Ten best NFL bargain free agents

When the top free agents are signed, these are the guys teams should be going after

Originally Published: July 25, 2011
By Rivers McCown | Football Outsiders

The recipe for a bargain free agent is fairly simple.

Look for big reasons a former team would become disenchanted with the player: injuries, age, inconsistent production or a focus on the things the player can't do rather than the things he can. Stir that with a little bit of depth at certain positions on the free-agent market, and you have the mixture needed to produce a bargain signing.

You'll notice elements of each in some of these guys, and others that rely heavily on just one characteristic.

Here are the top bargain free agents in the 2011 class:

10. James Anderson

Anderson had never been a full-time starter prior to this year but announced his ascension to the role with a strong season for a poor Carolina team. He compiled 30 Defeats (explained here) and was a presence in underneath coverage. He also soaked up an obscene 130 tackles in Carolina's Sam linebacker role. The Panthers will have a lot of money to attempt to re-sign him with, and he'll be overshadowed a bit by fellow free-agent linebackers Stephen Tulloch and Paul Posluszny, so if anyone on this list stays with his current team, it's probably Anderson.