Now that the blur of NFL free agency is over with, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some prominent names that are still available. And while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are last in salary cap money available, the two other state NFL teams the Jaguars and the Dolphins still have the cash to make moves.
Two questions that are essential are: how interested are any of them in still spending some of what they have, and whom is a player or two that they are watching and potentially in need of?
Without a doubt, the biggest name still without an NFL home at the end of March is former number 1 pick of the Lions and Dolphins free agent acquisition Ndamukong Suh. Miami cut Suh (above) a year ago in a salary cap move and he signed a one-year deal with the L.A. Rams. Suh obviously ended up playing in the Super Bowl with them in February.
However, the Rams have elected, at least at this point, not to re-sign Suh.
So, he continues in the same mode as last season, trying to find a home most likely on a one-year deal. Suh played for $14 million last season and will probably have to take significantly less at this point to hook on with a team for 2019.
Could Miami be a return destination?
As of Sunday, the Dolphins have $35.5 million under the cap. And this includes, allowing defensive lineman Cam Wake to walk away in free agency and trading veteran Robert Quinn to Cowboys, primarily because of money.
While it is not likely that the Dolphins would want Suh back, as it appears that they are clearing cap money for 2020 and beyond, clearly Suh does have apparently a good relationship with the Dolphins owner, Stephen Ross. And, Miami with a first year defensive minded coach in Brian Flores may be looking to bring him back on a one-year deal at a severe discount from what he played for them, previously.
Another compelling name is Chiefs safety Eric Berry, who was released in large part because of Achilles and heel injuries sidelining him for all but three games the last two years. And, the former three time All-Pro had a large ($12.5 million)( 2019 salary in Kansas City. Yet, all three state NFL teams (and several others around the league) could use a veteran safety. And, Berry becomes a name to watch at a reduced cost.
Example, as much as the Buccaneers would want a veteran in their defensive backfield, they simply don’t have the money. And, Jacksonville has also gone that route with a couple of veteran defensive backs the last couple of years, but just released one of them, Tashaun Gipson, because he was too expensive.
Miami and Jacksonville are both in need of an affordable veteran wide receiver. And, while the Cowboys gobbled up former Packers receiver Randall Cobb last week, the Raiders released former Packer star Jordy Nelson. The word is that apparently Nelson, who turns 34 years old in May, intends to retire instead of playing on. However, he would be an excellent veteran presence in South Florida or for the Jags, if he could be convinced to continue.
If Nelson could not be talked out of retirement, former Patriots receiver Chris Hogan, who will be 31 this fall, has played well on two Super Bowl teams the last two seasons, is still available, as well. And, he will be a fairly significant bargain. Of course, Hogan may be waiting for the Patriots to re-sign him including after draft time..
Finally, one of the best kickers in the NFL over the last 15 seasons is still available. Stephen Gostkowski is 35 and three time All Pro with an 87% FG conversion rate for New England, but was allowed to walk away, for now, by the Patriots due to a $3.5 million price tag last year.
The Fins are happy with young kicker Jason Sanders. Tampa Bay re-signed their kicker from the end of last year, Cairo Santos, but for the Buccaneers, they’re kicking situation has been a revolving door and they could eventually come around to Gostkowski, if he’s still available later this fall.
And the Jaguars remain committed to veteran kicker Josh Lambo, at least for now, too.
So, there are names and likely bargains to be had for current free agents.
Now, we wait, as the players do, to see who wants whom and most importantly, at how much of a discount?
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