NFL Rumors: Breaking Down Latest Rumblings Surrounding Free Agency

Chris RolingFeatured ColumnistMarch 9, 2014

Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson pulls on his helmet in the second quarter of an NFL football game against the Houston Texans Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
Wade Payne/Associated Press

The approach to NFL free agency is lined with interesting nuggets of info released to the general public for consumption.

Whether it is a team looking to acquire a franchise player, another attempting to ship one away or a team coming out of left field in its desires on the market, the approach to free agency has led to some crazy news, reports and "sources."

Best of all, fans have no idea what to expect until ink hits paper or two organizations sign off with the league office on a trade.

Make sure to not blink over the next few days.


Arizona Cardinals Prefer Jared Veldheer

Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

The Oakland Raiders have inexplicably done little to bring back franchise left tackle Jared Veldheer, who just so happens to be one of the better players in the offensive trenches the NFL has to offer.

As it turns out, Oakland's loss may be Arizona's gain. According to Kent Somers of, Veldeer tops the team's wish list with the market set to open on March 11:

Of course he does. Cardinals coach Bruce Arians is no fool—the extra cash invested in Veldheer, as opposed to a guy like Branden Albert, will keep Carson Palmer off his back, which in turn gives the immobile quarterback more time to execute Arians' vertical-oriented offense.

Not only that, Veldheer is just 26 years old and is a force in the running game. He also happens to have chemistry with Palmer from back in the day when the two played together in Oakland.

Clearly, a great fit; Arizona has the look of a team set to win free agency in a big way.


Chris Johnson on the Move?

Hey look, a team trying to backpedal out of a deal it signed because the cash ramifications did not pan out the way it intended.

The Tennessee Titans want to get rid of running back Chris Johnson, as suggested by Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean:

Pro Football Talk later confirmed the notion via a league source:

The Titans gave Johnson a four-year deal worth more than $53 million back in 2011, and his cap hit is $10 million in each of the next two seasons before it shrinks to $9 million in 2016, according to Spotrac.

Johnson was a surprise dud last season, as he just barely eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in 16 games and rushed for more than 100 yards in a game just twice, so this move by the Titans is a bit predictable with CJ2K set to turn 29 in September.

To be fair to Johnson, he remains positive in light of the situation and has his mind set on getting healthy to play, regardless of where that may be. As he told Wyatt:

It’s in God’s hands. If I am back with the Titans, that’s where God wants me to be. If I have to move on and play somewhere else, that’s all God’s decision. I know the decision that Coach Whisenhunt and the front office of the Titans has to make, but it is going to come as a result of what God wants for me … and I don’t have a problem with that.

I have a whole lot left. I have only played six years in this league. And that is what my focus is on. My focus is not on whether the Titans are going to let me go and if they’re going to do this or that, my focus is on getting back healthy so I can start working out. And wherever I am this year, I’ll be ready to play and ready to help a team win.

Expect Johnson to get cut if no team bites, which they will not given his contract and the likelihood of him hitting the market. Once there, where Johnson lands is impossible to tell.


New York Jets Looking at Unexpected Options

Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

The New York Jets have a boatload of work to do this offseason to rebuild a roster in flux.

Part of that process—a necessary evil to some—is bringing on veteran stop-gap solutions, as teams only have so many rookie picks each year.

To that end, it sounds as if the Jets have a couple options in mind, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News:

Many have likely forgotten Maurice Jones-Drew is even headed to the market, but Jacksonville general manager Dave Caldwell confirmed as much back in December. MJD is going to be 29 by the time next season rolls around and battled nagging injuries last year, which saw him run for 803 yards and five scores.

Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Donte Whitner was solid in San Francisco for the last three seasons and appears on the hunt for another big payday, as he also turns 29 before the season.

Both moves make sense. MJD provides some needed depth and insurance on the chance oft-injured starter Chris Ivory, who had played in a combined 12 games in 2011 and 2012 before appearing in 15 last year, gets hurt once more.

Whitner is a bit more perplexing as a very similar player to Dawan Landry, but again, a team in New York's position will take what it can get.

As few other teams have expressed interest in either player, do not be shocked if both end up with the Jets.


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