NFL Free Agency: What you missed over the weekend
The NFL’s three-day, “legal tampering” period has ticked by without much of a ruckus thus far — a league memo issued just before the window opened warned teams against discussing any contracts with soon-to-be free agents, thus severely limiting the topics that could be discussed.
So, for the most part, we’re left to guess what might occur when free agency officially kicks off at 4 p.m. ET Tuesday. That does not mean, however, that the rumor mill has shut down.
What’s the latest buzz surrounding some of free agency’s biggest names?
• Mike Wallace to Miami?: If everything we’ve heard all weekend is true, this could be one of the first signings officially stamped once free agency opens on Tuesday.
SI’s Peter King wrote Monday Miami didn’t “have much, if any, competition for a big-money deal ($11 million or more a year) for wide receiver Mike Wallace.” And that’s pretty much been the party line since the league’s “legal tampering” period opened on Friday: that Miami has lapped the field in the race for Wallace.
• Danny Amendola to Philadelphia?: On the heels of a Sunday report by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch‘s Jim Thomas that the Rams were not expected to retain Amendola — the receiver is believed to be seeking a new contract in the vicinity of Brian Hartline’s new $6 million-per-year deal — came news from Geoff Mosher of CSNPhilly.com that the Eagles might pounce.
The Eagles already have DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, among others, at wide receiver. But a team running Chip Kelly’s offense can never have too many athletes, and Philadelphia could use another reliable pass catcher.
• Reggie Bush to Arizona, Detroit or Denver?: The Lions have long been considered one of the frontrunners to land Bush this offseason — Detroit wide receiver Nate Burleson, during a guest spot on the NFL Network’s NFL AM, made a nationally-televised recruiting pitch to the running back. The fit there is obvious — Detroit needs a home-run threat capable of catching passes out of the backfield, and Bush would like to find an offense that can utilize his abilities.
But both Arizona and Denver are rumored to be pursuing Bush, as well. USA Today‘s Mike Garafolo reported Saturday that the Cardinals had reached out to Bush’s agent, while the Sun-Sentintel‘s Omar Kelly tweeted Monday that Denver was “the leader” in Bush’s free-agent race.
• Tony Gonzalez back to Atlanta for one more year?: This one should come as no real surprise. But it appears that Gonzalez is now leaning toward returning for another year with the Falcons. Atlanta will have to cough up some dough, and USA Today‘s report indicates that Gonzalez would want the freedom to sit out some of training camp. At this point, though, expect to see Gonzalez in 2013.
• Paul Kruger to Cleveland or Indianapolis?: Kruger figures to cash in big time this free-agent period — he was an instrumental part of the Ravens’ run to a Super Bowl title.
A number of teams could fit Kruger’s playing style into their defense but, per the Baltimore Sun, the Browns and Colts are on the verge of “a bidding war” for the rising defensive star.
The Browns are one of the other teams thought to be interested in Wallace, too, so they’re not shying away from chasing their division rivals’ free agents. Will they dip deep enough into their wallets to land either Wallace or Kruger?
• Sean Smith to Kansas City?: The Chiefs made a splash over the weekend, signing ex-Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson to their defensive backfield. But they may not be done just yet. The NFL Network’s Albert Breer reported that Kansas City is interested in Smith, “even with Robinson in the fold.”
Smith will be seeking a hefty contract, up there with the elite cornerbacks in the league. Kansas City may not be able to reach to that level, but could be the team to beat if his demands drop at all.