Top 5 Free Agent Running Backs and their Projected Landing Spot

1. Le’Veon Bell – Old Team: Pittsburgh Steelers

Le’Veon Bell has proven that he consistently is a top 3 running back in the NFL and now he wants the Steelers to pay him like one. Bell is demanding a large amount of money in contract negotiations from Pittsburgh and it will be interesting to see if the two sides can finally reach a long-term deal. If not, the Steelers might have to franchise tag Bell even though he has already publicly stated that he probably wouldn’t play in 2018 if he were to be franchise tagged again. It is difficult to imagine a scenario where Bell plays for another team next season, but hopefully the Steelers and Bell can compromise on a long-term contract.

Projected Landing Spot: Pittsburgh Steelers

2. Carlos Hyde – Old Team: San Francisco 49ers

Carlos Hyde has been a good starting running back for the 49ers since he was drafted by the team a few years ago. However, the 49ers coaching staff doesn’t really seem very high on him since they weren’t the ones that drafted him. That means Hyde is likely heading for free agency where there will certainly be at least a couple of teams interested in him. The teams that he fits the most are the Seahawks and the Lions as both teams are in big need of an early-down running back that can help provide balance on offense. However, the team that he fits the most with is the Detroit Lions as they really don’t have a running back that they can rely upon. Hyde is a much better option than Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick at running back for the Lions. Also, Hyde shouldn’t cost too much money to sign and he would provide the quality running back that they have been missing for a very long time.

Projected Landing Spot: Detroit Lions

3. Isaiah Crowell – Old Team: Cleveland Browns

There is no doubt that Isaiah Crowell has plenty of talent, but for whatever reason Cleveland never gave him much of an opportunity to succeed in their offense. Crowell also didn’t get along well with the coaching staff which makes it very unlikely that he will re-sign with the team in free agency. There are a couple of teams that would want to sign Crowell, but the best fit for him is probably the Seattle Seahawks. They have been looking for a good powerful running back ever since Marshawn Lynch left. Crowell can certainly provide tons of value as a power back and he also won’t cost much money which is key since the Seahawks don’t have much cap space.

Projected Landing Spot: Seattle Seahawks

4. Frank Gore – Old Team: Indianapolis Colts

Frank Gore isn’t the terrific starting running back that he once was, but he has proven that he can still be a decent starter for an NFL team. Gore is about to turn 35 years old, so he probably shouldn’t be relied upon to carry the load at the running back position for any team. However, he could fit with a team that has another running back that can share the workload with him. It doesn’t seem likely that the Colts would want to bring Gore back and his market will likely be very limited in free agency. There is one team though that seems to be a possible fit and that is the New York Giants. The Giants have a need for a running back and they already have a couple of decent options at the position, but none of them stand out as the starter. Gore would help stabilize the running game for them at likely a very cheap cost. He will definitely only get a short-term deal and the Giants would be a very good fit for him since he wouldn’t have to be the 3-down back that he has been for most of his career.

Projected Landing Spot: New York Giants

5. Dion Lewis – Old Team: New England Patriots

Dion Lewis came out of nowhere to become a very productive running back for the Patriots, although he was primarily used as a pass-catcher. The issue is that the Patriots already have James White on their roster as a similar type of player and it is unknown whether they would have much of a role for Lewis in the offense. That means Lewis is likely heading for free agency where he could generate some interest as a 3rd-down back. The team that makes the most sense is the Detroit Lions since they are known to use versatile running backs like Lewis in the passing game. Lewis would provide another weapon in the passing game for Detroit and it probably wouldn’t cost much to sign him since he is basically only a 3rd-down running back.

Projected Landing Spot: Detroit Lions

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Top 5 Free Agent Quarterbacks and Projected Landing Spot

  1. Kirk Cousins – Old Team: Washington Redskins

We all know that Cousins won’t be re-signing with Washington this offseason since the team decided to trade for Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith. However, Cousins will have plenty of teams that will be willing to pay tons of money in order to sign him. The New York Jets, Minnesota Vikings, and Arizona Cardinals are all possible landing spots for Cousins as they all have a need for a starting quarterback at the moment. However, there is one team that seems like the likeliest landing spot and that is the Denver Broncos. Denver doesn’t have too much in cap space available this offseason, but they can create some room by releasing players like Aqib Talib or C.J. Anderson. The Broncos have a very good defense and they have some decent weapons on offense as well. Denver is just really missing a starting quarterback and they are the team that might give Cousins the best chance to win right away.

Projected Landing Spot: Denver Broncos

2. Drew Brees – Old Team: New Orleans Saints

There are basically two options for Drew Brees this offseason which is he returns to the Saints or he decides to retire from the NFL. Brees has been with New Orleans for many years and it is highly unlikely that he will ever play for another team the rest of his NFL career. It is kind of surprising that Brees and the Saints haven’t reached a deal yet, although they are likely to agree to terms at some point before free agency begins.

Projected Landing Spot: New Orleans Saints

3. Case Keenum – Old Team: Minnesota Vikings

Case Keenum had by far the most impressive year of his career in 2017 as he shockingly led the Vikings to the NFC championship game. However, the Vikings have an interesting decision at the quarterback position since they also have Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater who are free agents this offseason. Those two QB’s have proven that they can be starting quarterbacks in the NFL and it will be interesting to see which one the Vikings bring back unless they decide to go in a completely different direction. Keenum certainly would generate interest from quarterback-needy teams in free agency including the Broncos, Jets, and Cardinals. However, the Vikings have some interest at least in bringing Keenum back and that is likely what they will do.

Projected Landing Spot: Minnesota Vikings

4. Teddy Bridgewater – Old Team: Minnesota Vikings

Teddy Bridgewater finally came back from a devastating knee injury last season, but he wasn’t able to regain the starting job since Case Keenum played so well for the Vikings. It is possible that Bridgewater could return to the Vikings next season as the starter especially if Keenum signs elsewhere. However, it is becoming increasingly likely that Bridgewater could be heading to another team presumably as a starter in 2018. Bridgewater is only 25 years old, so he clearly could be a long-term answer for a quarterback-needy team and he will likely come at a cheap cost since he hasn’t started a game since the 2015 season. Bridgewater could be a fit for a team like the Jets, Cardinals, or Bills. The team that he fits most with is the Buffalo Bills as he fits well into their offensive scheme and he would likely be an upgrade over Tyrod Taylor at quarterback. Buffalo probably won’t give out a big contract to Bridgewater, but he could be an interesting solution to their problem at the quarterback position.

Projected Landing Spot: Buffalo Bills

5. Sam Bradford – Old Team: Minnesota Vikings

Sam Bradford has dealt with injuries and inconsistent play throughout his entire career and it wasn’t much different last season as he missed most of the year with an injury. Bradford likely won’t be returning to the Vikings next season as the team likes Keenum and Bridgewater more than they like him. However, there might be a team that would be willing to make Bradford a starter for at least next season. One team that really stands out as a good fit is the Arizona Cardinals. They are looking for both a short-term and long-term solution at the position after the retirement of Carson Palmer. Bradford would certainly provide a very good short-term option for the Cardinals even if the team decides to draft a young quarterback this offseason. Bradford would be a great backup QB option for just about any team, but there might be a team like the Cardinals that could make him a short-term answer at the quarterback position.

Projected Landing Spot: Arizona Cardinals

Best Landing Spot for Top 10 NFL Free Agents

  1. Kirk Cousins – Old Team: Washington Redskins

We all know that Cousins won’t be re-signing with Washington this offseason since the team decided to trade for Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith. However, Cousins will have plenty of teams that will be willing to pay tons of money in order to sign him. The New York Jets, Minnesota Vikings, and Arizona Cardinals are all possible landing spots for Cousins as they all have a need for a starting quarterback at the moment. However, there is one team that seems like the likeliest landing spot and that is the Denver Broncos. Denver doesn’t have too much in cap space available this offseason, but they can create some room by releasing players like Aqib Talib or C.J. Anderson. The Broncos have a very good defense and they have some decent weapons on offense as well. Denver is just really missing a starting quarterback and they are the team that might give Cousins the best chance to win right away.

Projected Landing Spot: Denver Broncos

2. Le’Veon Bell – Old Team: Pittsburgh Steelers

Le’Veon Bell has proven that he consistently is a top 3 running back in the NFL and now he wants the Steelers to pay him like one. Bell is demanding a large amount of money in contract negotiations from Pittsburgh and it will be interesting to see if the two sides can finally reach a long-term deal. If not, the Steelers might have to franchise tag Bell even though he has already publicly stated that he probably wouldn’t play in 2018 if he were to be franchise tagged again. It is difficult to imagine a scenario where Bell plays for another team next season, but hopefully the Steelers and Bell can compromise on a long-term contract.

Projected Landing Spot: Pittsburgh Steelers

3. Drew Brees – Old Team: New Orleans Saints

There are basically two options for Drew Brees this offseason which is he returns to the Saints or he decides to retire from the NFL. Brees has been with New Orleans for many years and it is highly unlikely that he will ever play for another team the rest of his NFL career. It is kind of surprising that Brees and the Saints haven’t reached a deal yet, although they are likely to agree to terms at some point before free agency begins.

Projected Landing Spot: New Orleans Saints

4. DeMarcus Lawrence – Old Team: Dallas Cowboys

DeMarcus Lawrence will surely generate tons of interest from teams in free agency after his 14.5 sack season in 2017. However, it is unlikely that the Cowboys will even let him test free agency as the team will likely just franchise tag him if the two sides can’t reach a long-term deal soon. Lawrence has proven that he is an elite pass rusher and he is clearly the best defensive player that the Cowboys currently have. Either way, it doesn’t appear that the Cowboys will let him even think about joining another team.

Projected Landing Spot: Dallas Cowboys

5. Case Keenum – Old Team: Minnesota Vikings

Case Keenum had by far the most impressive year of his career in 2017 as he shockingly led the Vikings to the NFC championship game. However, the Vikings have an interesting decision at the quarterback position since they also have Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater who are free agents this offseason. Those two QB’s have proven that they can be starting quarterbacks in the NFL and it will be interesting to see which one the Vikings bring back unless they decide to go in a completely different direction. Keenum certainly would generate interest from quarterback-needy teams in free agency including the Broncos, Jets, and Cardinals. However, the Vikings have some interest at least in bringing Keenum back and that is likely what they will do.

Projected Landing Spot: Minnesota Vikings

6. Andrew Norwell – Old Team: Carolina Panthers

There are many teams that need interior offensive line help in the NFL these days, but the issue is that there aren’t many quality starting guards to go around. However, the one starting guard that is about to start a major bidding war is Andrew Norwell who is set to be by far the best guard on the free agent market. Norwell is a terrific player as proven by his all-pro honor this past season with the Panthers. Carolina is definitely interested in re-signing Norwell, but the issue is that they probably won’t have enough cap space to be able to do so. That means Norwell is likely set to test free agency this offseason and there will surely be plenty of teams willing to give out a massive contract to him. However, there is one team that particularly sticks out and that is the New York Giants. The Giants have been in need of offensive line help for awhile and this would be a very good signing for them in order to finally stabilize their offensive line. Also, Norwell has a connection to newly-hired offensive coordinator Mike Shula who was the Panthers offensive coordinator last season. Norwell could help many teams, but the Giants seem like a very logical fit considering they have been in need of some help on their offensive line for years.

Projected Landing Spot: New York Giants

7. Ezekiel Ansah – Old Team: Detroit Lions

The Detroit Lions have an interesting decision to make on Ezekiel Ansah after he had 12 sacks last season. Detroit would probably want to keep him, but the question is how far they are willing to go in order to do so. It doesn’t seem as if the two sides will agree on a long-term deal before free agency begins, but the team could certainly decide to franchise tag him in order to keep him for the 2018 season. However, it appears as if Ansah could be hitting free agency this offseason and if that’s the case then there will be plenty of teams badly needing a good pass rusher. One team that really stands out though is the New York Jets. The Jets are a team that has a tremendous amount of cap space and they will have even more once they release defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson. New York has a need for another pass rusher as that is what their defense revolves around and Ansah would be a very good fit for the team.

Projected Landing Spot: New York Jets

8. Jimmy Graham – Old Team: Seattle Seahawks

Jimmy Graham is still considered a top tight end in the NFL as he proved with his 10 touchdowns for the Seahawks last season. It is difficult to find a player like Graham that is very big and also very athletically gifted. Graham never really seemed like he fit into the Seahawks run-first offense and it doesn’t seem likely that he’ll return to the team considering the cap space issues that Seattle has. However, Graham will be a coveted player in free agency as teams like the Bears, 49ers, or Texans could be a possible landing spot. The one team that makes the most sense though is the San Francisco 49ers as they are looking for an upgrade at the tight end position. San Francisco found their franchise QB and now they are trying to surround him with more weapons on offense. The 49ers certainly have plenty of cap space to use in order to sign Graham and if they do then it would make the NFC West a lot more interesting next season and it would give the 49ers a much needed threat in the passing game.

Projected Landing Spot: San Francisco 49ers

9. Sheldon Richardson – Old Team: Seattle Seahawks

Sheldon Richardson wasn’t as dominant of a player as many expected that he would be for the Seahawks last season after they acquired him in a trade with the Jets. However, Richardson and the Seahawks could work out a deal that would keep him around for 2018 and beyond. If Richardson does hit free agency then there would certainly be teams that would be willing to sign him, yet he probably won’t get as much money as many people think he will. Richardson is a good fit in Seattle and the Seahawks will definitely make a strong push to re-sign him if they have enough cap space to do so. It just makes sense for Richardson to return to the Seahawks especially since there likely won’t be much of a bidding war over him in free agency.

Projected Landing Spot: Seattle Seahawks

10. Jarvis Landry – Old Team: Miami Dolphins

Jarvis Landry surprisingly led the entire NFL with 112 receptions last season which is crazy since he had Jay Cutler throwing him the ball most of the time. Landry is in line for a massive payday especially considering that he is by far the most accomplished wide receiver available on the free agent market. Landry could return to the Dolphins and they certainly want him back since he is the only real star player that the team has on offense. However, there are teams like the Browns, Bears, and Ravens that all need wide receivers and they could have heavy interest in him. The team that he fits the most though is the Baltimore Ravens. It is no secret that Baltimore really wants to sign him as they tried desperately to trade for him last year. The Ravens barely have anything at the wide receiver position heading into next season and they really need a dynamic playmaker that can provide a spark on offense. Landry is the threat in the passing game that the Ravens really need and they would likely pay tons of money in order to sign him.

Projected Landing Spot: Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore Ravens offseason Preview

Key Free Agents:

Mike Wallace – Wide Receiver

Benjamin Watson – Tight End

Ryan Jensen – Center

Terrance West – Running Back

James Hurst – Left Guard

 

There are many things that the Ravens must do to improve their team this offseason and most of their needs come on the offensive side of the ball. The main thing that the Ravens need is some major help at wide receiver. Mike Wallace and Michael Campanaro are free agents this offseason and both of those guys are expected to not be with the team in 2018. That means Chris Moore and Breshad Perriman would be the Ravens only two options heading into next season and neither are even decent 2nd wide receivers. The Ravens must find two quality starting wide receivers this offseason either in free agency or the draft. Baltimore could sign a big-name free agent receiver like Jarvis Landry or Sammy Watkins. However, the Ravens could also add a receiver like Calvin Ridley or Courtland Sutton early on in the draft. Either way, the Ravens desperately need an impact player in the passing game for next season and beyond. The Ravens also have a big need at the tight end position especially with starter Benjamin Watson being a free agent this offseason. Watson probably won’t be back and he probably won’t be the starter even if the Ravens re-sign him. The Ravens do have Nick Boyle and Maxx Williams at tight end, but they both are more known as pass-blocking tight ends. Baltimore needs to find a tight end this offseason that can provide a spark in the passing game. The Ravens offensive line could possibly need some help as well this offseason. Center Ryan Jensen is a free agent and it is possible that he could leave in free agency, although the Ravens will likely make a strong effort to re-sign him. The Ravens need some help at the right tackle position where they could use an upgrade over starter Austin Howard. Baltimore could also use some more depth on the offensive line especially since James Hurst might leave in free agency. Baltimore doesn’t really have any needs on defense, but if they can fix their needs on the offensive side of the ball then they could be a playoff team in 2018.

Atlanta Falcons offseason Preview

Key Free Agents:

Dontari Poe – Defensive Tackle

Adrian Clayborn – Defensive End

Matt Bryant – Kicker

 

Atlanta is just about as complete of a football team as there is in the NFL so they don’t really have much that they need. The one big glaring need for the Falcons is at the right guard position as they will look for an upgrade over Wes Schweitzer. Atlanta’s offensive is really good except for at right guard and they could make that unit complete probably by addressing it in the draft. The Falcons are prepared to lose starting defensive tackle Dontari Poe in free agency, so that is a position that they must address this offseason. Also, Adrian Clayborn is a free agent and the Falcons will need to add some depth to the backup defensive end position and hopefully find a player that can provide value in pass-rushing situations. Don’t expect it to be a busy offseason for the Falcons as most of their team is complete, but they will just focus on filling a couple of positions and adding depth to the rest of their roster.

Arizona Cardinals offseason preview

Key Free Agents:

Justin Bethel – Cornerback

Tyvon Branch – Strong Safety

Drew Stanton – Quarterback

Jaron Brown – Wide Receiver

Earl Watford – Right Guard

Troy Niklas – Tight End

Kerwynn Williams – Running Back

Karlos Dansby – Inside Linebacker

John Brown – Wide Receiver

Earl Watford – Left Guard

The Arizona Cardinals head into this offseason with many major changes having already occurred. Steve Wilks will be the team’s new head coach in 2018 and he has a lot of work to do especially after the recent retirement of starting quarterback Carson Palmer. The Cardinals first must re-sign Drew Stanton in free agency as he is a very reliable backup quarterback and he can be a temporary starter at the position if needed. However, the Cardinals will either have to find a quarterback in free agency or in the draft. The good news is that there are plenty of options available this offseason at the QB position including Kirk Cousins, Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Bradford, and Case Keenum in free agency. Also, the Cardinals could draft a quarterback like Baker Mayfield, Josh Allen, Mason Rudolph, or Lamar Jackson with their 1st round pick. Another big need for the Cardinals is at the guard position as Alex Boone and Earl Watford are both scheduled to be free agents this offseason. The Cardinals might bring them back for depth, but it is somewhat clear that they need an upgrade at those positions. Also, the Cardinals could have a big need at wide receiver as Jaron Brown and John Brown are scheduled to be free agents. That would leave only Larry Fitzgerald and J.J. Nelson as the team’s top receivers. Fitzgerald is clearly the team’s number 1 receiver, but he is getting old and he isn’t as productive as he used to be. Nelson is a good 3rd or 4th receiver, but he can’t be relied upon to produce consistently. Arizona needs a good 2nd receiver that they can pair with Fitzgerald and give the new Cardinals quarterback some help in the receiving game. Meanwhile, on defense, there aren’t too many areas that the Cardinals need to improve. The Cardinals might lose cornerbacks Justin Bethel and Tramon Williams which means the Cardinals would then have to add some more depth to the position if both of them depart. Other than that, there really isn’t a glaring need on the Cardinals defense as they have a good core group of players that will be returning next season. Arizona certainly has many needs that they will need to address this offseason if they want to remain competitive in 2018. However, the main priority for the Cardinals is on offense where they need to find a new starting quarterback.

Player that each team should cut this offseason

Arizona Cardinals – Adrian Peterson – Running Back

Adrian Peterson was a good short-term solution at the running back position for the Cardinals after David Johnson’s injury last season. However, Peterson isn’t the star player that he once was and now that Johnson is back the team doesn’t need him anymore. Arizona can save $2.9 million against the cap by releasing Peterson and they could then find a backup running back cheaper in the draft or free agency.

 

Atlanta Falcons – Brooks Reed – Outside Linebacker

The Atlanta Falcons don’t have many players that they could release, but one guy that could be on his way out is outside linebacker Brooks Reed. Atlanta could save $3.56 million in 2018 by releasing Reed and that would be a substantial amount of cap space to save. Reed is a key role player for Atlanta’s defense, but he only had 4 sacks last season and the Falcons could probably find a younger and cheaper option at outside linebacker this offseason.

 

Baltimore Ravens – Jeremy Maclin – Wide Receiver

Jeremy Maclin wasn’t very productive in his first season with Baltimore as he only had 40 receptions for 440 yards. Maclin also struggled to stay healthy last season and it appears that the Ravens are ready to move on from him this offseason. The Ravens could save $5 million in cap space if they release Maclin so it would would be extremely shocking if he is a member of the Ravens next season.

 

Buffalo Bills – Tyrod Taylor – Quarterback

Tyrod Taylor has been a decent quarterback for the Bills, but he also has been inconsistent and he hasn’t proven that he can be their franchise quarterback. The Bills coaching staff doesn’t appear to be very confident in Taylor as their starting quarterback so it seems very likely that they will find his replacement this offseason. Buffalo also has a tremendous financial incentive to release Taylor. They can save $15 million if they release him after June 1st or they can save about $10 million if they release him prior to that date. Either way, it appears the Bills will have a new starting quarterback next season as the Bills can save a ton of money by moving on from Tyrod Taylor.

 

Carolina Panthers – Jonathan Stewart – Running Back

Christian McCaffrey was a top 10 pick by the Panthers at the running back position last season, so the Panthers could decide to make him their full-time starter at running back in 2018. If the Panthers decide to go that route then it could make current early-down back Jonathan Stewart expendable. Stewart is still a somewhat productive running back, although he isn’t getting younger and the Panthers are already deep at the position. The Panthers could keep him around for another season or they could cut ties with him this offseason and save $3.7 million in cap space.

 

Chicago Bears – Mike Glennon – Quarterback

The Chicago Bears made a mistake by signing Mike Glennon to a big contract in free agency last offseason especially considering they drafted Mitchell Trubisky less than two months after signing Glennon. Trubisky is now the clear starter for the Bears moving forward and that means Glennon and his big contract is sitting on the bench. Chicago can save a whopping $11.5 million in cap space if they release Glennon this offseason. The Bears can find a much cheaper backup QB in free agency and it would be shocking if they don’t let Glennon go very soon.

 

Cincinnati Bengals – Adam Jones – Cornerback

Adam Jones saw his role diminish significantly last season as the Bengals have much younger cornerbacks starting at the position. Jones has a lot of money owed to him next season and the Bengals could save $5.8 million in cap space by releasing him this offseason. Jones has been with the Bengals for awhile now, but considering his age, large contract, and diminished role it makes it highly likely that he won’t be back with the team next season.

 

Cleveland Browns – Cody Kessler – Quarterback

The Browns don’t really have any veteran players that are danger of being cut this offseason. However, Cody Kessler is the one player that could be in danger of being released this offseason. The main reason is not because Kessler is making much money at all, but Cleveland is just really deep at the quarterback position. The Browns are likely to draft a quarterback with the 1st overall pick and that means DeShone Kizer would now become the new backup QB. That means Kessler would be the 3rd-string QB for the Browns in 2018 and basically every NFL team only carries two QB’s on their active roster. Kessler just doesn’t have a role on this team any more and the team can save about $600,000 while letting him have a better role as a backup elsewhere.

 

Dallas Cowboys – Benson Mayowa – Defensive End

Benson Mayowa’s production and role has diminished for the Cowboys as he only had 1 sack for the team last season. The team needs to find another backup defensive end that can be an upgrade over Mayowa. However, the Cowboys could save $2.75 million in cap space by releasing Mayowa which is a considerable amount considering his decreased role with the team.

 

Denver Broncos – Aqib Talib – Cornerback

Aqib Talib is still a pro-bowl caliber cornerback, but the issue is the Broncos are already paying tons of money to Chris Harris and Bradley Roby at the cornerback position. The Broncos can save $11 million by releasing Talib this offseason and that is a considerable amount especially since the Broncos don’t have tons of cap room to begin with. Talib is still a productive player, but Denver is deep enough at cornerback already and they can save a large amount of money by releasing him.

 

Detroit Lions – Ameer Abdullah – Running Back

The Detroit Lions are probably looking to upgrade at the running back position this offseason as Theo Riddick and Ameer Abdullah have proven that they aren’t capable starters at the position. However, it is more likely that the team will keep Riddick as the 2nd running back on the depth chart because of his pass-catching abilities. That would essentially leave Abdullah as the 3rd-string running back and the team could just release him since he wouldn’t really have a role with the team anymore. Releasing Abdullah would only save the Lions about $1 million in space space, yet if the Lions upgrade at running back this offseason then it would likely leave Abdullah without a role.

 

Green Bay Packers – James Starks – Running Back

James Starks was once a very reliable backup running back for the Packers, but now he isn’t even a reliable backup as he averaged a terrible 2.3 yards per carry last season. The Packers can save $3 million by releasing Starks this offseason and they could then use that money to find a better backup at running back. Starks won’t have much of a role in 2018 so it makes sense for the Packers to let him go and save a decent amount of money.

 

Houston Texans – Brian Cushing – Inside Linebacker

Brian Cushing has spent his entire career with the Houston Texans since he was drafted in the 1st round of the 2009 NFL draft. However, Cushing’s time with the Texans might be coming to a close as he is a likely candidate to be released this offseason. Cushing certainly isn’t getting any younger as he is 31 years old and he hasn’t been very productive for Houston recently. Cushing also has some off-the-field concerns as he has been suspended twice in his career for PED use. Also, Cushing has struggled to stay healthy in recent years and he only played in 5 games last season mostly due to a 10-game PED suspension. Either way, Cushing is more trouble than he’s worth especially since the Texans can save a whopping $7.64 million in cap space by releasing him. Cushing could return in 2018 since he is still a decent starting linebacker, but the Texans could look for a younger and cheaper linebacker to take his place.

 

Indianapolis Colts – Margus Hunt – Defensive End

Margus Hunt had the best year of his NFL career last season with Indianapolis, but he still only had 29 tackles and 1 sack. Hunt is a decent backup defensive end, but he won’t help much if he isn’t able to provide a pass rush at some point. The Colts could choose to keep Hunt for defensive end depth in 2018, although the Colts might be able to find a younger and cheaper option than him this offseason. Indianapolis could create $2.5 million in cap space by releasing Hunt and they could then use that money to find a better backup defensive end that can actually provide a pass rush.

 

Jacksonville Jaguars – Allen Hurns – Wide Receiver

The Jaguars seemed like they made the right move by signing Allen Hurns to a 4-year/$40 million extension after the 2015 season. However, Hurns has been a major bust since that point as he has failed to have over 500 receiving yards during the past 2 seasons. Injuries have been an issue recently for Hurns as he missed 6 games this past season and 5 games during the previous season, yet he hasn’t been very productive even when on the field. Hurns has also been surpassed on the depth chart by young receivers Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole which makes him even more expendable. The good news is that the Jaguars can release him this offseason and create $7 million in cap space. It would be absolutely shocking if Hurns is on the Jaguars roster next season unless he agrees to take a significant pay cut which he is unlikely to do.

 

Kansas City Chiefs – Tamba Hali – Outside Linebacker

Tamba Hali has been a cornerstone of the Chiefs defense ever since he was drafted by the team in the 1st round of the 2006 draft. However, Hali is 34 years old and he isn’t the pass rusher that he once was several years ago. Hali only had 1 tackle in 5 games last season for the Chiefs as his role was clearly diminished. The Chiefs already have two good pass rushers with Justin Houston and Dee Ford, so Hali is basically expendable especially considering his cap hit. It would be great to see Hali finish his career with Kansas City, but they will likely have to release him since it would free up about $7.69 million in cap space. It will be painful for the Chiefs to release him considering what he has done for the franchise, although they need cap space desperately and Hali isn’t worth nearly the amount that he is currently getting paid.

 

Los Angeles Chargers – Brandon Mebane – Defensive Tackle

Brandon Mebane is 33 years old and he isn’t the quality starting defensive tackle that he once was with the Seahawks. He has never been much of a pass rusher, but now he isn’t even very good at stopping the run. The Chargers could keep him around as he provides some depth at defensive tackle. However, the Chargers can free up $4.5 million in cap space if they release Mebane this offseason. Los Angeles will likely look for a younger option at the position in the draft and let go of Mebane since he isn’t really worth his $5.5 million cap hit.

 

Los Angeles Rams – Tavon Austin – Wide Receiver

We all know that Tavon Austin has the potential to be a game-changer for the Rams, but the issue is that he isn’t consistent or reliable enough in their offense. He only had 13 receptions for only 47 yards and he wasn’t very helpful when running the ball either. Austin definitely isn’t worth the $8 million cap hit that he will have next season especially since the Rams have plenty of young talent at wide receiver. Austin’s role clearly is minimal for the Rams offense and the team would be wise to just get rid of him and clear up $3 million in cap space.

 

Miami Dolphins – Ja’Wuan James – Offensive Tackle

Ja’Wuan James has been a decent starting offensive tackle for the Dolphins, but in no way is he worth the $9.34 million that he is owed next season. James has dealt with injuries and he hasn’t been very productive even when he was healthy. The Dolphins can release him and clear up all of the cap space that he is owed, so unless he restructures his deal then it is very unlikely that he will back next season.

 

Minnesota Vikings – Jarius Wright – Wide Receiver

Jarius Wright has clearly fallen dramatically on the Vikings depth chart as he is only their 4th receiver at best heading into next season and he only had 18 catches this year for the team. The Vikings can find a much cheaper option as a 4th receiver than Wright who is owed $4.76 million next season. Minnesota can save $2.64 million in space by releasing Wright and it seems that’s what they’ll do considering he doesn’t have much of a role in Minnesota’s offense anymore.

 

New England Patriots – Martellus Bennett – Tight End

Martellus Bennett returned to New England late last season and he had a very minimal impact as he only had 6 catches in 2 games played for the Patriots. Bennett is due $6.1 million next season which is way too much to be paying a backup tight end. The Patriots could try to restructure his contract, but it is unlikely that he would be willing to take a steep pay cut. Either way, the Patriots can clear up $6.1 million in cap space if they release him which makes it very unlikely that he will return next season.

 

New Orleans Saints – Coby Fleener – Tight End

The Saints signed Coby Fleener to a huge 5-year/$36 million contract thinking that he would make a huge impact on their offense. However, Fleener has yet to do so as he only had 22 catches and 295 receiving yards last season. The Saints still owe him some guaranteed money so it will cost them $200,000 if they release him prior to June 1st. However, the team can free up $3 million in cap space if they release him after that date which seems likely considering his role has diminished in the Saints offense.

 

New York Giants – Eli Manning – Quarterback

It is very likely that the Giants will select a quarterback with the 2nd overall pick in the draft and that means that longtime starting quarterback Eli Manning might not even have a roster spot next season. Manning is clearly not the same player that he used to be as he is 37 years old and at the back end of his career. Also, Manning has a ridiculous $22.2 million cap hit just for next season and the Giants could clear up considerable cap space by releasing him. The question is whether the team will keep Manning around to mentor a young quarterback and be a short-term solution at the position. New York can clear up $9.8 million in cap space if they release Manning so it is unlikely that they keep him unless he is going to be the starter next season.

 

New York Jets – Muhammad Wilkerson – Defensive End

The Jets took a huge risk when they gave defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson a 5-year/$86 million contract after the 2015 season. However, the deal has ended up being a huge bust for the Jets as he only has 8 sacks combined the past 2 seasons for the team. Wilkerson has been a major issue for the team with his character concerns as he has been benched many times including the final 3 games of 2017 when he wasn’t even activated. Wilkerson is due $20 million next season and there is no possible way that the Jets will want to pay that. The Jets can save $11 million in cap space by releasing Wilkerson and it would be absolutely shocking if he returns to the team in 2018.

 

Oakland Raiders – Sean Smith – Cornerback

Sean Smith played better towards the end of last season, but he just isn’t worth the $8.5 million cap hit that he is due next season. The best part for the Raiders is that they can release him and owe him none of that money, therefore clearing up $8.5 million in cap space. Oakland has some major work to do at the cornerback position this offseason and it appears that Smith won’t be in their plans for the 2018 season.

 

Philadelphia Eagles – Torrey Smith – Wide Receiver

The Eagles gave Torrey Smith a decent contract last offseason hoping that he could revive his NFL career and be a contributor to the Eagles passing game. However, Smith was a disappointment as he only had 36 catches for 430 yards as he was clearly the 3rd option at wide receiver for the Eagles. The Eagles could choose to bring him back, but they could also free up $5 million in cap space by releasing him this offseason. Philadelphia can certainly find a better 3rd receiver and at a cheaper price than what was given to Smith.

 

Pittsburgh Steelers – Mike Mitchell – Safety

Mike Mitchell was the starting safety for a Steelers defense that really struggled last season even in the playoffs when they allowed 45 points to the Jaguars. Mitchell is certainly on the downside of his career at 30 years old and it is hard to justify the $8 million that he will be owed next season. Either way, the Steelers can upgrade at the safety position by getting rid of Mitchell and they can also clear up $5 million in cap space by releasing him.

 

San Francisco 49ers – Zane Beadles – Guard

Zane Beadles hasn’t been very effective in recent years and the 49ers could certainly use an upgrade over him at guard especially considering that he has a $4 million cap hit for next season. The 49ers not only need to replace him, but they also probably need to get rid of him. If the 49ers do decide to get rid of him then they could save $3.5 million in cap space.

 

Seattle Seahawks – Michael Bennett – Defensive End

Michael Bennett is still a very productive pass rusher as proven by his 8.5 sacks for the Seahawks last season. However, the Seahawks are in need of some cap space and Bennett’s contract is certainly an issue going forward. Bennett is due just over $7 million next season and the team could save $5.65 million in cap space if they let him go after June 1st. The Seahawks could choose to keep him considering his production is still good, but rumor has it that Seattle is trying to trade him away and they could just release him if they can’t find a team that will give up something for him.

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Doug Martin – Running Back

Doug Martin signed a 5-year/$35.75 million contract extension prior to the 2016 season, but since then he hasn’t produced at all for the Buccaneers. In fact, Doug Martin was given a 4-game PED suspension late in the 2016 season and he has struggled to stay healthy during that time. Even when he has been healthy, Martin has only averaged 2.9 yards per carry each of the past 2 seasons. Martin has been very inconsistent throughout his career as he had 2 seasons where he rushed for over 1400 yards. However, the other 4 seasons he hasn’t even reached the 500-yard mark. The Buccaneers need more consistency out of the running back position and the team can clear up $6.75 million by releasing him this offseason which is why he is highly unlikely to be back next season.

 

Tennessee Titans – DeMarco Murray – Running Back

DeMarco Murray had a down season in 2017 to say the least as he only ran for 659 yards and he only averaged 3.6 yards per carry. Murray is still a good running back, but it seems that Derrick Henry has taken over as the number 1 running back in Tennessee. The Titans could still choose to keep Murray and have a dynamic duo along with Henry, but the issue is Murray is due $6.5 million next season. Tennessee will have to decide if Henry is ready to take on the full-time role and if he is ready for that role then the Titans could release Murray and save $6.5 million in cap space.

 

Washington Redskins – Rob Kelley – Running Back

Rob Kelley came out of nowhere to become the Redskins starting running back, but now he has clearly fallen down the depth chart as Chris Thompson and Semaji Perine are ahead of him. Kelley does have a really cheap contract as he is only due $468,000 in 2018, but he probably doesn’t want to be a 3rd-string back for the team. The Redskins could definitely choose to hold onto him since his contract is extremely cheap. However, Kelley doesn’t seem to have much of a role going forward and the Redskins could just release him and allow him a better opportunity elsewhere.

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