There is a host of talent set to hit the NFL free-agent market. As of Saturday, teams can begin to officially contact free agents, and on Tuesday, they can begin to sign them.
If recent patterns hold true, there will be a flurry of activity as free agency begins. It is an exciting time to be a fan.
In an effort to hit the ground running, I've compiled the rumors on three of the more interesting names set to hit the open market.
Aqib Talib, CB
Aqib Talib is understandably looking to score big in the open market.
Around the League passed along this rumor:
Aqib Talib reportedly wants "top-of-the-market" deal from Patriots http://t.co/aa7CuwHKrO— NFL: AroundTheLeague (@NFL_ATL) March 5, 2014
As a matter of perspective, the Dolphins just re-signed Brent Grimes to a four-year, $32 million deal with $16 million guaranteed. Talib has a right to expect a similar deal.
Talib has injury issues, but he is also three years younger than Grimes.
The following stat pointed out by ESPN's Trey Wingo highlights the risk and reward of signing Talib:
Is Aqib Talib worth top dollar? In last 2 AFC title games when he played.. QBs completed 53% of passes. When he left w/injury jumped to 71%— trey wingo (@wingoz) March 5, 2014
He provided excellent defense, but he also wasn't able to finish either game. Talib is arguably the best corner available in free agency, but with other talented corners like Alterraun Verner, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Charles Tillman also set to hit the open market, I wouldn't expect the market on corners to move very fast.
Teams aren't going to jump to pay any of these guys top dollar right off the bat.
The team I'd keep an eye on is the Denver Broncos. The Broncos will either have to spend to re-sign Rodgers-Cromartie or find a replacement.
Talib would be a great fit for a team firmly in win-now mode.
Michael Vick, QB
It can be debated how much Michael Vick has left in the tank. He's been a walking turnover in his recent play. In his 17 games played in the last two seasons, he has 13 interceptions and seven fumbles lost.
He also has 20 combined passing and rushing touchdowns in that span. He remains talented and dangerous. And if he could stay healthy for a season, he has the potential to produce. Just ask Adrian Peterson:
@MikeVick would intently make the vikings a playoff team!— Adrian Peterson (@AdrianPeterson) March 6, 2014
Whatever Vick is able to do next season, it isn't likely to come in Philadelphia. This tweet from Eye on Football does a solid job of summing up the situation:
Michael Vick seems to be drawing interest from everyone (except the Eagles). Here's your latest edition of NFL rumors http://t.co/UELGk63ObD— Eye on Football (@EyeOnNFL) March 7, 2014
So cross the Eagles off the list. It's probably also safe to cross Peterson's Minnesota Vikings off the list now that Matt Cassel has re-signed.
Among teams who will likely show interest, CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora mentions the "Jets, Raiders and other teams are monitoring Vick."
The Jets appear to be the best fit for Vick.
Marty Mornhinweg is the offensive coordinator in New York, and it was in his offense in Philadelphia where Vick played some of his best football.
The New York Jets watched rookie quarterback Geno Smith go through his share of struggles last season. The youngster, however, didn't have many weapons to work with on offense, and it is too early to give up on him.
Vick would bring his playmaking potential to a team that needs it, and the Jets could still try and develop Smith without being so dependent on him.
Michael Bennett, DE
Michael Bennett signed late in free agency last offseason with the Seattle Seahawks for a relative bargain.
He is reportedly going to try the process again, as this tweet from ESPN informs us:
JUST IN: Seattle DE Michael Bennett will test the free agent market and will not re-sign with the Seahawks (Via @AdamSchefter)— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) March 6, 2014
Bennett signed for $5 million last year, and he led the Seahawks in sacks with 8.5. There is a good chance he will get a raise this year.
If the following tweet has any validity, Bennett could become the latest piece in the rivalry between the Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers:
I wouldn't be surprised if the 49ers leaked rumors to try and drive up Bennett's price. At any rate, if the 49ers don't have legitimate interest in Bennett, I expect him to get plenty of other interest.
The Oakland Raiders should make a run at Bennett. They need down linemen who can put pressure on the quarterback, and they have a boatload of salary-cap room.