2014 NFL Free Agents: Most Exciting Players Looking for New Contracts

Tyler BrookeSenior Analyst IIJanuary 5, 2014

Dec 22, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Denver Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno (27) rushes during the first quarter against the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

With the NFL playoffs underway, some teams are looking ahead to the offseason. There are a number of exciting free agents to look out for once the free-agency period begins.

Some players have already been re-signed, including Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler. According to CBS Chicago, the deal was for seven years and is worth $126.7 million, with $54 million of that guaranteed.

But there are still plenty of players who will be free agents after this season, so let's take a look at a few of the most exciting names.


James Jones, WR, Green Bay Packers

GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 08: James Jones #89 of the Green Bay Packers watches as Sean Weatherspoon of the Atlanta Falcons scores a touchdown after an interception at Lambeau Field on December 8, 2013 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Gett
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

It seems like the Green Bay Packers always have a ton of options at wide receiver. Depending on what James Jones is asking for, there's a chance the team may decide that it's fine with players like Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Jarrett Boykin.

It was an off year for Jones, catching just 59 passes for 817 yards and three touchdowns. But he was also playing without Aaron Rodgers for about half of the season, so it makes sense that his numbers went down. His best year came in 2012, when he caught 64 passes for 784 yards and an impressive 14 touchdowns.

If Jones doesn't re-sign with the Packers, then a number of teams will likely be taking a look at him. He doesn't have the skills to be a true No. 1 receiver, but he would fit right in with any team as a No. 2 guy thanks to his ability to make catches in traffic.


Karlos Dansby, LB, Arizona Cardinals

Nov 24, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals linebacker Karlos Dansby (56) celebrates his interception return for a touchdown in the second quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

After a few rough seasons, Karlos Dansby picked the perfect time to have a career year with his contract expiring after 2013.

Dansby is a serious Defensive Player of the Year candidate after what he did this year. He finished with 122 combined tackles, 6.5 sacks, four interceptions and two defensive touchdowns, more than anyone else in the league. Pro Football Focus (subscription required) had Dansby with an overall grade of 13.3, which was the third-highest overall grade.

Talk about production.

At 32 years old, Dansby isn't going to be playing forever. But given what he's done this season, it looks like he's in good shape to get a nice contract after this season. It will be up to the Cardinals to see if they want to pay him.


Knowshon Moreno, RB, Denver Broncos

Speaking of improved players, there might not be another player in the NFL who turned things around this season more than Knowshon Moreno.

Moreno was such an exciting player coming out of college. He was drafted No. 12 overall back in the 2009 draft. But injuries and poor play kept him from breaking out as was expected.

Luckily for Moreno, he finally had the season he was hoping for, running for 1,038 yards and 10 touchdowns while adding another 548 yards and three scores through the air. Some of that might have to do with having Peyton Manning in the offense, but Moreno was able to stay healthy and play in all 16 games for the first time since his rookie year.

With Ronnie Hillman and Montee Ball in the backfield as well, it will be interesting to see whether or not the Broncos re-sign him.

Regardless, he's proven himself enough to earn a big payday from some team in the next few months.