2013 NFL Free Agency: Analyzing the Top 10 Free Agents
The 2013 NFL off-season is light on star power. The biggest names to change teams will be Mike Wallace and Greg Jennings, both coming off down years. But that doesn’t mean the 2013 NFL Free Agency period won’t be without some noise.
Here are the most impactful NFL free agents from fantasy positions, along with some potential landing spots:
Note: Player, Pos, Old Team – Potential Destinations
Mike Wallace, WR, PIT – Dolphins, Browns, Saints
The Dolphins will look to either replace Brian Hartline or complement him if he stays. Miami appears to be ahead of the Jets and Bills in the re-building process, have cap room, and an offensive-minded coach. Wallace is the closest thing to an impact player in this year’s free agent market, with at least eight TDs the past three years, but slowed down noticeably last year before being shut down with a hip injury at the end of the season. An intriguing option, if the Fins and Browns don’t bite, would be New Orleans – Brees loves to sling the ball around, but Wallace would actually have the best chance to stay healthy and productive there as a result.
Greg Jennings, WR, GB – Dolphins, Vikings, Rams, Colts
The Packers are loaded at wide receiver, as youngsters like Randall Cobb picked up the slack when Jennings got hurt. Jennings will be 30 with an injury history, so don’t expect him to get more than two years guaranteed money. That said, he looked OK late last season and in the playoffs, which helps his value. The Dolphins could go with him and/or Wallace/Hartline, especially since Miami head coach Joe Philbin was the Packers’ OC for most of Jennings’ career. The kind of interest Miami shows in him will set the tone for the rest of the market. Other rumors have him heading to Minnesota to stick it to the Pack, or even re-signing in Green Bay if he doesn’t see the kind of money that he wants from other teams.
Wes Welker, WR, NE – Patriots
It’s inconceivable that he would leave, but the Patriots refused to franchise him and negotiations are far from complete. Add in a marked downturn in production (from “amazing” to “merely good”) and the Patriots could just let him go, especially if they pick up another WR via FA or the draft. Maybe Miami could bring him back to atone for stupidly trading him?
Danny Amendola, WR, STL – Patriots, Rams, 49ers, Dolphins
Amendola has not lived up to the potential he showed as a rookie four seasons ago, but is still a fan favorite and “good guy” so the Rams will try to keep him. Another rumor has him replacing Welker in NE, as Amendola has the grittiness and light skin that Patriots fans require from their players.
Steven Jackson, RB, STL – Packers, Falcons
Another year, another 1000 rushing yards from Jackson. He’ll be 30 and has had a lot of wear-and-tear, but has been durable. Expect him in a time-share wherever he winds up. It’s expected that Jackson will take slightly less money to sign with a contender, since he hasn’t seen a playoff game since 2004. He could replace Turner in Atlanta, splitting carries with Jacquizz Rodgers, or find himself the lead back in Green Bay. Plus he has pass-catching ability, which helps his value. Allegedly has a friendship with Tony Gonzalez, meaning they could find themselves together trying to get over the hump one more time with the Dirty Birds.
Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, NYG – Jets, Rams, Packers
Recurring foot injuries have kept Bradshaw’s numbers down, but he can still be a borderline lead back when healthy. The Jets will probably let Shonn Greene go, and Bradshaw’s explosive personality could fit right in (or create even more problems) in the Jets’ clubhouse. The Packers did well with a former-NYG RB in Ryan Grant, so perhaps Bradshaw would be a cost-effective option for them.
Tony Gonzalez, TE, ATL – Falcons, Nursing Home
The Falcons seem ever-so-close to making the Super Bowl, and Gonzalez mostly defies age. He’s playing for a ring at this point, though expect his numbers to drop a little more.
Martellus Bennett, TE, NYG – Falcons, Bucs, Titans, Dolphins
The book on Bennett is still “potential.” The Giants are still in talks but it sounds like they won’t fork over enough money to keep Bennett around. The Falcons could chase him if Tony Gonzalez retires. Bennett’s brother Michael was a productive DE in Tampa last year, so perhaps he could join his brother there or at another location in a package deal.
Fred Davis, TE, WAS – Redskins, Browns
Has shown flashes of serious potential, but hasn’t been able to stay on the field. Will probably work out a fresh deal to say in D.C., but might be interested in heading home to Cleveland.
Brian Hartline, WR, MIA – Dolphins
Put in a decent season in Miami, but the Fins could try to upgrade or pair him with a more explosive receiver such as Wallace or Jennings.
Reggie Bush, WR, MIA – Lions, Falcons
Was productive in Miami last year, but is still miscast as an every-down back. The Lions could use a more reliable option at RB, but Bush has his own share of injury history, and will lose goal-line carries. If the Falcons find the cap room, he could be a good, but time-shared, fit there as well.
Brandon Myers, TE, OAK – Redskins, Raiders
The fourth-year receiver broke out with 79 catches for the Raiders last year, but they were unwilling to tag him. He had a couple of big games that inflated his totals for the year, and the book on him is that he still needs to improve as a blocker. Perhaps the Giants or Falcons would give him a look if their primary TEs leave.
Rashard Mendenhall, RB, PIT – Jets, Chiefs, Cardinals
How the mighty have fallen! Injuries wiped out most of 2012 for him, so a lot will depend on how well he’s recovered. Expect a weak team to sign him to an incentive-laden deal in hopes he can recapture his earlier form.
Shonn Greene, RB, NYJ – Broncos, Falcon
Was supposed to take the baton from Tomlinson, but it looks like he completely missed that relay (and then Sanchez fumbled it). Perhaps a better offense around him will help, but don’t expect him to be a No. 1 back in 2013. His age plus contract motivation mean he could still take a step forward.