The 2014 NFL free agency class was extremely deep, but the legal tampering period caused a frenzy of action as the contracts were finally allowed to be signed Tuesday afternoon.
Top stars like defensive end Jared Allen, quarterback Michael Vick and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie are all still on the market, though, and have found themselves embroiled in the football rumor mill.
Here are the latest rumors surrounding the biggest names on the market.
Jared Allen Drawing Interest From Chicago and Seattle?
Former Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen is one of the most consistent pass rushers on the market this season. Any team looking for a top-notch 4-3 end should be kicking the tires on Allen.
The Denver Broncos were reportedly interested, but according to Pro Football Talk, his requested salary was beyond what the franchise was willing to pay:
Possible impediment to Jared Allen to Broncos? Allen may want too much money, per league source. And he currently has no other suitors.— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) March 11, 2014
Denver probably won't be interested anymore now that the Broncos have reportedly signed DeMarcus Ware, but there are still several teams interested in Allen, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, including the defending Super Bowl champions:
While Denver focuses on DeMarcus Ware…Vikings free-agent DE Jared Allen is talking with the Bears and Seattle Seahawks, per league source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 12, 2014
Allen is coming off his seventh straight season of double-digit sacks (11.5), and that consistency is exactly what every team is looking for in a pass-rusher. While signing Allen won’t be cheap, he can be a difference maker along the defensive line.
While Seattle looks like the most appealing landing spot after winning the Super Bowl, the void left by the departure of Julius Peppers in Chicago and Allen’s familiarity with the NFC North makes signing with the Bears his best bet.
Fans in Minnesota would be angry, but Chicago looks to be the best option for Allen.
Predicted Landing Spot: Chicago Bears
Michael Vick an Option for the New York Jets?
The Philadelphia Eagles seem to be content allowing backup Michael Vick to walk via free agency, and he has created waves on the open market. One of the teams that has shown the most interest is the New York Jets.
According to Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com, the franchise is looking to get a deal done quickly:
After only one hour of free agency, the New York Jets are targeting at least two quarterbacks -- Michael Vick and Josh McCown, according to a league source. The Jets have a definite interest in Vick, the source said. In an ideal world, they'd like to wrap it up quickly, but the former Philadelphia Eagles starter will have other suitors.
NFL Network's Around the League Twitter account shared some of the other teams interested in Vick’s services and what could potentially hold up a deal with the Jets:
From @RapSheet: Jets, Raiders and Bills interested in Vick, who is placing a priority on landing a starting job.— NFL: AroundTheLeague (@NFL_ATL) March 11, 2014
Per @KimJonesSports, talks between Jets and Vick have hit a "roadblock" because Vick wants a starting job. Could revisit in the future.— NFL: AroundTheLeague (@NFL_ATL) March 12, 2014
Philadelphia took the educated risk when it signed Vick, but he never quite lived up to the expectations after his time with the Atlanta Falcons. New York has a second-year player in Geno Smith who could learn a lot from Vick, but the veteran would once again take on a backup role.
There will be other options for Vick, but a chance in training camp to compete for the starting job will be the best chance for him to shine in the NFL once again.
Predicted Landing Spot: New York Jets
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie Out in Denver?
The Denver Broncos considered re-signing cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie this offseason, but after signing high-profile free agent Aqib Talib to a deal, the franchise has pulled its offer off the table, according to Mike Klis of The Denver Post:
Broncos' offer to Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has been pulled. He's gone. Aqib Talib much stronger.— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) March 12, 2014
Rodgers-Cromartie shouldn’t be shocked by the actions of the franchise after the way the defense was burnt in the Super Bowl, but this could be a blessing in disguise for the cornerback.
Which free agent deserves the most hype?
As Bleacher Report’s Eric Frenz suggests, the New England Patriots may be a viable option.
Even if Rodgers-Cromartie stays on the market through the draft, one of the franchises that misses out on a rookie defensive back it was aiming for will look to add him. Either way, DRC will still get paid.
Predicted Landing Spot: New England Patriots
*All stats via NFL.com.