Jason Campbell (Arizona): 1 year, 2 million
Of all the quarterback needy teams, the Cardinals might be the neediest. Campbell is the best available quarterback on a weak quarterback market and he’d be a potential stopgap option for the Cardinals ahead of a rookie quarterback. Matt Cassel and Carson Palmer are also options for them should they be released. The Cardinals are exploring all options and I don’t think Campbell was as bad as he looked in 6 quarters last year against two tough teams, Houston and San Francisco, with no offensive supporting cast.
Steven Jackson (Atlanta): 2 years, 10 million with 4 million guaranteed
Steven Jackson is looking to hitch his wagon to a contender and Atlanta needs a replacement for Michael Turner. Denver and Green Bay also make sense, but I have to think if it gets to a bidding war between the trio, the Falcons would be the top bidder. The Packers rarely spend money in free agency and the Broncos could always go with Willis McGahee again in 2013.
Reggie Bush (Detroit): 3 years, 13 million with 5 million guaranteed
This is not a well-kept secret. The Lions are proceeding into this off-season as if Jahvid Best is not on the roster and Bush can play that role for them. They’ve shown a lot of interest in him and while they don’t have a ton of cap room, they could easily sign him as early as tomorrow as one of their few free agent targets.
Shonn Greene (San Diego): 3 years, 12 million with 4 million guaranteed
The AJ Smith/Norv Turner duo that drafted Ryan Mathews’ 12th overall and saw him as a future feature back is gone and this new regime can’t be too confident in Matthews’ ability to carry the load long term off of his 2012 tape. Greene is unspectacular, but durable, consistent, has good ball security and can block. Basically, he’s the polar opposite of Ryan Matthews and he’ll come cheap for a team with plenty of other needs in the draft.
Ahmad Bradshaw (Green Bay): 1 year, 3 million with 1 million guaranteed
I don’t see the Packers getting into a bidding war for Steven Jackson because that’s just not their M.O. However, Ahmad Bradshaw seems like they type of back they’d sign to a one year prove it deal. When healthy, he’s a great running back and he can contribute on passing downs, a must for any Green Bay running back.
Rashard Mendenhall (Arizona): 1 year, 2 million with 1 million guaranteed
Rashard Mendenhall will be greeted with a soft market, but he’ll have some suitors. In Arizona he’d rejoin former offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, who is now the Head Coach in Arizona. Arians doesn’t throw to backs a lot, so Mendenhall’s lack of pass catching skills won’t be as big of a deal and if he can turn it around anywhere, it’s with his former offensive coordinator so this seems like a great fit. He’d fit in as a backup to Ryan Williams, a need after cutting Chris Wells, and they have shown interest.
Jerome Felton (Minnesota): 3 years, 13 million with 4 million guaranteed
The Vikings won’t let the man who paved the way for Adrian Peterson’s near record breaking season get away. Felton is arguably the best fullback in the NFL and should become the highest paid. This deal would surpass Vonta Leach’s 3 year, 11 million dollar deal from 2 off-seasons ago.
Mike Wallace (Miami): 5 years, 63 million with 35 million guaranteed
This is not a very well-kept secret either. Many in the know feel this is as close to a done deal as possible and this one will probably be made official within an hour of free agency opening. The Dolphins have a ton of cap room and a desperate need for a #1 receiver. No one else is going to give Wallace this kind of coin and that’s his biggest goal this off-season.
Wes Welker (New England): 3 years, 22 million with 9 million guaranteed
Welker will test the free agency market, but he’ll find out what he’s probably known for a while: that he’s more valuable to the Patriots than anyone else. A 3-year deal with minimal if any guaranteed money after the first year makes a lot of sense for the aging Welker.
Greg Jennings (Minnesota): 4 years, 28 million with 11 million guaranteed
The Vikings’ need for a wide receiver became even bigger when they traded Percy Harvin, but I have a feeling they made that deal knowing they’d likely be signing one of free agency’s big time receivers once it opens. With Wallace and Welker likely going to Miami and New England respectively, Jennings instantly becomes the best fit and I think they’d offer Jennings more money than he’d get anywhere else, as he’s aging and coming off some injury problems. This deal is comparable to the one Anquan Boldin got at a similar age 3 off-seasons ago as Jennings follows in Darren Sharper’s and Brett Favre’s footsteps and puts on the purple.
Danny Amendola (Philadelphia): 4 years, 25 million with 10 million guaranteed
The Rams are reportedly not expected to re-sign Amendola as they view him as just a slot receiver and not worth the kind of money he could get elsewhere. The Eagles are known to be one of the most interested teams and have money to burn. His signing would coincide with incumbent slot receiver Jason Avant’s release.
Brandon Gibson (Detroit): 2 years, 7 million with 3 million guaranteed
The Lions will probably be without Ryan Broyles’ services for the first half of the season at least so expect them to sign a cheaper receiver in the 2nd wave of free agency with their minimal cap space. They are one of the most pass heavy teams in the NFL and can’t afford to trot out guys like Nate Burleson and Kris Durham opposite Calvin Johnson.
Jared Cook (Cleveland): 4 years, 26 million with 12 million guaranteed
Cook was not franchised by the Titans because they feared he might win his challenge and get the wide receiver tag rather than the tight end tag, but he’s expected to be met with a very strong market for his services. The Browns would probably be willing to give him the most money. Norv Turner loves vertical field stretching tight ends like Cook and they really don’t have one right now and they have plenty of money to play with.
Tony Gonzalez (Atlanta): 1 year, 7 million
If Tony Gonzalez returns, which I’ve maintained all along he will, he won’t wear another uniform than Atlanta’s. 7 million seems reasonable for him since he’ll essentially be able to name his price to return.
Dustin Keller (St. Louis): 4 years, 25 million with 11 million guaranteed
Keller is unlikely to be brought back by the Jets because they simply don’t have the cap space, but a reunion with former offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer would make a lot of sense for both sides. Keller had his best season in 2011 with Schottenheimer, who puts a lot of emphasis on the tight end position in his offense. Lance Kendricks is a product of the old regime and just isn’t cutting it.
Martellus Bennett (Tampa Bay): 4 years, 24 million with 10 million guaranteed
The Giants won’t get into a bidding war for Bennett because Eli Manning has always gotten good production out of his tight ends, no matter who they are. Bennett has been linked to Tampa Bay because his twin brother plays there, but even if Michael doesn’t re-sign as a free agent, Martellus makes a lot of sense to Tampa Bay. They have plenty of cap space and need an intermediate target for Josh Freeman.
Brandon Myers (Miami): 4 years, 19 million with 7 million guaranteed
The Dolphins are expected to pursue an upgrade on Anthony Fasano at tight end this off-season and certainly have the cap room to get a deal done with Cook, Keller, or Bennett, but they may have to settle for someone like Brandon Myers, a productive pass catcher, but not nearly the athlete any of the above are.
Delanie Walker (San Francisco): 3 years, 12 million with 4 million guaranteed
This is another situation where the player is more valuable to his original team than any other because of Walker’s unique role in the 49ers’ offense. I can’t see another team signing him and he may come cheap to the 49ers.
Fred Davis (Washington): 1 year, 3 million
Davis can’t seem to make it through a 16 game season, but he has plenty of upside and the Redskins are expected to give him another chance on a one year prove it deal.
Jake Long (St. Louis): 5 years, 42 million with 18 million guaranteed
I think Long ends up becoming free agency’s highest paid offensive lineman. The Dolphins don’t value him a ton, but barring anything terrible on his medical, someone will remember what he used to be and pay him like an elite left tackle. The Rams are among the most desperate in the NFL at that position and have money to work with. Along with Chicago, they are currently the front runner to land the former #1 overall pick.
Andre Smith (Cincinnati): 4 years, 30 million with 11 million guaranteed
I think teams will be wary of committing too much long term to someone with Smith’s history of inconsistent play and work ethic concerns. He was terrible until the Bengals exercised a clause in his rookie contract cutting two years off of it and he didn’t really come on until his contract year. He could easily become complacent once he gets paid. I think he ends up taking less money than he expects back home in Cincinnati and doesn’t get a lot guaranteed.
Sebastian Vollmer (New England): 5 years, 32 million with 14 million guaranteed
Vollmer is another right tackle I think returns to his current team as the Patriots have plenty of cap space to play with and seem committed to re-signing their own guys before anything else.
Phil Loadholt (Minnesota): 4 years, 25 million with 10 million guaranteed
Loadholt also returns to his current team. I think all 3 of the top level right tackles will do so. Right tackles rarely get much money on the open market and all 3 should be valued most by their current teams. Loadholt is a solid player, but should be the lowest paid of the trio. He’ll still command a hefty salary.
Jermon Bushrod (Chicago): 5 years, 30 million with 12 million guaranteed
Offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Aaron Kromer of the Bears was previously on the Saints’ staff, where Bushrod played most recently. The Saints don’t value the left tackle position much because of Drew Brees’ quick release and won’t get into a bidding war for his blindside protector, but the Bears badly need help there. It’s very possible Bushrod gets overpaid because Brees made him look better than he was, but the Bears are a team that could take a chance.
Eric Winston (Philadelphia): 4 years, 20 million with 9 million guaranteed
Winston was cut by the Chiefs, but can still play and the Eagles, who are flush with cap, are known to be among the most interested. He’d be a perfect fit. He’d slide Todd Herremans back into his natural spot at guard coming off a major injury and he has the movement skills that Chip Kelly is going to value in an offensive line. He’s only ever really played on the right side, but he’s a very good right tackle, something the Eagles will value because the right side is Michael Vick’s blindside. He should get a deal similar to the one the Chiefs gave him last off-season.
Sam Baker (Atlanta): 3 years, 17 million with 7 million guaranteed
Baker’s checkered injury past won’t help him get paid on the open market and he won’t get a lot of guaranteed money. Because of his shorter arms, it actually sounds like the open market values him more as a guard than a tackle and the Falcons might be the only team interested in him as a left tackle and thus could easily offer him the most money. They retain their blindside protector with a high upside, low risk deal.
Gosder Cherilus (Miami): 2 years, 8 million with 3 million guaranteed
The Dolphins seem fine moving on from Jake Long and are more likely to pursue a replacement through the draft, but if someone like Cherilus comes cheap enough, they could bring him in to compete for a starting spot or keep the seat warm for a rookie. Cherilus had a solid season last year in Detroit, but his injury history does not bode well for his chances of getting a big money long term deal.
Interior Offensive Linemen
Andy Levitre (Tennessee): 5 years, 40 million with 18 million guaranteed
From what it sounds like, the Titans will sign either Andy Levitre or Louis Vasquez, the top two guards available and two of the top guards in the NFL. Levitre makes the most sense since they’d be the most desperate to get him. He’d immediately turn the left guard position into a position of major strength following the retirement of Steve Hutchinson, but his signing would not preclude the Titans drafting a guard at 10. Chance Warmack would still fit in really well at right guard and the Titans have made it known that adding help on the interior of their offensive line is a priority of their off-season.
Louis Vasquez (Indianapolis): 5 years, 34 million with 15 million guaranteed
The Colts are expected to sign whichever of the two top guards the Titans don’t sign and have been linked to Vasquez by many sources. The Colts have a lot of money to play with and are expected to add a big time free agent both on the offensive line and on defense as well as a few other signings. They figure to be one of the most active teams in free agency as they try to build up a team that won 11 games despite replacement level talent all over the place last year. They won’t be able to do it with smoke and mirrors like that forever.
Matt Slauson (NY Jets): 3 years, 11 million with 4 million guaranteed
The Bills aren’t expected to be able to re-sign Andy Levitre, but they’ll need to find a replacement. Slauson isn’t awe inspiring, but he’s an average starter and he’ll come cheap.
Donald Thomas (Detroit): 3 years, 12 million with 3 million guaranteed
The Lions continue to bargain hunt pressed up against the cap. They have a need at right guard and Donald Thomas is a good high upside low risk signing for them. He was very good in 7 starts for the Patriots last year and could end up being a high end starter at a low end starter’s cost.
Brandon Moore (Chicago): 1 year, 4 million with 1 million guaranteed
The Bears are expected to focus heavily on the offensive line, as they should, but after signing Jermon Bushrod, they probably won’t have enough cap space to fill out their roster if they sign a big money guard. Moore should suffice as a cheap, veteran stopgap. He’s not flashy, but as long as Jay Cutler doesn’t run into his ass Moore should help this ball club.
Interior Defensive Linemen
Desmond Bryant (New England): 3 years, 14 million with 6 million guaranteed
Bryant cost himself with his stupid arrest last month and whichever team signs him will have to be comfortable with an off the field incident as well as the slight chance of a suspension. The Patriots are one of five teams rumored to be in the mix for Bryant, who really impressed, especially as a pass rusher, in place of an injured Richard Seymour for the Raiders last year. New England, however, is probably the most likely to look past his off the field incident and the fact that he went to school in Boston at Harvard doesn’t hurt his chances of ending up in New England.
Jason Jones (St. Louis): 3 years, 12 million with 5 million guaranteed
Jones has been tied to the Rams ever since Jeff Fisher took over there last off-season. He signed a one year deal with Seattle instead, but he’s a free agent again and the Rams are in the market for a versatile pass rusher again so it’s a natural fit.
Richard Seymour (Seattle): 2 years, 9 million with 3 million guaranteed
The Seahawks have made it known they want to add more pass rush. Seymour can play the Jason Jones role in Seattle at worst and may also be able to start for the Seahawks at a position where they have some key free agents. Seymour should be able to get a short term deal from one of several contenders, including Seattle, Green Bay, and New England. He can still play, but he missed most of last year with injury.
Terrance Knighton (Denver): 2 years, 8 million with 3 million guaranteed
Knighton rejoins Jack Del Rio in Denver. Del Rio was his Head Coach in Jacksonville and now leads Denver’s defense. He also fits what John Fox looks for in a defensive tackle as he prefers his defensive tackles tie up blockers rather than get up field and rush the passer.
Chris Canty (Carolina): 2 years, 7 million with 3 million guaranteed
The Panthers have a desperate need at defensive tackle with minimal cap room to play with so they could end signing a cheap defensive tackle like Canty. Canty has natural been tied to Carolina by people in the know because much of their new front office comes from the Giants’ organization, where Canty last played before becoming a cap casualty in February.
Glenn Dorsey (Oakland): 1 year, 3 million with 1 million guaranteed
The Raiders figure to be bargain shopping once again this off-season with minimal cap room and a bunch of needs. Glenn Dorsey might just need a change of scenery and a change of scheme and he’d fit best as a 4-3 under tackle in Oakland. He’s a low risk, high reward signing for a Raider team in desperate need of talent, especially in the front 7.
Ricky Jean-Francois (Philadelphia): 3 years, 8 million with 2 million guaranteed
Jean-Francois has seen very little action as a reserve in his career in San Francisco, but he’s being talked about as a hot commodity on the open market. The Eagles’ new VP of player personnel Tom Gamble came over from San Francisco and I think that makes them the favorite to land the unproven commodity.
Mike DeVito (NY Jets): 2 years, 6 million with 2 million guaranteed
DeVito is very good at what he does and very good at his role in the Jets’ defense, so even with the Jets’ poor cap situation, they should be able to bring him back. I can’t see anyone breaking the bank for a pure base 3-4 end.
Cliff Avril (Indianapolis): 5 years, 60 million with 30 million guaranteed
The Colts make a splash on offense and now they make one on defense. They are fully expected to sign either Cliff Avril or Paul Kruger almost as soon as free agency opens as they have plenty of cap room to play with and need a replacement for Dwight Freeney. Avril is arguably the best defensive player available in free agency this year and at the very least should get paid the most. He doesn’t get the Mario Williams money he was hoping for, but even he admits that was pretty much a pipedream.
Paul Kruger (Cleveland): 4 years, 42 million with 20 million guaranteed
The Browns are expected to sign whichever rush linebacker the Colts don’t sign and I think because of the Colts’ supporting cast they’re more likely to bring in Avril than Cleveland. Cleveland will “settle” for Paul Kruger, who fills a massive need for a pass rusher opposite Jabaal Sheard for a team flush with cap room.
Michael Bennett (Detroit): 5 years, 25 million with 10 million guaranteed
Bennett is one of the truly underrated players in this free agency class. He’s performed as well as Avril and better than Kruger over the past 2 years, but he’ll be lucky to get half as much guaranteed money. Once we get into day 3 or 4 of free agency, he’d make a lot of sense as a cost effective replacement for Cliff Avril for the Lions, who don’t have a ton of cap room. He’d be a great fit in their wide nine scheme.
Osi Umenyiora (Tennessee): 3 years, 14 million with 6 million guaranteed
The Titans are known to be interested in Michael Bennett to provide depth behind Derrick Morgan and Kamerion Wimbley, but he’ll probably be too expensive as a pure rotational end and will probably be able to get a starting job. Umenyiora would like a starting job as well, but at his age, he’ll probably have to settle for being a fairly well paid rotational end and serve in a similar role in Tennessee to his one in New York. The Giants don’t have a ton of cap room and won’t get into a bidding war for him.
Connor Barwin (Houston): 3 years, 14 million with 5 million guaranteed
What a difference a year makes. Barwin was an up and coming pass rusher after last season and was a candidate for a long term extension last off-season and potentially a future franchise tag candidate. Instead, Barwin had an awful 2012 campaign and now teams won’t know what they’re getting with him. He barely played in his first two years, was great in his 3rd year, and awful in his 4th. The Texans will know better than anyone and will likely retain him on a team friendly deal.
John Abraham (Seattle): 2 years, 9 million with 3 million guaranteed
John Abraham has already made his free agency tour and had no shortage of suitors. He’s not a full time player anymore and he struggles against the run, but there’s something to be said for being one of the most efficient pass rushers in the NFL and that’s what Abraham was last season. The Seahawks add him to go with Richard Seymour as they seek to get more pass rush upfront. Abraham will likely sign with a contender and the Seahawks would appear to have the biggest need for him.
Dwight Freeney (Denver): 1 year, 5 million with 2 million guaranteed
I like this fit regardless of whether or not they cut Elvis Dumervil, though it sounds like they will. Freeney would be a rotational pass rusher if Dumervil is kept and a starter opposite Derek Wolfe if Dumervil is let go. He’d rejoin fellow Colt legend Peyton Manning and would have a good chance at winning another ring.
Victor Butler (New Orleans): 3 years, 10 million with 4 million guaranteed
Butler is unlikely to remain in Dallas given their cap situation and their new 4-3 defense, but he’s an intriguing 3-4 rush linebacker option. He’s got plenty of talent and has flashed, but was always stuck behind DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer. It makes sense that he’d follow Rob Ryan to New Orleans, where they are in desperate need of pass rush.
Shaun Phillips (Baltimore): 2 years, 7 million with 3 million guaranteed
Not really connecting the dots here or anything, but the Ravens need a rotational rush linebacker with Kruger likely gone and Phillips would be a cheap, but still productive veteran.
James Harrison (New England): 1 year, 4 million with 1 million guaranteed
The Patriots are one of the teams Harrison has expressed interest in and I think they make the most sense for him. The Saints are not interested. The Browns have bigger fish to fry and I just can’t see him in a Ravens uniform. In New England, he’d be a nickel rusher and linebacker depth and Bill Belichick loves versatile edge rushers like him, though they already have a pair in Dont’a Hightower and Rob Ninkovich. Still, they’d find a role for him and he’d come cheap for a team that likes picking up proven guys cheap in the tail end of their careers.
Dannell Ellerbe (Baltimore): 5 years, 24 million with 10 million guaranteed
The Ravens really seem infatuated with Ellerbe and believe his best football is yet to come as a successor to Ray Lewis. I can’t see anyone valuing him more than them and while they have minimal cap room, they can fit him under after getting rid of Anquan Boldin, likely the reason they did so.
Phillip Wheeler (St. Louis): 3 years, 15 million with 6 million guaranteed
Wheeler is an underrated free agent, but he had a great season last year on a one year deal in Oakland, though I need to see him repeat it. The Rams give him a chance to as he fills their need for an every down linebacker. They’ve shown interest in him and some in the know do connect the dots here.
Brad Jones (Kansas City): 3 years, 14 million with 5 million guaranteed
Jones broke out in about half a season as the Packers’ starting middle linebacker last year when injuries struck. He’s a well-kept secret that the Packers will try to retain, but they could get some competition from Kansas City and GM John Dorsey, who comes from the Green Bay organization. The Chiefs have the bigger need and the Packers have never been big spenders in free agency so I like the Chiefs to win that bidding war.
Brian Urlacher (Chicago): 1 year, 5 million with 2 million guaranteed
At the end of the day, I think the Bears bring back Urlacher on a cheap one year deal, which might be his last as a pro.
Daryl Smith (Oakland): 2 years, 7 million with 3 million guaranteed
Another bargain buy for the Raiders, Smith was one of the better linebackers in the league in 2011, but he’s aging and missed most of last year with injury. He’ll be cheaper than retaining Phillip Wheeler and if healthy could be the better player.
Justin Durant (NY Giants): 2 years, 7 million with 2 million guaranteed
The Giants don’t have a lot of money to work with, but I expect them to bring in a veteran linebacker or two because that’s the weak point of their team.
Michael Boley (Tampa Bay): 1 year, 3 million with 1 million guaranteed
Tampa Bay has been a rumored destination for Boley since the Giants cut him last month and it makes sense. Quincy Black may have played his last snap in the NFL and most likely with the Buccaneers, so they need a veteran stopgap who can give them two down run stopping ability.
Rey Maualuga (NY Giants): 1 year, 3 million with 1 million guaranteed
Another bargain buy for the Giants at linebacker, Maualuga was dreadful last year and picked a bad time to do that, but he’s been better in the past and he’s worth the risk on a one year prove it deal for a team like the Giants.
Sean Smith (Philadelphia): 5 years, 37 million with 17 million guaranteed
I expect the Eagles to be very active in free agency. They have plenty of cap room, especially after they cut Nnamdi Asomugha, plenty of needs, and have made plenty of big splashes in the past. As long as Michael Vick doesn’t proclaim them a dynasty and Vince Young doesn’t call them the Dream Team, they should be fine. Smith helps fill a massive need at cornerback and has unsurprisingly been linked to them. Smith should get a deal that rivals Eric Wright’s from last off-season.
Aqib Talib (New England): 4 years, 26 million with 9 million guaranteed
Like with Wes Welker and Sebastian Vollmer, the Patriots take care of their own here with the money saved after Tom Brady’s extension, though Talib’s return seems like the least likely of the three right now. They’ve poked around with other cornerbacks in recent days, but at the end of the day, I think they’d rather sign a proven commodity like Talib than throw a bunch of money at someone like Sean Smith or take their chances with someone out of the bargain bin.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (Jacksonville): 5 years, 31 million with 14 million guaranteed
I’m not really passing along any information here. As far as I know, the Jaguars have shown no interest in DRC, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t and I like the scheme fit. Gus Bradley comes from Seattle where they like their cornerbacks tall and long and the 6-2 former Eagle fits the bill. The Jaguars have money to spend and can win a bidding war for his services if need be.
Keenan Lewis (Cleveland): 5 years, 30 million with 13 million guaranteed
The Browns are known to be interested in a bunch of different free agents. They have plenty of cap space and are willing to spend so I expect them to bring in some big money guys. One of the guys rumored to them is Keenan Lewis and I like the fit since they need another cornerback opposite Joe Haden. The Steelers would like to retain him, but couldn’t get into a bidding war with the Browns because of the Steelers’ limited cap space.
Antoine Cason (Indianapolis): 4 years, 22 million with 9 million guaranteed
The Colts spend some more money here. They are known to be very interested in Cason and would probably be able to win a bidding war for his services.
Cary Williams (Tampa Bay): 4 years, 22 million with 8 million guaranteed
Williams is another option to the Colts and he makes sense because Head Coach Chuck Pagano was once Williams’ defensive coordinator in Baltimore, but I don’t have him going there. I don’t have anything to link Williams in Tampa Bay, other than they really need a cornerback and pretty much have to sign one of these guys.
Derek Cox (Washington): 4 years, 20 million with 7 million guaranteed
The Redskins cut DeAngelo Hall and are expected to go hard after Derek Cox with that cap space, though they’ll face competition from Tampa Bay and his last team, the Jaguars. I would bet on Dan Snyder in any bidding war however and the Redskins do have enough cap room opened up to win one.
Chris Houston (Atlanta): 3 years, 14 million with 6 million guaranteed
Houston could return to Detroit for the right price, but there is a big demand for cornerbacks out there and while he’s just a #2, he might be priced out of Detroit’s range. He makes sense on a short term deal returning to Atlanta, where they desperately need veteran cornerback help after losing Dunta Robinson and with the team likely to lose Brent Grimes.
DeAngelo Hall (Miami): 3 years, 15 million with 6 million guaranteed
Again, not passing anything along here, but the Dolphins need to sign one of these cornerbacks.
Jerraud Powers (San Diego): 2 years, 11 million with 4 million guaranteed
The Chargers and Colts essentially flip cornerbacks here, as is rumored to likely happen. Powers leaves one Pagano, Chuck, for his brother John, the defensive coordinator in San Diego and helps fill a big need at cornerback with Antoine Cason and Quentin Jammer not expected back as free agents.
Greg Toler (Arizona): 2 years, 9 million with 3 million guaranteed
The Cardinals will show interest in most of these cornerbacks listed above, but I have them settling for re-signing Greg Toler. For what it’s worth, it was briefly reported Monday Night they had agreed to a 3-year deal ahead of free agency, before that report was retracted.
Brent Grimes (New England): 1 year, 3 million
The Patriots did re-sign Talib, but they also hit the bargain bin here as they desperately need defensive back help. Grimes is the type of guy they take a chance on and he’s been mentioned as an option for them. He’d upgrade the nickel back spot over Kyle Arrington if healthy.
Dashon Goldson (Philadelphia): 5 years, 40 million with 19 million guaranteed
Goldson is another 49er going to Philadelphia, where Tom Gamble is new VP of player personnel. The Eagles have money to spend and won’t be afraid to spend it, especially on massive need positions like safety. Goldson wants Eric Weddle money and while I’d argue he doesn’t deserve it, the Eagles might be willing to give it to him. Either way, he’s unlikely to end up re-signing with the 49ers.
Glover Quin (Houston): 5 years, 27 million with 12 million guaranteed
Quin was reportedly a franchise tag candidate before the Texans opted against it. The Falcons did a similar thing with William Moore and Quin should get a comparable, but cheaper deal than Moore, who got 30 million over 5 years. Right now, the most likely option appears to be that he’ll return to Houston. Wade Phillips loves him and the Texans love taking care of their own.
Chris Clemons (Arizona): 5 years, 22 million with 9 million guaranteed
The Cardinals have an obvious need at safety after cutting Adrian Wilson, but don’t appear to be in the bidding for Dashon Goldson. With Quin likely going back to Houston, the Cardinals could overpay one of the middle tier safeties in this draft class. Clemons was a solid starter in Miami last year and could get a fairly nice payday on the open market.
La’Ron Landry (Buffalo): 4 years, 19 million with 8 million guaranteed
Landry is another player following a former coordinator as he follows former Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine to Buffalo. They have a big need at safety after cutting George Wilson and Wilson, a solid player who was scooped up quickly, was likely cut because he’s not the type of in the box safety Pettine really likes. Pettine really got the most out of Landry last season and while he could stay with the Jets for the right price, it makes more sense that the Bills would be the ones who offer him the most money.
Louis Delmas (St. Louis): 3 years, 15 million with 5 million guaranteed
Delmas also follows a former coach, former Lions defensive backs coach Tim Walton is now the defensive coordinator in St. Louis and they have a desperate need for safeties. They’ll probably draft one and sign another. They won’t be in the market for a big money safety, however, after signing Jake Long, but Delmas is worth the risk despite his injury history on a contract with little guaranteed money after the first season.
Ed Reed (Indianapolis): 2 years, 10 million with 4 million guaranteed
Everyone likes to put Reed on the Patriots, but I think he makes more sense for the Colts. The Colts can pay more and probably need him more because of what his veteran leadership would mean for that team. Then, of course, there’s Chuck Pagano, his former defensive coordinator in Baltimore and a former coach with him at the University of Miami. The two are very close, as are he and Reggie Wayne, another former University of Miami player.
Gerald Sensabaugh (New Orleans): 3 years, 11 million with 3 million guaranteed
Sticking with the follow your old defensive coordinator theme, the Saints badly need defensive back help and Sensabaugh was clearly more valued by former Cowboys and new Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan than new Cowboys defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin as the Cowboys cut him 1 year into a 5 year extension. The Saints figure to offer him the most money for that reason.
Charles Woodson (New England): 1 year, 4 million with 1 million guaranteed
Here’s the veteran defensive back I think the Patriots get and I like this fit better. Woodson not only fits what Belichick loves from a skill set standpoint, with his versatility and ball hawking abilities, but the Patriots desperately need defensive back depth and they love bringing in veterans at the end of their careers who want to win on cheap deals.
Kenny Phillips (Carolina): 1 year, 4 million with 1 million guaranteed
Phillips is another former Giant who goes to Carolina. The Panthers have many needs on defense, but are cap strapped and will need to hit the bargain bin. That’s where Phillips will likely find himself given his injury history. He’s talented though and makes a lot of sense for the Panthers on a one year prove it deal.
Patrick Chung (Baltimore): 1 year, 3 million with 1 million guaranteed
Chung also follows a former defensive coordinator as Dean Pees was once the defensive coordinator in New England and now holds that title in Baltimore. The Ravens don’t have a ton of cap room, but can afford to take a chance on Chung, who might just need a chance of scenery. If he can stay healthy and out of his coaches’ doghouse, he could be a cheap short term replacement for Ed Reed.
Adrian Wilson (NY Jets): 1 year, 2 million
The Jets also will have to hit the bargain bin for players this off-season. If there’s anywhere Wilson can still start, it’s in New York, where they have nothing at safety and love box types like Wilson. If they can turn Yeremiah Bell into an adequate starter, they can do the same with Adrian Wilson.