The landscape of the NFL has changed considerably since the league turned over into 2014 just a week ago. The craziness isn't over yet, however, as there are still free agents to be signed and prospects to be drafted.
NFL rumors won't die down until the regular season begins, so buckle up and get ready for months' worth of conjecture and rumors. Several interesting rumors popped up recently and, should they come to fruition, have the potential to impact both the immediate and long-term future of the league.
Take a look at the latest rumblings around the league, and make your opinions heard in the comments section below.
Jared Allen Wants DeMarcus Ware/Julius Peppers Money
Jared Allen, one of the best defensive ends in the NFL over the past several seasons, is still without a home and is among the best free agents available.
Ed Werder of ESPN.com tweets that he now has one fewer suitor because of his asking price:
I'm told Jared Allen wants close to $10 million per year like DeMarcus Ware and Julius Peppers. Cowboys not interested at that price.— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) March 19, 2014
The Dallas Cowboys are certainly in the market to replace DeMarcus Ware, but there's no way they'll take on Allen at $10 million a year. They cut Ware to create cap space, after all.
Whether or not Allen is actually worth $10 million per season is up in the air. Just take a look at how he compares to Ware and Peppers over the past three seasons:
My best guess is that Allen signs for three years and $24 million, though the numbers above certainly indicate that he's worth more.
St. Louis Rams Shopping the No. 2 Pick?
The St. Louis Rams are set up well entering the 2014 NFL draft, but Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net suggests that the team is considering dealing its No. 2 overall pick by draft day:
Word around the league and in Orlando (UCF pro-day) has the St Louis Rams actively shopping the number two pick in the draft...— Tony Pauline (@TonyPauline) March 19, 2014
St. Louis has several options with the pick. It can draft offensive tackle Jake Matthews from Texas A&M, wide receiver Sammy Watkins from Clemson or defensive end Jadeveon Clowney from South Carolina.
Conversely, the team could trade down in the first round and acquire another selection from Round 3 or 4. The latter might be the best decision.
According to NFL.com, the Atlanta Falcons are willing to trade up in the draft and the No. 2 pick would be the perfect place for them to take Clowney.
Speaking to ESPN.com, Clowney hinted (not subtly) that he would love if the Falcons traded up to take him. "I wish they could trade up for me. but I hope I don’t fall to No. 6. I like Atlanta – a lot. They’re pretty good. They’ve got some guys from South Carolina on the team, also. And it’s close to home," he said.
With the No. 6 pick in the draft, the Rams could still select a guy like Matthews or Watkins if they fall. In doing so, they would also acquire a later pick. This is a no-brainer if the Falcons are willing to make it happen.
Pittsburgh Steelers and James Harrison Talking Reunion
Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting that there is "mutual attraction" between the Pittsburgh Steelers and linebacker James Harrison on a return.
Here's his reasoning as to why it's a good idea:
It makes too much sense for it not to [happen]. The Steelers are extremely thin and relatively unproven at outside linebacker. They wanted Harrison back last season at more than $3 million. Why not have him back one year later at the veteran minimum in which he would earn $955,000 in salary plus a $65,000 roster bonus and count only $635,000 against the salary cap in 2014.
Harrison started just 10 games for the Cincinnati Bengals last season, though he appeared in a total of 15. He totaled just two sacks and did not make a huge impact on defense.
If you recall, Harrison was a key cog in the Steelers' win in Super Bowl XLIII. He was also the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year in 2008.
Even if he doesn't have much left in the tank, the Steelers would make a lot of people happy by bringing him back. If it's on a veteran's deal like Bouchette suggests, then it certainly won't hurt the franchise.