The countdown to NFL free agency has begun, with the month of March around the corner. Here’s a mock rundown of where the NFC teams will go.
Green Bay Packers – $32.1 million – Sign: Brian Orakpo
For the first time in awhile the Green Bay Packers have a chance to do some spending in free agency and they tend to go after one big name that can help them the most. Putting Brian Orakpo across from Clay Matthews would qualify as that move.
Minnesota Vikings – $28.7 million – Sign: Alterraun Verner
Lagging coverage ability really handcuffed the Minnesota Vikings in 2013, so it’s only reasonable to think they will look for upgrades to bolster the secondary. Alterraun Verner is a nice fit for their defense and would bring some playmaking ability to their back end.
Washington Redskins – $26.6 million – Sign: Zane Beadles
Robert Griffin III needs more protection. It’s really that simple. Jay Gruden can’t hope to do anything until that’s the case. Zane Beadles is a tough, dependable and experienced guard from Denver who had a hand in paving the way for the greatest offensive attack in league history.
Philadelphia Eagles – $23.7 million – Sign: T.J. Ward
Nobody is entirely sure where T.J. Ward stands with the Cleveland Browns. One day he’s in, the next he’s out. Until a contract is signed he is still available. Adding his physical nature and leadership is exactly what the Philadelphia Eagles need at the safety position.
Atlanta Falcons – $16.6 million – Sign: Jared Allen
Thomas Dimitroff has a history of finding and maximizing veteran players at reasonable prices. Jared Allen could be his next great find. The veteran defensive end is looking for a team that has a shot to win. The Atlanta Falcons must get healthy and need a few tweaks but their scheme and indoor stadium would fit Allen perfectly.
New York Giants – $16.2 million – Sign: Brian De La Puente
Guard and center were serious problems all season for the New York Giants. They must be addressed in order to help Eli Manning recapture his old form. Brian De La Puente is a steady veteran from New Orleans who did a very good job protecting Drew Brees. He has a clean injury history as well.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – $15.7 million – Sign: Dennis Pitta
Adding a tight end is one of the lesser needs the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can’t overlook. Using NFL free agency to solve it would remove one less problem from their agenda. Dennis Pitta missed a good chunk of 2013 with an injury, which could effect his market value but he’s still young and a great target in the passing game when healthy.
Carolina Panthers – $11.9 million – Sign: Hakeem Nicks
Cam Newton needs receivers and Steve Smith remains an unknown for 2014. Hakeem Nicks should come cheap thanks to mediocre performance last season. He has connections to the Carolina Panthers and need of new scenery. It is the ideal situation for both sides.
San Francisco 49ers – $9.9 million – Sign: Kenny Britt
Limited cap space will force the San Francisco 49ers to take a couple calculated gambles in order to improve their roster. Kenny Britt is definitely a gamble. The wide receiver has all the size and physical ability in the world but he’s notoriously hard to coach. If Jim Harbaugh can work his magic Britt could offer them an answer to that fierce Seahawks secondary.
Detroit Lions – $7.7 million – Sign: Mario Manningham
The 2013 season was a lost one for Mario Manningham. At one point a hot ticket item, he suddenly finds himself back on the market out to prove his value again. When healthy though he has proven quite able. Getting a chance to play across from Calvin Johnson after another off-season to heal properly should certainly interested the Detroit Lions.
Chicago Bears – $7.6 million – Sign: Justin Tuck
NFL free agency will be extremely interesting for the Chicago Bears. They don’t have a lot of cap space at present but have the ability to clear some up if needed. Based on what they have now, making a run at Justin Tuck isn’t out of the question. The veteran defensive end fits their system and might be a solid replacement if they end up cutting Julius Peppers.