X

NFL Free Agents 2015: Latest Rumors and Predictions for Top Names on Market

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistMarch 14, 2015

GREEN BAY, WI - NOVEMBER 30:  Defensive tackle Vince Wilfork #75 of the New England Patriots warms up before the NFL game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on November 30, 2014 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  The Packers defeated the Patriots 26-21.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Look, March Madness is here to stay, but now is not the time to turn away from the NFL realm with so many major names available on the market. 

Yes, major dominoes are collecting dust after falling. The free-agent market can be a bit akin to chess, though, as teams able to wait to strike are much better off than those going for the jugular right when the gates open.

Many championship pieces still sit on the open market. Those pieces may not join championship-caliber squads, but it morphs them into strong foundation blocks of a rebuild.

Before turning away from the NFL until the draft, be sure to keep an eye on the following names.

Dwayne Bowe's Comeback Tour

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - SEPTEMBER 21:  Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe #82 of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrates a score in the second quarter against the Miami Dolphins in their game at Sun Life Stadium on September 21, 2014 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Ro
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

At 30 years old, Dwayne Bowe is on the hunt for a new home after parting ways with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Last year was a major low point for the LSU product, as he—along with every other wideout on the roster—failed to record a touchdown. Dating back to a strong 2010 campaign, though, it's easy to see why some teams will have an interest in his services:

SEASONGPRECTGTSYDSTD
201016721321,16215
201116811411,1595
201213591148013
201315571056735
20141560967540
ESPN

One team appears to be the Cleveland Browns, per ESPN's Adam Caplan:

Adam Caplan @caplannfl

As others have said, #Browns have interest in WR Dwayne Bowe. My understanding is it's strong interest.

Shocker, right?

The Browns are in a full-blown rebuild mode at the position after already agreeing to a deal with veteran Brian Hartline, per ESPN's Dustin Fox.

It's hard to imagine the Browns will stop there. Bowe is a strong complement to Hartline, as both are sure-handed targets who can move the chains at a consistent clip. That alone will do much to help along either Johnny Manziel or someone else under center.

Outside of the Browns, it has been quiet on the Bowe front. Expect something to come out soon.

Prediction: Bowe signs with the Browns.

Vince Wilfork's Encore

There seems to be no chance Vince Wilfork is ready to hang up the cleats.

One of the league's most consistent, disruptive interior defensive linemen is now 33 years old and on the open market after the New England Patriots decided to go in a different direction.

As NFL Network's Ian Rapoport notes, the market is not quiet when it comes to the veteran tackle:

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

I wondered about Vince Wilfork and we’re he’ll land. He’s considering 4 teams (including #Pats & #Texans). Will take his time.

Wilfork's agent, Kennard McGuire, cautions this will not be a quick decision.

"There are about five or six other teams, mostly AFC teams, couple in the NFC, that are looking to add a player of Vince's magnitude," McGuire said, per ESPN.com's Tania Ganguli. "Vince is going to take his time."

There's no debate about Wilfork's best days being behind him. He took more snaps at end than tackle in New England's scheme last year.

Alas, he still ranked as the No. 13 3-4 end in the league at Pro Football Focus.

Wilfork is not in a position to command a lot of cash, but what he can do is place himself in a favorable situation and pursue another ring—if it's what he desires. The latter, along with comfort, explains why the Patriots appear in the running.

As fun as it would be to see Wilfork pair with J.J. Watt in Houston, it's hard to see him outside of Foxborough. So long as New England is fair in its offer, Wilfork will retire as a member of the Patriots.

Prediction: Wilfork signs with the Patriots.

Jermaine Gresham, the Top Tight End

HOUSTON, TX - NOVEMBER 23:   Jermaine Gresham #84 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs with the ball in the second half of their game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on November 23, 2014 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Tight end is a critical position in today's NFL, but former Cincinnati Bengals starter Jermaine Gresham seems to be having a tough time on the open market.

The Oakland Raiders are the only obvious team chasing Gresham at this point, although it seems to be at a full halt. Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle provides the details:

Vic Tafur @VicTafur

Sources also say that after a long courtship, talks between #Raiders and TE Jermaine Gresham “are dead for now”

While smack in the middle of his prime and a big-bodied target who can create mismatches with ease, Gresham's reputation as a fumbler must play a part in his soft market—he's fumbled 11 times over the course of five seasons.

Those seasons have been productive otherwise:

SEASONGPRECTGTSYDSTD
20101552834714
20111456925966
20121664947375
20131446664584
20141562794605
ESPN

The longer things wait, though, the more it seems Oakland will stand pat with Mychal Rivera and Lee Smith, if not add a rookie addition in the draft.

Want a dark horse for Gresham's services? Think about the Browns, an AFC North team familiar with Gresham. Cleveland just lost Jordan Cameron to the Miami Dolphins, per ESPN.com's James Walker, and cannot afford to go into next year without a strong option at tight end.

Yahoo Sports' Charles Robinson noted Cleveland's interest in Gresham a while back, a pairing that seems more ideal as things continue to develop. 

Prediction: Gresham signs with the Browns.

Note: Stats courtesy of NFL.com as of March 14. All advanced metrics via Pro Football Focus.

Follow Chris_Roling on Twitter

🚨 SPORTS NEWS ➡️ YOUR INBOX

The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.