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Assessing free-agent cornerbacks

Brent Grimes, Nnamdi Asomugha and Johnathan Joseph would be the cream of this year's free-agent crop of corners. Getty Images

To some degree, every team in the AFC North could be looking at free-agent cornerbacks. The glamour position has several solid players who could hit the open market this summer.

Although a new collective bargaining agreement could change who's restricted and unrestricted, here is the AFC North blog's ranking of top available corners:

1. Nnamdi Asomugha

Skinny: Asomugha is far and away the top cornerback on the market. Quarterbacks stopped throwing his way years ago. Therefore, Asomugha will immediately cut off half the field for whichever teams signs him. But it will come at a very steep cost.

2. Brent Grimes

Skinny: Grimes worked very hard as an undrafted free agent to become a Pro Bowler in 2010. He's recorded 11 picks in the past two years. Expect the Falcons to do all they can to make sure Grimes remains in Atlanta.

3. Johnathan Joseph

Skinny: Joseph is 27 and entering his prime. He is one of the best young coverage corners in the league and has good hands to create turnovers. It's doubtful the Bengals would be willing to pay $8-$10 million per year to keep Joseph.

4. Ike Taylor

Skinny: Taylor has been consistent in Pittsburgh and now wants market value. He may price himself out of Pittsburgh this summer by chasing a big-money deal. At 31, this is probably Taylor's last chance to get a big contract. So you can't blame him if he doesn’t accept a hometown discount.

5. Antonio Cromartie

Skinny: Cromartie is long, good in coverage and very athletic. He could thrive in the right system but may struggle in others. Poor tackling prevents Cromartie from being one of the NFL's best at his position.

6. Richard Marshall

Skinny: Marshall has playmaking ability, and I think in the right system he could be a great under-the-radar signing. He's a solid tackler (88 in 2009 and 2010) and good with the ball in his hands. I think Marshall could be a potential fit in Pittsburgh if Taylor leaves the Steelers.

7. Carlos Rogers

Skinny: Rogers is a solid player who has never been able to put it all together and become a great corner. Rogers, 29, is comparable to Taylor in that both corners have poor hands. Rogers has just six interceptions the past five seasons.

8. Josh Wilson

Skinny: Wilson was solid for the Ravens last year after taking over for Fabian Washington. Baltimore drafted Jimmy Smith in the first round, increasing the chances that Wilson will be allowed to test the open market. He could be a decent No. 2 corner.