Football fans, are you ready for the chaos and madness that begins with the official beginning of the new NFL season? Games may not start until early September, but on March 14 the NFL officially declares the start of free agency. So what should every team do during free agency?
Arizona Cardinals: Go after Sam Bradford
Carson Palmer is retiring from the NFL and the other three quarterbacks on the Cardinals roster are free agents. They should try for Kirk Cousins, but they realistically don’t have the money to offer him. They should be able to afford Sam Bradford though.
Atlanta Falcons: Extend Matt Ryan
Ryan is a top ten quarterback in the NFL and a former MVP winner. He serves to be paid like one. The Falcons main priority this offseason should be locking up their franchise QB. He may not have played like an MVP last season, but they should still be prepared to give him over $110 million in a new deal.
Perriman has not been successful in his first three seasons and is a bit of a long shot to make the roster come August. The Ravens should not continue with Perriman and look to the draft for receivers.
Taylor had his worst season with the Bills last season and the 28-year-old quarterback would be working under a new offensive coordinator after the team fired Rick Dennison
. The Bills opted to bench Taylor for rookie quarterback, Nathan Peterman
, who ended up throwing five interceptions in one game. It was clear that Buffalo thought that Taylor was the issue when their offense was lagging and I think the best thing for them would be to draft a quarterback or pick one up in free agency (Kirk Cousins, Case Keenum
, Sam Bradford, Jay Cutler
, and Teddy Bridgewater
are all still technically available).
Carolina Panthers: Find a buyer
After news broke that Jerry Richardson
would be selling his team, a bunch of celebrities, such as Diddy and Steph Curry, chimed in saying they wanted to buy the Panthers. Before the team can move ahead with signing new players, they need to find someone who will realistically take over as owner.
In addition to adding Landry, the Bears need to release Mike Glennon
and officially let Mitchell Trubisky take over as starter. Landry is consistent at wide receiver and had good hands, the perfect combination for a young quarterback to target. Even though the Dolphins have already franchise tagged Landry, it is no guarantee that he will be resigned (see Josh Norman
Cincinnati Bengals: Beef up their offensive line
The Bengals are in need of a left guard and center. Two positions that they can hopefully find during free agency. Andy Dalton
needs more protection in order for the receivers to get open. Success starts up front.
Cleveland Browns: Make a push for Cousins, but don’t overpay for McCarron.
Cousins is without a doubt the most valuable player available. But considering Cleveland’s recent history, I think it would take a lot to get Cousins to be a Browns (when I say a lot, I mean the biggest contract in league history). But the Browns need to be sure that they don’t overpay an AJ McCarron or Teddy Bridgewater.
Dallas Cowboys: Tighten up the offensive line
The Cowboys have had one of the best offensive lines in recent years, and they still do. But in order to clear up some cap space they need to restructure Travis Frederick
(former Badger) current contract. Also on the offensive line, they need to extend Zack Martin
, who is going to be entering his final year of his contract.
Denver Broncos: Make room in the salary cap for a QB
In order to do this, I think the Broncos will need to part ways with Aqib Talib
and C.J. Anderson
. Talib has already been being shopped around this offseason but his cap hit is so high that no team is likely to pounce on the once Pro-Bowler. Anderson has been pretty much silent in terms of production since the Broncos re-signed him in 2015. By cutting both veterans, the Broncos would clear over $16 million in cap space in order to make a run at a big name quarterback (such as Kirk Cousins).
Detroit’s biggest playmaker on defense since he entered the league has been Ansah, and it would be foolish to not bring him back. He is essentially the Lions whole defensive line and deserves to be paid accordingly.
Green Bay Packers: Find a backup quarterback
Packer fans experienced their first issues at quarterback in a long time this year after Aaron Rodgers
injured his collarbone. Brett Hundley
wasn’t up to the task and the team should look into adding another quarterback to play behind Rodgers.
I love JJ Watt as much as any other Badger fan, but it is no secret that he hasn’t been as dependable and invisible as we one thought he was. Watt has had two season ending injuries the last two seasons. In order to gain consistency on the Texans defense, they need to extend Clowney, who has been living up to the hype around him in Watt’s absence.
Indianapolis Colts: Fuel the rivalry with the Pats
These teams have quite the history. Between the memorable Brady vs Manning games all the way through DeflateGate. But more fuel was added to the fire already this offseason when Josh McDaniels was all set to become the Colts head coach before withdrawing his name from candidacy. In return the Colts should sign Dion Lewis
, the Pats leading rusher in 2017. Frank Gore
won’t play forever and Lewis is shifty and dynamic.
Robinson missed nearly all of the 2017 season with a torn ACL. Somehow Blake Bortles
managed to get the team to the AFC Championship game (with the help of their unapologetic defense) without his star receiver. Robinson has the potential to be a top-5 receiver in the league and is the receiver the Jags can’t afford to lose (Allen Hurns
and Marquise Lee are both also set to be free agents).
The Alex Smith
era is over in KC and Mahomes is his successor. Tyler Bray
, the only other quarterback currently on the Chiefs roster is set to become a free agent. I think the Chiefs should play it smart and go after Tyrod Taylor to play backup. He is capable of starting in the NFL but after his last season, I don’t know how many offers he will get.
Hayward, who is a former Packer has been one of the most consistent cornerbacks in the league since joining the Chargers. He has snagged 11 interceptions the last two seasons and only has one year left on his three year contract. The Chargers will need to lock him up for future success.
The Rams were surprisingly successful last year. In order to keep up that success, I think they need to start by cutting longtime receiver, Tavon Austin. The Rams have Sammy Watkins
(who they should franchise tag) and Cooper Cupp coming off of an excellent rookie season. Austin is a huge cap hit and the Rams need to part ways with him.
Miami Dolphins: Clear up some cap space
It is safe to say that the Dolphins have a huge salary cap problem this season. A large portion of their cap is going into their wide receivers (Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills
, and DeVante Parker
). Miami placed the Franchise Tag on Landry, who is currently slated to bring in $16 million next season. Miami is over the salary cap. They need to either restructure contracts, sign Landry to a smaller deal, or release one of their higher paid players such as Ndamukong Such or Ryan Tannehill
Minnesota Vikings: Keep Keenum and let Bradford and Bridgewater walk.
Keenum proved that he could lead the Vikings offense, despite being their second option. Keenum has a special connection with Adam Theilen that the Vikings need to capitalize on. Keep Keenum and let the other two test the market.
Immediately after the Super Bowl, rumors began swirling that Rob Gronkowski
was contemplating retirement. Gronk has been the focal point of the Patriots offense )when he is healthy) since 2012. If he were to retire, I would imagine that the Pats would turn to their deep threat, Brandin Cooks, to keep the ball moving. Before last season started, New England declined Cooks’ fifth year option, but I think it would be in their best interest to sign him to a long term deal.
The Saints had a successful season, part in thanks to their future Hall of Fame quarterback. Brees has been with the team since 2006 and led them to a Super Bowl victory in 2010. He is the staple of the franchise and needs to continue to be in order for the Saints to be successful.
New York Giants: Prepare for life after Manning
was benched in November for Geno Smith
, but ultimately gained his starting role back just one week later. Manning has been on the decline since 2015 and this could very well be his last season in the Big Apple. The Giants have the second overall pick and should strongly consider using it on a quarterback.
New York Jets: Sign Kirk Cousins
Can anyone remember the last time the Jets had a long term starting quarterback? Me neither. The Redskins traded for Alex Smith already, which pretty mush signals an end to Kirk Cousins’ time in the nation’s capital. The Jets seem to be a likely landing spot for the veteran quarterback who has been waiting for a long term deal for the last two seasons, but instead got the franchise tag. In order to be successful, the Jets will first need to sign a long term QB.
Oakland Raiders: Add a big defensive lineman
There are two decent defensive lineman on the market this offseason: Ezekiel Ansah and DeMarcus Lawrence. Both of them are likely to be franchise tagged, but if they aren’t the Raiders should take a serious look at signing one of them. IF none of them are available starting March 14th, Oakland should consider Falcon’s defensive lineman, Adrian Clayborn
The market for Foles will never be higher coming off of his Super Bowl victory. The Eagles don’t really need him because they will be getting Carson Wentz
back, who is coming off of an ACL injury. They need to trade Foles now in order to get the most possible for him.
It’s no secret that Pittsburgh offense is loaded with Ben, Brown, and Bell. Le’Veon played under the franchise tag last season and said he would consider retirement or sitting a year if he was tagged again. He is explosive and deserves to be paid, it’s time that the Steelers give in.
The 49ers already found their quarterback thanks to New England, now they might as well take try to find their #1 cornerback from them too. Jimmy Garoppolo
was given the biggest contract in the history of the NFL already this offseason. But the 49ers are in desperate need of a lockdown cornerback, and I think Butler could be their guy.
Seattle Seahawks: Clear cap space
The Seahawks need to cut ties with two players: Cliff Avril
and Jeremy Lane
. Lane was nearly traded last season when the Seahawks acquired Duane Brown
, and most likely won’t want to play for a team that wanted to get rid of him. Avril has been consistent for the Seahawks but is too big of a salary cap hit when the team needs to load up their offensive lineman and think about extending Russell Wilson
Evans is a beast on offense and has been since entering the league. He is on the final year of his current contract and it would be in the best interest of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to dish out a new deal to their offensive star, especially after cutting ties with Doug Martin.
The Titans are more than likely already planning on doing this but it has to be a priority this offseason. They have a former-Heisman winner in Derrick Henry
to replace Murray when they let him go. Henry is ready to take over the role of starting running back and proved what he is capable of in the playoffs.
Washington Redskins: Move on from Kirk Cousins
It seems that Washington is already doing this after trading for Alex Smith. But they absolutely should not place the franchise tag on Cousins for the third year in a row. Both parties need to move on from each other because neither is happy with their current situation.