On Thursday, 4PM Eastern Standard Time, the NFL’s free-agency period begins. This is when every homeless NFL player gets wined and dined by different teams or offered a chunk of money they can’t turn down to re-locate. OR, this is when players will take a pay-cut anywhere in the league, just to be part of the league. There is desperation on both parts actually, and maybe that’s where the intrigue lies.
On average, there are about 2-3 players in free agency that can make an immediate positive impact on any team they are added to, a handful of players that can make a different on specific teams and the rest are just. . . guys.
The players that should be on everyone’s radar defensive end Calais Campbell, guard Kevin Zeitler and wide receiver Terrelle Pryor. For eight straight seasons, Calais Campbell had been one of the more consistent defensive ends in the league, last years his numbers took a dive – but so did the whole Arizona Cardinals team. Not just Campbell, the entire organization – was underwhelming. A fresh start for Campbell is just what he needs. A team with a need at that position and known to overpay for veteran talent, the Redskins can be a nice landing spot for Campbell – or he can opt for life in sunny Florida and sign with the Jaguars, who will once again be packed with potential next season, and maybe need a defensive veteran like Campbell to take them to that next level. . . .
Offensive linemen are never fun to discuss, so we’ll make this one quick. NFL.COM, pretty much nailed Kevin Zeitler when they described him as “a nasty-tempered blocker who wins with strength.” A perfect landing spot for him would be Seattle, a team that needs to run the ball better and protects their quarterback Russell Wilson, who has been sacked at least 40 times in each of the last four seasons.
Terrelle Pryor may surprise some to be on the list of my top-three free agents, but consider what he did last year. . .on the Browns. Every week a corner would try to talk down the competition they would face in a guy like Pryor and Pryor always showed up. He somehow managed over 1,000 receiving yards although it was obvious he was the only source of offense the Browns had. Rumor has it, he may stay with the Browns but – why? So many teams – in nicer locations – can use a wide out like Pryor, like the 49ers or the Rams – or he can find himself in a better situation with a team like Carolina which would make sense from an offensive side of things considering Devin Funchess turned out to be a let down last season.
Most people have a different player as the number one receiver, and that is Alshon Jeffrey. Like Pryor, he may return to his original team the Bears, but there will be a lot of people vying for the services of a wide-out who has the best “locating” ability of balls in the league. Jeffrey may want to abandon Chicago’s “rebuild” days and go to a team on the up-and-up like the Titans or even a team that lacks a true number one like the Eagles. These are the only two teams that would become instantly improved with Jeffrey added into the mix. He’s too sloppy for my liking in terms of route-running or running in general. Nothing is ever really smooth with Jeffrey – let it be his play on the field or his conditioning. . . .
Tony Romo will most likely be let go by the Cowboys and let the era of Dak Prescott enter its second season. Romo has been tied to two teams if that happens, the Broncos and the Texans. Both are nice options, but the Texans just make more sense. Tony wouldn’t have to leave the state of Texas and he’ll be part of a team with an offensive head coach, with more than enough weapons around him. Add to that, he’s got a very winnable division to make it an easy road to the playoffs. Romo’s risk doesn’t come with talent, but injury. If the Texans can keep him upright for a whole season, though – this is a team that can make the AFC Championship game, with no problem.
Buyer beware of ANY FREE AGENT DEFENSIVE BACK. Name ’em: Stephon Gilmore, A.J. Bouye, Tony Jefferson, Barry Church – the list goes on. Corners are usually more a product of their system and chemistry within the entire secondary than anything else. Even Darrelle Revis, while still in his prime, looked like a garbage signing when he was put into the Tampa Bay Bucs defensive plans. Even if you’re running the same kind of defense, it’s always buyer beware with secondary guys. Too many times, we’ve seen safeties and corners, sign a huge deal and be an afterthought by their second season with a team.
Don’t Touch It: Adrian Peterson: unless this all-time great is going to play for a league minimum, don’t even bother. Peterson was limited to only 37 carries due to injury last season and even then, he couldn’t muster even two yards a carry.
Best Buy: Pierre Garcon: He has always been a strong wideout, who blocks, runs good routes and has good hands. He can help out a young quarterback in being that consistent piece within an offense, or he can be a deadly weapon in an already potent attack. He’s always been underrated because his numbers never match his talents, but he’s a guy who can really do it all.
REMEMBER THOUGH. . . this IS free-agency and quarterback Mike Glennon is a commodity who can get anywhere up to $15 million a year because of the quarterback market.
Free Agency is a time where bad teams get desperate and players get really over-paid. Just hope that your favorite team doesn’t lose their mind come this Thursday. . .