Dec 29, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen (69) reacts against the Detroit Lions in the second quarter at Mall of America Field at H.H.H. Metrodome. The Vikings win 14-13. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Free Agency: Greg Bedard Releases Top 2014 Free Agents

January 19, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman (11) against the Denver Broncos in the 2013 AFC Championship football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Free agency is quickly approaching, and now is the time for lists of the top free agents to be released from all around the country. Yesterday, Greg Bedard, of ‘MMQB’, posted the first portion of what he thinks are the top free agents this offseason. 

Bedard has two Patriots in the ’51-100′ range, as Julian Edelman checks in at number 57, while LeGarrette Blount slides in at 52.

Here are his thoughts on Edelman:

Finally healthy for full season, Edelman caught 105 passes for 1,056 yards and six TDs, and is one a top punt returners. Best fit: Texans. Can plug right into Bill O’Brien’s offense and work the middle between Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins.

I like how Bedard didn’t overvalue Edelman. The former Kent State signal caller had a great 2013 campaign, but he is definitely replaceable. The Patriots need some explosion instilled into their offense, and even though Edelman was as reliable as they came last year, he isn’t nearly as explosive as Tom Brady may want.

This is what Bedard had to say on Blount:

Tampa cast-off revived his career late in ’13 season behind a very good run-blocking line. Won’t create many of his own yards but will get what’s blocked and then some. Best fit: Patriots. Wants to get paid but might not see the dough. NE wants him back at its price.

Again I agree with Bedard, not only because he gives the Patriots the nod as the best fit for Blount, but because of the money situation. Blount had an awesome finish to the 2013 season, but he may not find a lot of money around the league. I think Blount will want to stay in a winning environment, and Bill Belichick and company may have a decent offer for the big tailback.

Finally, Bedard gives his analysis on defensive end Jared Allen, and why he would be a nice fit in New England:

He’s not the dominating player he once was, but Allen still put up double-digit sacks (11.5) for the seventh straight year. Would be nice to cap off career with title. Best fit: Patriots. Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich could use a breather and some help.

As mentioned, even though Allen isn’t the best pass rusher in the league anymore, he still can bring a lot to the table. He is a capable edge rusher, and he can help get Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich more rest next season. Playing 95% of the defensive snaps isn’t ideal for those two, but the Pats had no legit backup. Allen is more than capable of playing a backup role, and he could help turn the New England defense into a feared unit in 2014.

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Tags: Jared Allen Julian Edelman LeGarrette Blount New England Patriots NFL Free Agency

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