IT’S unlikely that all of the NFL free agents are going to end up in the perfect spot after the offseason signing period. In this article though, dreams do come true and some of the hottest names on the market land in a scenario that suits both them and the team.
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Kirk Cousins, QB
WITH Alex Smith taking the reigns in Washington the Kirk Cousins tag era is over for the Redskins. Cousins is among the second tier of quarterbacks and can still offer a lot for a team, whether they are rebuilding or contending. His name has been linked to the Vikings recently, with the Cardinals, Broncos and Jets all sniffing around too.
PERSONALLY, I would love to see Cousins in Denver, but due to their questionable O-line, Minnesota is in the box seat to land him. Slotting Cousins into the Vikings lineup with their beastly defense and healthy offensive pieces makes them a contender from day one in 2018.
Perfect Fit: Minnesota Vikings
Malcolm Butler, CB
BUTLER went from being an undrafted player to a Super Bowl hero to a forgotten man through four seasons in New England. Last offseason the Pats went out and gave Stephon Gilmore a big deal and reportedly shopped Butler who will be a restricted free agent this year. With the relationship between both sides souring it’s unlikely that we see him in New England colours next year.
STILL only 28, Butler is bound to get paid by someone this offseason the question is who? The New York Jets have enough cap space to sign everyone on the free agent market and they could through a heavy contract at Butler. I would love to see him join the 49ers though, giving an up and coming team another key piece for their future.
Perfect Fit: San Fransisco 49ers
Le’Veon Bell, RB
THE most dynamic offensive player in the league will understandably be coveted by any team lucky enough to get a phone call with him. Le’Veon Bell has showcased his talents during his five-year career to date, accumulating over 8,250 all-purpose yards and setting multiple Steelers records along the way.
I can’t see a scenario where Pittsburgh and Bell don’t agree on a new deal. Contract negotiations between the two sides don’t have the most fruitful history but given the talent that Bell possesses there’s no way the Steelers can let him walk. Pay the man whatever he wants, he is worth every single penny.
Perfect Fit: Pittsburgh Steelers
Andrew Norwell, G
IT pains me to write this, but Norwell is likely to be wearing new colours in 2018. Caught up in a numbers crunch, it’s tough to see a way the Panthers can keep him with just $27 million in cap space this year. Voted an All-Pro this season, Norwell is going to be chased by almost every team with a few dollars and an empty spot on their offensive line, as he should be.
Image from bigblueview.com
IMAGINE seeing San Fran roll into next year with Jimmy G, Butler and Norwell all signed long term? Given their cap space it’s possible and even if Butler doesn’t become a 49er I think that Norwell will. There could be a scenario where he joins the Colts, Giants or Bengals, but San Fransisco needs to protect their biggest investment in Jimmy Garoppolo. Norwell helps them do that.
Perfect Fit: San Fransisco 49ers
Terrelle Pryor, WR
NEWSFLASH the Terrelle Pryor experiment didn’t pan out in Washington. After failing to produce numbers in just nine games for the Redskins, Pryor’s gamble on himself didn’t work out. However. He may be the best wide receiver available if franchise tags keep flowing for other pass catchers though, making him a tempting option for teams.
TO help reboot his stock Pryor should return to where his receiving days started. In 2016 Pryor caught 77 passes for 1,007 yards and four touchdowns as the top receiver for the Cleveland Browns. As the Browns continue their rebuild they need to find the right mix of veterans and youth to turn things around and Pryor can act as a stable source of offense for whoever is standing under center.
Perfect Fit: Cleveland Browns
Image from 247sports.com
Nate Solder, OT
THERE might not be a more important job in football than protecting the blindside of Tom ‘Golden Boy’ Brady. Nate Solder has been doing an admirable job over the past seven years, but after battling injuries last season he couldn’t deliver the same output. Turning 30 in April also makes Solder a second-tier type of free agent in the eyes of many.
HE can still produce at a decent level and I think he could help protect another AFC star play-caller next season. Andrew Luck’s health is the biggest question mark for the Colts upcoming season and their woeful O-line needs tampering to keep him upright. Nate Solder won’t be an All-Pro calibre guy, but he can get the job done.
Perfect Fit: Indianapolis Colts
DeMarcus Lawrence, DE
THERE is absolutely, 100% no way in hell that the Dallas Cowboys will let DeMarcus Lawernce walk this off-season. Worst case scenario they will franchise tag him, but I think a long-term deal will eventuate. Let’s have some fun though and pretend that shit hit’s the fan and Lawerence is on the open market.
IF that is the case teams will be cueing up for his services, but a lot of them won’t able to afford him. It would be interesting to see him join a team like the Titans or Bucs and quarterback the defense, helping to shoot them into the playoffs. My pick of the bunch though is the Jets. They have the money, a need at the position and he would be an awesome compliment to their existing D-lineman Muhammad Wilkerson and Leonard Williams. Bang bang.
Perfect Fit: New York Jets
Trumaine Johnson, CB
THE trade to bring in Marcus Peters from Kansas City has all but spells the end of Johnson’s tenure as a Ram. His sixth season with the team was hampered by injury and was probably his worst as a pro. Don’t sleep on Johnson though, he can rebound strongly in 2018.
IT’S no secret that he is going to want a huge contract and being a top-tier corner talent it’s likely to come from someone. Tampa Bay is crying out for talent in their secondary and they have the 5th highest space in their cap entering free agency. Not only is this a perfect fit, it’s the most likely fit in my opinion.
Perfect Fit: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Allen Robinson, WR
A massive 2015 season, a sluggish 2016 season and an injury-ravaged 2017 season have Robinson poised for a return to glory in ’18. While Robinson will probably get tagged by the Jags, the two sides could potentially choose to part ways. Not likely, but still a possibility.
Image from floridafootballinsiders.com
AT just 25, Robinson is the best outside receiver on the market and has a bright future ahead of him. If somehow Jacksonville lets him leave then Chicago, Carolina and Washington will all be looking for receiving talent. The Bears would fit a need, but not be super exciting due to a young Mitchell Trubisky under center. Alex Smith and Robinson would be fun, but imagine seeing Cam Newton hooking up with Robinson for countless TD’s? Yes please.
Perfect Fit: Carolina Panthers
Case Keenum, QB
CASE Keenum finds himself in a unique spot. After performing under pressure for the Vikings last season we are left wondering if his numbers were that of a one year wonder or if he can actually be a great starter in the league. It seems like Minnesota is OK with letting him walk, although retaining him for the right price is also on the cards.
KEENUM will probably serve as a stop gap for a team who is moulding a budding star to be their franchise guy. Proud owners of the 5th pick in the NFL draft there is a situation where the likes of Josh Allen or Josh Rosen becomes a Bronco and Keenum starts for a season or two. After battling quarterback problems for years, Keenum performing adequately for two seasons and then handing the next guy the keys to the offense would be perfect for Denver.
Perfect Fit: Denver Broncos