Peter King's Top 50 Free Agents, Stephen Tulloch, and the Eagles

Peter King's Top 50 Free Agents, Stephen Tulloch, and the Eagles

No surprise, Peyton Manning topped Peter King's annual list of the top 50 free agents in the NFL. While the market doesn't officially open until Tuesday, Manning's release from the Colts makes him available to sign with a new team right away, and neck injuries be damned, front offices numbering in double digits are clamoring to land the biggest free agent since Reggie White -- arguably of all time.

Andy Reid has already acknowledged the Eagles are not in the hunt for 18, but there are 49 other players who could make the club better, including a pair of their own, plus one of our coveted free agent linebackers.

For Philadelphia, left guard Evan Mathis came in at 21, while Juqua Parker was a surprising entry for the list at number 40.

Despite grading as the best guard in football for 2011 according to Pro Football Focus, Mathis's position paled in comparison to the Saints' Carl Nicks, who ranked fourth on King's list. Of course, Nicks is a two-time All Pro, and unlike Mathis, routinely garners consideration as the top guard in the league. Mathis has indicated he would like to stay, but a rule prevents the Eagles from signing him before FA opens, so it will be interesting to see if they consider negotiating with Nicks as well.

At 33 years old, Parker is caught up in a numbers game at defensive end. The Eagels have two Pro Bowlers in Jason Babin and Trent Cole, and a group of young guys who need playing time. King suggests Parker could wind up with 10 sacks elsewhere, a number we scoff at because it would surpass his career high, but he can go somewhere else and start is the larger point.

Perhaps the most interesting entry was for Lions' middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch, who came in at ninth -- the first LB on the list. As we said earlier this week, Tulloch would be a great fit for the Eagles because he has played behind wide nine fronts his entire NFL career. King seems to agree, and predicted he could very well wind up here.

Lions think he wants too much. Eagles might have just the financial slot for him.

Sure hope he is right. If management can fill the hole in the middle of their defense during the first week of free agency, the Eagles' defense could be dangerous in 2011.

Falcons' MLB Curtis Lofton listed 24th, London Fletcher was 43rd, and Erin Henderson was 44th. David Hawthorne, who was also mentioned in our linebackers piece, was not in King's top 50.

Meanwhile, the Eagles are not likely to use another high draft pick at safety after dropping second round picks in consecutive years, but a mid-level veteran is not out of line. Jacksonville's Dwight Lowery ranks 32nd, and the Cowboys' Abram Elam was mister irrelevant, number 50.

A few other notes:

- On the heels of a strong season in Denver, Brodrick Bunkley was 10th. Bleeding Green Nation asked whether it was wise to trade Bunk this past offseason, as he is a very successful run defender. However, Cullen Jenkins is no slouch and has added versatility as a pass rusher, while Mike Patterson is locked in a team-friendly contract through 2016.

- In all, nine wide receivers made King's top 50. Only one -- Vincent Jackson at number seven -- likely would have rated higher than DeSean Jackson.

- The Giants appear poised to lose three of the top 50 players: WR Mario Manningham, DE Dave Tollefson, and CB Terrell Thomas. Thomas missed all of last season with a torn ACL, Tollefson is an effort guy, and Manningham is being overrated after a strong playoffs and his clutch Super Bowl grab. Should be roughly the same team next season.

>> The King 50: Ranking Top NFL Free Agents [SI.com]

NHL Notes: Islanders fire head coach Jack Capuano

NHL Notes: Islanders fire head coach Jack Capuano

The struggling New York Islanders fired coach Jack Capuano on Tuesday, ending his tenure in the middle of its seventh season.

General manager Garth Snow named assistant GM/coach Doug Weight as Capuano's interim replacement. Snow told reporters Tuesday that the Islanders weren't where they wanted to be in the standings and that everyone's disappointed in their performance his season.

"At the end of the day organizationally I don't think Jack was probably going to be a coach that we were going to bring back," Snow said, adding that the team will begin a full-time coaching search now.

Snow said the halfway point of the season played a role in the timing of firing Capuano a day after beating the Boston Bruins 4-0. The Islanders were 17-17-8 and are in last place in the Eastern Conference with 42 points (see full story).

Predators: Hunt claimed, Fiala sent to AHL
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Nashville Predators have claimed defenseman Brad Hunt off waivers from the St. Louis Blues.

In other moves announced Tuesday, the Predators assigned forward Kevin Fiala to their American Hockey League affiliate in Milwaukee and have placed defenseman Petter Granberg on injured reserve.

Hunt had one goal and four assists in nine games for St. Louis this season. He has appeared in a total of 30 NHL games over parts of four seasons with the Edmonton Oilers and St. Louis. He has two career goals and six assists.

Fiala has six goals and three assists in 32 games for Nashville this season.

Granberg has played in 10 games for the Predators and has 10 penalty minutes.

NFL Notes: Tomlin says Antonio Brown 'foolish, selfish' for live stream

NFL Notes: Tomlin says Antonio Brown 'foolish, selfish' for live stream

PITTSBURGH — The father in Mike Tomlin regrets the language he used to describe the New England Patriots during the postgame speech Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown's opted to livestream on social media after a taut playoff victory over Kansas City.

The coach in Tomlin has just as big an issue with one of his team's biggest stars forcing the Steelers to talk about something other than trying to find a way to finally beat Tom Brady when it counts.

A characteristically blunt Tomlin called Brown's decision to broadcast more than 17 minutes of Pittsburgh's giddy locker room to the world -- a move that caught Tomlin using a handful of profanities -- over Kansas City "foolish," "selfish" and "inconsiderate."

"Not only is it a violation of our policy, it's a violation of league policy, both of which he knows," Tomlin said Tuesday.

"So there are consequences to be dealt with from his perspective. We will punish him. We won't punish us."

Tomlin took responsibility for his choice of words, though he was unaware of being filmed as he spoke.

During Tomlin's brief remarks he attached an expletive to the Patriots, who earned a full day's head start on the Steelers by virtue of beating Houston on Saturday night, 24 hours before Pittsburgh outlasted Kansas City 18-16.

"The responsibility associated with being in this thing, just from a role model standpoint, it's something that I personally embrace," Tomlin said.

"It's something that we as a team and organization embrace. So that's why the language, specifically, in terms of the content, is regrettable," (see full story).

- The Associated Press

Report: Former Eagles DL Clyde Simmons joining Browns' staff
The Sporting News' Alex Marvez reported that the Browns are hiring Clyde Simmons to coach their defensive line.

Since 2012, Simmons has worked as the assistant defensive line coach for the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams under head coach Jeff Fisher and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. Fisher was fired by the Rams with three games left in the 2016 season and Williams left Los Angeles for Cleveland, where he will also be the defensive coordinator.

Filling out his staff in Cleveland, Williams appears to be bringing Simmons with him from the Rams. Cleveland.com reported that Williams is also hiring his son, Blake, as the linebackers coach and Jerod Kruse as the defensive backs coach. 

Simmons spent the first eight seasons of his 15-year NFL career in Philadelphia, starting 108 of the 124 games he appeared in. Simmons recorded 76 of his 121.5 career sacks with the Eagles and also forced 12 fumbles, recovering 10, and scoring two touchdowns with the Birds.

- CSNPhilly.com

Broncos: Joe Woods promoted to defensive coordinator
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Broncos coach Vance Joseph has promoted secondary coach Joe Woods to defensive coordinator, replacing Wade Phillips, who left for the Los Angeles Rams.

Woods, 46, was in charge of the Broncos' "No Fly Zone" secondary that led the league in pass defense each of the last two years behind All-Pro cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr., safeties T.J. Ward and Darian Stewart and nickel back Bradley Roby.

Woods has a quarter-century of experience coaching defensive backs including the last 13 seasons in Denver (2015-16), Oakland (2014), Minnesota (2006-13) and Tampa Bay (2004-05).

Joseph said Woods "is ready for this opportunity" and "no one will outwork Joe."

Harris said, "If we had to lose Wade at least we get to keep Joe," (see full story).

- The Associated Press