NFL teams have plenty of work to do before settling on a roster for the 2013 season, and player movement will be in full swing once the free-agency period starts.
With several high-profile players set to hit the market, the root causes for teams’ decline or ascension may start to form in March.
Losing a playmaker can cause a 2012 playoff team to falter when the 2013 season starts up. The opposite is also true, as adding a key player could spark one of last year’s disappointments.
Here is all the info you need to know for this year's NFL free agency.
March 4: Deadline to place franchise tag on players
March 9: Teams are allowed to negotiate with free agents
March 12: Free agency begins
Most Likely Franchise Tag Candidates
Joe Flacco, QB, Baltimore Ravens
The last time the Ravens won the Super Bowl in the 2000 season, they ditched quarterback Trent Dilfer in the offseason. The franchise will be taking a different path after its latest title.
Flacco won the Super Bowl MVP and showed that he was capable of delivering in the biggest situations. He will be staying in Baltimore.
Ryan Clady, LT, Denver Broncos
When a franchise has a quarterback who will be 37 years old when the season starts, it is wise to have a top-tier player at left tackle.
The Broncos had a fine season with Ryan Clady protecting Peyton Manning’s blind side, and it would be shocking to see John Elway let the offensive lineman leave Denver.
Jairus Byrd, FS, Buffalo Bills
The Bills had plenty of disappointing players on defense last season, but Byrd was not one of them.
The four-year pro earned his second trip to the Pro Bowl this past year after racking up 76 tackles, forcing four fumbles and picking off five passes. Those numbers will ensure he stays in Buffalo.
Biggest Names on the Market
Brian Urlacher, ILB, Chicago Bears
Urlacher may not be the player he once was, but he is still one of the greatest linebackers and defensive leaders in NFL history.
NFL.com’s Albert Breer notes that the Bears are currently trying to keep Urlacher in Chicago, but getting a new deal done has proven difficult in recent months. Until pen is put to paper, rumors will swirl about the linebacker’s possible departure.
Greg Jennings, WR, Green Bay Packers
After impressive performances from Randall Cobb and James Jones in 2012, the Packers will be extremely hesitant to give Jennings the type of contract he could earn elsewhere.
Jennings has been a top-tier wideout when healthy, and teams lacking talent at the position will likely jump at the chance to sign him.
Reggie Bush, RB, Miami Dolphins
Bush will never be the star he was in college, but he has proven to a be a reliable lead running back since arriving in Miami.
After surpassing 1,000 rushing yards in 2011 and coming just 14 yards shy of repeating that accomplishment in 2012, teams short on options in the backfield will be paying attention to Bush.
An unofficial list of all 2013 NFL free agents is available via NFL.com.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!