The franchise tag deadline has passed and the NFL free agent list is largely set. Here’s the latest mock rundown of where the NFC teams will go.
Green Bay Packers – $35 million – Sign: Linval Joseph
Rebuilding the defense was a priority for the Green Bay Packers at the start of the off-season and topping the list was getting more dynamic up front. Linval Joseph is not only big and powerful against the run but his three sacks in New York showed he’s also disruptive in passing situations.
Minnesota Vikings – $35 million – Sign: Alterraun Verner
Adding experience and playmaking ability to the secondary is a no brainer for the Minnesota Vikings. They struggled in coverage all season in 2013. Alterraun Verner is undersized but he’s athletic, scrappy and a playmaker who got five interceptions.
Philadelphia Eagles – $24.1 million – Sign: Antoine Bethea
The mad rush for Jairus Byrd is sure to include the Philadelphia Eagles but they might not have enough money. No matter. They do have enough to lock up veteran and two-time Pro Bowler Antoine Bethea to secure the back end of their developing defense.
Washington Redskins – $22.4 million – Sign: Jon Asamoah
Robert Griffin III was pounded repeatedly last season for the Washington Redskins and the problem stemmed from his interior blocking. Though often overlooked Jon Asamoah was one of the better pass protector in the league last season for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Atlanta Falcons – $19.6 million – Sign: Anthony Collins
Thomas Dimitroff typically likes to find veteran solutions to lesser problems so he won’t be compelled to spend high draft picks. Matt Ryan needs help at left tackle badly. Anthony Collins was a backup in Cincinnati but that was only because he played behind a Pro Bowler. When given his chances the guy has the punch and athleticism to anchor.
New York Giants – $19.2 million – Sign: Zane Beadles
The interior blocking was a mess for the New York Giants offense as well. Eli Manning threw 27 interception and endured 39 sacks. They have to get better up front to turn things around. Zane Beadles protected his brother Peyton last season was a key cog in unleashing the overlooked Denver ground attack.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – $18.7 million – Sign: Jared Allen
There’s a reason this rumor has continued to flow for weeks now. It makes a ton of sense. Jared Allen is one of the best pass rushers on the market but at age 31 won’t command a huge price. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers really need an edge rusher and their defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier coached Allen in Minnesota.
Seattle Seahawks – $17.8 million – Sign: Jermichael Finley
Getting a tight end who is more active in the passing attack is something the Seattle Seahawks are certain to consider. However, as they try to re-sign their own players they will have to seek out a bargain. Jermichael Finley was a favorite target of Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay before injuring his neck. He’s certainly a risk, but one worth taking.
Detroit Lions – $12 million – Sign: Hakeem Nicks
Hakeem Nicks has been favored to go down to Carolina but in truth he may find a better deal waiting for him with the Detroit Lions. They currently have more cap space to spend and Nicks would be able to see near constant single coverage due to the presence of Calvin Johnson.
San Francisco 49ers – $10 million – Sign: Walter Thurmond
Jim Harbaugh and the San Francisco 49ers have never been above stealing players from division rivals, especially the Seattle Seahawks. Given their need for help in the secondary, adding the versatile Walter Thurmond could provide several advantages.
Chicago Bears – $8.3 million – Sign: Captain Munnerlyn
Everybody has jumped on the Michael Bennett bandwagon but frankly the Chicago Bears should not put their faith in a 28-year old defensive end who already has a ring and wasn’t even a starter on his team. With Charles Tillman set to leave, adding the vastly underrated Captain Munnerlyn at cornerback across from Tim Jennings would do wonders for their defense.
St. Louis Rams – $7.3 million – Sign: Malcolm Jenkins
Gregg Williams is in charge of the St. Louis Rams defense now and things are certain to get more aggressive. With a need to bolster the safety position, look for the cash-strapped Rams to pursue Malcolm Jenkins who played some of his best football under Williams in New Orleans.
Carolina Panthers – $7.1 million – Sign: James Jones
If there is an NFL free agency shot in the chamber for the Carolina Panthers it must be directed at their woefully inadequate wide receiver position. James Jones isn’t a superstar but he’s better than many realize and his NFL production is something Cam Newton would love to have.
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