NFL Rumors: Where Some Unheralded Free Agents Might Land
Just look at what the likes of Laurent Robinson, Donte Whitner and Andre Carter did for their new teams last season.
Most franchises are going to be supplementing via free agency this offseason, not looking to build the foundation of their team. In doing so, they are going to take a look at the less-heralded players to contribute in 2012.
This article is going to give you five such players and rumors about where they might end up.
Mike Tolbert, RB, San Diego Chargers
2012 Statistics: 823 total yards and ten touchdowns.
Mike Tolbert can play either running back or fullback. He has the strength to get the tough yard inside and is a great red zone back.
There promises to be a lot of interest in regards to the former San Diego Chargers running back. After all, he is still only 26 and has a lot of tread left on those tires.
The Tampa Times has indicated that Tolbert would be a great fit with the Buccaneers. I am not seeing that as too much of an option considering that they have another bruiser, LeGarrette Blount, on the roster.
The New York Jets have also been floated around as a possibility, but Tolbert seems to have shot that idea down.
“they do sometimes have that whole media circus thing going on and I’m not the type of person that gets into the whole limelight thing and throwing players under the bus and stuff like that.”
The San Diego Union-Tribune has recently reported that the Chargers believe Tolbert is going to leave via free agency. While the two teams listed above don't seem to be real possibilities at this point, there are a few that make a lot of sense.
Among them are the: Philadelphia Eagles, Arizona Cardinals, New England Patriots, and Detroit Lions.
Josh Morgan, WR, San Francisco 49ers
2010 Statistics: 44 receptions, 698 yards and two touchdowns (missed 11 games in 2011).
If the San Francisco 49ers are unable to retain Josh Morgan, there promises to be a great deal of interest in his services. This is a receiver that has improved each season in the NFL before missing a majority of 2011 due to injury.
He is a solid slot option between the hashes and can stretch the field. There are only a limited number of teams that already have this need filled.
It has been reported that the Jacksonville Jaguars plan on making a play for Morgan should he hit the open market this afternoon.
With that said, San Francisco is currently making a strong push to retain Morgan's services.
Josh Clayton over at ESPN has indicated that the former Virginia Tech receiver will get a lot of play on the free agent market. This is something to watch as the week progresses.
Andre Carter, DE, New England Patriots
2011 Statistics: 52 tackles, two forced fumbles and 10 sacks
Andre Carter was an after thought when it came to the free agent market last offseason, signing a contract with a base salary of less than $2 million for one season.
He promises to be on teams' radar when free agency starts later today. With that said, you are not going to see teams clamoring to sign the veteran defensive end to a long-term contract.
Instead, he is probably looking at a one- or two-year-deal.
Whoever signs Carter is going to get a player that performs extremely well with his hands down in a 4-3 defense and can get to the quarterback on a consistent basis.
Back in February, the Boston Globe reported that it was "likely" Carter was going to re-sign with the New England. This makes a lot of sense considering the fact that he was was one of the Patriots' few consistent pass rushers last season, if not their only.
Things have since changed.
ESPN indicated on Monday that the Seattle Seahawks, Tennessee Titans, Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills may show interest in Carter. Considering that they all run base 4-3 defenses, this makes a lot of sense.
Either way, you can expect Carter to get a look from a myriad of different teams as free agency progresses.
Steve Hutchinson, G, Minnesota Vikings
I wasn't the least bit surprised that the Minnesota Vikings decided to cut ties with Steve Hutchinson over the weekend. He has slowly regressed over the last couple seasons after being one of the elite guards in the National Football League.
This doesn't mean that the veteran cannot add value to a team in search of experience along the interior of its offensive line.
He still seems to have a little bit left in the tank.
One report indicates that Hutchinson will get a look from the Tennessee Titans, who are looking at options with Jake Scott set to hit the market later today. This would seem to be a great fit for both sides.
Other than Tennessee, there seems to be a pretty soft market for the services of No. 76.
Pure speculation here, but I believe the San Francisco 49ers could show interest in Hutchinson as well. Adam Snyder is set to be a free agent, which means that this could be an area of need for them.
Pierre Garcon, WR, Indianapolis Colts
2011 Statistics: 70 receptions, 947 yards and six touchdowns.
Apparently a $35 million contract over the course of five seasons wasn't enough for the Indianapolis Colts to re-sign Pierre Garcon before the start of free agency today.
Some may conclude that Garcon was a product of Peyton Manning in Indianapolis. If that is the case, how do you explain his success in 2011?
This is a player that might not translate to being a No. 1 receiver, but has all the skills to be a great complimentary guy. I really like what he brings in terms of stretching the field on the outside.
Despite the fact that there are more "well-known" free agent receivers on the market, Garcon promises to get a lot of play.
The Colts did have discussions with the free agent receiver over the weekend, but that didn't change the fact that the two sides appear to be far apart in those negotiations.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have been linked to nearly every top receiver on the market and Garcon is no different. He would fit their need for a top of the line threat on the outside.
One obvious connection would be the Miami Dolphins if they were able to sign Manning. At this point Garcon seems to be open to that idea.
"Hometown—why wouldn't you want to be here in Miami?" he said.
This seems highly unlikely, considering that Reggie Wayne would most likely follow Manning to the Miami Dolphins, who already have Brandon Marshall on the roster.
It remains to be seen what further teams might be interested. We will have to wait to see how the market plays out this week.