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Free agent outlook: Michael Huff

7/25/2011

Our free agent series continue with a look at Michael Huff. He's a popular name in the Dallas area because he's from Irving and went to the University of Texas. And like yesterday's subject -- Nnamdi Asomugha -- Huff has played for new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.

MICHAEL HUFF, FS, Oakland

Why sign him? He's coming off one of his best seasons, finishing third on the team with 84 tackles, four sacks, seven tackles for loss, three interceptions, three forced fumbles and seven pass breakups. Huff made great strides blitzing from the free safety position and improved his cover skills. Signing Huff could be an expensive venture, because one would think the Raiders would like to retain him. If the new salary cap rules take effect, NFL teams have to spend at least 90 percent of the $120 million cap -- and the Raiders are far below that.

Huff seems like an upgrade over Alan Ball, who at times looked lost while playing free safety last season, and he'll eventually move back to cornerback. The Cowboys have had problems signing safeties to big money deals in the past. Roy Williams and Ken Hamlin performed below the Cowboys' standards after inking huge contracts. It would seem Huff is in his prime and could be different.

Is there anybody else?Eric Weddle from the San Diego Chargers is a possible target. The Chargers coaching staff credited Weddle with 93 tackles, which led the entire secondary and was second on the team to former Cowboys linebacker Kevin Burnett (124). Weddle played well against the run this past season and is a good tackler as evident by his seven tackles for loss.

Key Stat: Ball started the first eight weeks of the season without a pass breakup.