NFL Free Agents 2014: Breaking Down Rumors for Top Players Left on Market

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 16, 2014

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 17:   Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie #45 of the Denver Broncos celebrates in the first quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on November 17, 2013 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

While the majority of the big names have already been signed in free agency, there are still a number of skilled players available. From quarterback to cornerback, there are talents on the market that could fill major needs for teams.

So who's left? And where are they rumored to end up?

Glad you asked. Let's break down some of the juiciest free-agency rumors making the rounds at the moment.

The Oakland Raiders Seek a Quarterback

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 03:  Quarterback Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles not in uniform for today's game against the Oakland Raiders, looks on during pre-game warm ups at Coliseum on November 3, 2013 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Thear
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Oakland Raiders need a quarterback, and they need one badly. While they could potentially select one with their first-round pick, it's possible the top three options at the position—Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles—could be off the board by the time they select at No. 5 overall. 

Thus, having a contingency plan in place in case they aren't able to draft a quarterback is vital. According to Paul Gutierrez of, the team has eyes for two players who haven't even hit free agency yet:

Two of the four veteran quarterbacks the Oakland Raiders plan to target in free agency are not yet free agents, although that is expected to change soon.

Matt Schaub of the Houston Texans tops the list, followed by the New York Jets' Mark Sanchez and current unrestricted free agents Josh Freeman and Michael Vick, in that order, according to a source.

Schaub and Sanchez are expected to be cut by their respective teams soon.

Really, the quarterback they add depends on what they plan for the future. If they want to go after a young player in the draft, adding Schaub, Sanchez or Freeman is more logical, as any of those players will hit the market knowing they are likely to be signed as backups.

But if the Raiders don't plan on selecting a quarterback with that first-round pick and want a stopgap, then Vick is definitely the player they should be targeting. Not only is he still a capable starter (when healthy), but he'd certainly sell quite a few tickets with his exciting play.

Based on the decision the Raiders make, we'll have a better idea of what their draft plans are with the No. 5 overall pick.


Cornerbacks Named Cromartie

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 18:  Antonio Cromartie #31 of the New York Jets warms up before the start of the Jets game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on December 18, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty
Rob Carr/Getty Images

We start with Antonio Cromartie, the former New York Jet who exchanged Twitter messages with Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson, leading some to believe Cromartie was on his way to 'Zona.

Peterson started the exchange with this tweet:

Cromartie than tweeted out, "We going to make it happen," though he since deleted that tweet. Responded Peterson:

That led many to believe Cromartie's signing in Arizona was imminent. Not so fast, reported Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk:

“Nothing [is] happening,” the source said regarding the possibility of Cromartie joining the Cardinals.  The source added that the Twitter messages aren’t surprising, because Peterson has been actively recruiting Cromartie to join the team.

Cromartie was cut last week by the Jets, due to a sky-high cap number.  The Jets haven’t closed the door on bringing him back.  To date, they have yet to sign a replacement.

It certainly sounds like Cromartie would like to join the Cardinals. And that would give Arizona a pretty nasty group of corners.

And then there is Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who apparently has pretty severely overestimated his worth in free agency (or perhaps his agent did). This report from Florio may shock you:

The game of musical chairs that unfolded among and between cornerbacks Darrelle Revis, Aqib Talib, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie had another interesting twist.

Per a league source, the Broncos tried after giving up on Rodgers-Cromartie but before considering Talib to acquire Revis.

As the source explains it, DRC declined to accept a deal believed to be worth $54 million over six years. So the team decided to contact Camp Revis, offering roughly the same package that Talib ultimately accepted. Revis declined, holding firm to his demand for $12 million per year.

So at that point, the Broncos signed Talib.

While the corner market was established early and teams wasted little time pouncing on their intended target, DRC remains available and likely won't see the type of money Denver was willing to pay him. Interested parties will come calling, of course, and according to Adam Schefter of ESPN, DRC has a visit on Sunday.

But yes, he likely blew his chance at earning huge money. The grass isn't always greener, as they say.


The Secret World of Alex Mack

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 18:  Center Alex Mack #55 of the Cleveland Browns during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 18, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Browns 20-17 in overtime
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Wait, wrong Alex Mack.

The Cleveland Browns center, not the telekinetic teenage girl, is currently playing the free-agency market despite being offered a transition tag from the Browns. And plenty of teams reportedly have interest.

From Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer:

"Alex is willing to be patient and play the process out,'' agent Tim Younger told "He's not in any hurry to sign the transition. He's going to take his time.''

Younger stressed that teams are interested in the two-time Pro Bowler despite his $10.039 million transition tender from the Browns and their right of first refusal. At least four teams have expressed interest, including the Indianapolis Colts.

"We do anticipate Alex making visits—but he's not in any hurry to do so either,'' said Younger.

His lead agent, Marvin Demoff, added, via Peter King of, "I'm confident we can come up with a structure that would have a reasonable likelihood to not be matched by the Browns—and would be in full compliance with the collective bargaining agreement."

It certainly seems like a pretty good bet that Mack won't be a Brown next season. At this point, it seems he'll do just about anything to depart from the team, at least within the constraints of signing a contract.


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