The time is here folks, free agency has begun and teams and players are talking contracts. Nothing can be official until March 11th, but expect many names and numbers thrown out in there in the coming days as teams look to reload and retool for playoff runs. Here is some of the latest free agency rumors to popping up that may or may not happen in the immediate future.
Brandon Albert to the Miami Dolphins
Arguably the best offensive lineman in the free agent market, Albert has always been partial to Miami and even lives there during the offseason. It was only a matter of time before the Dolphins and Albert came together. He is in Miami now and the goal is for them to not let him leave.
Verdict: Buy. The Dolphins desperately need offensive line help, especially a true anchor to protect young quarterback Ryan Tannehill and provide some stability up front. This move makes too much sense for it not to happen.
Jared Veldheer to the Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals, much like Miami, desperately need an anchor on the left side to protect quarterback Carson Palmer. The Cards were on the verge of playoff berth with a weak offensive front last year, and an upgrade like Veldheer would certainly help. He isn’t the top names like Albert or Eugene Monroe, but he is a solid top tackle in this league and would be a huge upgrade in Arizona.
Verdict: Buy. The Cardinals have expressed interest already and are reportedly on the verge of signing him. This is a great move for them as it would go a long way in protecting Palmer, and the two have some chemistry from their time in Oakland. Expect the Cards offense to only get better.
Aqib Talib to the Washington Redskins
The Redskins have reportedly expressed interest in the free agent cornerback which makes sense due to their paltry secondary from last season. However, Talib is expected to garner a serious contract, especially after seeing Sam Shields sign for four years and thirty nine million dollars. Talib is a better corner than Shields and should be able to land a similar if not even larger contract. With the Redskins having so many pressing needs all over the roster it is a little surprising to see them target a guy likely looking to get paid. However it is Dan Snyder so nothing would really surprise any of us would it.
Verdict: Sell. Washington does need a corner, but there are cheaper stop gaps they can sign, or look to the draft that is littered with decent cornerback prospects this year. The Redskins cannot afford to continually overpay slightly above average veteran players or they will never find sustained success. Hopefully Dan Snyder will learn this sooner rather than later for Redskin fans.
Tennessee Titans looking to trade Chris Johnson
The Titans have reportedly shown interest in a few free agent running backs including Donald Brown and Ben Tate, which says one thing and one thing only. Chris Johnson is clearly expendable and the new regime is more than willing to move on. Johnson has had a me first attitude throughout most of his career but has shown the flashes of a dominant playmaking running back with his speed and cuts. The Titans have more needs and more to worry about than accommodating an expensive one dimensional running back who is smack in the center of his “prime” who has consistently bad mouthed the franchise and previous coaching regime. Coach Ken Wisenhunt is not likely to tolerate that and has never placed a lot of emphasis on having a top back or a one dimensional guy. The Titans may easily move on if they can find a trade partner.
Verdict: Sell. I don’t like the Titans having many suitors for Johnson’s current contract with his given attitude issues and demands. If a team does pony up and give Tennessee a call, it isn’t likely to give them what they are looking for. In the end I see the Titans parting ways with the running back via release and hoping that a team in the division doesn’t scoop him up.
Lamarr Houston or Arthur Jones to Green Bay
The Packers have said in the last few months that they may take an unexpected foray into free agency this offseason and be bigger spenders than they have typically been in the past. There have also been reports that the Packers are interested in the two young defensive studs. It is widely assumed that the Raiders, (especially if they lose Veldheer) will throw the bank at Houston to try and bring him back to town and keep one of their strong performers from last season. He is expected to command big money and the Raiders can offer him more than any other team. In the case of Arthur Jones, he has been seen as one of the most hotly pursued free agents in the entire market. With Everson Griffen landing a five year forty two million dollar deal, the bar has been set for these two young pass rushers. Will the Packers pay up?
Verdict: Sell. After signing Shields to a giant front loaded contract, I find it hard to believe that they will go and shell out huge money to another free agent. The Packers are in good position now to draft along the defensive line and linebacker core and in retaining Shields have set themselves up to have free will in the draft to take the best players available. In the end I expect these two pass rushers to get far more than the Packers are going to be willing to pay.
Jared Allen is moving on from Vikings
The Vikings new coach Mike Zimmer is a defensive guru and has garnered a lot of respect in this league among his players and peers. So it was thought that he may be able to convince Allen to stay aboard and help bring along his new defense and keep his career churning. However it does not appear likely that the reunion will happen. The Vikings have shown interest in numerous pass rushers already this offseason and Allen likely is chasing a championship over a payday or loyalty at this point in his career. He has never been a problem player on or off the field and his production speaks for itself. Allen wants to set himself up to have a successful run with solid playing time.
Verdict: Buy. I expect Jared Allen to land on one of last year’s successful playoff teams that need defensive line help such as Denver, New England or even Green Bay. He deserves to chase a championship and that is still quite a ways a way in Minnesota. He paid his dues, he served his contract and this is no longer his coach, it is time for Allen to move on.
Houston Texans looking trade for quarterback Ryan Mallett
It was reported on Bleacher Report that the Texans may have had some interest in the Patriot quarterback what with new coach Bill O’Brien being a former New England guy. Mallett has widely been seen as one of the best young backups in the league biding his time to eventually try and succeed Tom Brady or fetch the Pats something nice in return. This may be the season that finally comes to fruition. The Texans need a quarterback and would likely want to either trade out of the number one pick or take their best player available.
Verdict: Sell. I just don’t see why Houston wouldn’t just take the risk on one of the guys this year in the draft. There is no reason to sell picks on a guy that is just as unproven then to spend just one on someone who you can immediately mold to your system. The Texans could even trade out of one and still land a solid quarterback in the draft. Their options are nearly unlimited so why give up valuable picks.
There you have it folks, some of the latest free agency rumors and more to come in a few days. Keep your eyes peeled for the second list of free agency buy or sell rumors. Contracts can become official and moves can become official on March 11th, so watch for big moves that day. If you can’t get enough football talk and want to hear more and talk more football check out The Direct Snap. It is a weekly radio show done by myself and fellow Phin Phanatic senior writer Tyler McMullen all about the NFL with the latest news, draft talk, and up to the minute updates live every Saturday night 8:30 PM Eastern time. The link is provided below.
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