The NFL’s offseason takes center stage Monday morning with the opening of the Legal Tampering Period. Twitter will over-flow with what players signed with what teams and their contracts will be made official on Wednesday, the start of free agency. While exciting, it is usually third or fourth down the list compared to March Madness, the NBA Playoffs upcoming and baseball season heating up.
The available Quarterbacks will be front and center of this, led by, you guessed it, Tom Brady. Beyond him, however, Drew Brees, Philip Rivers, Jameis Winston, Teddy Bridgewater among others, will be available. Their decisions will all have massive impacts on the NFL.
Here are your Top 25 NFL Free agents and my Quarterback Predictions
Dak Prescott, Quarterback, Dallas Cowboys
Prescott finished last season second in the NFL with 4,902 passing yards. A deal should be in the works for their franchise Quarterback.
According to Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News, the Cowboys have offered Prescott a long-term extension that would average $33 million a season with $105 million in guaranteed money at the time of signing. Per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, both numbers would set new high-water marks in league history in terms of “new” money.
I mean the Cowbous could always decide to trade Prescott to the Dolphins for the #5 pick and take Tua…
Prediction: Cowboy for life.
Update: They franchise tagged him.
Tom Brady, Quarterback, New England Patriots
Well, that Titans dream ended last night when the Titans signed Quarterback Ryan Tannehill to an insane 4 year, 118 million dollar contract.
Adding fuel to that fire As of last night, Brady and the Patriots are nowhere close to a deal.
This is the biggest domino in free agency.
Prediction: …. we’ll get to it.
Drew Brees, Quarterback, New Orleans Saints
The 40-year-old Quarterback has been the Franchise figure of the Saints for a long time. It’s hard to see Brees ever signing with another team. Retirement is always a possibility but he has to have a chip on his shoulder after the past three playoff losses.
Prediction: Returns to the Saints
Chris Jones, Defensive Tackle, Kansas City Chiefs
Jones is the best tackle in the NFL aside from Aaron Donald. He wreaked havoc in the Super Bowl and was their defensive MVP. This is a no-brainer for the Chiefs.
Prediction: According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Chiefs are going to franchise tag Jones.
Jadeveon Clowney, Defensive End, Seattle Seahawks
Clowney was an all-around beast in his first season with the Seahawks wreaking havoc on the NFC West with three sacks, four forced fumbles, two fumbles recovered (one touchdown), 31 tackles (seven for loss).. Word is that Clowney wants 23 million per year. The Seahawks can’t franchise tag him so he’s probably out of their budget. We need to look at the franchises with the most salary cap space to figure this out.
Prediction: Clowney wants to play for the Giants and he gets his wish.
Anthony Harris, Safety, Minnesota Vikings
Harris was tied for the league lead in interceptions with 6 last season and listed by Bleacher Report as the player the Vikings can’t lose in the offseason:
“[Trae] Waynes and [Mackensie] Alexander played important roles, but their production is replaceable. Harris was stellar, recording a league-leading six interceptions along with 11 pass breakups and 60 combined tackles. Finding someone to take his spot would be difficult, and losing him would leave a massive gap in the defense.”
Losing Harris would be a tremendous blow, but the Vikings could see the Cornerback position as more important and resign Waynes and Alexander.
Prediction: Redskins beat out the Dolphins for his services
Amari Cooper, Wide Receiver, Dallas Cowboys
Cooper is the top receiver on the market and should be paid like one. He has transformed the Cowboys passing game and that was even more clear when he was injured last season. He is clearly one of the best route runners in the game and should command over 20 million next season.
Prediction: Resigns with Cowboys
Shaq Barrett, Linebacker, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs hit the free-agent jackpot last offseason signing Barrett for a measly one-year, 4 million dollar contract last offseason. Barrett went on a tear, leading the NFL in sacks with 19.5 and an insane 81 total pressures.
The Bucs would be morons to let him go; Barrett may be a franchise tag candidate.
Expectation: Return to Tampa Bay
Byron Jones, Cornerback, Dallas Cowboys
Jones is seen as a shutdown corner but his production doesn’t prove it. (Two interceptions in past five years). . The Cowboys have a lot of players they need to shell out money to and Jones may be left in the cold. He is very athletic and it’s clear that the Eagles are very interested in stealing the corner they see twice a year.
Prediction: He lands in Philly.
Phillip Rivers, Quarterback, Los Angeles Chargers
It’s well known that the Chargers and Rivers are parting ways After 16 Seasons:
Rivers was pedestrian in 2019 finishing with 23 touchdowns to 20 interceptions. It was clear that he didn’t have the arm strength he used to and continued to make erratic decisions with multiple games of more than two picks. He is a perfect candidate for a team that needs a mentor for a young QB.
Prediction: See below
Austin Hooper, Tight End, Atlanta Falcons
Hooper was one of the more underrated tight ends the past two seasons hauling in over 70 catches and more than 650 yards. He’s clearly not Travis Kelce but should provide a team with a stable tight end.
Prediction: Packers overpay for Hooper. (I’m not a Bears fan…)
Joe Thuney, Guard, New England Patriots
Thuney is the one player in Madden whom I always sign in Franchise mode. He can play any position on the line and has played at least 99.2 percent of the Patriots snaps in each of his four seasons as a starter.”
The Patriots love to grab compensatory picks rather than throw a ton of money at a player who’s about to get paid
Prediction: The Dolphins and Jets have watched this guy for years and appear to have the most interest. Dolphins have the most cap space and their coach is a former coordinator for the Pats. He’s going to Miami.
DJ Reader, Defensive Tackle, Houston Texans
Prediction: Vic Fangio sees Hicks in Reader and brings him to anchor Denver’s defensive line for years to come.
Derrick Henry, Running Back, Tennessee Titans
Henry was clearly the best running back in the NFL in 2019. In the first two rounds of the playoffs, Henry was unstoppable rushing for 377 yards on 64 carries and a touchdown.
It’s rare that running backs get paid handsomely in the NFL but it’s not every day that a running back can do this:
Prediction: Remains a Titan
Cory Littleton, Inside Linebacker, Los Angeles Rams
Littleton was a a leader for the Rams D finishing 2019 with 134 tackles, 3.5 sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles. He should be handsomely rewarded and is already being pursued by Green Bay and Las Vegas.
Prediction: Green Bay overpays him to anchor the middle of their defense.
AJ Green, Wide Receiver, Cincinnati Bengals
Green’s football life has been rough over the past few seasons with some serious injuries. It’s most fans hope that Green is finally able to get out of the disaster that is Cincinnati, but Joe Burrow doesn’t want that to happen:
Prediction: AJ Green stays with the Bengals
Chris Harris, Cornerback, Denver Broncos
Harris has already said the “door is closed” on a return to Denver. Word is the Denver corner met with “at least 24 teams” at the NFL combine. Harris is 30 years old but was still solid on the season with one interception, six passes defensed, one forced fumble and 56 tackles.
Prediction: Tyrann Mathieu has been selling him on the Chiefs and it’s a good fit.
Arik Armstead, Defensive Lineman, San Fransisco 49ers.
The 49ers defensive line was so dominant last season that Armstead was often the forgotten man. You may ask how can someone with 10 sacks, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovered, 54 tackles (11 for loss) on the season be forgotten? That’s a good question.
Prediction: 49ers are making “significant headway” in resigning him.
Jameis Winston, Quarterback, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
By far the riskiest free agent ever in the last ten years of football. Winston was magnificent in moments throwing for 33 touchdowns and over 5,000 yards. On the other hand his 30 interceptions likely destroyed the Bucs playoff hopes.
Prediction: See below
Teddy Bridgewater, Quarterback, New Orleans Saints
Bridgewater started six games for the Saints this season and was remarkable. He led the team to a 5-1 record with 1,384 yards, 9 touchdowns, and two interceptions. He had me crying in when he demolished the Bears:
Prediction: Bridgewater is about to get PAID (possibly 30 million a year!)
MY QUARTERBACK PREDICTIONS
This topic deserves its own article but here are some quick picks. This will significantly alter the landscape of the NFL in 2020.
This is how I believe frenzy will happen:
Tom Brady resigns with the Patriots after heavily debating switching to Tampa. In response, the Tampa Bay Bucs keep Teddy Bridgewater in the division signing him for over 25-million a year. John Gruden and the Raiders surprise everyone by signing Jameis Winston one-year prove it while also trading up for Justin Herbert or Jordan Love. This pushes the Raiders to trade Derek Carr to the Chicago Bears for a 2nd round pick. Mitchell Trubisky is then traded to Kansas City to back up Patrick Mahomes (Ironic?). Andy Dalton is stunned that he won’t be a Chicago Bear so he signs with the Los Angeles Chargers to groom second-round pick Jalen Hurts.
The Indianapolis Colts believe they can win now so they sign Phillip Rivers relocating his nine children to Indy. Cam Newton stays in Carolina and the Jaguars ship Nick Foles and a draft pick to Miami, who are more than happy to absorb his contract for more draft capital. The Patriots surprise some people and sign Marcus Mariota as a possible heir to Tom Brady. Finally, Case Keenum reunites with his former offensive coordinator in Denver.
Maybe I am insane.
Maybe I love Football.
LET THE GAMES BEGIN!
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