Early NFL Free Agent Predictions

Sure franchise tags haven’t been placed yet, but I miss football, and it’s never too early to predict how the NFL offseason may unfold!

QB – Teddy Bridgewater: Washington Redskins

With Alex Smith’s football career in jeopardy following a brutal leg injury, the Redskins are in dire need of a legitimate QB to propel them into the playoffs. After a year of learning behind Drew Brees, Bridgewater and his veteran presence should help Washington compete in the weak NFC East.

QB – Nick Foles: New York Giants

The Giants will be searching for Eli Manning’s successor, but I don’t see them reaching for any of the QBs in this draft. Instead, I think they will pry “Big D**k Nick” away from their NFC East rivals in Philly.

RB – Le’Veon Bell: New York Jets

Le’Veon may have sat out all of last season, but there is absolutely no denying his versatile skill set. The Jets have over $100M in cap room this offseason and ought to bring out the Brinks Truck to get Bell.

RB – Tevin Coleman: Pittsburgh Steelers

James Conner impressed greatly in his first season as Pittsburgh’s starter, but the franchise still doesn’t have anyone with the versatility that Bell possessed in the backfield. With the dynamic duo of Bell and Brown likely leaving this offseason, Coleman might be a new addition in the Steel City.

WR – Golden Tate: Philadelphia Eagles

The addition of Tate to the Eagles last season helped propel Philly into the playoffs. With a healthy Carson Wentz returning next season, the Eagles should be licking their chops to bring back their midseason rental.

WR – Tyrell Williams: Indianapolis Colts

Andrew Luck proved to be back to his old self this past season, if not better than he was before he got hurt. Yet he still lacks offensive weapons. With over $100M in cap room, Indy should make an unmatched offer to take Williams from LA.

TE – Jared Cook: Detroit Lions

The Lions made a big mistake giving up on former first-rounder Eric Ebron. They can make up for it by bringing in productive veteran Jared Cook from Oakland.

OT – Trent Brown: New York Jets

Since the departure of Pro Bowlers D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold, the Jets have had an absolutely abysmal offensive line. Given the likelihood that Kelvin Beachum becomes a cap space casualty, the Jets will likely shell out – and potentially overpay – for a top-tier Tackle like Brown.

OT – Donovan Smith: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Smith was the lone bright spot on a Buccaneers line that was easily one of the worst in the NFL last season. The Buccaneers should bring everything to the table to keep their O-Line leader in Tampa.

OG – Rodger Saffold: Chicago Bears

The Bears O-Line started the season off strong, but deteriorated towards the end of the year. To keep Trubisky going and make the best use of Nagy’s offensive weapons, Chicago should bring in the former Indiana Hoosier.

OG – Ramon Foster: Tennessee Titans

Foster has been a Pittsburgh Steeler since his NFL career began in 2009. However, as Pittsburgh tries to get younger at the position, I can see the Tennessean and former Volunteer bringing his talents back home.

C – Matt Paradis: New York Jets

Similar to the narrative with OT Trent Brown, the Jets have a brutal offensive line that hasn’t had a leader since Nick Mangold left. With New York looking to revamp their line, the Jets will likely give a nice portion of their $100M + to the top center in free agency.

C – Mitch Morse: Kansas City Chiefs

My initial landing spot for Morse was in Buffalo, but they seem oddly content using newly-signed Spencer Long, who struggled mightily at the position for their division rival Jets last season. Now, I see the Chiefs keeping their star center in Kansas City to protect the reigning MVP Pat Mahomes.

DE – Demarcus Lawrence: Oakland Raiders

It’s possible that the Cowboys will slap the franchise tag on Lawrence to keep him in Dallas. However, if Lawrence hits the open market, the Raiders (at an NFL-worst 13 sacks last season) will likely pounce to fill the void left by the departure of Khalil Mack.

DE – Trey Flowers: Tennessee Titans

Tennessee seems to have a habit of bringing in ex-Patriots, and this will likely continue even more with Mike Vrabel as Head Coach. After a strong season in New England, Flowers may see his way to a major pay day with the Patriots of the South.

DT – Grady Jarrett: Atlanta Falcons

Jarrett is one of the top interior linemen in the league and is a leader on the Falcons defensive line. After a season in which he finished with career highs in sacks (6) and forced fumbles (3), I don’t see the Atlanta letting the 25-year-old walk.

DT – Sheldon Richardson: Buffalo Bills

Buffalo really whiffed with the signing of former Carolina Panther DT Star Lotulelei. If they want to revamp the DT position after the retirement of Bills veteran Kyle Williams, journeyman Richardson may be a top option.

OLB – Jadeveon Clowney: Dallas Cowboys

If Demarcus Lawrence leaves Dallas in favor of greener pastures, they will need an edge rusher for the coming season. With most top college defensive rushers projected to be drafted early, the Cowboys will try desperately to pry the Pro Bowler away from their in-state rival.

OLB – Dee Ford: Kansas City Chiefs

Ford has proven himself to be an elite edge rusher in the NFL with 13 sacks last season. Especially with the likely cut of fellow Chief Justin Houston, I don’t see any way Kansas City lets Ford leave this offseason.

ILB – C.J. Mosley: Denver Broncos

Denver recently indicated that veteran MLB Brandon Marshall will not be returning to the team next season. Expect the Broncos to fill the shoes left by Marshall’s departure by bringing Mosley to the Mile High City.

ILB – Jordan Hicks: Baltimore Ravens

It’s likely that Philadelphia won’t be retaining the services of Hicks as he hits this upcoming free agency. If Baltimore can’t keep C.J. Mosley in town, they will likely turn to Hicks to fill the void.

CB – Ronald Darby: Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs secondary was absolutely miserable last season, and as a result the team is likely going to fully revamp that area of the defense. With Darby hitting the market soon, expect Kansas City to pounce on him early.

CB – Jason Verrett: Los Angeles Chargers

Verrett is a top cornerback when healthy, but he was sidelined this season with a a torn Achilles. Because of his major injury, the Chargers can likely bring him back on a low-cost deal.

S – Earl Thomas: Dallas Cowboys

Thomas and the Seahawks are finally wrapping up an ugly divorce that will signal the end of the Legion of Boom. Thomas, who grew up in Texas and played football at UT Austin, has been dropping subtle hints of his desire to return home. Expect a new marriage between him and the Cowboys.

S – Landon Collins: Green Bay Packers

Collins’s time with the Giants seems to be coming to a conclusion as he hits the open market. Green Bay should be all over the former second-rounder after sending Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to Washington last season.

Purveyor of truth. Breaker of chains. Foolish fan of the Mets, Jets, and Knicks.

Twitter: @ChazzLucenti