This year’s NFL free agency is different than most years. Not only is the collective bargaining agreement proposal holding up contract negotiations, but we also have an excellent group of players hitting the open market. That includes some of the biggest names in the NFL, like Dak Prescott, Chris Jones, and even Tom Brady. With such a strong class, there are plenty of rumors to keep track of, even if pending free agents can’t sign with teams until the new league year begins on March 18. While a number of these players will ultimately re-sign with their current teams or draw the franchise tag, others will land with new teams.
The idea of Tom Brady playing in another uniform may not be the easiest to picture. However, Las Vegas, L.A., the Colts and Titans could all be in play. Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer added that Brady and Bill Belichick are open to remaining in New England together under certain terms. He also said the two are likely to sit down and talk, but that hasn’t happened just yet. If Brady does not return to Gillette, I can see him playing in Los Angeles with the Chargers. Per a report by ESPN’s Dan Graziano and Jeremy Fowler, the Cowboys have made Prescott a long-term offer that would be good for about $33M a year. But the report added that Prescott might prefer a shorter deal so that he could hit free agency while he’s still pretty young. Dallas is confident that Prescott will be back next season, and the two sides finally met to talk at the NFL Combine. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport called Indianapolis “the most likely option” for Phillip Rivers, who plans to play at least two more seasons in the NFL. I believe Rivers will play with the Indianapolis Colts these next two years. Drew Brees, Marcus Mariota, Jameis Winston, Ryan Tannehill, and Teddy Bridgewater are the remaining quarterbacks. I can see all of them returning back to their previous teams.
There a handful of runningbacks out there that can be used as dangerously as offensive weapons. Derrick Henry was a power-house in Tennesse for the Titans especially towards the end of the season. Los Angeles Chargers head coach, Anthony Lynn said Tuesday he’s hopeful the organization can re-sign running back Melvin Gordon, who can become an unrestricted free agent March 18. The Cardinals knew it was a risk, taking on a player headed for free agency. Drake knew his situation too, frustrated after limited use in Miami with the Dolphins. I believe he will return back to the Cardinals especially with David Johnson’s injury past. Lamar Miller is an injury risk. Not only did Miller miss 2019 with the ACL injury, but he’s also dealt with two ankle sprains, a pectoral bruise, an A/C joint sprain, and a concussion. Therefore he will sign elsewhere such as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Traded to the Texans before the start of the season, Hyde was the primary ball carrier for the offense averaging 66.9 yards a game and rushing for six touchdowns on the season which is why I can see him back in Houston next season. I can see Jordan Howard reuniting in Chicago. Miles Sanders has taken over as the starting running back in Philadelphia Eagles which leaves Howard out of a job.
Wide Receivers/ Tight Ends
Dak is asking for 40 million dollars per year and while they can franchise him, it virtually guarantees that he’ll walk out the door in 2021. My best guess is that they’ll pay the man which leaves little to no money to bring Amari Cooper back. There are all kinds of teams who would love to have the needs to add him, but the Colts can outbid virtually anyone and seeing their need at the position, especially with T.Y. Hilton‘s age. A.J. Green was recently franchised tagged by the Bengals. The Los Angeles Chargers are expected to place a franchise tag on tight end, Hunter Henry. The Green Bay Packers want out of free agency and the draft. Packers told ESPN that general manager, Brian Gutekunst plans to make a run at Austin Hooper. I can see Hooper either re-signing with Atlanta or joining the Packers. The Bears have to do their due diligence this offseason to try and find a version of a tight-end on another level. One player in free agency who has a resume of recent production as a pass-catcher to maybe Eric Ebron, who’s coming off of a down year with the Colts. One potential free-agent option for the New Orleans Saints is Emmanuel Sanders, who was traded from the Denver Broncos to the San Francisco 49ers the last deadline.
Defensive and O-Line Stars
This year’s free-agent class is loaded on the defensive side of the ball. Many are suggesting that Jones is the top available player but Shaq had nearly 20 sacks last year. The problem with him, though, is that many are wondering if he is a one-year wonder. After all, he had just 14 sacks in the prior four seasons with Denver. It may be in the best interest of both Tampa and Shaquil Barrett if they just hand him the franchise tag and let him prove it wasn’t a fluke. Jones is probably the best defensive tackle in the NFL not named Aaron Donald. He’s exceptional at stuffing the running game and at rushing the quarterback. It’d be a surprise if the Chiefs don’t franchise tag, Chris Jones. The Seahawks can’t use the franchise tag on Jadeveon Clowney this offseason, so it’ll be interesting to see whether they break the bank for the star defensive end. I think he’ll land in Baltimore with the Ravens. Yannick Ngakoue is going to get a huge contract as he comes off yet another incredible season rushing the passer. He’s unquestionably the most prominent Jacksonville Jaguars player set to hit free agency and one they’ll hope to retain in order to avoid having to fill a huge hole in their defense. The Pats have recently been in contact with Devin McCourty’s representatives, the Herald has learned. McCourty is coming off an outstanding season when he snared five interceptions, forced two fumbles and totaled 58 tackles. The 32-year-old safety is a longtime team captain who’s ranked among the NFL’s best defensive backs for a decade and the Pats should do all they can to retain possession of him. There are several talented offensive linemen on the market including Joe Thuney, Anthony Castonzo, and Jack Conklin. I do believe all three will find jobs elsewhere.
In just three short weeks, we’ll be finding out where the greatest free-agent quarterback group in NFL history is going to end up. Likewise, we’ve got a handful of starting-capable running backs, one premier wide receiver and a trio of three strong tight ends. As if that wasn’t enough, the defensive free agents are loaded too. We have an exciting free agency of football ahead of us.