With the 2011 NFL season heading towards the playoffs, many teams are now forced to face the reality that their season is over. For these NFL fans, free agency and the draft are that glimmer of hope that can turn their beloved franchises around and catapult their team to the level of the NFL elite. Here are some of the more talented and intriguing free agents heading into the 2012 off-season.
The Situation – Even though Brees is one of the most heralded passers in the game today, not many know that he is scheduled to become a free agent at the end of the season. Unlike many players in this era of social media, Brees has been relatively silent about his contract situation while on pace to have the most prolific passing performance in NFL history. At 32, Brees is a class act and is one of the top 3 quarterbacks in the game.
Possible Teams – Let’s not even go there! Brees will definitely be back in a Saints uniform. If they don’t bring him back there’s likely to be a mass revolt in the city of New Orleans that will require the Benson family and GM Mickey Loomis to be put under federal protective custody.
The Situation – Ugly! Forte was vocal about getting a new contract and the Bears inexplicably ignored him. Forte was well on his way to having the best season of his career when hit with a knee injury. Prior to his injury, Forte was responsible for the majority of the Bears offense and kept the team in the playoff race.
Possible Teams – You’ve got to wonder how much animosity Forte will have towards the Bears and after all who can blame him. If he can get past this, the Bears would be the front runner for his services. Another intriguing possibility might be Mo-Town. Detroit’s running back situation is injury riddled and questionable at best and adding a Forte to the mix would make them one of the most deadly offenses in the league capable of scoring with likes of Green Bay and New Orleans. Besides this would be the worst case scenario for the Bears organization.
The Situation – Jackson started off the season with a short lived contract holdout. Jackson who is without a doubt massive talent at wide receiver unfortunately has as much ego as talent. Violation of team rules and silly penalties at crucial times in games led to Jackson being benched. His questionable actions combined with his off again on again performance during the season have unquestionably diminished his free agent value. On top of that who knows what the Philly landscape will look like next year.
Possible Teams – Jackson has probably worn out his welcome in Philly and may serve as an example to the remaining team members. The Chicago Bears and Oakland Raiders could both be great fits for a talented young receiver with a load of arrogance. Both teams have solid coaching and veteran quarterbacks who’ve got experience dealing with diva receivers.
The Situation – The emergence of younger receivers Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie combined with the fact that this franchise is almost certainly retooling for the future will make Wayne a salary cap casualty. Wayne is still a receiver who can make a difference and may have a couple good years still left.
Possible Teams – Wayne will need to go to a team that’s just missing a few pieces to be a contender. The Houston Texans could be great fit for Wayne. The Texans need a receiver to take pressure off of oft injured star Andre Johnson. The Chicago Bears and Oakland Raiders are also good spots for a veteran receiver.
The Situation – McNabb has had a tough ride since being shown the door in Philly, but is the problem McNabb or was he just playing on bad football teams. Many NFL insiders think McNabb’s got game left so don’t think that former Philly gunslinger is done.
Possible Teams – Mac just can’t get a break. He’s going to be a free agent in a season with one of the deepest quarterback classes in history coming out of college. Still I believe that teams like the Miami Dolphins and Seattle Seahawks could be good landing spots for McNabb.
The Situation – Very Interesting! The dynamic of the Colts is interesting. With Jeff Saturday, Pierre Garcon, Reggie Wayne and others on the free agency list combined with a big salary cap hit from Peyton Manning and almost certain first overall pick Andrew Luck, the Colts will certainly have to part with some big names. This scenario seems almost certain as the Colts prepare for the post Manning era.
Possible Teams – The Atlanta Falcons will be looking to improve their pass rush and Arthur Blank is an owner who doesn’t shy away from opening the wallet in the best interest of the team. Other teams that could push for Mathis include the San Diego Chargers and Arizona Cardinals.
The Situation – TO has been adamant that his career is not over. Frankly, when it comes to TO it’s honestly just fun to speculate!
Possible Teams – The Oakland Raiders seem to be a team that doesn’t have a problem with a rehabilitation project and have a veteran quarterback who’s survived the TO show. Outside of that I’m not sure that anyone is willing to risk having him come to camp and considering his resume can you blame them?