2012 NFL Free Agents Predictions: 5 Faces Headed to New Places

Gary Davenport@@IDPSharksNFL AnalystFebruary 9, 2012

2012 NFL Free Agents Predictions: 5 Faces Headed to New Places

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    On March 13th, 2012, the NFL's version of the Mayan Apocalypse will kick off, as the floodgates of free agency open and fans across the National Football League are subjected to endless updates, uncertainty and interviews with Drew Rosenhaus.

    Next question!

    As is the case more often than not, many of the biggest names won't be going anywhere (folks, listen closely—Drew Brees is staying in New Orleans), but there will be some players who will be cashing big checks and packing their bags, including the handful listed here, complete with a prediction as to whose helmet they'll be wearing next season.

1. Matt Flynn: QB, Green Bay Packers

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    Headed To: Seattle Seahawks

    The Deal: Six years, $64 million

    The quarterback position in free agency has become a game of dominoes, beginning with a certain quarterback in Indianapolis and ending with who trades what to get Robert Griffin III in the 2012 NFL draft, with the fate of Green Bay Packers backup signal-caller Matt Flynn sandwiched squarely in between.

    However, when the dust settles, a Pete Carroll sales pitch, the chance to start for a decent Seahawks team and a whole bunch of cabbage will be enough for one young man to go west.

    And before anyone starts freaking about those numbers, the Arizona Cardinals just gave Kevin Kolb $63 million over five seasons last year, and Flynn threw for more yards in one game for the Packers this year than Kolb did from Week 8 on.

2. Vincent Jackson: WR, San Diego Chargers

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    Headed To: San Francisco 49ers

    The Deal: Four years, $39 million

    The thought of trying to once again negotiate a contract with general manager A.J. Smith probably has San Diego Chargers wide receiver Vincent Jackson ready to throw himself off an overpass.

    The San Francisco 49ers have the cap space to make a run at the No. 1 wideout their offense so desperately needs, and the thought of playing for a Super Bowl contender will motivate the mercurial seventh-year veteran to turn down slightly higher offers from other teams to move up the coast.

3. Carl Nicks: OG, New Orleans Saints

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    Headed To: Dallas Cowboys

    The Deal: Six Years, $55 million

    This is a crushing blow to the New Orleans Saints, who would very much like to keep arguably the best guard tandem in the NFL together in Nicks and Jahri Evans, but with numerous other free agents (including Brees and wide receiver Marques Colston), they just won't be able to stay in the bidding.

    The Dallas Cowboys don't have a whole lot of wiggle room salary-cap wise, but after some wheeling, dealing and quite possibly some stealing, Jerry Jones will somehow wrangle the room to land the best free agent offensive lineman available.

4. Stephen Tulloch: MLB, Detroit Lions

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    Headed To: Philadelphia Eagles

    The Deal: Five Years, $24 million

    After tallying more than 110 tackles for the Detroit Lions last year while playing on a one-year "prove it" deal, middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch will be looking for both a pay raise and some long-term security this offseason.

    The Eagles have a glaring hole at middle linebacker, and Tulloch has experience in their "Wide 9" defensive front from his years with the Tennessee Titans, so it makes sense for the Eagles to view the sixth-year veteran as their top free-agent target.

5. Cortland Finnegan: CB, Tennessee Titans

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    Headed To: Cincinnati Bengals

    The Deal: Six years, $63 million

    Tennessee Titans cornerback Cortland Finnegan seems to think that his days with the team are numbered, and as the biggest name in a weak cornerback class, he should be able to just about name his price.

    Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Bengals have approximately 47 bajillion dollars in cap space and a big hole opposite Leon Hall at cornerback, so they may be one of the few teams capable of doling out the sort of money it will take to land the sixth-year veteran.