Old Faces, New Places
This years free agent class is a pretty wild one so, who will be on a new roster next season?
While a lot of players may end up resigning with the teams they played for last season, many stars will go onto perform at high levels for other franchises. So, who is staying and who is going?
First off, if Dallas lets this guy walk, he will be the belle of the ball in free agency. Dak Prescott may have suffered one of the most gruesome injuries I have personally witnessed but, he is an elite passer with solid mobility and if Dallas doesn’t resign him then I think a possible landing spot for Dak would be New England.
He would be an awesome fit for Josh McDaniels and if they add him before the draft then they can take weapons to surround him. Another landing spot could be in Detroit. I do not foresee Matt Stafford continuing his career as a Lion so he could be an awesome fit. Signing him could help keep Marvin Jones in the Motor City.
The next huge player that could hit the market is Joe Thuney. Thuney is a premier pass blocker and tremendous in the run and would be a massive boost to any teams offensive line. I think that it is a 50/50 chance that Thuney leaves Foxborough, if he hits the market a team that could give the 29 year old big money is Arizona.
The Cardinals need to protect Kyler Murray at all costs. He would be an awesome fit to combat great interior, pass rushers like Aaron Donald and Arik Armstead. Another fit could be Jacksonville if Thuney really sells out. Jacksonville has a ton of cap space and a young future and their interior o-line isn’t terrible with Brandon Linder and Andrew Norwell.
Another elite run blocker that I think will not resign with his current team is Brandon Scherff. Schereff could find his way south to another Florida team, the Miami Dolphins. A team like the Jags with a bright future and lots of money to spend and Scherff could be a big time leader amongst a young offensive line.
Chargers tight end, Hunter Henry, I am 100% sure will find his way to free agency and a team thats an awesome suitor for him is the New England Patriots. If they bring in a quarterback in the draft or ride with Newton, they need help in the pass game and need to add a threat along the goal line.
Cincinnati is another team that could pursue Henry to give Joe Burrow a solid safety net that can block and be a dominant pass catcher. The Bengals would be a fabulous fit for Henry and he could flourish with a young quarterback and solid receivers.
Two superstar pass catchers that may hit free agency are Chris Godwin and Allen Robinson II. For Godwin, I think he stays in Tampa Bay but, under the franchise tag. I do not think they come to a deal and he could sit out out of frustration. If Godwin parts ways with the Buccaneers, the Texans could pounce all over him and make him their number one and let Will Fuller walk.
In Robinson’s case, he will scratch and claw out of Chicago. The two best landing spots for Robinson are either the Dolphins, who could give him 84 million over 4 years or Indianapolis. The Colts haven’t had a solid number one since Hilton, who has fallen off big time and looks like he may only be in the league for one more season.
Many franchises could get a boost in the secondary because, lots of elite defensive backs are going to be on the open market. Let’s start with 49ers corner, Richard Sherman. Sherman is getting older so wherever he goes will be on a one year deal and I think Buffalo will give him a 1 year, 14 million dollar contract.
Anthony Harris, the ball hawk in Minneapolis, is 100% going to be a free agent. He played under the franchise tag this year and will not do that again. The best fit for Harris is in Washington D.C. The football team will give the young gun a 3-4 year deal anywhere between 22-28 million dollars.
Arguably the best safety in the NFL, Justin Simmons could become a free agent this year but, Denver needs to lock him up. He is excellent in run support and even better in pass coverage. The likelihood of Simmons leaving the state of Colorado is very slim to none.
If Simmons does walk, where would the best fit for him be? I think he would be an awesome starter for any team but, the New York Jets or Washington Football Team, if Washington doesn’t sign Harris, make a lot of sense. The Jets could go from having Jamal Adams to Justin Simmons and it would be an upgrade from a guy who’s best attribute is rushing the passer.
For the big guys in the trenches, Leonard Williams will be a steal for any team. The Giants would be absolute fools to let Williams walk and I know Coach Spence, Giants defensive line coach, would be punching the air if he left.
The top suitor for Williams, if New York lets him go, would be Carolina. If he ends up in Charlotte, then the league may see a new top pass rushing duo. With Williams alongside Brian Burns, they can cause big problems for opposing linemen.
If Williams walks from the Giants, then the dominos begin to fall because, they will make a run at Baltimore edge rusher, Yannick Ngakoue. This will Ngakoue’s 4th team in two years but, he is still very talented and will get a deal around 3 years, 50 million dollars.
The Denver Broncos may also target Ngakoue if, Von Miller peels out of the Mile High City. With him on the other side of Bradley Chubb, they would make life very difficult for offensive line coaches.
Now, if Miller leaves, which is very possible, I think that he could end up replacing Yannick in Baltimore. At his age, he will not get a long deal but, it will still be big money. Possibly 2 year for 30 million dollars. The Ravens defense would get an upgrade at the edge position to work against tackles like Jack Conklin, Jed Willis, and Alejandro Villanueva.
The other landing spot for the Hall of Fame pass rusher is Seattle. While the Seahawks defense has big names and looks great on paper, they were horrendous this season. Adding a pass rusher like Miller could, hopefully, put them in the top half of defenses in the league next season.
I didn’t scratch the surface on the stars who will hit the market so my advice for you is to sit back on your couch, grab a bowl of popcorn, and throw on ESPN or NFL Network when free agency opens to see where your favorite players will be making waves next season.