By Michael Terrill @MichaelTerrill on March 10, 2014
With the 2014 NFL free agent set to take flight, several organizations are gearing up to make immediate improvements to their team. With the free agency rumors flying, it’s important for fans to keep up to date with what buzz is real and what rumors are simply blowing smoke. For that reason, here is a breakdown of the 25 latest free agency rumors.
Arthur Jones has deemed too expensive for the Baltimore Ravens, which means he will be hit the open market for a big payday. As many as five teams have shown interest in the defensive lineman, with the Packers looking to be the frontrunner right now.
B.J. Raji’s drop in production has greatly affected the demand for him. For that reason, Raji may have no choice but to accept the Green Bay Packers’ one-year, million deal. At this point, Raji is contemplating the offer, which is something he would be foolish not to take.
Michael Bennett will be one of the most sought after free agents this offseason due to his incredible pass-rushing ability. It appears the Chicago Bears have the upper edge as Bears tight end Martellus Bennett, Michael’s brother, is convincing the defensive end that Chicago is the place to be. The fact that Julius Peppers will be gone just adds to the hype.
The Denver Broncos are determined to reach the Super Bowl again, which is why they are very big on safety T.J. Ward. In fact, it’s safe to say that Ward is Denver’s top priority this offseason, which doesn’t bode well for other teams in hot pursuit.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are pushing hard for defensive end Michael Johnson. Even though there are other teams in contention, Tampa Bay appears one of the favorites to land the overhyped pass rusher.
The Packers won’t retain wide receiver James Jones, which means he will become one of the bigger offensive targets in free agency. The San Diego Chargers are said to be in on him, as Jones would provide quality production behind sensation Keenan Allen. Hakeem Nicks is another possibility if a deal with Jones is unable to get done.
Another big-name cornerback that teams are in hot pursuit of is Vontae Davis. However, Davis is unlikely to test the open market as he is reportedly close to signing a deal with the Colts on Monday. Sam Shields’ big contract is why Davis could easily get as much as million annually.
Wide out Nicks believes he could be a tremendous asset for the Indianapolis Colts, an organization that is looking to give Andrew Luck another weapon. Like the Chargers, the Colts are very interested in Jones, but they would settle for Nicks on a short-term contract if it came down to it.
The Miami Dolphins are gearing up to sign two big names in free agency. Offensive lineman Branden Albert is pretty much a done deal, while safety Jairus Byrd is a bit more of a surprise. Many teams are in pursuit of Byrd, but it has been reported that the Dolphins are serious contenders to land him.
Champ Bailey stated that he would make the transition to safety if needed, which is why the Falcons have begun to show interest in the veteran. Bailey will also provide competition at the cornerback position, specifically for Robert McClain.
Former Packers quarterbacks coach and current New York Giants offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo is determined to pry some free agents away from Green Bay. The Giants are rumored to be interested in Jones, Andrew Quarless, Jermichael Finley and Evan Dietrich-Smith. The only player that will realistically land in New York is Quarless.
The Arizona Cardinals desperately need to upgrade the tackle position if they want to have success in 2014. The biggest way for them to do that is to sign Jared Veldheer, which appears to be the likely case. Veldheer protected Carson Palmer’s blind side in Oakland, which adds to the likelihood that it could happen again.
It’s not official, but all signs point to offensive guard Jon Asamoah signing with the Atlanta Falcons. In fact, a team source indicated that many within the organization would be disappointed if Asamoah weren’t on the field for them in 2014.
It’s not all about the money for Josh McCown in free agency as he is mostly concerned with competing for a starting job. Even though McCown may have a tough time leaving Chicago, he could find that his chance of starting in Tampa Bay is a good enough reason to leave town. The Buccaneers appear eager to provide competition for Mike Glennon, which is why they would sign McCown.
Michael Vick’s time with the Philadelphia Eagles is over. However, it appears every team in the league besides the Eagles are interested in the quarterback. One thing is for sure, Vick will start in 2014 wherever he lands. As of right now, the most likely candidates are the New York Jets, Minnesota Vikings and Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Packers, an organization that has never been known to big contenders in free agency, is ready to make a big splash this offseason. Green Bay is determined to come away with at least one, if not two, defensive linemen. Lamarr Houston and Arthur Jones are high on their list and the interest is very real. Adding Houston would be detrimental to opposing offenses, especially with Clay Matthews at his side.
The New England Patriots are eager to retain wide receiver Julian Edelman this offseason. The Patriots love his work ethic and he was also productive wide receiver last year, which is something Tom Brady needs heading into the 2014 season.
The Oakland Raiders are big on offensive tackle Rodger Saffold. In fact, they are said to be the favorites to land him for around million per year. It’s a pricey contract, but the Raiders have the money to spend and the immediate need for protection on the outside of the line.
The Ravens are likely to lose a few quality players to free agency. However, one player they will most likely retain is offensive tackle Eugene Monroe. In fact, the organization is very optimistic that a deal will get done very shortly.
The Washington Redskins have plenty of money and they plan to spend a decent amount of it in free agency. One player in particular the Redskins have zeroed in on is defensive back Aqib Talib. At this point, it would almost be a shock if Talib didn’t land in Washington. The Redskins are also interested in Corey Graham.
The market for running backs isn’t what it once was, which means several big-name talents will be disappointed this offseason. Players such as Darren McFadden, Knowshon Moreno, Donald Brown and Ben Tate are going to get a less than desirable contract despite all four having the capability to be a difference maker in 2014.
The Vikings might just be the organization that makes the biggest splash in free agency, especially if they land defensive end Johnson and defensive back Alterraun Verner. Minnesota is considered the current frontrunner for both players. The acquisition would greatly improve their defense for the upcoming season.
There are as many as six teams interested in top-notch cornerback Verner. In fact, he might just be the most sought after free agent on Tuesday, which is certainly news to people who have followed free agency closely this year. As I already mentioned, the Vikings are the frontrunner to land him.
One of the biggest headlines entering free agency is the Tennessee Titans interest to trade Chris Johnson. Tennessee has been active in finding a suitor for the running back. In fact, they want to get rid of him so badly that they are even open to outright releasing him if they can’t find a trade that will work.
Jared Allen will enter free agency for the first time in his career after the Vikings have said they plan to move on from him. Allen’s insane production when it comes to generating sacks means several teams will be in hot pursuit of him. One of the biggest possibilities is the Broncos signing him to bolster a veteran pass rush.
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