Thursday, April 18, 2024

The Way Too Early NFL FA Predictions

Between now and the middle of March a whole host of NFL players will be subject to new contracts, franchise tagging or free agency. We’ve already seen some action among the more famous names in the league with Antonio Brown trying to force a trade, Le’Veon Bell looking for a new team, Kareem Hunt has found a home in Cleveland and Joe Flacco is all but set for Mile High.

I thought it would be so much of a bad idea, that it is, in fact, a good idea to rank the dream team FA matchups and I promise they’re not all in Denver – Although I will admit there are a lot of Broncos-related moves.

The Colts have more cap room to play with than anybody else and they can afford to splash the cash a little. Lining up Lawrence alongside Darius Leonard will be a nightmare for opposing defences to scheme against.

The Broncos safety tandem has been less than impressive, with the inconsistent form of Justin Simmons and the regressing Darian Stewart it only makes sense for Denver to target one of the best in the game.

Fangio likes to play an aggressive defence and Amos has balled out for him in Chicago, it seems like a match made in heaven on paper.

The Cowboys will need to fill the void left by Lawrence and Flowers will command a lot less cash whilst plugging the position to a relatively high level. Although Flowers isn’t quite as effective as Lawrence he’s certainly a credible player.

The Rams are likely to continue their Real Madrid-esque model of signing every big name defensive player in the sport. Along with the likes of Suh and Talib, Graham is in the right ballpark in terms of age and thus will be available on a reasonable contract and if there’s one position Wade Phillips likes to be aggressive it’s on the edge.

Although Grady isn’t a like for like option, the titans need a lot more fire power rushing the passer and there aren’t many available better than Jarrett. Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan’s departure has left a huge hole in the pass rushing department for the Titans.

Seattle has a fair bit of cap to use and they could do with more power along the defensive line or at outside backer. Clowney won’t be cheap but Clark looks to be on his way out and they need to find an impact similar to what Clark and Avril provided.

Side note: I tried every way possible to make it fit with Denver but it’s just not feasible.

Okay, so I know Denver hasn’t got the cap to sign Flacco, Collins and Amos but if as I suspect they shift Sanders, Leary, Stewart and possibly Roby then I think it could be feasible.

The biggest reason really comes down to the fact that Collins wants to play Linebacker and with the all but confirmed departure of Brandon Marshall there’s a huge hole there. Plus Fangio is known for his creative efforts in the linebacking core so having someone as versatile as Collins could be a game changer.

As I mentioned above Brandon Marshall is certainly heading out the door in Denver and although he’s hardly an elite level linebacker he could provide a level of professionalism that the Giants are in need for.

The ridiculous salary Olivier Vernon is on means the Giants can’t splash big on anyone if they want to compete next year but Marshall could be the perfect blend of low salary and talent to help the Giants through the next year or two.

I am a huge fan of Emmanuel Ogbah but I think I’m probably the only one. If we’re being completely honest he’s never going to take the attention away from Garrett to aid the pass rush but Frank Clark would.

Few teams will look to Clark thanks to his dysfunctional past but Dorsey, as we’ve seen, isn’t afraid to take a flyer on a so-called troubled player. Plus the Browns have a lot of cap and with few offensive linemen out there they have to put that cash to good use somewhere.

First of let me start by saying I can’t stand the Raiders and I’m reluctant to talk about them doing anything even remotely positive, but I’ve had to take my orange tinted specs off for a minute with this one.

The Raiders are in clear need of defensive reinforcements and despite having more picks than they’ve had victories in the past couple of years it’s very unlikely they nail every pick.

Ford offers a relatively cost effective solution to plugging a pass rush that missed Khalil Mack like Denver misses Manning.

Earl Thomas has his entire life in Texas and although it’s a huge state it’s certainly a lot closer to home than the Seahawks are. It’s no secret he’s wanted a move to Dallas but Houston could be the next best option.

Every year someone makes the signing of the year without realising it, this year the Jets will nail it if this move happens. They’ve already got a young secondary with immense talent locked up for the foreseeable future and adding Darby into the mix would create a devastating secondary to throw in to.

Baltimore would ideally want to be a run first team, they’ve got a run-first coach and a QB who can play the option as good as anyone else in the NFL. A Jackson-Bell backfield would be a nightmare combination for every Coordinator in the NFL.

The Colts are only a few pieces away from being a credible Super Bowl challenger and they’ve got the cash. If Chris Ballard is ever going to jump into win-now mode then this is a move he really needs to consider. It would turn the Colts defence into one of the most dominant front 7s in the league overnight.

There’s a lot of back and forth between NY and Denver in this post but for good reason. Although Denver would love to keep Paradis he’s coming off of a big injury, they haven’t exactly struggled with Connor McGovern making the move to Center.

John Elway may decide he has more pressing needs elsewhere to pay Paradis the salary he deserves and after tagging him last season it doesn’t seem like a viable option this year.

It’s a reluctant move but one I think would make a great deal of sense.

I can make an argument for almost every team in the league to make a move for Tate. Green Bay have a lot of glaring holes but adding to their receiving corps is a good way to paper over the cracks and let Rodgers do what he does best.

Hicks is a player the NFL doesn’t have many of – his ability in zone coverage from the middle of the park is exceptional. It doesn’t look like Shazier will ever make it back from his horrific injury but Hicks might well be the perfect replacement.

The Bengals are starting to become the place Defensive linemen go to die but that doesn’t mean they’re not in glaring in need of anyone who can play against the run. For the love of god Bengals’ fans need to see someone who can shed a block.

Bobby Hart was one of the worst tackles in the NFL last year, make your move Cinci.

The man with the greatest name in NFL history would be well suited with the 49ers. 6 players combined for 300 snaps at Safety last season and that’s how many times Dix has picked the ball off in each of the last 3 seasons.

This right here is a match made in heaven.

The Jags are built to win now at every position except quarterback. Foles understands the pressures of winning the big one when the odds were stacked against him. This seems like the perfect move for Foles heading forward and no doubt Jacksonville will pay the man.

This Denver D will rock the NFL

Broncos fans have been pleasantly surprised with the play of Jared Veldheer but John Elway only took him as a backup option after failing to agree to a trade for James. His cap wouldn’t be any different to Veldheer’s, he’s better and he has a few more years left in the tank.

The Broncos have very little use for the former 1st round selection. As an active member of the Broncos roster, Ray felt it would be a wise decision to get a KC Tattoo. There’s no doubt his loyalty lies in Kansas and I have no doubt he’d take the opportunity to play at Arrowhead over any other in the league.

Justin Houston isn’t getting any younger and having someone like Ray onboard will provide a viable rotation option with obvious talent against the pass.

Barrett is a favourite in Denver but the franchise can’t offer him what he wants and needs. As good as he is when it comes to making plays Barrett is never going to start ahead of Chubb and Miller, with Justin Holland making the team they’re not in need of a pass rusher, especially on a starter salary.

The 49ers desperately need help on the edge and Barrett is an ideal fit in San Fran.

Roby is on the cusp of being a NFL CB1. His performances in 2018 didn’t indicate that but his play in every year since he was drafted does. The slot was a mess in Detroit last season and signing Roby would mean Patricia has a lot more freedom in his coverage selections.

Sanders is coming off of a huge injury and it’s unlikely that Denver will commit to paying the man in 2019. Arizona presents a destination with real value. A short-term deal would mean Rosen can sling the rock to two brilliant receivers.

This move could easily happen in a trade if Denver don’t cut the right tackle.

Kendall Lamm and Martinas Ranklin have combined to be one of the most ineffective solutions at right tackle for Houston. Although Veldheer isn’t a long term solution he does provide instant stability for DeShaun Watson for a reasonable salary.

Much like the Amos move I believe Fangio will persuade Callahan to link up with him in Denver. His ability to play both in the slot and at outside will provide the Broncos will a truck load of options heading into 2019.

In all honesty you could swap out Keenum for Bortles here. I’ve gone with Keenum simply because his contract would be more reasonable than Bortles’.

Gruden hates developing young QBs and would much rather have a tried and tested professional who understands the game. Keenum isn’t the greatest but it would make an awful lot of sense seeing as it’s unlikely that Smith will ever return. In the same vein as Denver signed him, Case could be in for another bridge move.

Leary has proven himself to be a mountain of a guard over the years, able to play either side, Leary would be a fantastic addition to a troubled Chargers O-line. Dan Feeney allowed more pressures than any other guard in the NFL this year, they need to improve and Leary could be the best option on the market. His injury record is cause for concern but there’s no doubting how good he can be.

Salford isn’t a flashy name nor is he an elite prospect at guard but he would be a valuable, consistent asset for Denver if they move on Ronald Leary. If the money is there I can see John Elway’s shrewd FA signings continue here.

Blake Bortles isn’t going to fill fins fans with confidence but he’s certainly the best of what’s left. In a lacklustre QB class it might make more sense for Miami to offer Bortles a short term deal with a view to taking the QBOTF in 2020.

Joyner would be a fantastic replacement for the multi-purpose Earl Thomas. His play may not be as explosive but there aren’t many better likely to be available this year and with a poor rookie class looking inevitable it would be wise to take Joyner under serious consideration.

I can almost guarantee none of these moves will happen and so much will change between now and mid-March. I enjoyed putting this fantasy scenario together in my head and I hope you enjoyed reading it.

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