NFL Free Agency

NFL Free Agency 2014: Start Date, Rumors and Early Predictions

NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 08:  Jimmy Graham #80 of the New Orleans Saints has a pass broken up by  Mike Mitchell #21 of the Carolina Panthers at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 8, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistFebruary 3, 2014

When the 2014 edition of NFL free agency kicks off on March 11 at 4 p.m. ET, the excitement surrounding the biggest names to hit the open market will have fans from every corner of the world interested in where top stars will land.

With elite players like New Orleans tight end Jimmy Graham and Carolina defensive end Greg Hardy possibly hitting free agency—the franchise tag and contract negotiations with their respective teams could have them re-signed before they the market—the frenzy is picking up exponentially with each passing day.

Here are the top 50 players who could hit free agency this offseason, early predictions of where they will land and rumors surrounding two of the biggest stars in the 2014 class.

2014 NFL Free Agent Class
PlayerTeamPositionAgePredicted Landing Spot
1. Jimmy GrahamNOTE28New Orleans
2. Greg HardyCARDE26Carolina
3. T.J. WardCLES27Cleveland
4. Jairus ByrdBUFS27Buffalo
5. Brian OrakpoWASOLB28Denver
6. Alterraun VernerTENCB25Tennessee
7. Dominique Rodgers-CromartieDENCB29Retired
8. Michael BennettSEADE28Seattle
9. Michael JohnsonCINDE27Cincinnati
10. Randy StarksMIADT30Chicago
11. Henry MeltonCHIDT27Miami
12. Eugene MonroeBALOT27Baltimore
13. Jared VeldheerOAKOT27Pittsburgh
14. Brent GrimesMIACB31Miami
15. Eric DeckerDENWR27Pittsburgh
16. Jason WorildsPITOLB26Pittsburgh
17. Alex MackCLEC28Cleveland
18. Vontae DavisINDCB26Indianapolis
19. Jason HatcherDALDT32Indianapolis
20. Aqib TalibNECB28New England
21. Lamarr HoustonOAKDE27Philadelphia
22. Dennis PittaBALTE29Kansas City
23. Captain MunnerlynCARCB26Carolina
24. Arthur JonesBALDE28Baltimore
25. Knowshon MorenoDENRB27Denver
26. Brandon SpikesNEILB26New England
27. Golden TateSEAWR26Seattle
28. Jordan GrossCAROT34Carolina
29. Geoff SchwartzKCOG27Kansas City
30. Branden AlbertKCOT29Kansas City
31. Paul SoliaiMIADT30Miami
32. Hakeem NicksNYGWR26New England
33. Sam ShieldsGBCB26Green Bay
34. Linval JosephNYGDT25New York
35. Zach StriefNOOT30New Orleans
36. Walter ThurmondSEACB26Philadelphia
37. Justin TuckNYGDE31Oakland
38. Anthony SpencerDALDE/OLB30Dallas
39. Travelle WhartonCAROG33Carolina
40. Julian EdelmanNEWR28New Orleans
41. Ben TateHOURB26New England
42. Michael VickPHIQB34Oakland
43. Tyson JacksonKCDE28Kansas City
44. Anthony CollinsCINOT29Cincinnati
45. Antonio SmithHOUDE32Houston
46. Jared AllenMINDE32Atlanta
47. Karlos DansbyARIILB32Arizona
48. Clinton McDonaldSEADT27Chicago
49. Jeremy MaclinPHIWR26Kansas City
50. Donte WhitnerSFS29San Francisco
Source: Comcast Philly

 

Jairus Byrd, S, Buffalo Bills

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - DECEMBER 23: Jairus Byrd #31 of the Buffalo Bills warm up prior to the game against the Miami Dolphins on December 23, 2012 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. The Dolphins defeated the Bills 24-10. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/G
Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Buffalo Bills safety Jairus Byrd is one of the best defensive backs on the free-agent market. While the Bills will do whatever they can to keep him on the team, other organizations are posturing for a chance to sign him this offseason.

Pick the Draft’s Twitter account reveals the master plan:

Both teams would love to have Byrd patrolling their secondary in 2014—Buffalo team president Russ Brandon told the Associated Press (via ESPN.com) that he wants the safety back—and the Pro Bowl player should take his time making a decision to get the most money from the situation.

After a career year, Byrd has earned the right to get paid big bucks. Let the bidding war commence.

Predicted Landing Spot: Buffalo Bills

 

Jeremy Maclin, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 30:  Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin #18 of the Philadelphia Eagles in action against the New York Giants at Lincoln Financial Field on September 30, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)
Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Eagles never got to see what wide receiver Jeremy Maclin could do in Chip Kelly’s offense—he tore his ACL before the 2013 season began—and the player will be able to test free agency this offseason.

Former agent Joel Corry told Terez A. Taylor of The Kansas City Star about the Kansas City Chiefs' reported interest in Maclin during free agency: “I’d give him a decent one-year salary and give him upside through incentives. Andy [Reid] knows him, so he shouldn’t have a problem with the offense and that’s another potential playmaker.”

Kelly and the Eagles will do whatever it takes to keep a versatile weapon such as Maclin on the roster, but if there is any allegiance between Reid and the former Mizzou star, there is a legitimate chance he ends up in Kansas City.

Predicted Landing Spot: Kansas City Chiefs

 

*All stats and information via NFL.com.

 

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