The NFL Offseason Chronicles: 10 Potential Free Agents, and Their Likely Destination [Pt. II]

A follow-up to yesterday’s article, Travis reveals some more players looking to strike it big, and a list of others who just missed the cut!

In case you missed yesterdays piece, I had just finished rounding out the first half of our free agency expectancy list, and I know think we’re ready to look at numbers 1-5.

Remember, as with everyone on the first list, there’s a chance that their respective teams use their franchise tag, and make sure that these superstars never see the light of day. For pure entertainment purposes, lets hope that doesn’t happen. Unless of course, you know, you actually root for one of these teams!

5. Jermichael Finley, TE, Green Bay Packers

Once thought to be the man to herald in the next slew of elite tight ends, Jermichael Finley has been a very big disappointment for Packers faithful, although he posts comparable numbers to some of the games better players at his position, Finley should be performing a lot better. Drops especially have been a major concern for this physically gifted animal.

The Packers will certainly have a tough decision, as they don’t stand to lose anyone major this off-season, and a deal might be in the works. The question is, is Finley worth it? Some teams might look at his size and speed, and feel like he maybe hasn’t been given enough targets, since Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson often are Aaron Rodgers go-to guys. The flip side of the coin is, if you have players like them stretching the field, shouldn’t Finley be ripping up the middle of the field?

Possible Destination: The Denver Broncos. I decided to go with a bit of a flier here, but I really don’t think the Packers will shell out the money to keep Finley. He isn’t an all-world TE, and someone, somewhere, will give him the money anyway. If the Broncos truly are committed to Tim Tebow, then adding a weapon like Finley on the offensive side of the ball could only help both of their growths. Plus, it would give Demaryius Thomas even more field to work with.

4. Dwayne Bowe, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

Bowe is one of the most underrated WR's in this FA class, and if the Chiefs can't lock him up, someones getting a steal

I put Bowe ahead of both Vincent Jackson and Marques Colston because I think if he ends up in the right location, Bowe could do wonders. He’s physically one of the animals that offensive coordinators drool over, standing at 6′ 2” and tipping the scales at 220. 

When owners put Bowe up on their dart board, they will be hoping they can get someone who will come in and duplicate his success of 2010 and 2011, when Bowe had 157 catches, 2268 yards, and 20 trips into the endzone. Unfortunately for Bowe, he’s going to command a lot of money, and I don’t think any of the premier teams will be able to make a strong push, most likely he will end up somewhere like…

Possible Destination: The Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars would love to give 2nd year quarterback Blaine Gabbert a new toy to play with, and Bowe fits that mold perfectly. This offense isn’t electric by any stretch of the imagination, but if Bow and Gabbert can build a good rapport, and running back Maurice Jones-Drew can continue to roll over linebackers, this team could approach .500 next year

3. Matt Flynn, QB, Green Bay Packers

I would like to go on the record as saying that I believe whoever signs Matt Flynn will be making a fairly significant mistake. The money that Flynn will command, based solely off of week 17’s game with the Lions, is going to come in by the buckets. I was never a fan of Arizona dumping money into Kevin Kolb’s bathtub, and I’m not a fan here either.

That being said, I do think Flynn could turn into a decent quarterback, but the odds of him living up to his contract are slim. The Packers can’t afford to keep him, nor do they care for the most part. When Landry Jones from Oklahoma University, and Matt Barkley from USC both opted to return to school, it really opened up the market for Flynn.

You have to assume the Colts are going to take Luck, and Robert Griffin III will most likely end up with the Redskins, or Vikings, which leaves only a handful of teams looking to add a QB, but one of those teams is…

Possible Destination: The Miami Dolphins. I don’t care how much he costs, anyone is better than… Wait, who’s their quarter back again? All jokes aside, Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin is now the head coach, and they already have Jake Long to shore up a decent O-line. Fins are the early favorite.

2. Matt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears

Forte and Rice remain at the top of their game, especially catching balls out of the backfield

The simple fact is, more than any other player on this list, I believe there is zero chance that Forte isn’t wearing a Bears jersey next season. They know how much he means to this club, and they wouldn’t and shouldn’t shy away from tagging him if need be. When Forte went down with his injury, he led the entire league in yards from scrimmage, and is perhaps the best receiving back since Marshall Faulk.

Forte should continue to be the beast that he is in Chi town, especially since his relationship with Jay Cutler was in perfect bloom last season. Which leads to a better question, how does ANYONE have a good relationship with Jay Cutler?

Possible Destination: The Chicago Bears. If Forte isn’t a Bear next season, they might as well fire everyone making decisions and hire Kris to run their team.

1. Mario Williams, OLB/DE, Houston Texans

Mario Williams remains one of the top defensive players in the NFL, and after an excruciating second half to last season following his pectoral tear, he will certainly love to rake in some big bucks. The Houston Texans can’t really afford him and Arian Foster, who is also a free agent, albeit a restricted one. Plus, when you factor in how dominant this defense was even without Williams, it might be hard for them to justify spending the money.

With defensive schemes changing almost by the minute, it will be interesting to see where Williams ends up. He moved to outside linebacker to fit Wade Phillips and the 3-4 defense, and he did so without complaining, something that goes a long way with ownership. Although some thought he might struggle with the switch, Williams had five sacks and five games before going down with injury, proving he can disrupt the QB from any place on the field.

Possible Destination: The Buffalo Bills. If I had to guess, there is nothing Williams wants more than to stay put in Houston, and make a playoff run with JJ Watt, Brian Cushing, Arian Foster, Matt Schaub, and Andre Johnson, but I don’t think they have the cap room for everyone. The Bills are moving to a 4-3, and Williams would me able to move back into his natural position as DE. It’s a fit.

In Conclusion… Bonus!

*UFA: Unrestricted Free Agent

Five Other Free Agents To Watch

Mike Wallace, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
Brandon Carr, CB, Kansas City Chiefs
Carl Nicks, G, New Orleans Saints
Robert Mathis, DE, Indianapolis Colts
Wes Welker, WR, New England Patriots

Five Teams With The Most to Lose
New Orleans Saints (Drew Brees, Marques Colston, Robert Meachem, Carl Nicks)

New York Giants (Mario Manningham, Terrell Thomas, Aaron Ross, Deon Grant)
Atlanta Falcons (Brent Grimes, John Abraham, Todd McLure)
Indianapolis Colts (Reggie Wayne, Pierre Garcon, Ryan Diem, Robert Mathis)
New England Patriots (Wes Welker, Deion Branch, Mark Anderson, BenJarvus Green-Ellis)

Five Teams In Great Shape
Green Bay Packers (8 UFA, Biggest Possible Loss: Jermichael Finley/Ryan Grant)

Pittsburgh Steelers (11 UFA, Biggest Possible Loss: Matt Starks)
Jacksonville Jaguars (11 UFA, Biggest Possible Loss: Rashean Mathis)
Miami Dolphins (11 UFA, Biggest Possible Loss: Marc Colombo)
Carolina Panthers (10 UFA, Biggest Possible Loss: Jeremy Shockey/Dan Connor)

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