At 4:00pm today NFL Free Agency begins with a very talented pool to say the least. Peyton Manning, Pierre Garcon, and Vincent Jackson will set the tone, being the biggest catches this year. Players like Michael Bush, Robert Meachum, and Mario Manningham will look to move to teams in which their roles will become one of the feature players. In what will be the biggest impact on the upcoming April Draft, where should some of the more well known Free Agents explode into ?
1) Peyton Manning:
Peyton can fit almost anywhere, and provides instant Playoff hopes for which ever team lands this Hall of Famer to be. Denver, the relationships with Elway and Fox, and Arizona, just say Fitzgerald, seem to be the front runners. The Miami Dolphins might have an edge with Peyton owning a home in Miami, but it would be a mistake for new Head Coach, Joe Philbin not to be able to implement his own system from the start. Tennessee Titans owner, Bud Adams, made Manning his priority this past weekend. I remember the Vince Young saga, so I take their run seriously. I see Peyton surprising many, Welcome back to Rocky Top Tennessee. Manning chose to join the Denver Broncos. It’s a tougher Division than Peyton is use to, and with the AFC North on the schedule, Manning is going to have a difficult return to the NFL.
2) Matt Flynn:
Should be the 2nd most sought after QB in this years pool. Washington’s trade and the similarities with Cleveland’s Colt McCoy, will hurt Flynn’s value. Seattle, Jacksonville, and Miami should all be in the hunt. Miami will win this race. It makes the most sense for both Flynn and Philbin. Flynn chose to back hand Miami, taking his services to Seattle. In Seattle Matt’s going to have to prove he can be a better option than the incumbent Tarvaris Jackson.
3) Jason Campbell:
The season ending injury last year put Jason into FA this year, after the Raiders over paid for Carson Palmer to replace him. Campbell will be looking for the chance to at least compete. Jacksonville, Arizona, and Seattle might give a good look at Campbell. I see Jacksonville landing Jason to help push last years rookie Blaine Gabbert. Jason decided to back up Jay Cutler for the Chicago Bears.
4) Kyle Orton:
Cleveland, Seattle, and Arizona will all be still looking for signal callers, yet Orton may not be the right option for any of them. Even after the New York Jets extended Mark Sanchez contract, Kyle might find his best landing spot in New York. Orton took himself off the FA ladder quicker than most expected. He obviously wanted out of Kansas City, accepting a back up role in Dallas. It’s a win win for both.
1) Michael Bush: Bush will be looking to be the feature back where he lands. Cincinnati, NY Jets, and Tampa Bay will all make hard pitches, with the Bengals making the splash.
2) Cedric Benson: Cedric might no longer be the featured back, just one of the reasons the Bengals change directions. Situations in Denver, Kansas City, Cleveland, and Tampa Bay would all benefit Benson’s productivity. Tampa Bay lands a solid running mate to LaGarrett Blount.
3) Peyton Hillis: The Madden Cover Boy wore out his welcome in Cleveland, so Hillis could be the under priced gem of this RB class. Detroit, Washington, and Denver might show interest; yet Kansas City wins out.
4) Mike Tolbert:
Like Hillis and Benson, Tolbert will benefit from being part of a running back duo. Either of the NY teams, Tampa, and especially Denver could make a play. Tolbert lands a Mile High. Tolbert decided to leave almost a million dollars on the table from the Chargers, and take his skills to Carolina. This will be a reunion for Mike with Head Coach Ron Rivera and OC Rob Chudzinski who coached him during his most productive season in San Diego. Look for Carolina to trade either Williams or Stewart before April’s draft.
1) Vincent Jackson: Jackson will have his choice of great opportunities; Washington, Chicago, Tampa Bay to name a few. Washington’s trade to apparently get Robert Griffin III in the upcoming draft isn’t enough to surpass the big arm of Josh Freeman and the sun of Florida. Tampa Bay grabs it’s best addition.
2) Reggie Wayne:
It does not seem like Reggie will wait to see where Manning lands. Wayne does not seem to have the top end speed to stretch Defensive, but he does possess some of the most reliable hands. Arizona, Jacksonville and the New York Jets should all seek his services. Arizona finds Kolb another weapon. Wayne decided to stay put in Indy, giving their next signal caller veteran leadership and fantastic hands in the receiving corps.
3) Mario Manningham:
The Super Bowl aside, Mario is one of the biggest catches in this years class. Cleveland, Washington, and Cincinnati all are in desperate need. St. Louis swoops in and lands a target for Sam Bradford. Manningham landing in San Francisco is a bit of a surprise after the Randy Moss signing. The 49ers will now have great weapons at WR, they only need to hope the can resign Alex Smith so they have someone to get them the ball.
4) Pierre Garcon: Garcon could be what Cleveland is looking for to stretch the field, or maybe A.J. Green’s running mate in Cincinnati. Instead of returning to Ohio, Pierre takes his services to Washington and RG3.