After about a week of this free agency business, the NFL is ready to start it’s craze of second and third wave signings. There are still plenty of talented players out there, and it’ll be interesting to see who stars now after the New York Giants, Oakland Raiders, Jacksonville Jaguars and also the Philadelphia Eagles made their spending ability felt during the first run.
The most interesting thing right now is the tackle market. Russell Okung seems to be the one holding things back, as he’s visiting with a number of teams, seems to be really close to the Pittsburgh Steelers but might end returning to the Seattle Seahawks. He’s doing this without representations, which might be slowing down the process, but could also be keeping things a bit more truthful between the sides, and less of the usual agent-team power plays.
So with Okung, there’s Kelvin Beachum who played for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Donald Penn who is probably out of a job in Oakland and Andre Smith, who isn’t coming back to the Cincinnati Bengals from the looks of things. Ryan Harris is another tackle who is looking for a team, but it looks like the Steelers are the only team interested in him at this point. Okung and Beachum are the key to moving along the offensive line free agency before the draft talk begins.
Eric Weddle is taking his time as well, although he’s a market of his own. A very good safety who is past his prime but still a starter on most NFL teams, not to mention his big personality and leadership skills that can often be more important than what he brings or not to the field. Weddle has a four option thing going on right now with the Cowboys, Raiders, Ravens and Steelers, but he’s supposed to narrow things down to just two, and might want to hurry up before the owner’s meetings.
As for quarterbacks, there aren’t that many starting spots available, but those that are looking for one are mostly turning their eyes to Ryan Fitzpatrick. The New York Jets seem to have angered him by lowballing him while he sees Brock Osweiler sign a $18 million per season deal after starting 7 times in his career, and a backup like Chase Daniels get $7 million a season. The Broncos want him, and so do other teams, but right now, Fitzpatrick’s demands are hard to satisfy. Colin Kaepernick is another quarterback many are speaking of, but the 49ers are looking for big compensation in terms of draft picks. The Browns, Broncos and Jets are after him, but not offering enough.
Last and maybe least considering his actions off the field, Greg Hardy. He isn’t going to be playing another season for the Dallas Cowboys (probably) but despite being an excellent footballer with plenty of teams needing pass-rushing help, the market is slow to form around Hardy, although it’s hard to believe it’s going to stay that way for long. Good football players, being decent or crappy human beings matters not. He’ll be signed at some point.