It’s that time of the year for the NFL when organizations work behind the scenes to unload the payroll and acquire players. This off season for the NFL will have a lot of moving pieces and parts for a lot of teams. With eight NFL coaches getting their pink slip this season there will be a lot of changes new additions to the coaching staff also. This off season free agency will include names that were once premiere stars and some who were first-round NFL draft picks. I have a list of players who I believe will be shopping their talents throughout the league.
1. Alex Smith QB, San Francisco 49ers – The 49ers are on a high right now and Super Bowl bound. Alex Smith who lost his position in week 11 with a concussion was a big part of the team’s success his season. Smith took the 49ers organization the NFC Championship game last year which was lost by the specials teams. Smith has all the talent needed for a team to give him a starting position. Alex Smith is no doubt excited about being in the Super Bowl but he will also want to lead a team as a starter and cash in on his success.
2. Michael Vick QB, Philadelphia Eagles – After coming off of a publicity rehab for animal cruelty Vick secured a spot with former coach Andy Reid as a backup where he eventually ended as starter. The highlight of his career as an Eagle has been throwing six touchdowns in a game against the Washington Redskins in 2010 winning 59-28. Since that point he has missed games due to injuries and has a high interception as well as a turnover rate. After Vick left with a concussion in week 11 this season he was replaced by backup QB Nick Foles. The Eagles organization has until Feb 6 to decide if they want to part was or pay him $3 million roster bonus of a six-year $100 million contract. They could also decide to pay him the $3 million bonus and trade him in March. Not sure if the new head coach (former Oregon Ducks) Chip Kelly will include Vick in his offense. This would make Vick a sought after free agent by several teams.
3. Jared Cook TE, Tennessee Titans – is incredibly skilled and an elite athlete for the position despite a drop in numbers this season with the Titans. He will prove to be very valuable for an offense like that of the Falcons to replace the future hall of fame Tony Gonzalez. Trying to keep Cook in Tennessee may not be as easy because of the lackluster team.
4. Michael Johnson DE, Cincinnati Bengals – Johnson is a 6’7’ 270 pound player with skill and athleticism that help raise that status of the Bengals defense this year. Johnson had 52 tackles and 35 were solo along with 11.5 sacks, which were only second to Geno Atkins. With these numbers Johnson is a highly sought after agent and the Bengals know it. It will cost top dollar to retain his services if not any team will benefit with the addition of Johnson.
5. Paul Kruger OLB, Baltimore Ravens – Kruger has been on a lifetime high this season with the Ravens who are Super Bowl bound. Kruger has been a part of the team’s success since the beginning of the season when he stepped in for Terrell Suggs who was out with an injury for the first part of the season. Kruger and the Ravens are trying to work out a long-term contract but that will be after preparing for the Super Bowl. If both parties are unable to come to terms then Kruger may be a candidate for the Ravens franchise tag.