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Predicting NFL Free Agent Destinations

Greg Mitchell February 24, 2013 Comments Off
The 2013 NFL free-agency doesn’t start until March 12th. I feel there will be a lot of changes coming in 2013. There will also be a lot of busts that are extremely over paid. Many teams have started making calls and clearing up cap space in order to go after some of these studs. I have put together a list of where I think some high value free-agents will land and how much I predict their contract to be. The option to use the franchise tag has started (Feb 18th) and ends March 4th. Last season an NFL record 23 free-agents were placed on the franchise tag so we may see a lot of big names such as Joe Flacco, Henry Melton, Dashon Goldson, Jarius Byrd, and Ryan Clady tagged this season as well.
Alex Smith (QB) 2012 team: 49ers, landing spot: Chiefs, contract: 6 years $45 million.
The “Suck for Luck” campaign was a year late for Kansas City. Obviously this season the QB class in the draft is nowhere near where it was last season. The first big move for the Chiefs should be to sign or trade for a QB that can win. The free-agent QBs this year are extremely weak. In my opinion there is nothing special about Smith except somehow he has a proven record he can win, hoisting the 49ers to a 13-3 record with five come from behind victories in 2011. I’d say Smith has around a 90% chance of wearing a red Chiefs uniform next season.  Although Smith is not a free-agent, I do see a trade with Kansas City on the line. Who knows how good he will be with a mediocre team.
Reggie Bush (RB) 2012 team: Dolphins, landing spot: Lions, contract: 4 years $23 million.
               At one point, Jahvid Best was the best running back on the Lions. He came out on fire during his rookie season. Now that he’s concussed and likely done for his career the Lions better find a replacement quick. Reggie Bush is the answer to fill Jahvid’s empty spot. He can catch out of the backfield and has great explosiveness. The Lions need a RB that can get to the holes quickly as they closed very fast last year. If the price is right, I think the Lions will go all out after him.
Ahmad Bradshaw (RB) 2012 team: Giants, landing spot: Colts, contract: 3 years $16 million.
                Ahmad Bradshaw’s health is what should be questioned. The Colts need a RB if they want to continue in the right direction. Vick Ballard can’t carry the entire load. Bradshaw can really help Andrew Luck and the Colts offense. The Colts will be big players in free-agency this year as they are around $46 million under the cap.
Steven Jackson (RB) 2012 team: Rams, landing spot: Packers, contract: 3 years $20 million.
Jackson is 29 and a lot of people including Rams fans wouldn’t mind seeing him playing for a playoff contending team. The Packers are desperate for a great RB, Jackson and Rodgers could me lethal playing together. Will he retire, play another season for the Rams, or will he void the last season of his contract and test the market?
Mike Wallace (WR) 2012 team: Steelers, landing spot: Dolphins, contract: 5 years $55 million.
Wallace is on the top of the Dolphins free agent list. I don’t think he will get the $12 million a year he wants but it will be close. The Dolphins need a solid wide out and Mike Wallace could solve their problem. He has a lot of speed and natural ability and a lot of players on the Steelers want their man back.
Dwayne Bowe (WR) 2012 team: Chiefs, landing spot: Chiefs, contract:  4 years $41 million.
                As I already pointed out that Alex Smith will most likely be playing for the Chiefs next season I don’t think they’ll let their best target for Smith to throw to drop away (see what I did there?). There’s a good chance Bowe will be tagged if Reid can’t get a contract settled.
Greg Jennings (WR) 2012 team: Packers, landing spot: IND, STL, or MIA, contract: 5 years $51 million
Greg Jennings  will put the team on his back. The odds Jennings stays in Green Bay with Rodgers are practically gone. I don’t believe they will be willing to pay him $10+ million a year as it didn’t make much of a difference in Rodgers game while Greg was injured. The Colts, Rams, and Dolphins need another big play guy; Jennings could be their savior sent from heaven.
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Wes Welker (WR) 2012 team: Patriots, landing spot: Cowboys, contract 4 years $47 million.
He may be short, but that doesn’t hold him back from being an elite NFL WR. He passed on a 2 year $8 million dollar contract in 2011. I feel Welker will want between $10-12 million to take those brutal hits and hang onto the ball up the middle of the field like he does.  He would fit in with the “America’s team” and make their WR core even better.
Jake Long (LT) 2012 team: Dolphins, landing spot: Rams, contract 6 years $63 million.
Long’s career started great. The Dolphins had great hopes after his first few seasons. He since then has been on a downward turn. The Rams could fix him up, afford him, and he would help their offense greatly. It would cost the Dolphins $16 million to tag him.
Cliff Avril (DE) 2012 team: Lions, landing spot: Lions, contract 5 years $48 million
Nobody is going to pay the full asking price Avril wants. It’s outrageous considering he didn’t have that great of a season this year compared to last year before he signed a franchise tag. As the Lions only have 1 DE on the roster (Ronnell Lewis 2 career tackles) I expect Cliff to be playing for Detroit again after they pay him a good amount of money for his talent.
Anthony Spencer (LB) 2012 team: Cowboys, landing spot: Cowboys, contract: 5 years $46 million
If Spencer goes back to Dallas, he will be underpaid. They like having him and he will probably play DE in the 4-3 for the Cowboys next season as they make the transition from a 3-4. Dallas is currently way over cap and will have to do some major work on Romo’s contract to make room for Anthony Spencer next year.
Brent Grimes (CB) 2012 team: Falcons, landing spot: NE or DET, contract: 1 year $6 million.
Brent Grimes was sent to the IR last season. Adam Schefter reported he could be in for a one-year contract to prove he still has the speed to play at the NFL level. The Patriots and Lions will both be shopping for a solid cheap CB. At $6 million Grimes could be a steal.
Darrelle Revis (CB) 2012 team: Jets, landing spot: Seahawks, contract: $5 years $57 million.
Revis Island will probably be shipped out of New York. Revis isn’t very happy for the lack of communication the Jets are giving him. The odds are good for Seattle to land one of the best CBs in the league. Richard Sherman and Darrelle Revis pairing up on the opposite side would be the most dangerous combination in the league. Matt Flynn would be an upgrade over Captain Butt Fumble.
Charles Woodson (S) 2012 team: Packers, landing spot: NE or DET…again, contract: 2 years $19 million
                The Patriots really need another DB and that’s why this makes sense. On the other hand, Woodson did go to college and Michigan. The Lions GM Martin Mayhew says they will be bigger players in free-agency this year, but they don’t have much money to do it. Both teams make sense for Woodson but odds are he will be playing for New England.
Ed Reed (S) 2012 team: Ravens, landing spot: Colts, contract: 2 years $20 million.
Ed Reed will leave the Ravens after winning Super Bowl XLVII. I imagine Charles Woodson and him will have similar contracts. Reggie Wayne and Ed Reed were roommates in college during their days at The U (Miami obviously).  Reed did kill Wayne’s python while rooming together. The Colts will be big players in free-agents this year as I said before. They will attempt to build a team to go deep in into the playoffs next season.
Article Written By: Jack Murphy @TheJMurphy

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