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?
Miami - Brent Grimes – CB – Status: Franchise tag
Signing a guy coming off a torn ACL from a different team and sending him to the Pro Bowl has to be called a steal. However, at age 30 Brent Grimes is a tough sell for a big long-term deal. The Miami Dolphins may choose the franchise tag instead.
Minnesota - Jared Allen – DE – Status: Out
There was no more consistent or dominant player for the Minnesota Vikings defense for over half a decade than Jared Allen. Unfortunately his need to play for a contender should compel him to test the open market rather than re-sign.
New England - Aqib Talib – CB – Status: In
Another championship game, another badly timed injury. Aqib Talib was still the best cornerback the New England Patriots had but it’s still not clear whether they will keep him long-term. However, based on what happened to their pass defense without him, the answer isn’t hard to see.
New Orleans - Jimmy Graham – TE – Status: Franchise tag
One way or another, the New Orleans Saints are keeping tight end Jimmy Graham in black and gold. They made it clear the franchise tag is very possible, and since he will demand top dollar it may be needed.
New York - Hakeem Nicks – WR – Status: Out
It was a miserable season for Hakeem Nicks. Despite playing most of the year he finished under 1,000 yards and failed to score a single touchdown. His time with the New York Giants appears to have run out.
New York - Nick Folk – K – Status: In
Kickers aren’t normally high on the priority list but for the New York Jets they must hang on to Nick Folk. He is experienced, reliable and cool under pressure. Locking him up will allow them to focus on other problems.
Oakland - Jared Veldheer – OT – Status: In
He was easily their best offensive linemen last year and was again this year despite only playing part of the season. Signs are that Jared Veldheer wants to stay with the Oakland Raiders, and they will have plenty of money to work out a deal.
Philadelphia - Riley Cooper – WR – Status: In
One of the surprising success stories of 2013, Riley Cooper thrived in the Chip Kelly offense for the Philadelphia Eagles. They certainly will want him back provided he doesn’t try to break the bank.
Pittsburgh - Jason Worilds – OLB – Status: In
After a rough start to the season, Jason Worilds quietly had a good year for the Pittsburgh Steelers with eight sacks. As much as the team prefers continuity, he should be back.
- Donald Butler – ILB – Status: In
His stat line wasn’t out-of-this-world but Donald Butler and Manti Te’o helped form a capable tandem at inside linebacker for the San Diego Chargers. Unless his demands are ridiculous, he won’t see 2014 NFL free agency.
San Francisco 49ers - Donte Whitner – S – Status: Out
He didn’t have a terrible season but the San Francisco 49ers aren’t really clear on the future of Donte Whitner. Much will depend on his price, but if it goes too high they have the draft picks to replace him.
Seattle - Michael Bennett – DE – Status: Out
It was a free agency coup when the Seattle Seahawks got Michael Bennett but after another quality season he is likely to go hunting for a full-time job on a long-term deal elsewhere.
St. Louis - Kellen Clemens – QB – Status: In
Kellen Clemens did more than could be asked of a veteran backup quarterback for the St. Louis Rams. They will likely want him back behind Sam Bradford again barring retirement plans.
Tampa Bay - Adam Hayward – LB – Status: In
Lovie Smith greatly values special teams players and Adam Hayward has been a captain for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for seven seasons. He should get special consideration to return.
Tennessee - Bernard Pollard – S – Status: In
Safety was a problematic position for the Tennessee Titans in 2013 but Bernard Pollard was not the primary issue. He should be brought back for the sake of stability as the new coaching staff implements their changes.
Washington - Brian Orakpo – OLB – Status: Franchise tag
It’s not clear what the intentions are for outside linebacker Brian Orakpo. Does he want to return to the Washington Redskins. One thing that is clear is the Redskins can’t afford to lose him. That usually means franchise tag.
Tags: 2014 Nfl Free Agency Miami Dolphins Minnesota Vikings New England Patriots New Orleans Saints New York Giants New York Jets Oakland Raiders Philadelphia Eagles Pittsburgh Steelers San Diego Chargers San Francisco 49ers Seattle Seahawks St. Louis Rams Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tennessee Titans Washington Redskins