Looking Forward to the NFL’s “Top” Free Agents
by Amy Lignor
Now that the Patriots have (once again) walked away with the Super Bowl title, it is time that the NFL teams focus on the draft and what free agents they need to most definitely keep on their roster.
The Pittsburgh Steelers always seem to be on all the “experts” lists to make it to the end and finally get back to the Super Bowl’s main stage. Unfortunately, the Steelers can’t seem to get past those pesky Patriots. In order to do so, there is one Steelers’ free agent that most definitely needs to be re-signed by the Steelers; and that is running back Le’Veon Bell. You are talking about a player who missed a quarter of last season, yet still ranked third in the NFL with 1,884 yards from scrimmage. At only 24 years-old, Bell earned his second career Pro Bowl visit and the Steelers literally cannot let him hit the open market and wave goodbye. “Valuable” is a term to definitely describe Bell, especially since QB Ben Roethlisberger has shown he does not have much time left on the NFL stage. Bell is needed and the Steelers can definitely afford his salary.
Another name being bounced around is the Washington Redskins QB Kirk Cousins. Now, yes, he has failed to lead the team to a playoff victory, but Cousins certainly has gotten them farther than their previous QB (who we won’t mention). Posting winning records in his two seasons at the helm, Cousins ranked in the top 10 in terms of completion percentage, yards per attempt and passer rating. Consistency is Cousins problem more than anything else, yet his salary is something that the Redskins can afford, and losing him to free agency is something they most definitely cannot afford.
The Kansas City Chiefs are also in the headlines when it comes to free agency and a name they really should (and most likely will) keep on their roster. Safety Eric Berry is what most would call a man in the prime of his football career, and is one of the NFL’s best safeties out there. Just as important is the fact that this is an NFL team that has only recorded one playoff win this century. The Bears, Colts – even the Tennessee Titans are drooling for this player; three teams that desperately need to make some impact in their divisions. So…who will sign him? There looks to be a 100% chance that the Chiefs will find a way to keep him no matter what.
When it comes to these high-impact players, there is one position (as always) that is desperate to be filled by many teams in the NFL. Bill Belichick, of course, is one coach who does not have to worry about this position, seeing as that he already has the “best QB to ever play the sport” in Tom Brady. What Belichick also has, however, is the biggest bargaining chip in a good, long time. QB Jimmy Garoppolo had the chance to prove his skill and talent (and did just that) when Brady was not able to play. He will also be at the very top of the free agent list, even though Tony Romo and Jay Cutler are also likely to be available to the QB-needy teams out there.
Garoppolo would be the youngest of the three if used as a bargaining chip by Belichick. His presence in free agency would have many teams clamoring for him, and will most likely involve having to give up a first- or second-round pick by any team that grabs him from Belichick. But when you look at the Bills, the 49ers, the Bears, (who will definitely give up their QB Jay Cutler because of his continuously bad performances), a QB is needed by many and “picks” will fall by the wayside in order to fill that position. Heck, even the Tennessee Titans may clamor for Jimmy, seeing as that they signed Brock Osweiler (who was supposed to be a “stellar catch” because he showed immense talent when backing up Peyton Manning on the Broncos) for $16 million last season. Although beloved Dallas QB Tony Romo would make sense staying in Texas and playing for the Titans, his price tag would be undoable for the Titans at this point, meaning Jimmy may just be the answer to a $16 million-dollar mistake.
In the end, the “stars” look as if free agency will do nothing but offer them more money from the teams they already play for, seeing as that their current teams need these players more than they need them. And, once again, Bill Belichick will most likely receive the biggest prize by getting a first-round pick and adding yet another awesome talent to the Patriots’ roster.
Source: GIG News