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Helping hands: 13 biggest beneficiaries of free agency

Gregg Rosenthal has offered an excellent look at 10 players hurt by free agency over the past nine days.

On the flip side, the players who stand to benefit the most from recent additions might just be a trio of future Hall of Famer quarterbacks staring headlong into an opportunity to cement their legacies with another Super Bowl ring or two.

Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have watched their teams' brass ratchet up a super-powers arms race as they pull even further away from the crowd in the AFC.

Aaron Rodgers' dynamic offense is now counterbalanced by a defense that has added eight-time Pro Bowler Julius Peppers to go with the talented foursome of Clay Matthews, Casey Hayward, Jerel Worthy and Nick Perry returning from injuries.

Quarterbacks with MVP trophies on the mantle weren't the only ones to benefit from free agency. Here is a list of nine more players and coaches with an arrow pointing up.

1. Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals: The Cardinals have ranked last in Pro Football Focus' pass-blocking metrics for two consecutive seasons, with left tackle as a primary culprit. Now the left side will be more than capably manned by a Matterhorn in Jared Veldheer and 2013 first-round pick Jonathan Cooper, one of the most athletic guards to enter the NFL in the past decade. General manager Steve Keim recently boasted that Palmer can spin the ball with any quarterback in the league when he has time. That claim will be put to the test in 2014.

2. Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos: Ben Roethlisberger is no slouch, but Sanders is now ensconced in Peyton Manning's high-octane, record-breaking offense. Eric Decker was the last receiver to benefit from playing opposite Demaryius Thomas. All Decker did was rank 11th in receptions (172), ninth in receiving yards (2,352) and third in touchdowns (24) while hauling in Manning's pinpoint passes the past two years.

3. Rob Ryan, New Orleans Saints: In his Big Easy debut, Ryan improved the Saints' defense from 32nd to fourth in total yards. While pulling off that trick, Ryan turned rookie Kenny Vaccaro into one of the most versatile defensive weapons in the league. With Jairus Byrd now joining Vaccaro to rival the Seahawks' dynamic safety duo, Ryan can get even more creative with his schemes in 2014.

4. Terrance Williams, Dallas Cowboys: With Miles Austin out of the picture, the 2013 third-round draft pick has a clear route to the starting job opposite Dez Bryant. Williams scored five touchdowns over a six-game stretch with Austin injured last season.

5. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions: Over the past three seasons, Stafford has ranked first, third and first in number of passes dropped by his receivers. It's no wonder he went into a late-season funk throwing to the likes of Kris Durham and Kevin Ogletree. Enter sure-handed Golden Tate, the first talented young sidekick Calvin Johnson has enjoyed since he was drafted in 2007.

6. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens: After losing go-to receiver Anquan Boldin and security blanket Dennis Pitta by August of last year, Flacco spent a trying season throwing to Torrey Smith and the island of misfit toys. Now he has Pitta back in the fold on a five-year contract, along with one of the greatest receivers of the past decade to fill Boldin's move-the-chains role.

7. Mike Nolan, Atlanta Falcons: Mike Smith's 4-3 defense has been missing a backbone for the past half-decade. Nolan has experience with a 3-4 base, though, and the signings of unmovable nose tackle Paul Soliai and run-plugging defensive end Tyson Jackson confirm Roddy White's recent revelation that the scheme is changing.

If the Falcons draft Mike Mayock-favorite Khalil Mack with the No. 6 overall pick, Nolan will finally have the talented young pass rusher he desperately needs.

8. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts: By the time the Colts' season ended in the divisional round of the playoffs, Luck's second and third options in the passing game were unproven wideouts LaVon Brazill and Da'Rick Rogers. Already welcoming back injured No. 1 receiver Reggie Wayne and future Pro Bowl tight end Dwayne Allen, Luck will now have the benefit of a talented bounceback candidate in Hakeem Nicks. It doesn't hurt that Ahmad Bradshaw and Vick Ballard are returning from injuries of their own to add a touch of reliability to the rushing attack.

9. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins: Tannehill led the league in sacks absorbed and yards lost due to sacks as his offensive line devolved into a season-long soap opera. He now has a top-tier blindside protector in Branden Albert and a starting guard in Shelley Smith. The next step is adding a right tackle.

10. Dennis Allen, Oakland Raiders: Dealt a bad hand from the beginning, Allen's roster placed 30th on offense and 32nd on defense in our end of season "nucleus" rankings.

General manager Reggie McKenzie rallied from an early free agency misstep, landing three offensive linemen, a quality wide receiver, two proven pass rushers and a starting cornerback. While the organization still lacks a single young difference-making talent, this is closer to a .500 team than last year's four-win squad. Fair or not, Allen has no more excuses.

The "Around The League Podcast" breaks down the latest free agency moves and highlights a few under-the-radar signings.

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