt Roth (Browns) -- Has background in the 3-4 defense with the Dolphins (2005-2009) and Browns (2009-2010); with 20 career sacks.