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Remaining NFL free agency questions

Free-agent movement has died down, but there are plenty of big names left to sign and depth charts that need filling. Let's break down the biggest hanging questions.

Where will the new free-agent quarterbacks land?

The quarterback market oddly looks better now than when free agency started. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Matt Hasselbeck and Kevin Kolb are all backup-type options at this stage of their careers. But they are better than a lot of backups out there.

The early buzz has Hasselbeck joining Andrew Luck and the Colts in Indianapolis. NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reported Monday night that the sides are close to agreeing to a two-year contract. Fitzpatrick had talked about a return to the Cincinnati Bengals or being a possible replacement for Hasselbeck in Tennessee, and Rapoport reported the quarterback chose the latter, agreeing to a two-year contract with the Titans. Kolb could find a job with the New York Jets.

The Cleveland Browns, Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars also figure to be in the market for quarterback depth. Jason Campbell is the next best option out there.

Complicating matters: Matt Flynn still could be cut by the Seattle Seahawks, and Tim Tebow figures to be released by the Jets. Kolb is better off finding a home fast before he has any more competition for spots.

What is Ed Reed waiting for?

We should have known that nothing with Reed would be simple. Or predictable. The Houston Texans and Baltimore Ravens both believe Reed will pick their team. Reed, meanwhile, is busy writing cryptic tweets. Perhaps a mystery team jumps in. Look for this decision to come down during the week.

Who are the best players available?


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Offensive tackles Andre Smith and Sebastian Vollmer should be great bargains as above-average starting right tackles. With Jake Long signed, Smith and Vollmer should be next to fly off the board.

We're keeping a running list of the best remaining players on NFL.com. Most of the best players left are veterans who are coming off an injury or just looking for a few more productive years. Cornerback Antoine Winfield absolutely can help a team in the slot. Former Oakland Raiders defensive back Michael Huff can play multiple positions at a capable level. Tight end Fred Davis was one of my favorite bargains heading into free agency; he should land with the Washington Redskins or Dallas Cowboys.

Just 32 of our original Top 85 overall free agents remain available, including four of the top 20.

Why can't veteran pass rushers get a job?

This is the trickledown effect from Cliff Avril receiving just $13 million over two years and Michael Bennett getting less than $5 million for one season with the Seahawks. When young guys aren't making that much, the veterans are going to be disappointed. Consider the big names left:

Dwight Freeney: A potential Hall of Famer, Freeney has visited with the New England Patriots. The Denver Broncos also could be an option.

Osi Umenyiora: The Atlanta Falcons were rumored to be interested, but it hasn't happened yet. The Miami Dolphins are a possibility.

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John Abraham: He has visited four teams (San Francisco 49ers, Seahawks, Dolphins and Patriots) without getting an offer he likes.

James Harrison: It sounds like the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year is last in this line of free agents looking for a job.

Richard Seymour: It wouldn't surprise us if Seymour retires rather than take a massive pay cut.

Folks like Seymour or even Harrison might have to wait until after the draft to find jobs they like.

Was there collusion going on in free agency?

You could ask this question another way: Are teams getting smarter in free agency?

It's remarkable how many teams "set a price" on a free agent and stuck to it. The teams usually nailed the player's value, whether it was Jake Long, Wes Welker, Sean Smith or Greg Jennings. That has some agents wondering aloud if collusion was going on between teams ahead of time. We don't think it was anything that nefarious.

First, there were some wacky contracts handed out. (Hello, Desmond Bryant, Phillip Wheeler and Erik Walden.)

Second, teams always will act in their own best interest.

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Sure, some "McContracts" were handed out at cornerback once the market was set, but that was for a reason. There was too much supply out there, and none of the free agents was a difference maker. It was a deep group, but it wasn't top heavy. No one got Cortland Finnegan money because Finnegan easily was better than anyone in this cornerback crop. The handful of deep positions in free agency (offensive tackle, cornerback, running back) also look pretty deep in the draft.

The middle class of NFL veterans got squeezed. Guys like Avril, Welker and Jennings who passed on contract extensions a year ago lost out in the process.

The flat salary cap ultimately forced teams to make smarter decisions in free agency. A league full of general managers acting more like Ted Thompson simply is good business.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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