NFL Free Agents: Latest News on Free Agents, Trades and More

John RozumCorrespondent IJanuary 16, 2012

NFL Free Agents: Latest News on Free Agents, Trades and More

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    As the NFL playoffs progress, the 2012 offseason with free agency for coaches and players alike becomes more intensified.

    And with Jeff Fisher now off the market, there's still some work that needs to be done. It's obvious that the smoke never really clears in the NFL.

    To that end, here are some updates as to what's going on in the offseason.

Todd Bowles

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    According to Vittorio Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle, the Oakland Raiders have met with Todd Bowles of the Miami Dolphins:

    Dolphins interim head coach Todd Bowles will interview for the Raiders' head-coaching job today [Last Friday]. He went 2-1 for Miami after the Dolphins fired Tony Sparano on Dec. 12 and interviewed for the full-time job the day after the regular season ended.

    Regardless of where Bowles ends up, though, he'll be a good fit.

    Miami has built a strong foundation offensively and has increased expectations in 2012.

    As for Oakland, Bowles is a solid choice for the Raiders, however, the question is whether the Raiders are a good fit for Bowles. Being that the organization is so quick to hire and fire coaches, it's a risk for Bowles if Oakland becomes more interested.

    There's no doubt that Todd Bowles can improve the Raiders defense, as they were one of the worst in 2011. The question is whether Bowles is willing to leave Miami, where he can continue to build as opposed to rebuild.

    Plus, Miami has a much higher draft pick, so that's also more appealing than Oakland's position.

Marty Schottenheimer

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    According to Rick Stroud and Stephen F. Holder of the Tampa Bay Times, Marty Schottenheimer is still interested in coaching the Buccaneers:

    "I think they've got some great young players on that team," Schottenheimer told the Times. "They've also got some really solid veterans. And when you see them develop, that's always very exciting for every coach."

    With Schottenheimer's track record, he would immediately have the locker-room's respect, and veterans players like Ronde Barber would approve.

    Plus, what does Tampa Bay really have to lose?

    They were arguably the worst defense in 2011, and after finishing on a 10-game losing streak, the Buccaneers were playing arguably the worst football by season's end.

    For such a young team with a lot of potential talent, bringing in a coach like Marty Schottenheimer can only be to their benefit. He'll make them mature quicker, and since they literally have nowhere to go but up, what does Schottenheimer have to lose?

    It's a win-win situation for both parties, so if Tampa Bay wants to turn the franchise around, Schottenheimer has to be the Bucs' guy in 2012.

Cleveland Browns

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    In an article by Tony Grossi of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Browns have some critical decisions to make regarding free agency:

    Before the Browns can plot their strategy in NFL free agency, which begins on March 13, they have to finalize decisions on their own potential free agents.

    They have five key players who will be unrestricted free agents if they don't re-sign.

    The five players Grossi mentions are running back Peyton Hillis, kicker Phil Dawson, linebacker D'Qwell Jackson, corner Dimitri Patterson and safety Mike Adams.

    Here, Cleveland needs to retain kicker Phil Dawson and linebacker D'Qwell Jackson more than any of the five. Hillis isn't a bad loss, as the Browns will have Brandon Jackson and Montario Hardesty to rely on in 2012.

    Also, with a top-five pick in the draft, Cleveland needs to take LSU corner Morris Claiborne if St. Louis drafts Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon. And with their second first-round pick, Arizona State linebacker Vontaze Burfict would help defend the run and get quarterback pressure.

    Through free agency, the Browns should approach a receiver to boost the passing game and draft a mid-round quarterback to compete with Colt McCoy and Seneca Wallace.

    In a division run by defense, Cleveland needs to step up in the trenches and get a lock-down player opposite of Joe Haden.

Pittsburgh Steelers

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    2012 will certainly be an interesting year for the Pittsburgh Steelers, especially after the way 2011 ended.

    That said, in an article by Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Steelers have quite a bit of free agents:

    Eleven Steelers will become unrestricted free agents and seven more will become restricted free agents if they do not sign contracts with the team before March 13, when the NFL's new calendar year starts and free agency begins.

    Talk about either revamping or reloading in one single offseason.

    And with some of those players, including receiver Mike Wallace and defensive back William Gay, the Steelers have some important decisions to make this offseason. Obviously retaining Wallace and Gay are crucial to their pass offense and pass defense, so we have to expect both will be back in The Steel City.

    Elsewhere, offensive lineman such as Doug Legursky, Max Starks and Trai Essex are mentioned by Bouchette, and if the Steelers need anything it's pass protection for Ben Roethlisberger.

    It will be a telling offseason as to what Pittsburgh does in free agency and the draft in regards to the 2012 season.

    With the Cincinnati Bengals on the rise and the Baltimore Ravens appearing to take over the division, what the Steelers do between now and September will determine their immediate success in the coming seasons.

Mike McCoy

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    According to Barry Jackson and Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, the Dolphins are expected to meet with Denver Broncos coach Mike McCoy:

    The Dolphins plan to interview Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy early this week, according to a league source.

    McCoy has been the Broncos offensive coordinator since 2009. Before that, he worked nine years for the Carolina Panthers in several capacities, including receivers coach, quarterback coach and passing game coordinator.

    This is a good idea for the Miami Dolphins, although McCoy has yet to gain any head coaching experience.

    Before heading to Denver, he had briefly worked with current Miami quarterback Matt Moore in Carolina, so the two have some chemistry that can hit the ground running.

    And with two reliable receiving targets in Brandon Marshall and tight end Anthony Fasano, the Dolphins passing game is set. Include Reggie Bush becoming a more complete and every down running back, and the Miami offense will flourish under McCoy.

    Unless Miami decides to go with Todd Bowles, Mike McCoy isn't a bad option, either.

     

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