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Alabama in the Pros

Former Alabama standouts to hit NFL free agency market

Jeff Curry - USA TODAY Sports

True value will be determined this week as the National Football League starts its free agency marketing Wednesday. The time is set for 4 p.m. (EST).

Nine former Crimson Tide standouts—Rashad Johnson, Courtney Upshaw, Mark Barron, Andre Smith, Roman Harper, Rolando McClain, Evan Mathis, Wallace Gilberry and Demeco Ryans—will be unrestricted free agents.

These nine will have an opportunity to discuss with agents on possible teams that could create either more money or a better shot at winning a Super Bowl.

Johnson, a defensive back, has already stated that he wants to remain with the Arizona Cardinals. He had his best season in 2015, totaling 61 tackles and five interceptions.

Dallas Cowboys president Stephen Jones intends on re-signing McClain for next season. He finished with 80 total tackles, while adding two sacks, eight tackles for loss and an interception.

Mathis, who won Super Bowl 50 with Denver, signed a one-year deal with the Broncos. He blocked for 355.5 yards of offense and 22.2 points per game. Mathis guided running back C.J. Anderson to 90 rushing yards and a score on 23 carries in Denver’s 24-10 win over Carolina.

Roman Harper (Carolina), Andre Smith (Cincinnati) and Wallace Gilberry (Cincinnati) all made the playoffs last season with their respective teams. Ryans was released from the Philadelphia Eagles on Feb. 24, after four years with the team.

Barron, a fifth-year veteran, played both at strong safety and linebacker at times for the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams last season. He led the team in tackles (116) and had 18 tackles for loss, five passes defended, four forced fumbles and a sack.

Upshaw was solid in his fifth season at Baltimore, recording 51 tackles, four tackles for loss, two sacks, two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. He captured a Super Bowl in 2012 and with general manager Ozzie Newsome being a “Alabama guy,” it is a safe bet that Upshaw may stay with the Ravens.

Stephen M. Smith is a senior analyst and columnist for Touchdown Alabama MagazineYou can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @ESPN_Future.

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