ESPN Chicago confirms free agent DT Henry Melton will test the open market.
Per reporter Michael C. Wright, Melton already has "multiple suitors." Free agency's top defensive tackle, Melton is likely going to command more money than the cash-strapped Bears can afford. He's coming off October ACL surgery, but is one of the best three-techniques in the game when healthy.
The Bears have expressed interest in free agent S Ryan Mundy.
Mundy is a third safety/special teams type and wouldn't cure Chicago's deep safety woes alongside Chris Conte. Bears GM Phil Emery is also said to have reached out to the player reps for free agent S Mike Mitchell.
Nick Underhill of MassLive.com reports the Texans have expressed interest in acquiring Ryan Mallett.
Underhill adds that the level of interest is just "talk" at this point, and it's not clear whether the Patriots would consider trading Mallett. Entering the final year of his rookie contract, Mallett will almost certainly test free agency after this season so New England could be inclined to get something of value for him now. Mallett has a history with Texans HC Bill O'Brien, who was the Patriots offensive coordinator in 2011. Trading for Mallett would allow Houston to address a position other than quarterback with the first overall pick.
The Lions have inquired about free agent SS T.J. Ward.
Ward's market seemed to be rather slow on day one of the negotiating period, but we still expect him to land a sizable long-term deal. He's a 27-year-old tone setter in the secondary. Ward would replace Louis Delmas in Detroit.
The Giants have "inquired" about free agent CB Alterraun Verner.
Verner's market is red hot as of late Saturday, and his price tag rose when the Packers unexpectedly handed Sam Shields a deal worth $9.75 million per year. Verner is going to command more than that. The Giants look to be actively trying to upgrade their defense in free agency, also pursuing DL Arthur Jones.
ESPN Dallas reports free agent DT Jason Hatcher has drawn interest from at least seven teams.
Coming off a career year, Hatcher is seeking a long-term deal. The Bucs, Dolphins, and Bears are among the teams that could pursue him. Hatcher, 31, is Rotoworld's No. 4 free agent defensive tackle.
A source who "actively worked the phones" on the first day of the NFL's free-agency negotiating period Saturday noted to Profootballtalk.com that "there's currently no market for running backs."
This really shouldn't be a surprise because running back is a replaceable position in the NFL, and the only above-replacement-level talents in this year's class are Ben Tate and Darren McFadden. Both have checkered injury track records. If Knowshon Moreno's price stays low enough, we could see him staying in Denver. It'd be a concern for Montee Ball's 2014 fantasy outlook.
The Chicago Tribune reports the Buccaneers are making a "hard push" to sign free agent DE Michael Johnson.
Johnson would be a big addition to the Bucs, bookending Adrian Clayborn in front of a secondary of Darrelle Revis, Johnthan Banks, Dashon Goldson and Mark Barron. Defensive end has been a major weakness in Tampa for years. New Bucs coach Lovie Smith and DC Leslie Frazier's defense is reliant on pressure from the front four. Johnson is an excellent rusher and run defender.