Senior NFL Columnist

Let's play matchmaker: Finding the ideal free agent for each NFL team

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Who is the best free-agent fit for your team?

Is it bringing back one of your own? Or could it be signing a high-priced, top-ticket player? It could even be a player who fits a need at a cheap price, especially for cap-restricted teams.

The best players in this market will get paid, and they will have a lot of suitors. How many teams would love to add the speed of Steelers receiver Mike Wallace or the pass-rush ability of a quality defensive end?

That's why in playing our 2013 version of "Match the Free Agent," some players fit with more than one team.

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In your ideal world, who fits best for your team? I took a shot at some of the players I think work best for all 32 teams -- including some teams bringing back their own.

Arizona Cardinals

Best match: Jake Long, T, Dolphins

Yes, he would cost a lot of money. But he can still play at a high level and it would put an end to all the problems at left tackle and lets them move Levi Brown inside.

Atlanta Falcons

Best match: Sam Baker, T, Falcons

With the way they throw the ball, getting Baker back to protect Matt Ryan's blind side makes sense. Baker had his best season in 2012 when he was finally healthy.

Baltimore Ravens

Best match: Dannell Ellerbe, LB, Ravens

Keeping your own makes sense here since Ray Lewis is retiring and Ellerbe is on the verge of stardom.

Buffalo Bills

Best match: Mike Wallace, WR, Steelers

They lack a deep threat at receiver and he would team with Stevie Johnson to give the Bills a nice 1-2 punch. Of course, they need a quarterback with an arm big enough to reach him.

Carolina Panthers

Best match: Desmond Bryant, DT, Oakland

The middle of their defense is horrible. They could use a rising player inside and, despite his arrest, Bryant is that type of player.

Chicago Bears

Best match: Long

Have you watched the number of hits Jay Cutler takes? If they could get Long, it would upgrade a position of need for a team that will throw it more under Marc Trestman.

Cincinnati Bengals

Best match: Glover Quin, S, Texans

They need a player next to Reggie Nelson and Quin is a former corner who can cover and play in the box.

Cleveland Browns

Best match: Paul Kruger, OLB, Ravens

They are going to a 3-4 scheme and they need a pass rusher on the outside. This would also weaken a division opponent.

Dallas Cowboys

Best match: Andy Levitre, G, Bills

Did you see the interior of that offensive line in 2012? They have to do a better job of protecting Tony Romo. Too bad Levitre will cost too much.

Denver Broncos

Best match: Ellerbe

They need a nasty, fast player in the middle of their defense. Ellerbe is that guy. A corner could also be in play.

Detroit Lions

Best match: Michael Bennett, DE, Buccaneers

They might lose Cliff Avril and Kyle Vanden Bosch is gone. They need a defensive end in the worst way. Bennett is coming off his best season.

Green Bay Packers

Best match: Dashon Goldson, S, 49ers

With Charles Woodson moving on, they need to get a safety who can lead the back-end players. Goldson could be that guy.

Houston Texans

Best match: Greg Jennings, WR, Packers

They have Andre Johnson for the deep game, now they need a smart route runner on the inside. Jennings can be that guy.

Indianapolis Colts

Best match: Andre Smith, T, Bengals

They have to improve the right side of their line. Smith would be an immediate upgrade and would help keep Andrew Luck clean.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Best match: Sebastian Vollmer, T, Patriots

Their right tackle spot has been horrible for years. Vollmer could step in and fix it. If Eugene Monroe were to leave via free agency next year, he could move to the left side.

Kansas City Chiefs

Best match: Sean Smith, CB, Dolphins

They need a corner to pair with Brandon Flowers and Smith makes a ton of sense. He is big and can play man. Their coverage was down in 2012.

Miami Dolphins

Best match: Wallace

They have to get some weapons for Ryan Tannehill. Wallace's speed is really needed for an offense that lacked it last season.

Minnesota Vikings

Best match: Jennings

They have an emerging deep threat in Jarius Wright and they have Percy Harvin for the underneath stuff. They need a smart, veteran receiver and this move would hurt a division foe.

New England Patriots

Best match: Wallace

Does any team need speed more than the Patriots? They have to do a better job of stretching the field.

New Orleans Saints

Best match: Kruger

They have to get help for their 3-4 outside rush game. Kruger could do that.

New York Giants

Best match: Phil Loadholt, T, Vikings

They locked up Will Beatty and signing Loadholt would give them a nice 1-2 combination to improve the protection in front of Eli Manning -- and amp up the run game.

New York Jets

Best match: Connor Barwin, OLB, Texans

The pass rush is pathetic. Barwin is coming off a down season, but he was productive two years ago.

Oakland Raiders

Best match: Andre Smith

They had major issues at right tackle last season and Smith would give them a nice 1-2 combo with Jared Veldheer.

Philadelphia Eagles

Best match: Quin

The safety play has been bad the past couple of seasons. Quin would help mitigate that. He can cover and play up near the line.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Best match: Keenan Lewis, CB, Steelers

This is a case where bringing one of your own back makes too much sense. Lewis is 26 and coming off his best season at a position of need. They are nuts if they think William Gay is the answer.

St. Louis Rams

Best match: Loadholt

Jeff Fisher loves to pound the football. Getting a right tackle like Loadholt would help that become a reality.

San Diego Chargers

Best match: Long

Fix that left tackle spot, will you? Philip Rivers took a beating last year and until the left tackle spot is solidified it will continue that way.

San Francisco 49ers

Best match: Goldson

Keeping your own here is the smart move. He fits what they want to do. And he knows the system.

Seattle Seahawks

Best match: John Abraham, DE, Falcons

Chris Clemons is coming off a torn ACL and Bruce Irvin might not be ready to start yet. Abraham could come in and give their defense some pop off the edge.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Best match: Bennett

I know they like their young defensive ends, but Adrian Clayborn is coming off a torn ACL. Why not just keep Bennett -- if the price is right?

Tennessee Titans

Best match: Avril

This is a team looking for help for their pass rush. Avril could help in a big way.

Washington Redskins

Best match: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB, Eagles

Jim Haslett would love to add an aggressive man-cover corner like Rodgers-Cromartie.


Pete Prisco has covered the NFL for three decades, including working as a beat reporter in Jacksonville for the Jaguars. He hosted his own radio show for seven years, and is the self-anointed star of CBS Sports' show, Eye on Football. When he's not watching game tape, you can find Pete on Twitter or dreaming of an Arizona State national title in football.
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