The NFL is fast becoming a pass-first league which makes both quarterbacks and secondary players even more essential to winning teams. NFL free agency may be a soft class in 2013, however the cornerback class is rather deep.
Cornerback is one of the positions where age is a factor, but not as crucial as say the running back or wide receiver positions. Antoine Winfield was released by the Minnesota Vikings after nine great seasons and three Pro-Bowl appearances with the club. At 36-years-old, I still feel he can make a big impact for any club that is looking to make the plunge from good to great.
Winfield had three interceptions in route to the Vikings unlikely trek to the postseason which was his highest such tally since 2006.
In addition, Winfield was a driving force in the secondary racking up 100 tackles for the second time in his career with 71 of them coming in the solo variety. After such a banner year, Winfield was taken aback by the organization asking him to take a pay cut and denied the decrease–this was likely the driving force behind the Vikings’ dismissal of Winfield. This is going to be a big blow to a secondary that has to face Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers twice a year.
Now, the question is where the 14-year veteran will end up and if he can give any team a boost?
Winfield can still play at a high-level and I definitely expect teams with cap space to make a move that would sure up the secondary. The team that crossed my mind initially was the Cincinnati Bengals who are weak at the cornerback spot with some key free agents hitting the road this offseason. They are also an organization that has some money to spend.
Cincy could easily be home for Winfield in 2013, however 30 other teams have to be checking in on a cornerback that can still get the job done.