The National Football League period of free agency begins today. This is the time that all teams will be looking to grab a bargain as they go hunting for that final piece of the jigsaw that will make them a better team.
It is in many ways a time that players put themselves in the shop window, they have the talent and are looking for a new destination to show it off. All 32 teams have managed to give themselves some wriggle room in terms of being under the salary cap as this period of potential frantic activity begins.
There is of course the gamble of not knowing if you have made the right choice for your team, it could be an expensive mistake if the player doesn’t fit in, but that is why the GM’s are paid the big bucks. They’ve had long enough to look through the long list of players that have made themselves available. The risk though is less than that of picking a player in the upcoming draft, a rookie is more likely to be a bust than a well established player, but no one wants to be seen throwing the owners money away on a bad promise.
The list below is of twenty players that will be highly sought after, and could land themselves a hefty pay day. Most will of course will just want to find the right fit for them too, after all the big bucks are fine but they all want a Championship don’t they?
By the time you read this some players may well have resigned with their current teams, so forgive me if its a little out of date.
Michael Johnson, DE, Bengals – a force to be reckoned with in stopping the run but also very agile when at the line.
Lamarr Houston, DE, Raiders – like Johnson he is soild in the run game, and can adapt to most schemes.
Branden Albert, OT, Chiefs – great in pass protection and could be a real steal.
Aqib Talib, CB, Patriots – one of the most physical corners in the league, would be even better if he didn’t come with baggage.
Eric Decker, WR, Broncos – we all know his name from the past season, but is he really a marquee name? Worth a gamble – but that is the key word.
Jairus Byrd, S, Bills – Now this is a top talent, a real big name that shouldn’t even be in the free agency frenzy. Someone will lock this guy up quickly.
Henry Melton, DT, Chicago Bears – Coming off the torn ACL is the only reason why he wont be picked up as quick as others. No doubting his ability when healthy though.
Hakeem Nicks, WR, Giants – passed his best? Maybe. Injuries have held him back over the last couple of years, but would a new home light the fire again?
Jared Allen, DE, Vikings – a household name, but his skills are slowly diminishing. Again a move could be just the tonic for this sack master.
Michael Vick, QB, Eagles – last year was meant to be his under the Eagles new offence, but it didn’t click for him. Still a player that can win more than he loses (in the right town)
B.J. Raji, DT, Packers – a real leader, you will get your moneys worth if you land this this man.
Darren McFadden, RB, Raiders – another that could benefit hugely from a change of scenery, explosive on his day, just didn’t get that many good days in Oakland.
Darren Sproles, RB, Saints – once a feared return man, now not so much, but he has adapted his game and is a good weapon coming out of the backfield.
Knowshon Moreno, RB, Broncos – a very solid dependable back that will be a huge benefit to anyone’s offence.
Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jaguars – was the rushing champ in 2011, but those heady days have gone. A risk but still has the potential.
Antoine Bethea, S, Colts – another excellent cover safety but comes with a hefty price tag.
Michael Oher, OT, Ravens – you remember this man? The focus point for the hit movie The Blind Side. Well there could be a sequel if he lands in the right place.
Santonio Holmes, WR, Jets – another who has fallen from the big time quickly, but could be a useful acquisition.
Josh Freeman, QB, Vikings – huge untapped potential, still young enough to learn a new system, could be the surprise pick up.
Asante Samuel, CB, Falcons – you wont have to break the bank to get this veteran, and you will have secured a season starter.