NFL Free-Agency Rumors: Latest Buzz on Key Veteran Players

John RozumCorrespondent IMarch 12, 2013

GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 25:  Running back Steven Jackson #39 of the St. Louis Rams watches from the bench during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on November 25, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Rams defeated the Cardinals 31-17.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The madness has begun, and NFL free agency is in full force.

There's a lot going around at the moment and pro football's New Year is going to get more exciting, especially as the draft nears.

With plenty of agents landing elsewhere or re-signing, there are also key veterans still on the market.

So, let's get caught up to speed on the best experienced playmakers remaining.

Ed Reed

Ed Reed hired an agent according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun:

Ravens veteran free safety Ed Reed is no longer his own agent.

The former NFL Defensive Player of the Year has hired California-based agent David Dunn to represent him, according to a league source.

This is an intriguing move by Reed, because it displays initiative.

And earlier on Tuesday,'s Adam Schefter reported that the San Francisco 49ers were potentially interested:

Reed would be an enormous get for San Francisco, because the 49ers were suspect at time versus the pass in 2012. We saw the exploitation against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the regular season.

But the 'Niners also struggled against the Baltimore Ravens in the Super Bowl. That's where Reed can be the difference.

Wes Welker

For as reliable as Wes Welker is, the Patriots have yet to make him an offer according to Ian Rapoport of via Gregg Rosenthal:

Wes Welker is hoping to receive an official contract offer from the New England Patriots before free agency starts Tuesday. If it happens, it will be the first offer the Patriots have sent Welker during months of negotiations.'s Ian Rapoport reported that the Patriots haven't extended an official offer to Welker during all of their conversations, according to a source.

This is quite surprising because of how consistent Welker has performed since joining New England.

Obviously, he'll have a great impact wherever he plays next season, but he remains a distinct competitive advantage for the Pats. The chemistry built with Brady cannot be replaced, and given his lack of mobility, Welker as a safety outlet can often turn a sack into a first down.

Welker's ability to dominate against man-to-man, slip between zones and stockpile yards after the catch is virtually impossible to find. Whether it's third down, inside the red zone or needing that late drive, he will pull through.

Super Bowl aside, because every receiver drops passes, the guy brings a dimension to the offense that a defense cannot entirely isolate.

Steven Jackson

Steven Jackson may be turning 30 years old before the 2013 season kicks off, but he's still one of the NFL's most consistent ball-carriers.

Every year dating back to 2005, the veteran has rolled to 1,000-plus yards and averaged 4.1 yards per attempt in that span. Given the overall lack of talent around him, Jackson's production for the St. Louis Rams is quite impressive.

And at the moment, he's of interest to an NFC Super Bowl contender, per Pro Football Talk of NBC Sports:

He makes perfect sense for the Green Bay Packers.

Aaron Rodgers needs a bulldozing back to set up the play-action, not to mention Jackson's receiving talent will help for screens and checkdowns. If anything, Jackson provides the Packers with the opportunity to field constant balance.

And that will only inflate the efficiency of Rodgers and the passing game.