2014 NFL Offseason Preview
With the NFL playoffs closing out with what is sure to be an exciting Super Bowl, it’s never too early to look at the offseason. We have already posted our 2014 NFL Mock draft which features the ability to click each team and view their free agents and team needs.
Each and every offseason, we see many of the top free agents franchise tagged. Last season we saw Ryan Clady, Michael Johnson, Henry Melton and Jairus Byrd all hit with the franchise tag (among others). While those players were guaranteed to earn the average of the top 5 players at their position, other players cashed in long-term deals in new cities. Most notably among those last season were Wes Welker, Paul Kruger and Mike Wallace all heading to new teams. In 2014, it will be no different. We will start by providing a list of top 55 free agents in alphabetical order:
Top NFL Free Agents
|Alex Mack||Golden Tate||Knowshon Moreno|
|Alterraun Verner||Greg Hardy||Lamarr Houston|
|Antoine Bathea||Hakeem Nicks||Linval Joseph|
|Aqib Talib||Henry Melton||Malcolm Jenkins|
|Arthur Jones||Jairus Byrd||Maurice Jones Drew|
|Ben Tate||James Jones||Michael Bennett|
|BJ Raji||Jared Allen||Michael Johnson|
|Brandon Albert||Jared Veldheer||Michael Oher|
|Brandon Spikes||Jason Hatcher||Michael Vick|
|Brent Grimes||Jason Worilds||Randy Starks|
|Brian Orakpo||Jeremy Maclin||Rashad Jennings|
|Darren McFadden||Jimmy Graham||Riley Cooper|
|Daryl Smith||Joe Mays||Rob Jackson|
|Donald Butler||Jon Beason||Shaun Philips|
|Eric Decker||Jonathan Babineaux||TJ Ward|
|Eugene Monroe||Jordan Gross||Travelle Wharton|
|Evan De La Puente||Justin Tuck||Tyson Jackson|
|Geoff Schwartz||Karlos Dansby||Vontae Davis|
Guys like Jimmy Graham and Brian Orakpo are not going to make it to free agency. They will either come to terms on a long-term agreement or be tagged as their team's franchise player.
Free agents fall in to one of several categories. The first category is the guys who have paid their dues and will be paid well for their performance and patience. Ben Tate is perhaps the best example. Drafted by the Texans in the second round of the 2010 draft from Auburn, Tate was tasked with backing up one of the game's best running backs in Arian Foster. Tate has only 421 carries under his belt in his short time in the league, and will attempt to cash in his first round of free agency a la Michael Turner. Turner was LaDainian Tomlinson’s backup for several years in San Diego before cashing in as the primary back in Atlanta. There are many suitors for Tate, including Cleveland, Oakland and Indianapolis.
The next category is the one-year deal veterans who will sign with playoff potential teams. Michael Vick, Jared Allen and Jon Beason fall into this category. Jared Allen will have a horde of suitors-- New England and Dallas come to mind as the ideal landing spots. Allen has been one of the best defensive ends for the past decade and has registered double-digit sacks in each of the past seven years, including 22 in 2011. He racked up 11.5 sacks this year and will have the opportunity to decide between many options. After playing four years for a horrendous Kansas City team and then signing with Minnesota which has been quite the roller-coaster ride, no amount of money will convince Allen to put on a Jacksonville or Cleveland jersey.
The next category is the big money makers. Golden Tate, who could also fall into the “paid their dues” category, falls here. The difference is that while Ben was brought in to provide depth at the RB position, Golden was brought in to be the top receiving threat. With Calvin Johnson.
Stay tuned for a more complete list of NFL free agents and RotoBaller projections following Super Bowl XLVIII.