Jan 12, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy (76) on the field prior to the 2013 NFC divisional playoff football game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NFL Free Agency: In, Out or Franchise Tag? (Part One)

Every team has at least one player heading into 2014 NFL free agency that is a big question mark.  What are the possible fates for each of them?

Arizona Cardinals – Karlos Dansby – ILB – Status:  In
It will go down as one of the most underrated moves the Arizona Cardinals made in 2013 bringing back Karlos Dansby.  He was a fixture for them at inside linebacker and likely will want to stay.  He should be re-signed.

Atlanta Falcons – Corey Peters – DT – Status:  In
Jonathan Babineaux is the known veteran but Corey Peters had five sacks and is 25-years old.  The Atlanta Falcons can’t afford to lose him as they begin rebuilding their pass rush.

Baltimore Ravens – Dennis Pitta – TE – Status:  In
Joe Flacco loves him and the Baltimore Ravens must recognize that.  They don’t have a lot of money to throw around but after a nagging hip injury, Dennis Pitta should come rather cheap given his value.

Buffalo Bills – Jairus Byrd – FS – Status:  In
Letting go of young Pro Bowl players is typically not the policy of teams that want to win.  Jairus Byrd is demanding top dollar but the Buffalo Bills know he might be worth it.  They should be able to find the money.

Carolina Panthers – Greg Hardy – DE – Status:  Franchise tag
He will be one of the top defenders on the market after a 15-sack season and the Carolina Panthers know it.  They don’t have a lot of cap space, so they are likely to use the franchise tag to make sure he doesn’t get away.

Chicago Bears – Henry Melton – DT – Status:  In
Losing Henry Melton is what sent the Chicago Bears defense into a tail spin.  However, his price should not be too high for them after he tore his ACL and then got arrested for alleged assault.

Cincinnati Bengals – Michael Johnson – DE – Status:  Out
His stat sheet didn’t reflect it in terms of production, but Michael Johnson was still an effective force on the defensive front for the Cincinnati Bengals.  The problem is the team has good depth and may not desire to pay him what he wants.

Cleveland Browns – Alex Mack – C – Status:  In
A new quarterback is coming, and he will need a reliable center to show him the way for the Cleveland Browns.  Alex Mack is a two-time Pro Bowler and in his prime.  The team will have enough money to work out a deal.

Dallas Cowboys – Jason Hatcher – DT – Status:  Out
The veteran defensive tackle had the best season of his career in 2013 for the Dallas Cowboys despite getting little help.  Last report was he intended to test 2014 NFL free agency, and the Cowboys don’t have the money to offer to stop him.

Denver Broncos – Eric Decker – WR – Status:  Out
This is a difficult call because Shaun Phillips and Knowshon Moreno are also free agents but Eric Decker was a key part of their dynamic passing attack.  Keeping him will help maintain that explosiveness.  Unfortunately they may just not have enough money.

Detroit Lions – Dominic Raiola – C – Status:  In
The veteran center has been one of the few bright spots on the Detroit Lions offensive line up until this season when the unit really turned around.  Matthew Stafford will want him back and so will the team.  He’s a good leader.

Green Bay Packers – Sam Shields – CB – Status:  Out
The sense coming out of the Green Bay Packers camp is that a defensive overhaul is coming and it starts with making snappy decisions on several free agents.  Sam Shields had a good season for them.  Good enough?  No.

Houston Texans – Wade Smith – G – Status:  In
The Pro Bowl guard is a reliable fixture up front for the Houston Texans but at 32-years old must be careful about his asking price.  If it isn’t too steep the team should bring him back.

Indianapolis Colts – Vontae Davis – CB – Status:  In
The defense was all over the map in 2013 and cornerback Vontae Davis was at the heart of it.  He didn’t produce many impact plays but he was probably their best cover man.  That should be enough to land a deal.

Jacksonville Jaguars – Maurice Jones-Drew – RB – Status:  Out
Running backs are easier to find than almost any other position and sadly Maurice Jones-Drew has not looked like the same player he was for the Jacksonville Jaguars.  He will have to go hunting for work elsewhere.

Kansas City Chiefs – Branden Albert – OT – Status:  Out
It’s that time of year again.  The Kansas City Chiefs franchise tagged Branden Albert the last time he was about to enter free agency.  This time though they have the option of moving Eric Fisher over from the right side now that he has experience.

Tags: 2014 Nfl Free Agency Arizona Cardinals Atlanta Falcons Baltimore Ravens Buffalo Bills Carolina Panthers Chicago Bears Cincinnati Bengals Cleveland Browns Dallas Cowboys Denver Broncos Detroit Lions Green Bay Packers Houston Texans Indianapolis Colts Jacksonville Jaguars Kansas City Chiefs

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