NFL

NFL Free Agency 2016: Update on the Latest Buzz, Rumors

Richard JanvrinFeatured ColumnistFebruary 13, 2016

NFL Free Agency 2016: Update on the Latest Buzz, Rumors

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    Where there's an offseason, there are rumors.

    Rumors—gotta love 'em.

    Less than a week after Super Bowl 50, there have been some rumors here and there and little buzz, but hey, you take what you can get.

    One of the more pressing stories came early on Friday when Chicago Bears veteran running back Matt Forte announced that the team will not re-sign him.

    As we approach the official date in which free agency begins, March 15, the rumors will continue to swirl.

Mike Wallace Not Expected Back with Vikings

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    Ann Heisenfelt/Associated Press

    According to Matt Vensel of the Star Tribune, Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Mike Wallace is not expected back with the team in 2016.

    Looking at Wallace, he had less than 40 receptions and 500 receiving yards with just two touchdowns in the 2015 regular season.

    And guess what—he's set to make $11.5 million next season.

    Wallace has not been worth that kind of money since his days with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

    Since his stint with the Steelers, Wallace has been masterful in getting paid, but that has not translated to on-field success.

    Could it be that during his stint with the Miami Dolphins that Ryan Tannehill just isn't the best at throwing the deep ball? Could it be that the Vikings are more of a running team? Sure, I won't discount that.

    But $11.5 million is an exorbitant amount of to pay Wallace in 2016.

    Anything short of a major contract restructure will result in Wallace looking for another team this upcoming NFL season.

Doug Martin Hoping to 'Hit the Jackpot'

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    Chris Keane/Associated Press

    According to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, impending free agent and current Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin is hoping to "hit the jackpot" this offseason.

    Heck, who could blame him?

    Essentially left for dead by many after pedestrian 2013 and 2014 seasons, Martin resembled his rookie-season form, rushing for over 1,400 yards.

    Throughout his NFL career, Martin has carried the rock 869 times in four seasons and has landed on injured reserve in the past due to a torn labrum in 2013.

    At 27 years old, Martin still has a few seasons to go before he reaches the infamous stereotype that running backs over age 30 decline (which is mostly true).

    Martin is definitely the top free-agent running back in this free-agent class, but the question remains: Will the Buccaneers franchise tag Martin?

    If not, there are teams that are in need of a running back that would be willing to assist in Martin's pursuit of "hitting the jackpot."

Brock Osweiler Hopes to Be Back with the Broncos

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    Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

    After going 5-2 during his stint as the Denver Broncos starting quarterback, Brock Osweiler hopes to be back with the Broncos in 2016, according to Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post.

    "Every single guy on this team embraced me, and that is something I think they all know how thankful I am for that, but this is the best team in the world and we have a very special group in our locker room," said Osweiler.

    Osweiler returning to the Broncos makes a substantial amount of sense.

    Not only did Osweiler go 5-2, but his performances against the Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots gave Broncos fans something to look forward to after quarterback Peyton Manning rides off into the sunset.

    With the Broncos planning on using the franchise tag on linebacker Von Miller, according to Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com, Osweiler will hit the open market.

    While Osweiler wants to rejoin the Broncos, the money he may be offered by other NFL teams may not be something he can say "no" to.

Miami Dolphins Cut Brice McCain and Quinton Coples

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    Bob Leverone/Associated Press

    After just one season with the Miami Dolphins, both defensive end Quinton Coples and cornerback Brice McCain have been cut by the team, according to Adam H. Beasley of the Miami Herald.

    By releasing both Coples and McCain, the Dolphins shed over $10 million in cap space.

    In 2015, McCain was tied for the 93rd-best grade among all cornerbacks to play in at least 25 percent of their team's respective snaps.

    93rd is, well, not that good.

    In just six games with the Dolphins, Coples, a former first-round draft pick, had little impact.

    Under new head coach Adam Gase it appears there are going to be some changes and it starts with regaining some cap space.

Houston Texans to Seek Quarterback Upgrade

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    Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press

    After starting a myriad of quarterbacks last season including Brian Hoyer, T.J. Yates, Brandon Weeden and Ryan Mallett, the Houston Texans are going to seek an upgrade at the quarterback position this offseason, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.

    "We need to have reliable play at quarterback," owner Bob McNair said. "We don't need a superstar there, but it needs to be reliable play that won't take anything away from us."

    This is an obvious move that needs to be made.

    Whether it be from free agency, via trade or the draft, the Texans undoubtedly need a more consistent quarterback if they want to sniff a Super Bowl run.

    While Hoyer did have three games in which he threw for three touchdowns, he had more than his fair share of poor performances with three games of 50 percent or less completion percentage.

    Hoyer is a backup/spot start quarterback, plain and simple—he cannot lead a Super Bowl run.

    Most teams would love the luxury of having Hoyer as a backup.

    Many quarterbacks come to mind in the NFL: Kirk Cousins, Robert Griffin III, Sam Bradford, Colin Kaepernick, Brock Osweiler and maybe a potential Ryan Fitzpatrick reunion. In the college ranks, the Texans could set their sights on North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz in the upcoming draft.

    The Texans will have several options (probably more than I mentioned) this offseason, but finding one that can lead them to glory may be quite the tall task.

Chicago Bears Cut Ties with Matt Forte

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    Per his Twitter account, veteran running back Matt Forte will not be back in Chicago in 2016.

    While it was an expected transaction, it is still rather surreal to imagine.

    In 2015, Forte missed a few games due to injury.

    Rookie running back Jeremy Langford auditioned and delivered for the Bears, making this move much easier to make.

    In just 148 carries, Langford amassed over 500 rushing yards and scored six touchdowns.

    As Forte ages, it becomes an increasingly better idea to use him as a complementary back to a backfield where he will be used sparingly, yet effectively.

    As Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston pointed out, Forte could be a "perfect fit" for the New England Patriots. Taking Forte would be such a Patriot-like move—bringing in an older/cap casualty kind of guy and making the most out of what they have left.

    With running backs Dion Lewis and LeGarrette Blount landing on injured reserve, the Patriots were left with very little to work with at the position as a result.

    Bringing in Forte would add much-needed depth and veteran leadership to a young backfield.

    Forte should see a considerable amount of interest this offseason.

     

    Stats courtesy of Pro Football Focus. Contract details and numbers courtesy of Over the Cap.

    Follow me on Twitter @RichardJanvrin

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