The NFL season is over and football fans have a long wait ahead of them until the start of the 2018 season. Most have moved on to watching baseball or basketball — or whatever else their hearts desire — during the offseason, but the more avid fans have been trying to keep up with the potential moves that could be made during offseason to see where all of the top players will sign or be traded.
Since I have a record of correctly predicted outcomes for players, teams and games throughout the season– some of which you can find on my creator page — I have decided to take a crack at potential moves and signings made for some of the biggest players in the NFL.
There are a lot of quarterbacks, young and–to put it nicely — experienced, that will be receiving calls from a number of teams this offseason.
Where will they land?
1. Kirk Cousins (WAS)- Minnesota Vikings
With Washington bringing on Alex Smith in what felt like a downgrade for Redskins fans, it has become definite that Kirk Cousins will be starting the 2018 season in a new jersey. While many say Cousins will go to Denver where they are desperate for a QB, it’s not likely unless they make some risky moves to open the cap space.
Cousins is under 30 years of age and coming off of consecutive seasons of at least 4,000 yards and 25 TD so he’s guaranteed to get a lot of offers from teams that Denver most likely can’t match or beat, and that’s exactly why he’ll be in Minnesota.
The Vikings have Teddy Bridgewater, Case Keenum and Sam Bradford ALL hitting the free agency market this year and, at best, they may resign Bradford as a backup. Keenum isn’t a likely signing for the Vikings, in my opinion, because Minnesota came so close last year and they won’t want to risk it being their only shot over the next five years or so.
That’s why they’ll go all out for Cousins. He’ll have the talent around him to do what he couldn’t in Washington and Minnesota’s coaching staff will be ready to develop him even more as he hits his prime years.
2. Case Keenum (MIN)- Denver Broncos
Denver is going to have to find a QB that not only will perform well in their system but one that they can afford as well. Enter Case Keenum. He’s 30 years old and proven to be a talented quarterback with the ability to win games.
Keenum will have some solid talent to work with in Denver and a nice defense to help him out when he’s on the sidelines, so expect Keenum to receive a comfortable offer from the Broncos.
3. Teddy Bridgewater (MIN)- Buffalo Bills
Bridgewater’s destination was a little bit harder for me to decide on because there are a lot of factors that come into play with him, specifically his health. IF he is healthy, I can perfectly see Buffalo making a play for Bridgewater and shipping Tyrod Taylor, who has not performed well with the Bills, to a team like Jacksonville.
However, if the Bills decide to give Taylor another shot, then I expect the Denver Broncos or Arizona Cardinals to land Bridgewater. Carson Palmer announced retirement and Larry Fitzgerald is staying in ARI so Bridgewater could have a nice veteran receiver to work with as he develops.
The Cardinals are also my favorite team to land WR Dez Bryant if the Cowboys release him, but I’ll go more in depth with that later on in this piece.
Honorable mentions: Drew Brees (likely to re-sign with Saints), Sam Bradford (ARI as potential starter or NE as backup), A.J. McCarron (NY Jets or Giants)
There is still a lot more talent to talk about so I’ll continue with wide receivers and tight ends, a list of whom are guaranteed to make an offensive impact on teams hoping to sign them to a contract:
1. Allen Robinson (JAX)- San Francisco 49ers
OK, Jags Nation. Don’t kill me over this just yet. With Jarvis Landry receiving the franchise tag from the Miami Dolphins, Allen Robinson is the top wide receiver available and is sure to have most of the NFL calling to check on his price.
On the whole, I think Jacksonville stands a strong chance at re-signing Robinson due to their success last season and his upbringing through their organization. But on the chances that they don’t, San Francisco is the perfect fit for Robinson to make an impact.
I mean, come on. Jimmy Garoppolo to Allen Robinson could be a deadly QB-WR combo in 2018 that all football fans would love to watch as long as their team isn’t playing 49ers that week.
Other potential spots for Robinson are: Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars (re-sign), or the Philadelphia Eagles depending on how much money his agent is asking for.
2. Jimmy Graham (SEA)- Green Bay Packers
Another tough decision for me was analyzing Graham’s free agency destination. While Seattle struggled to fit Graham exceptional size into their system for two years, he led the team in touchdowns last season with 10. This was still below Graham’s potential, and he knows it, so I definitely expect him to ship out to a different team this offseason.
While he will definitely have a lot of bidders, Green Bay is the destination that I believe will ultimately land him. If there is any QB that can utilize Graham’s final years of his prime, it’s Aaron Rodgers, and after the injury-plagued year he had, Rodgers will be looking to dominate 2018.
Additional contenders for Graham: Patriots, Texans and Bears.
3. Sammy Watkins (LA Rams)- Dallas Cowboys
With the Los Angeles Rams left with the task of keeping some key free agents this offseason, I can’t imagine that giving Watkins a nice contract is their top priority, especially not with the other wide receivers available this year. That’s where the Dallas Cowboys come into play.
Watkins has most of the characteristics that the Cowboys love about Dez Bryant but doesn’t have the negative locker room banter nor the price tag that Bryant does. The Cowboys are facing the decision of either releasing/trading Bryant during this offseason–something that makes a lot of sense since he hasn’t fit well with the team for at least three years now– or paying him over $12 million dollars this year for practically no reason at all.
Watkins in Dallas makes the most sense, and it’d be beneficial for both parties here.
4. Dez Bryant (DAL)- Arizona Cardinals *
Again, don’t kill me over this just yet. While he’s not a free agent Dez Bryant could soon find himself in a new uniform for the 2018 season due to either being released or traded.
However, due to his attitude and recent years of bad play, I don’t expect any big name teams to take the risk on Bryant, who is more of a liability than a superstar wide receiver, at this point.
That’s why I think he’s a perfect fit for Arizona. They have enough talent to be a solid contender with Bryant and Larry Fitzgerald could be the big brother that Bryant needs to really help turn his attitude and career back in the right direction. His value is dropping and Arizona is the perfect sleeper team to bring it back up.
Honorable mentions: Trey Burton (JAX unless PHI re-signs), Josh “Flash” Gordon (LA Rams), Paul Richardson (re-signs with SEA)
That’s about all there is for loads of star-caliber free agents at one position so here is the remainder of my predictions without any order to them:
Le’Veon Bell (PIT)- Franchise tag (again)
While I think Steelers RB Le'veon Bell is realizing there is no QB to continue Pittsburgh's success once Ben Roethlisberger hangs up the cleats, he’s still probably going to allow the Steelers to place the franchise tag on him for yet another year.
I did, however, put a lot of thought into where Bell would go if he decided to wake up and realize the Steelers are going on a downward spiral within another season or two. If Bell were to test the waters and move on to another team in 2018, I think his best fit is located in Texas.
No, not the Dallas Cowboys, but the Houston Texans. Lamar Miller hasn’t looked comfortable being their feature back and the Texans are already stacked with receivers for Deshaun Watson to target once he’s back and healthy next year, so all they are missing is a high quality back to complete an unstoppable offense.
Finding the money for Bell could be really the only factor that prevents this move from happening, but if it does, expect Houston to be a championship team for years to come.
Demarcus Lawrence (DAL)- Dallas Cowboys/New Orleans Saints
While I expect Jerry Jones to offer Lawrence, 26, as much money as he can to keep the edge rusher in Dallas, I expect him to at least play the field a little as he enters the prime years of his career without a championship. IF he doesn’t return to the NFL in 2018 wearing navy and white, I think you’re going to see him do a whole lot in black and gold.
That’s right. The New Orleans Saints were able to have a hell of a season with their young team in contrast to the many experts who doubted they would even make the playoffs. They had a good defense before but I think they will make a move for Demarcus Lawrence and it could be one of the deadliest signings made this offseason
Isaiah Crowell (CLE)- Detroit Lions
Despite his consistently impressive performance over his years in Cleveland, I don’t believe they are going to want to pay him the money they know they need in order to land a franchise QB for years to come.
With the first and fourth overall picks in the 2018 NFL Draft, I believe the Browns will use the first to draft RB Saquon Barkley — they’d be outright stupid to not with his numbers at Penn State — and their fourth to draft the best available quarterback, it is likely Isaiah Crowell will look to prove he’s a premier running back in today’s game.
Who better to prove that with than a team that hasn’t had a running back reach over 100 rushing yards in a game since Barack Obama was still in office as President of the United States? Detroit has always had a reliable passing game as long as Matthew Stafford was the guy throwing the ball, but he’s long overdue for a running back that can help open the field more for him.
We have already seen the Kansas City Chiefs move DB Marcus Peters to the Los Angeles Rams, a move that took some of the pressure off of the Rams to keep their free agents in LA.
Who else might we see traded to a new destination?
Earl Thomas and/or Richard Sherman (SEA):
Seattle is clearly having fallouts with a lot of their players over the years, whether from injuries or not being happy with the organization anymore. Either way, they’re going to be in the rebuilding phase. Thomas and Sherman provide the Seahawks with a ton of value to leverage trades that will work in their favor and I expect at least one of them to actually be sent out of Seattle.
Tyrann Mathieu (ARI):
Personally, I don’t see it happening but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t. Many experts are saying the Cardinals could use the “honey badger” in a trade that lands them the pick for Prospect QB Lamar Jackson but I think Arizona is better off keeping him and making the most out of the free agent market this year.
Tyrod Taylor (BUF):
As mentioned earlier in this piece, Taylor has not performed well in Buffalo even though he’s got plenty of talent so expect the Bills to use him in a trade for a player that will fill some of the gaps they have on their roster.