Jan 19, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas (88) runs after a reception in the first half during the 2013 AFC Championship game at Sports Authority Field against New England Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard (37) at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Free Agency: 2015 Crop Could Be A Big One

There is still a lot of time before the next big wave of NFL free agency comes around, but it’s not too early to see 2015 may be a big year.

Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley both lacking deals in Detroit

The Detroit Lions know a lot hinges on what they accomplish in 2014 because they don’t want to invest money in players who can’t help them win.  So far that includes good ones, which explains why the team has not extended either of their two talented defensive tackles in Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley.  Both have caused problems for the organization at one time or another the past few years and Detroit plans to use this season as a proving ground to see if they can mature.  Otherwise a combination that produced 11.5 sacks last year could become available.

49ers biding their time on Mike Iupati and Michael Crabtree

When one has a talented team, NFL free agency is not nearly as highly anticipated because more often it means the possibility of losing good players rather than gaining them.  That is risk the San Francisco 49ers are running.  Though they managed to lock up Colin Kaepernick, they still have a number of big names left without extensions.  Among the biggest are All-Pro guard Mike Iupati and key receiver Michael Crabtree.  Their losses would leave gaping holes that not even a deep team like San Francisco could fill.  GM Trent Baalke understands the situation and said it’s a top priority, as with all negotiations, nothing is guaranteed.

Julius Thomas and Demaryius Thomas present a problem in Denver

The Denver Broncos weren’t kidding when they said it was 2014 or bust for their Super Bowl aspirations.  Given the outlook of 2015, they may not have the money to keep their talented roster together much longer.  Among a long list of players with expiring contracts next off-season, easily the two biggest names are Pro Bowl tight end Julius Thomas and Pro Bowl receiver Demaryius Thomas.  Those two may be the most important offensive weapons for quarterback Peyton Manning.  Losing just one of them to NFL free agency would be a calamity.  Though projections have them at around $22 million in cap space next year, they can’t afford to overpay for either because Von Miller will need a new deal in 2016.

One way or another, next year could see a dramatic shift in the landscape of pro football.

Tags: Demaryius Thomas Julius Thomas Michael Crabtree Mike Iupati Ndamukong Suh NFL Free Agency Nick Fairley

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