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Landing Spots For Top 35 NFL Free Agents: Part I Offense


Sure, we still have four games remaining in the NFL season (if you count the always-pointless Pro Bowl), but it is time to look ahead to the impending event that so many of us love fast-forwarding to on Maddon – NFL Free Agency. So why not take a look at the top 35 NFL Free Agents and predict where they are likely to land?

In part one of this prediction, we will take a look at offensive free agents for 2015. The list is full of some marquee names as well as a few others who, while not as popular, could be important signings for teams this offseason. Let’s begin with the most important position on the field…

Quarterbacks

Brian Hoyer Cleveland Browns

Ron Schwane/USA TODAY Sports

Per usual, the quarterback position is relatively thin when it comes to available free agents. With that being said, there are still a few capable signal-callers who could provide a bit of an upgrade under center for teams around the league or become top-tier backups for contenders.

Brian Hoyer

2015 Team Prediction: Buffalo Bills

New coach Rex Ryan is in need of a quarterback after the previous regime destroyed the future (and confidence) of EJ Manuel. Hoyer, on a two or three-year deal, could provide Ryan with enough time to find his true quarterback of the future. With a stout defense and emerging offense, the pressure wouldn’t be as heavy in Buffalo for Hoyer as it was in Cleveland. Hoyer could become Ryan’s “Plan A” or even a nice fall-back plan if Buffalo chooses to give Manuel another chance – though that is extremely unlikely.

Mark Sanchez

2015 Team Prediction: Tennessee Titans

Now there is a good chance Sanchez could look to join a contender as a backup instead of leading a team that is quite a ways away from contending. Assuming he follows the money instead, Tennessee looks like the most likely of scenarios. Ken Whistenhunt has Zach Mettenberger but the jury is still out on the young quarterback. Having Sanchez in the Tennessee could provide Whisenhunt with much security regardless of whether or not Mettenberger pans out or not.

Running Backs

iAwards: 6 NFL Awards Inspired by the iPhone 6 DeMarco Murray

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

DeMarco Murray

2015 Team Prediction: Dallas Cowboys

Holy crap do the Cowboys have a lot of big issues on their plate this offseason, and currently they only have $13 million of cap space to work with in 2015. With two-thirds of his “new big three” about to reach free agency, Jerry Jones will move mountains to ensure he keeps the trio in tact for years to come – regardless of what penalties he must incur in the meantime. Murray’s success is too integral to that of Tony Romo and the offense to risk losing him.

Frank Gore

2015 Team Prediction: Indianapolis Colts

Dan “Boom” Herron has been a nice find this season for the Colts, but they are still in need of a power back in Pep Hamilton‘s offense. After the team finally admitted the Trent Richardson trade was a bust by making him “inactive” for the AFC Divisional game in Denver, they must search elsewhere for that powerful back – enter Gore. In his 10-year career, Gore has eight seasons of 1,000+ yards – including 1,106 in 2014 while compiling his fewest amount of carries in the past five years. His 4.5 career yards per carry combined with Herron’s 4.9 in 2014 could give Andrew Luck the prominent running game he has long been missing. Needless to say, the two would drastically improve Indy’s putrid 3.9 yards per carry as a team in 2014. Unless they expected Melvin Gordon to fall to them in the draft, this might be the best route to go for Chuck Pagano and company.

C.J. Spiller

2015 Team Prediction: Arizona Cardinals

When healthy, Spiller is dynamic on the ground. While he has averaged five yards per carry in his five seasons with Buffalo, he has only two full years. However, in those years he averaged 5.2 (2011) and 6.0 (2012) yards per carry. By adding Spiller, the Cardinals would take much of the load off quarterback Carson Palmer while giving him a new weapon out of the backfield. Plus, who wouldn’t like to see the excitement Bruce Arians could create with Spiller?

Mark Ingram

2015 Team Prediction: Detroit Lions

He is still young (25-years old) and coming off the best season of his career, so there should be a bit of interest from around the NFL in Ingram – especially in Detroit. After finishing 28th in rushing yards, the Lions averaged just 3.6 yards per rush. While not known to burn many defenses, Ingram’s ability to run between the tackles would be a welcomed addition to the likes of Joique Bell and Reggie Bush and their 2014 production.

Wide Receivers

Dez Bryant

Getty Images

Dez Bryant

2015 Team Prediction: Dallas Cowboys

See DeMarco Murray above – there is no where Jones will allow his new star-studded trio to leave “Jerry’s World”. As fun as it would be to see Bryant catching passes from Russell Wilson (which is exactly where he will land if hell freezes over and he didn’t stay in Dallas), it just isn’t happening. Just look to the NFC Divisional game against the Green Bay Packers. That controversial reversed call – no one besides Bryant and Calvin Johnson even make that play reviewable. That is how good Bryant is, and he will be in Dallas for a long time to come.

Demaryius Thomas

2015 Team Prediction: Denver Broncos

With Peyton Manning‘s future in doubt, the Broncos will have a lot of decisions to make on offense, and Thomas is one of the biggest choices. He will be due a ton of money, but with or without Manning, John Elway‘s team cannot afford to lose Thomas and Eric Decker in back to back years. As good as Emmanuel Sanders was, he isn’t the same player with Thomas drawing the attention of every secondary. Regardless of who is throwing him the football, the Broncos have the best chance to win when “88” is lining up in blue and orange.

Randall Cobb

2015 Team Prediction: Green Bay Packers

This one is really tough. With Jordy Nelson due $39 million over the next four years, it would be hard for the Packers to commit that much (if not more) to yet another receiver – especially considering other needs and extensions that are forthcoming. Luckily for Green Bay, they have about $25 million to spend this offseason, and expect that majority of that to be used on their own players. Aaron Rodgers gets whatever he wants, and an extension to Randall Cobb will be at the top of his list.

Torrey Smith

2015 Team Prediction: Jacksonville Jaguars

For as much potential as Smith possesses, he was a bit of a letdown this season for the Baltimore Ravens. It could be time for Smith and the Ravens to part ways (especially given Baltimore’s cap-strapped finances). Blake Bortles has a big arm and is in need of receivers who can continue to stretch the field. With an astounding $63 million in cap space this offseason, the Jaguars can afford to take a few risks. The demand won’t be over the top for Smith, meaning a move down south might just be on the horizon.

Michael Crabtree

2015 Team Prediction: Cleveland Browns

Johnny Manziel will presumably be the man leading the charge for the Browns in 2015, whether that is good or bad is up to you. With the return of Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron in limbo, the Browns must surround their young quarterback with weapons. While Crabtree never quite lived up to the expectations of his first round draft status, he would provide Manziel with another deep threat alongside Andrew Hawkins. The signing of Crabtree would signal a move to small, speedy receivers offense. Meaning the new offensive coordinator might need to reshuffle the plans of Cleveland’s offense – which could drastically benefit young Manziel.

Tight Ends

Julius Thomas Denver Broncos

Chris Humphreys / USA Today Sports

Julius Thomas

2015 Team Prediction: Buffalo Bills

When the Bills would throw the ball to tight end Scott Chandler, he made the offense noticeably stronger. Unfortunately, he only caught 47 passes. With Chandler entering the final year of his contract, the Bills should look to Thomas for 2015 and the future. For Rex Ryan, the ability to have Thomas and Sammy Watkins running through defenses would be a thing of beauty – and something unlike he ever had in New York. Having Brian Hoyer’s big arm to stretch the field to Watkins, Thomas and Robert Woods could help the Bills overcome that playoff hurdle that has eluded them for many years.

Jermaine Gresham

2015 Team Prediction: Cleveland Browns

Gresham is an interesting free agent. While he possesses all the physical tools to make an outstanding tight end, his emotions and timely drops tend to get the best of him. With the Browns likely losing Jordan Cameron as a free agent, they will be in need of rebuilding their tight end depth. Gresham is capable of stretching the field and would give the Browns another effective weapon. In addition, Gresham is a strong run blocker who can provide assistance in many ways to Manziel and the Cleveland offense. He would also give the passing game some much needed size in a group full of shorter receivers (especially if they sign Crabtree).

Jordan Cameron

2015 Team Prediction: Atlanta Falcons

Since Tony Gonzalez retired, the Falcons have been searching for a tight end to help stretch the field. Gresham is more than capable of stretching the field. When healthy, Cameron has shown the ability to be one of the best tight ends in the game. Just one season removed from catching seven touchdowns and 917 yards, Cameron still has the ability to be a premier tight end. Catching passes from Matt Ryan could help take Cameron into elite company at the position.

Offensive Line

Doug Free

2015 Team Prediction: Jacksonville Jaguars

Free has been very good for the Cowboys this season, but Dallas can’t re-sign everybody. With Murray and Bryant consuming every last dime Jerry Jones has in 2015, there is no room left for Free. Considering the offensive line options in free agency are not that stellar, expect a bidding war between the Jaguars and Minnesota Vikings for Free’s services as both teams have young quarterbacks that are in need of more protection.

 

Be sure to check back tomorrow for the landing spots of the top defensive free agents.

 

Cover Photo: Getty Images

Grant E. Doepel

Grant E. Doepel

Founder at Sports Grumble
Editor in Chief and co-founder of Riverfront City Sports and Sports Grumble, Doepel is a Cincinnati native who lives and breathes Queen City sports. A University of the Cumberlands graduate with degrees in Journalism and Communication Arts, Doepel still resides in the Greater Cincinnati area to provide easy access to the riverfront stadiums.
Grant E. Doepel

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