Oct 6, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks (88) celebrates a pass reception during the first half against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim O

Top Offensive Free Agents That Will Impact the 2014 NFL Draft

All the talk about the 2014 NFL draft makes it easy to overlook an interesting free agency period that will come two months before it.  Nothing decides how a team will invest their top draft choices than what they spend on the free agent market.  With that in mind, which offensive names have a chance to really shake up draft weekend?

Jay Cutler – Chicago Bears

With Matt Ryan out of the picture and Josh Freeman having tanked his stock for the time being, Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler is by far the best set to become available at his position.  He is playing better in 2013 than he has in years, on pace for over 4,300 passing yards and 32 touchdowns.  If by some chance the Bears don’t re-sign or franchise him, it’s very likely several teams will try to sign him in hopes of avoiding having to start over with a rookie.  Jeff Fisher in St. Louis was a big fan when Cutler came out of college.  The Tampa Bay Buccaneers also have a terrific roster with a glaring hole at quarterback.  Getting Cutler might turn them into instant contenders and also take them off the list of teams gunning for a first round quarterback.

Ben Tate – Houston Texans

More than ever running backs are viewed as second rate players in the draft.  If anything teams prefer to find them cheap in the late rounds or even in free agency.  Houston Texans backup Ben Tate is a classic example.  Relatively unused playing behind Arian Foster, Tate is looking for a starting job of his own.  And why not?  He’s averaging 5.3 yards per carry this season.  Teams in desperate need of help on the ground, like the Cleveland Browns or New York Giants for example, could sign him and scratch one need off their list of priorities.  Doing so prevents taking one in the first or second rounds, opening those slots up for other offensive weapons or skill players on defense.

Hakeem Nicks – New York Giants

Looking ahead the wide receiver crop is not exactly loaded with star power.  Of all the names hitting free agency, New York Giants starter Hakeem Nicks is the best name on the list.  No other high profile player with a proven track record and no recent history of injuries or off-the-field problems is joining him.  What makes his value that much more interesting is the 2014 NFL draft receiver group is largely an enigma.  Outside of Clemson star Sammy Watkins there are names with asterisks.  Marqise Lee suffered a knee injury midseason.  Mike Evans is a big, physical player but lacking some athleticism.  It’s really hard seeing more than three receivers go in the first round.  That number might drop if Nicks goes to another team.

Branden Albert – Kansas City Chiefs

Perhaps the hardest thing to find during an off-season is a left tackle because they are so coveted.  That is why Kansas City Chiefs veteran Branden Albert should attract lots of attention if his team can’t reach a long-term agreement before next May.  That means teams hoping for offensive line help can spend some money on a serviceable veteran and focus their draft picks in area that might get them on the path to winning faster.  Among the most probable landing spots including the Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders.  Each have significant problems at left tackle and might benefit immensely from his signing.


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Tags: 2014 Nfl Draft Ben Tate Hakeem Nicks Jay Cutler Kansas City Chiefs

  • Bryan Staley

    Albert is staying in KC! Fisher isn’t coming around…..at all! I can’t see the Chiefs letting him walk unless something drastic happens.

    • Tony Harris

      He is a rookie with 5 games under his belt, and, has been battling injuries causing him to miss practice. I do believe Albert stays in KC but how could anyone already write off Fisher?

      • Bryan Staley

        Please don’t get me wrong! I’m am most certainly NOT writing off Fisher. I said that so far he’s not looking good! I still have very high hopes for him. I want him to pull through and be the guy we think we got at the #1 spot!!!

        • Erik Lambert

          You also must remember that Fisher came out of college having played left tackle. Then the Chiefs asked him to switch to the right side, a position he wasn’t used to. He also isn’t used to playing such a high level competition coming out of Central Michigan. Toss the injuries on top of that and it’s no wonder he’s struggling.

  • thetwilightsown .

    Raiders’ Jared Veldheer injured his tricep during training camp this year… the only question regarding him is whether or not he can come back fully. He’s young and probably got the injury from working too hard on his inhuman, Hulk-like body during the offseason… hardly a “significant problem.” Having said that… we’ll take Albert anyway, kick him inside to guard and send Nix on his merry way. We are currently starting a front five with two undrafted free agent rookies at RG and RT, our 3rd string center due to injury, the aforementioned Nix and the one and only Khalif Barnes at LT. Our significant problems along the line find LT as our last and least concern. And yet… our D and Terrelle Pryor still have us in games after all you mediots called us the worst team possibly ever assembled so… consider the source?