We’re just a few days away from the NFL free agent season. The swap-shop gets started next Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. There’s nearly a billion dollars in cap space available and free agents will be getting a nice chunk of it. Some of the moves can lead to championships others will get GM’s in trouble with their owners. Recently an ESPN writer asked me to compare Drew Brees with the greatest NFL free agents of all-time.

I think Reggie White and Brees are neck and neck in this one. White was a game and culture changer in Green Bay. He came a year after Favre and went to the playoffs all 6 years with the Packers. White lead the Packers defense to 2 Super Bowls and had 3 sacks in their Super Bowl win over New England. He’s among the greatest defensive players in NFL history.

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Drew Brees plays the most important position in football and his numbers tell us he’s one of the best ever. What he’s done on the field will punch his ticket to Canton and what he’s meant to Saints fans off the field has made him a Bayou legend. The 10th anniversary of his signing should remind Saints fans how luck they’ve been to have an elite quarterback for the past decade.

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This would be my order for the best free agents signings since the current process started in 1993.

  1. Reggie White, Green Bay (from Philadelphia)
  2. Drew Brees, New Orleans (from San Diego)
  3. Deion Sanders, San Francisco and Dallas (From Atlanta). The Defensive Player of the Year and SB champ in his only year with the 49ers and a Super Bowl champ with the Cowboys. Prime was not so prime with the Redskins. 
  4. Charles Woodson, Green Bay (From Oakland) and full circle back to Oakland to finish HOF career. Big play-maker and hitter on Green Bay’s SB XLV title team. 
  5. Curtis Martin, NY Jets (from New England). Seven straight 1,000 plus rushing seasons, six of the seven 1,200 plus.

Next Best—
*Peyton Manning, Denver (from Indy)—Broke records and put up some big numbers but short stay and contributed little in SB winning season, lost other SB 43-8 to Seattle. In his two other seasons had two one and done home playoff losses. One of the game’s greatest, but father time took a bite out of his four years in Denver.

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*Rod Woodson, Baltimore (from San Francisco) — Only 4 of his 17 year career were played in Baltimore in Baltimore, but in that time 20 interceptions and 5 of his 12 career pick 6’s. The Ravens defense ranked second in the league 3 straight years with Woodson at safety and the Super Bowl XXXV champion defense allowed only 1 touchdown in 4 playoffs games.
*Kurt Warner, Arizona (from NY Giants)— Revived his career and brought winning football to the desert, at age 37 he threw for 377 and 3 td’s in Cardinals last minute SB loss to Pittsburgh. A Ben Roethlisberger to Santonio Holmes touchdown with 35 seconds left kept him from his second Super Bowl MVP.