NFL Free-Agency Rumors: Hottest Buzz Surrounding Top Available Offensive Players

Brian LeighFeatured ColumnistMarch 11, 2013

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 30:  Reggie Bush #22 of the Miami Dolphins catches a pass before a game with the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on December 30, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

The 2013 NFL draft is still over a month away, but free agency is already in full swing.

No big dominoes have fallen to date, but the rumor mill is swirling in full force. Though we can't take reports from anonymous sources as gospel, they provide plenty of insight into where guys might play next season.

There's a plethora of talent on the market this year too, so March's happenings could prove pivotal come next season.

Here's the latest buzz on four of the biggest names:


Mike Wallace

According to Alex Marvez of Fox Sports, the Miami Dolphins are front-runners to land Mike Wallace:

A source told that the Dolphins are the "lead dog" to land Wallace when the signing period officially opens at 4 p.m. ET Tuesday.

Wallace, whose departure from Pittsburgh is now all but a sure thing, would probably cost Miami a steep price to acquire. Only four years into his professional career, he's established himself as one of the game's finest downfield threats.

He'd also give young Ryan Tannehill his first legitimate playmaker since joining the team. While "Class of 2012" peers like Andrew Luck were throwing to Reggie Wayne last season, Tannehill was stuck throwing to the likes of Brian Hartline.

Wallace would allow Miami to get a more accurate read on its quarterback situation.


Rashard Mendenhall

Speaking of Steelers free agents who might move to Miami...

Per's Daniel Jeremiah, the Dolphins are leaders in the Rashard Mendenhall sweepstakes too:

Reggie Bush is unlikely to return next season (more on that to come), so the Dolphins are in need of a quality ball-carrier. Though Lamar Miller showed promise as a rookie, it'd be hard to count on him has a workhorse (at least for the time being).

Mendenhall, meanwhile, is battle-tested as a bell cow. He's rushed for 1,000-plus yards twice in his career and topped 200 carries three times.

Despite some well-warranted concerns about his health, he'd be a welcome addition to Miami's backfield.


Reggie Bush

And why, exactly, would Mendenhall be such a welcome addition? Well, mostly because of this (per The Miami Herald's Armando Salguero):

(My) source is saying Reggie Bush categorically will not be back in Miami.

Salguero says that the market for Bush is plenty hot, but Miami isn't one of the interested parties. Coming off a 7-9 season, their fourth straight with a losing record, the Dolphins purportedly want to go in a different direction.

Bush has enjoyed the two best seasons of his career—at least as far as stats are concerned—since arriving in Miami. Whether he can keep up the production elsewhere remains to be seen.


Anquan Boldin

Boldin was an essential—if not the essential—cog in Baltimore's surprising run to the Super Bowl. But come 2013 kickoff, he could have a different home.

Per The Baltimore Sun, citing an unnamed source:

Unless something dramatic happens, it's an absolute done deal that Anquan will be released.

The Ravens want Boldin to take a steep pay cut next season; something that was likely caused, at least in some capacity, by the record-breaking contract of Joe Flacco. Though he was invaluable down the stretch in 2013, the team needs to make fiscal sense of his contract.

Boldin is a little older than the likes of Mike Wallace or Greg Jennings, but he'll still warrant decent pay.