X

Have feedback / suggestions? Let us know!

NFL

15 NFL Veterans Who Should Receive Extensions in 2014

1 of 31

15 NFL Veterans Who Should Receive Extensions in 2014

NFL General Helmet
Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Smart teams do not let their best players reach free agency. Here are 15 players who should receive extensions because they could be a part of a Super Bowl run or the foundation for the future.

15. Andy Dalton

Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

15. Andy Dalton

Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Dalton is the best quarterback the Cincinnati Bengals have had since Boomer Esiason, and they would be wise to pay him before he hits the open market. Yes he hasn’t won a playoff game yet, but his numbers suggest he can be a good quarterback for years to come. The Bengals would be wise to sign him cheap just in case he goes on a Joe Flacco run and they end up paying him $ 120 million.

14. Danny Woodhead

Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers
Stan Liu-USA TODAY Sports

14. Danny Woodhead

Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers
Stan Liu-USA TODAY Sports

Yes Danny Woodhead is small, but that shouldn’t mean anything thanks to the skills he can bring to a team. He is a big factor on third downs and is a great option in the passing game. He is a perfect fit for Mike McCoy’s offense in San Diego, and the Chargers should look to extend him.

13. Roddy White

Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sport

13. Roddy White

Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sport

White is the perfect complement to Julio Jones in the Atlanta offense. He is able to work the short to intermediate routes which allows Jones to gain the big plays. They might be wise to make sure that they lock up a wide receiver who can play well on third down and is also comfortable enough with the offense.

12. Dez Bryant

Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

12. Dez Bryant

Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Cowboys simply have to lock in Bryant long term. He is one of the best wide receivers in the league and should be a part of the Cowboys' foundation moving forward. He will command elite money, but that is what you expect with elite players. He cannot hit the open market if you are the Cowboys.

11. Demaryius Thomas

Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos
Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

11. Demaryius Thomas

Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos
Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

Thomas is a top ten wide receiver in this league and is not a product of playing with Peyton Manning. His physical skills give him an edge over many of the cornerbacks in the league and could mask a lot of accuracy issues with other quarterbacks in the league as well. Thomas should be a part of the post-Manning era if the Broncos want to have success.

10. Jordy Nelson

Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

10. Jordy Nelson

Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Nelson is one of the most underrated wide receivers in the NFL. He is fast on the outside and knows how to use his body to put himself in a position to catch and run. He's one of the best deep threats in the NFL and produced well last year without Rodgers in the lineup as well.

9. Jimmy Graham

Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

9. Jimmy Graham

Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

No matter what happens with this franchise tag situation, the New Orleans Saints have to lock Jimmy Graham up long term. He is the focal point of the offense and might be the most important player on the Saints' offense after Drew Brees. He is a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses and should get paid like one of the elite offensive players in the NFL.

8. Bryan Bulaga

Bryan Bulaga, Green Bay Packers
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

8. Bryan Bulaga

Bryan Bulaga, Green Bay Packers
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Bryan Bulaga missed all of last year with a torn ACL injury, but before that he was on pace to become the Packers' starting left tackle. Keeping Aaron Rodgers healthy should be the top priority for the Packers, and it would be wise to spend some money on a player they already know about. Players coming off of injuries usually come cheap, and the success rate lately has been great so the Packers could get their starting left tackle for cheap.

7. Cliff Avril

Cliff Avril, Seattle Seahawks
Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

7. Cliff Avril

Cliff Avril, Seattle Seahawks
Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

In today’s modern NFL you can never have too many pass rushers. Avril could be an effective pass rusher for the next three to five years. Seattle would be wise to sign him to a three-year deal to bridge the gap to their next future pass rushing star.

6. Vontaze Burfict

Vontaze Burfict, Cincinnati Bengals
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

6. Vontaze Burfict

Vontaze Burfict, Cincinnati Bengals
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

This is another player the Bengals would be wise to lock up for the future. Burfict went undrafted thanks to maturity issues but that has seemed to pass him recently. A talented young linebacker should never see the open market, and he is a great fit for Marvin Lewis’ 4-3 defensive scheme.

5. Justin Houston

Justin Houston, Kansas City Chiefs
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

5. Justin Houston

Justin Houston, Kansas City Chiefs
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Houston could provide any team with a pass rushing upgrade. He might not be the top pass rushing option on a team, but he could be a perfect complement on a contender. Houston is a perfect fit for a 3-4 defense and pass-rushing depth should always be a No. 1 priority.

4. Brian Orakpo

Brian Orakpo, Washington Redskins
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

4. Brian Orakpo

Brian Orakpo, Washington Redskins
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Another pass rushing option on this list, Brian Orakpo has not fully lived to his first-round draft status but is still an effective pass rusher. He will probably be a major part of the Redskins' defense moving forward and determining factor of how they fare. Getting to the quarterback should be a big priority for teams, which means that the Redskins should look to re-sign the veteran.

3. Jerrell Freeman

Jerrell Freeman, Indianapolis Colts
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

3. Jerrell Freeman

Jerrell Freeman, Indianapolis Colts
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

This inside linebacker came from the CFL and made an impact right away with the Indianapolis Colts. He could play one of the two inside linebacker spots in a 3-4 scheme or the weak side linebacker (Will) in a 4-3 scheme. He can play in space which is always valuable and allows the defensive coordinator to be flexible in their defense.

2. Chris Harris

Chris Harris, Denver Broncos
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

2. Chris Harris

Chris Harris, Denver Broncos
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Before tearing his ACL, Chris Harris was having a solid season with the Denver Broncos. With the league becoming very pass happy a team can never have enough defensive backs. Harris is a solid No. 2 cornerback a team can depend on. He is not elite, but solid corners are hard to find in the league which makes Harris valuable.

1. Matt Bryant

Matt Bryant, Atlanta Falcons
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

1. Matt Bryant

Matt Bryant, Atlanta Falcons
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Kickers are usually forgotten people in the NFL world, but a team that has a dependable kicker late in the game always has an advantage. Bryant has been dependable for the Atlanta Falcons for years and extending him would give the coaches one less thing to worry about. Factor in always playing in a dome for eight games a year, and this is a safe extension.

Christopher Pimentel is a writer for RantSports.com.  Follow him on Twitter, or add him to your network on Google.