The 2012 NFL free agent pool is deep in big-name talent. Some are keeping their contract situations quiet while others are bringing their issues into the locker room and onto the field.
Players such as DeSean Jackson may have worn out their welcome with the teams that brought them into the NFL. Who else could find greener pastures elsewhere?
I really feel bad for how Jason Campbell’s career has turned out thus far. Coming into the 2005 NFL Draft, I though he had a chance to be a very good quarterback as long as he was drafted by a franchise with some stability.
So what happens? He is drafted by the Washington Redskins, the least stable franchise in the NFL. Three head coaches later he is traded to the Oakland Raiders, another coach-a-year franchise. Right when he has something good going there, he breaks his collarbone picking up a first down.
Campbell has one more chance to get this right and become the quarterback he was meant to be. It will have to be the ideal situation, and he may have to work his way up as a backup, but I think Campbell still has the ability to get the job done.
The next Matt Cassel, anyone? Obviously Flynn has not had the chance as a backup that Cassel had in 2008, but Flynn could have the same success as a starter.
Flynn would never be much more than a game manager, which is all Cassel really is in spite of what Kansas City Chiefs’ fans might have you believe. Playing for a concussed Aaron Rodgers, Flynn played well in the lone start of his career. Against the New England Patriots Flynn threw for over 250 yards and three touchdowns in a four-point loss.
It was obviously a small sample size, but Flynn picked up right where Aaron Rodgers left off on Monday Night against the Minnesota Vikings. Flynn fired two strikes and fan for a touchdown in his only drive of the game.
Flynn could be the latest of a long line of quarterbacks who were backups for superstars that found success as a starter elsewhere.
Vincent Jackson’s feud with the San Diego Chargers has gone on far enough. It is time the two part ways.
Jackson has let his contract status affect his play. He has been horribly inconsistent in 2011 with three games over 100 yards, but with five games under 50. Jackson has clearly given up on some plays this season, and I don’t know how many friends he has left in the San Diego locker room.
At 6’5” 230, Jackson clearly has a ton of ability. A new team could inspire Jackson to be the player who had back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons with the Chargers in 2008 and '09.
Peyton Hillis has gone from Madden cover boy to a 200-yard back with the Cleveland Browns. Those 211 yards for the season are just 26 more than he had against the New England Patriots last year.
Hillis has been held out by everything from strep throat to a pulled hamstring, but some fans are not buying either one. Hillis may get his new contract all right, but I think he has burned a lot bridges with the way he has handled this season.
He was supposed to be the focal point of a resurgent Cleveland Browns' offense, but instead has left his teammates hanging. A fresh start is needed for both parties.
Kyle Orton has been a serviceable quarterback in the NFL. The gun-slinging, whiskey-chugging Orton took the Chicago Bears to the playoffs in 2005 and finished in the top 10 in passing yards for the Denver Broncos in 2009.
Orton clearly will not be back with the Broncos in 2012. They will either go with Tim Tebow or a new quarterback via the draft. Orton could take another team with a good defense to the playoffs, but that is his ceiling. He would make a great two-year stopgap keeping the seat warm for yet another rookie savior.
DeSean Jackson is not going back to the Philadelphia Eagles for a number of reasons. For starters, I don't think the team can afford to keep him.
Their vaunted trio of cornerbacks cost a pretty penny. Besides, there is that Michael Vick fella who they just gave $100 million. If I am general manager of the Eagles, I am trading one of the cornerbacks for a solid middle linebacker and re-signing Jackson. At least I would have, except for the second and third reasons Jackson will be gone.
Jackson has quit on his team, taking his dispute into the season and stating he would not go across the middle until he got paid. He apparently has been skipping out on team meetings (yes plural, where there is smoke there is fire), culminating in being suspended for a must-win game. The Eagles lost that contest, as well as any realistic shot of making the playoffs.
For all those reasons Jackson has to go, and I am sure there are plenty of teams that will give him the contract he has been looking for.
Darnell Dockett has been the Arizona Cardinals' most dependable defensive player for nearly a decade. Unfortunately, he has not had much help.
Dockett is getting up in years, and probably realizes this will be his last long-term contract. He will likely not spend it for a team in complete rebuilding mode. Players who have sniffed Super Bowl glory often go searching for a return towards the end of their careers. Dockett brings toughness, tenacity and experience to wherever he goes, and could make a big impact for a veteran team soft on the defensive line.
With the Green Bay Packers Jermichael Finley is just another one of Aaron Rodgers' many weapons. For just about any other team, Finley would be one of the focal points of the offense.
Finley could be the game's next great tight end, and will have to face a difficult decision in the offseason: Individual success or team success. I think the chance to be one of the greats (and the money that comes with it) will be too much for Finley to pass up.
The Packers have already proven they can win a Super Bowl without Finley, so I doubt they will enter a bidding war to keep the talented tight end.