NFL free agency begins on Tuesday, March 12. NFL teams can talk to the agents of each free agent before then but they cannot actually sign a free agent until that date.
Where will the top NFL free agent agents sign in 2013? The following are some predictions of where I think the top 15 free agents will land.
1. Mike Wallace, Pittsburgh Steelers: You have to figure that almost every team in the NFL will be interested in the speedster. It will come down to money and receiver-needy teams like the Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins have a lot of cap space to make the move.
Prediction: Wallace signs with the Miami Dolphins for five years, $60 million.
2. Cliff Avril, Detroit Lions: Avril had 9.5 sacks for the Lions last season and has had at least 9 sacks over each of the last three seasons. Teams desperately needing a pass rusher will likely pay him as if he is one of the NFL’s best and, although he is good, he will probably not be worth it.
Prediction: Avril signs with the Jacksonville Jaguars for six years, $80 million.
3. Dashon Goldson, San Francisco 49ers: Goldson is the top safety on the free agent market. Even though the 49ers did not use the franchise tag on him, you have to think that they want him back and will find a way to get it done.
Prediction: Goldson re-signs with the San Francisco 49ers for four years, $38 million.
4. Sebastian Vollmer, New England Patriots: Vollmer is the top tackle available but he has battled some injuries throughout his NFL career. The Patriots do not tend to lose key players in free agency, though.
Prediction: Vollmer re-signs with the New England Patriots for four years, $34 million.
5. Paul Kruger, Baltimore Ravens: Kruger was Baltimore’s best pass rusher last season as he tallied 9 sacks for the Super Bowl champions. He is probably a better fit in the 3-4 defense as an outside linebacker rather than a 4-3 defense as a defensive end.
Prediction: Kruger signs with the Indianapolis Colts for five years, $45 million.
6. Wes Welker, New England Patriots: Even though Welker and the Patriots seem to always disagree on what he is truly worth, everyone knows that both sides need each other.
Prediction: Welker re-signs with the New England Patriots for three years, $27 million.
7. Greg Jennings, Green Bay Packers: If Jennings is truly asking for around $12 million per season then he will be waiting a long, long time. A team needing a receiver may overpay a tad but Jennings will be 30 years old and has had injuries the last few years. In the end, he will be sorely disappointed by his offers.
Prediction: Jennings signs with the Minnesota Vikings for three years, $21 million.
8. Andre Smith, Cincinnati Bengals: Smith has become a very good right tackle but teams could be scared off that it took him a while to do so. The Bengals certainly have the cap room to keep him so it would not be a surprise to see him return.
Prediction: Smith re-signs with the Cincinnati Bengals for six years, $42 million.
9. Andy Levitre, Buffalo Bills: Levitre is the top free agent guard available and, as a result, there will probably be a lot of teams interested.
Prediction: Levitre signs with the Detroit Lions for five years, $30 million.
10. Aqib Talib, New England Patriots: Talib is the most talented cornerback on the free agent market but there has obviously been off the field problems in the past. Teams will probably be scared away and he may have to take a cheaper deal, as a result.
Prediction: Talib re-signs with the New England Patriots for three years, $18 million.
11. William Moore, Atlanta Falcons: Moore was a bit of a playmaker in the secondary for the Falcons last season as he notched four interceptions on the year.
Prediction: Moore re-signs with the Atlanta Falcons for four years, $25 million.
12. Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Falcons: The future Hall of Fame tight end will either retire or return to the Falcons for one more year.
Prediction: Gonzalez re-signs with the Atlanta Falcons for one year, $6 million.
13. Jake Long, Miami Dolphins: The former #1 overall pick has become injury prone and has not finished either of the last two seasons. Teams are always desperate for left tackles so Long will probably be able to squeeze the last penny out of the deal.
Prediction: Jake Long signs with the Chicago Bears for three years, $28 million.
14. Desmond Bryant, Oakland Raiders: The top defensive tackle on the market will probably have to take a lesser deal after last month’s arrest.
Prediction: Bryant signs with the Tennessee Titans for three years, $15 million.
15. Reggie Bush, Miami Dolphins: Bush is the most dynamic running back available. He and the Detroit Lions, a pass happy team, seem like a great match.
Prediction: Bush signs with the Detroit Lions for three years, $15 million.
There you have it. Enjoy the NFL free agent frenzy.
Other sources: http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/ and http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap1000000145968/article/top-85-free-agents-mike-wallace-tops-best-available