Now that Super Bowl XLVI has come and gone, the NFL offseason is upon us. NFL free agency begins at 1 p.m. PST on March 13, but teams can begin using the franchise tag on potential unrestricted free agents as soon as February 20. Here is a look at several former USC Trojans eligible for free agency this offseason, with some help from Mac's Football Blog.
Unrestricted Free Agents
Terrell Thomas, CB: Thomas tore his ACL during the preseason and didn't play a single down for the Super Bowl champion New York Giants, but he did start 16 games in each of the previous two seasons, intercepting five passes in 2010.
Frostee Rucker, DE: Rucker had his best pro season in 2011, collecting four sacks for the playoff-bound Cincinnati Bengals while playing in all 16 games, starting 11.
Fred Davis, TE: Davis had his finest pro season, with 59 catches for 796 yards and three touchdowns in 12 games for the Washington Redskins, but was also suspended for four games in December for failing drug tests. Davis appears likely to get the franchise tag from the Redskins.
Deuce Lutui, G: After starting 63 of 64 games from 2007-2010, Lutui was relegated to backup duty for the Airzona Cardinals in 2011, appearing in 15 games in his sixth pro season.
Steve Smith, WR: Two years removed from making the Pro Bowl with 107 cataches for 1,220 yards, the other Steve Smith had a down year for the Philadelphia Eagles, catching 11 balls for 124 yards and a touchdown in nine games.
Chilo Rachal, G: After starting 29 of 32 games in 2009-2010, Rachal was benched by the San Francisco 49ers three games into the 2011 season. Rachal played in all 16 games, and filled in on the line during San Francisco's playoff win over the New Orleans Saints when Jonathan Goodwin suffered a leg injury.
Restricted Free Agents
Patrick Turner, WR: The Mark Sanchez-to-Turner connection wasn't quite as prolific as it was at USC, as the third-year receiver caught just eight passes for 96 yards on the year.
For more news and information on USC football, past and present, be sure to read Conquest Chronicles.