Evan Silva

Free Agency Update

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2014 Free Agency Forecast

Tuesday, March 11, 2014



26. Center Brian De La Puente -- Top-16 center per Pro Football Focus in three straight seasons. Turns 29 in May. Saints have lots of money tied up at guard and won't overpay to keep him. It's worth noting ex-Saints line coach Aaron Kromer is now in Chicago. I'm still guessing De La Puente won't get big free agent offers, and ends up affordably returning to New Orleans.

Free Agent Forecast: Saints on five-year, $20 million deal.

27. Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks -- Zero TDs last 18 games. Three TDs last 29 games. Major effort and on-field ability question marks. Once tilted coverage. Now a boom-or-bust signing. Due to poor recent film, Nicks may come surprisingly cheap. Nicks played his college ball at North Carolina, and Panthers GM Dave Gettleman knows him well as a former top Giants exec.

Free Agent Forecast: Panthers on one-year, $4 million deal.

28. Inside linebacker Karlos Dansby -- Had monster year in his 2013 return to Arizona, with 6.5 sacks and four interceptions. Turned 32 in December. Drawing strong interest from Titans, but expected to bring back any offer he receives to Cards. Wants to stay in the desert.

Free Agent Forecast: Cardinals on two-year, $12 million deal.

29. Wide receiver Julian Edelman -- Set career highs across board in '13 (105-1,056-6). Highly efficient slot/Z receiver with plus punt return value. Turns 28 in May. Tom Brady wants him back. I suspect Edelman will be disappointed with his open-market offers.

Free Agent Forecast: Patriots on two-year, $10 million deal.

30. Strong safety Donte Whitner -- PFF's No. 6 safety last year. No. 4 in pass coverage, but best as box defender. Not a ballhawk. Turns 29 in July. As of Monday, all signs were pointing to Whitner signing in Cleveland. Played college ball at nearby Ohio State.

Free Agent Forecast: Browns on five-year, $30 million deal.

31. Defensive end Jared Allen -- Sack numbers still there, but skills noticeably declining. 32 in April. Seahawks and Broncos had interest in trading for Allen before last October's deadline.

Free Agent Forecast: Broncos on three-year, $16 million deal.

32. Cornerback Charles Tillman -- Dominant in 2012 but fell apart physically in 2013, missing 8-of-16 games with groin, knee, and triceps injuries. Triceps tear ended his season in November. Turned 33 in February. As Lovie Smith is now in Tampa, Tillman could follow him there as a stopgap starter to replace Darrelle Revis.

Free Agent Forecast: Buccaneers on two-year, $10 million deal.

33. Defensive end Justin Tuck -- In contract-year push, racked up 9.5 sacks over final six 2013 games after managing 5.5 across previous 25 appearances. Turns 31 soon. Better run defender than pass rusher at this stage. Limited to left end in a 4-3. Tuck wants to see what's out there, but I still believe he'll finish his career a Giant.

Free Agent Forecast: Giants on four-year, $20 million deal.

34. Guard Travelle Wharton -- Turns 33 in May, so obviously a short-term fix. Best position is left guard, but can also play tackle. PFF's No. 5 guard in 2013. Anchored Carolina's offensive line. Rumors have Wharton weighing retirement, but Panthers need him back badly.

Free Agent Forecast: Panthers on two-year, $8 million deal.

35. Cornerback Tarell Brown -- Above-average starter at outside corner. Just turned 29. Smallish (5'11/193) press corner. 49ers want Brown back, but he's expected to test market first. Logical fallback option for teams that miss out on Alterraun Verner.

Free Agent Forecast: Redskins on five-year, $22 million deal.

36. Defensive lineman Antonio Smith -- Can play 3-4 end and 4-3 tackle. At least five sacks in three straight years. Hasn't missed a game for health reasons since '05. Entering age-33 season.

Free Agent Forecast: Eagles on three-year, $12 million deal.

37. Inside linebacker Brandon Spikes -- Two-down role player, but a good one. Classic inside run thumper. History of knee problems. Entering age-27 campaign. Won't be back with New England. Tight with new Bills assistant Pepper Johnson. Would be great fit on Texans.

Free Agent Forecast: Texans on two-year, $8.5 million deal.

38. Strong safety Antoine Bethea -- Stretched at free safety. More of a box defender. Turns 30 in July. Career Colt. Hasn't missed a start since 2007. Consistent but not a real difference maker.

Free Agent Forecast: Colts on four-year, $24 million deal.

39. Free safety Chris Clemons -- Surprisingly met by cold market last offseason. Settled for one-year, $2.75 million deal to stay in Miami. Entering age-29 season. Not a ballhawk but top-10 cover safety in 2013 per PFF. Has drawn known interest from Jets. Would be excellent fit in Detroit, playing center field with Glover Quin in rover-safety role.

Free Agent Forecast: Lions on five-year, $20 million deal.

40. Defensive tackle Clinton McDonald -- Key piece of Seattle's deep line rotation. Played 53% of Seahawks' defensive snaps in 2013. Interior pocket pusher. Tallied 5.5 sacks. Just turned 27. Knows Gus Bradley well from Bradley's days as Seahawks defensive coordinator.

Free Agent Forecast: Jaguars on two-year, $7.5 million deal.

41. Inside linebacker Daryl Smith -- Signed off scrapheap by Ozzie Newsome last June after injury-ruined 2012 season. Became Baltimore's defensive playcaller. Set career bests in tackles (123), sacks (5), pass breakups (18), and INTs (3). Three-down linebacker. Turns 32 in March. D'Qwell Jackson set Smith's market at $5.5 million annually.

Free Agent Forecast: Ravens on three-year, $16.5 million deal.

42. Linebacker Jon Beason -- Has undergone wrist, shoulder, Achilles', and knee surgeries as a pro. Two procedures on shoulder and Achilles', and microfracture on knee. Traded from Carolina to Giants last October. Torched in pass coverage, but solid against run. G-Men want him back. Turned 29 in January. His market does not figure to be particularly robust.

Free Agent Forecast: Giants on two-year, $8 million deal.

43. Wide receiver Golden Tate -- Stats deflated by Seattle's run-first scheme. Playmaker with ball in hands. Size limitations (5'10/202), miscast as No. 1 receiver with Seahawks. Ex-college running back. Could surge statistically on team that gave him more run-after-catch opportunities. Turns 26 in August.

Free Agent Forecast: Jets on three-year, $18 million deal.

44. Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn -- Playmaking slot defender has four pick-sixes over last two seasons. 3.5 sacks in '13. Turns 26 in April. Best suited as complementary corner, not "No. 1."

Free Agent Forecast: Panthers on three-year, $12 million deal.

45. Tight end Jermichael Finley -- Would be much higher on this list if not for November spinal fusion surgery. Per agent, Finley is "99.9%" certain he'll be cleared to play football in 2014. 27 in March. Elite tools but drop and error prone. Will be a boom-or-bust signing in free agency.

Free Agent Forecast: Patriots on one-year, $3.5 million deal.

46. Running back Ben Tate -- Has battled injuries for significant portions of 3-of-4 NFL seasons. Turns 26 in August. 4.73 YPC on 421 career carries. Power back who has improved in the passing game. Would be much more attractive if not for durability woes. Plus-starter talent. Downhill zone runner would be excellent fit under Browns OC Kyle Shanahan.

Free Agent Forecast: Browns on one-year, $3 million deal.

47. Wide receiver James Jones -- Touchdowns dropped from 14 in 2012 to three despite only playing two fewer games. Did post career-high 817 yards. Strong, physical, well-built (6'1/208) receiver who can win 50-50 balls and runs well after the catch. Not an explosive playmaker. Has cut down dramatically on early-career drops. 30 in March. Seems very likely to leave Green Bay. Linked to Lions, Jets. San Jose State alum wants to play in California.

Free Agent Forecast: Chargers on four-year, $17.5 million deal.

48. Quarterback Michael Vick -- Enough juice left to be high-end NFL spot starter, but definitely not for a full season. Turning 34. Turnover and injury prone. Sadly, this year's top free agent QB. Has close ties to Jets OC Marty Mornhinweg from their time in Philadelphia.

Free Agent Forecast: Jets on two-year, $10 million deal.

49. Free safety Malcolm Jenkins -- Experience at both safety spots, slot corner, and outside from Ohio State. Turned 26 in December. Enjoyed best NFL seasons under Gregg Williams in New Orleans. Williams is now defensive coordinator in St. Louis. Rams need a safety.

Free Agent Forecast: Rams on four-year, $20 million deal.

50. Guard Jon Asamoah -- Quality starter when healthy. Plus pass blocker with mean streak. Surprisingly benched down the stretch by Chiefs last season, and won't return. Was drafted by new Falcons assistant GM Scott Pioli in Kansas City. Atlanta is needy on the line.

Free Agent Forecast: Falcons on five-year, $22 million deal.

Revis Bonus

Darrelle Revis was not yet an unrestricted free agent when I penned this column late Monday, but he's likely to become one no later than Wednesday afternoon. Revis should prefer to be released rather than traded, allowing him to select his own team and sign a better contract than he had with the Buccaneers. Revis' Tampa deal contained zero guaranteed money.

Although Tampa Bay did not use Revis to his strengths last season -- ex-coach Greg Schiano insisted on employing him in zone coverage -- he remained arguably the NFL's most effective cornerback, and has plenty left in the tank going on age 29. Late-Monday reports had Philadelphia, Oakland, Cleveland and the Jets already showing interest in Revis.

I think the Philadelphia Eagles make the most sense for Revis. They are an ascending, 2013 playoff team with below-average cornerback play, an aggressive GM in Howie Roseman, and over $20 million in cap availability. Philly defensive coordinator Billy Davis leans heavily in the blitz, a tactic far easier to execute with reliable back-end coverage. The Eagles haven't been active in free agency beyond re-signing players from within. They'd be wise to make an exception for NFL's top corner.



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Evan Silva is a senior football editor for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Evan Silva



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