NFL Free Agents Rumors: Latest News and Speculation

Matt SteinCorrespondent IIMarch 13, 2012

NFL Free Agents Rumors: Latest News and Speculation

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    With 2012 NFL free agency set to begin in less than 12 hours (4:00 p.m. EST), news, rumors and speculation is running as rampant as ever.

    Everyone is dying to know where players like Peyton Manning, Matt Flynn, Vincent Jackson and Carl Nicks are going to end up and when they might sign with a team.

    We're here to give you all the latest rumors, news and speculation about the NFL's biggest free agents.

Who Is Winning the Race for Peyton?

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    The first rumors concerning Peyton Manning, reported by Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter of ESPN, were that the Arizona Cardinals and the Denver Broncos were the front-runners to sign the future Hall of Fame quarterback. According to the report, they were the only two teams that Manning had met with so far.

    However, Mortensen reported yesterday afternoon that Manning was going to be meeting with the Miami Dolphins and Tennessee Titans sometime this week.

    So what does this all mean?

    Manning is clearly looking for the team he feels will give him the best opportunity to win right now, and he isn't sure which team that is quite yet.

    Don't expect Manning to sign today. Instead, look for his courtship to be dragged out through the weekend and possibly late into the month.

    Ultimately, I believe that Manning will like what Arizona has to offer him, namely Larry Fitzgerald. I believe he will pull a Kurt Warner and get the Cardinals back to the Super Bowl.

Will Vincent Jackson Finally Get His Big Contract?

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    Vincent Jackson has been waiting to sign a monster contract for a few years now. He'll finally get his chance during the 2012 free agency period.

    It looked as if the Washington Redskins were going to be the likely landing spot for Jackson as recently as yesterday. There was quite a bit of speculation that Washington would love to give Robert Griffin III a target like Jackson to throw to.

    However, the Redskins were hit with some pretty hefty penalties ($36 million worth), and there is now virtually no way for Washington to land a player like Jackson.

    So where does that leave the star wide receiver?

    Three teams that could still use Jackson's talents are the Chicago Bears, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Jacksonville Jaguars. Of those three teams, the Jags are the most likely to spend the money to get him on their roster. 

    While Jackson would much rather play for a contending team with a like the Bears, he may have to go to a cellar team like Jacksonville or Tampa Bay if he wants to get his big contract.

What Happens with Mario Williams?

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    As one of the top pass rushers in the NFL, Mario Williams will likely have plenty of teams lining up at his door once free agency begins.

    Of all those teams, two have separated themselves from the rest of the pack as the likeliest of landing spots for Williams. Both the Atlanta Falcons and Chicago Bears could use a player like Williams to boost their chances at making a deep playoff run in 2012.

    According to John Mullin of CSNChicago.com, the Bears have become the leader of the pack to sign the ultra-talented defensive end. If that is the case, the combination of Julius Peppers and Williams could become the most talented defensive end duo in NFL history.

    Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and Christian Ponder will definitely hope that Williams signs elsewhere.

Will LaRon Landry Be with the Washington Redskins in 2012?

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    Dan Pompei of National Football Post believes the Washington Redskins are unlikely to make an offer to LaRon Landry to remain on their roster.

    As the top safety available in free agency, along with a weak safety class in the 2012 NFL draft, Landry will likely find plenty of suitors on the market for his services. In fact, three teams are already showing interest. 

    ESPN's Rich Carimi expects the New York Jets to show interest in Landry, while the Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles have also been tied to the star safety. 

Is Anything Happening with Mike Wallace?

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    With all the cap troubles that the Pittsburgh Steelers are having, Mike Wallace's future is still a big question mark for the team. They would clearly love to have their top receiver back in 2012, but making that happen will be difficult to say the least.

    James Walker of ESPN took a look at why the New England Patriots should make a move for Wallace. They clearly have the draft picks and cap space to make a move happen, but what is the likelihood of it actually taking place?

    It may be a while before we find out, but it's hard to imagine Pittsburgh turning down a first-round draft pick for Wallace. While he has been extremely good, the Steelers have plenty of other talented receivers on their roster. 

    For the Patriots, the idea of giving up a first-round pick to add Wallace to the likes of Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez is a no-brainer.

    This could be quite the game-changing trade for both Pittsburgh and New England if it were to take place.

Will Carl Nicks Return to New Orleans?

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    It's looking pretty unlikely that Carl Nicks will return with the New Orleans Saints in 2012. From Mike Triplett of The Times-Picayune, Nicks believes that his time is pretty much up with the Saints.

    This has to be terrible news for Drew Brees as Nicks is one of the best guards in the NFL. Losing him will almost certainly cause Brees to end up on his back more often than he would like.

    So, where could Nicks ultimately land?

    According to Jason LaCanfora from the NFL Network, the Dallas Cowboys could be looking to boost their offensive line with a player like Nicks. The Cowboys have had terrible play across their offensive line the past few seasons, so adding Nicks would be a smart move for Big D. 

    One thing we can be sure of is that Nicks wants to reel in quite a large paycheck via free agency.

Where Will Brandon Carr Be Playing in 2012?

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    When the Kansas City Chiefs signed ex-Oakland Raider Stanford Routt, everyone knew that they were going to let the younger, and arguably more talented, Brandon Carr walk.

    Carr is one of the better free agent cornerbacks available this year and should be getting one heck of a contract in free agency. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Dallas Cowboys could be looking to improve their secondary with a player like Carr.

    This would be a huge signing for Dallas, as they haven't had a player like Carr in their secondary in a very long time. 

Does Anyone Still Want Matt Flynn?

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    Before Peyton Manning was released, Matt Flynn of the Green Bay Packers was the prize of the free agent quarterback crop. However, it now appears that Flynn is the consolation prize for the losers of the Manning sweepstakes. 

    In fact, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald reported that if the Miami Dolphins don't land Manning, they'll likely go after Flynn.

    It's unfortunate that Flynn will have to wait for teams to get a "no" from Manning before pursuing him, but such is the way of NFL free agency.

    Other teams that could show interest in Flynn would be the Cleveland Browns and Seattle Seahawks. Both teams are in dire need of an upgrade at the quarterback position and Flynn would absolutely be able to provide that.