The next big date for your NFL calendar is March 12th when Free Agency officially begins. Although teams are not allowed to make contact with potential free agents until the clock strikes midnight on the 12th, there will no doubt be a free agent signing announced on a new team by 12.05 am.
Here we break down in three parts the best possible free agents by position and include some possible destinations for each player. Part 1 will be Offense, Part 2 Defense and Part 3 will include both Offense and Defensive Line and Special Teams.
Part 1 Offense.
Joe Flacco- Ravens.
The fact that Flacco has just won a SuperBowl and was voted the MVP it would be a huge surprise if he was not resigned in Baltimore. If anything goes wrong he’ll be franchised.
Jason Campbell- Bears
Campbell was playing well before he got injured in Oakland and lost his job after the Raiders traded for Carson Palmer. Campbell’s brief recent outings with the Bears were a disaster but he is still a better quarterback than some who are starters in this league, although he’ll likely be signed by someone as a back up to start with.
Possible destinations: Chicago, Buffalo, Minnesota
Matt Moore- Dolphins
Moore had his best season in 2011 but his days were numbered when the Dolphins selected Ryan Tannehill in 2012. Moore like Campbell is a better player than some starting QB’s but like Campbell will be signed as a back up, although will want a chance to compete for the starting job.
Possible destinations: Chicago, Buffalo, Dallas, Jacksonville
Drew Stanton- Colts
Stanton is still somewhat of an un-known quantity due to a lack of opportunities. This could elevate Stanton over most free agent QB’s and he could be given a shot somewhere like Arizona or Jacksonville.
Possible destinations: Arizona, Jacksonville, Oakland, Chicago
Steven Jackson- Rams
At this stage no-one knows if Jackson will be back at all as he has hinted at retirement although I suspect he’ll test the waters on free agency first. That said its still possible Jackson could be back on a reduced contract in St Louis although if a contender like the Patriots show an interest that could be an easy decision to make.
Possible destinations: St Louis, New England, Denver, Washington
Reggie Bush- Dolphins
Rumour is that Bush won’t be back in Miami next season and after proving that he can be an every down back rather than a luxury on an offense he should have plenty of interest from teams that need a running back although it is unlikely one of those teams will be a contender.
Possible destinations: Arizona, Detroit, Carolina, Philadelphia, Dallas
Rashard Mendenhall- Steelers
The two big question marks around Mendenhall are health and attitude and that will hurt his chances of a good contract but teams will know that if he is healthy he can still be a productive back in this league.
Possible destinations: Denver, Atlanta, Arizona, Giants
Chris Ivory- Saints
With the Saints crowded backfield and their salary cap problems Ivory should make it onto the open market despite proving when given the chance that he could be a starting running back and the fact that he hasn’t played as much as othershis age will give him an edge as he has plenty left in the tank.
Possible destinations: Denver, Atlanta, Arizona, Giants, St Louis
It seems that Amendola and the Rams are a long way from agreeing a new deal but the likely outcome could be the Rams giving him the franchise tag keeping him of the open market for at least this year. In an offense not exactly stacked with weapons Amendola has continued to make plays and could generate plenty of interest in what is now a pass happy league.
Possible destinations: St Louis, New England, Green Bay, Pittsburgh, Chicago
It looked like Bowe would not be back in Kansas City but a new GM and a new head coach seemed to have altered this outcome. Talks have taken place between Bowe and the Chiefs although Bowe may want to know who would be throwing him the ball in 2013 before he commits to stay in KC.
Possible destinations: Kansas City, New England, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Green Bay, Philadelphia
It seems more and more likely that Welker will not be back in New England next year and although his form dipped in 2012 would still be a dangerous asset in the right offense.
Possible destinations: Pittsburgh, Denver, Dallas, Philadelphia, San Diego, Chicago, Detroit, San Francisco
The Packers are rumoured to thinking about franchising Jennings although it seems he would prefer to play elsewhere in 2013. He has expressed an interest in playing in Miami, possibly to be re-united with former offensive co-ordinator Joe Philbin or because he wants to experience some warmer weather.
Possible destinations: Miami, Jacksonville, San Diego, Chicago.
It is highly unlikely that Wallace will be back in Pittsburgh next year and judging by his past contract issues he may well be looking for the biggest possible payday rather than the best possible team. Former offensive co-ordinator in Pittsburgh, Bruce Arians who is now head coach in Arizona would love to have Wallace as would any team that wants to add speed to its offense.
Possible destinations: Arizona, Cleveland, San Diego, Chicago, Miami
The likely scenario is that Bennett re-signs with the Giants but he has expressed an interest in playing with his brother in Tampa but do the Buccaneers want him is more the point. He is not going to make big money but will have interest from some teams that need a Tight End and don’t have much cap space to play with.
Possible destinations: Giants, Tampa Bay, Arizona, Buffalo
Cook wanted out of Tennessee long before his contract expired but the Titans have expressed an interest in keeping him so the Franchise Tag could be used here which no doubt will not please Cook one bit.
Possible destinations: Tennessee, Atlanta, Arizona, San Diego, Tampa Bay
The Redskins want to keep Davis but at the right price and after coming of an injury and being one positive drug test away from a suspension the Redskins hold all the bargaining power, that could lead to Davis testing the open market where he should get a better contract, although not by much. Falcons coach Mike Smith praised Davis heavily before their matchup last year and this could be an option if Tont Gonzalez retires.
Possible destinations: Washington, Atlanta, Arizona, Cleveland, Tampa Bay
Walker is a big part of the 49ers offense but is still number 2 on the depth chart behind Vernon Davis and may want to go to a team and be the number one guy from here on out. The 49ers are expected to Franchise Dashon Golston so Walker will likely hit the open market and could well be on a new team in 2013.
Possible destinations: San Francisco, Buffalo, San Diego, TampaBay, Cleveland