NFL Free Agents 2019: Latest Rumors and Predictions for Market's Top Names

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistMarch 9, 2019

The New York Jets are likely to pursue Le'Veon Bell at the start of free agency.
The New York Jets are likely to pursue Le'Veon Bell at the start of free agency.Don Wright/Associated Press

The NFL free-agent sweepstakes officially begin Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET with the start of the 2019-20 league year.

There has been a lot of discussion about Le'Veon Bell, Nick Foles, Earl Thomas, Landon Collins and Trey Flowers, and ahead is a look at the landscape regarding several of the top free agents and predictions for where they are likely to land.


RB Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers

Bell sat out the 2018 season after he failed to come to terms with the Steelers over a new deal.

The 27-year-old is one of the most talented running backs in the NFL, with excellent skills as a runner and a receiver. His ability to bide his time in the backfield, wait for a hole to open up and then blast through for a big play.

He is also an excellent receiver, with dependable hands and the moves to get away from the tackler.

Bell ran for 1,291 yards and nine touchdowns and caught 85 passes for 655 yards in the 2017 season. 

The Jets are expected to go after Bell hard and attempt to sign him, per Connor Hughes of The Athletic. One agent described the Jets as the "leader in the clubhouse" in the pursuit of Bell, and they are likely to be joined by the Philadelphia Eagles and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the chase for the running back.

Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles

Foles will hit the market at the start of free agency. He was under center for Philadelphia during the critical part of the 2017 season when the Eagles were able to beat the Atlanta Falcons and Minnesota Vikings in the playoffs before meeting the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII.

Foles led the Eagles to a 41-33 victory over the Patriots and performed brilliantly in the game. It was the franchise's first Super Bowl triumph, and he took on a similar role in 2018 when starting quarterback Carson Wentz was injured once again. 

He led the Eagles to a late-season playoff run, and they defeated the Chicago Bears in the wild-card game before falling to the New Orleans Saints in the divisional playoffs.

The Eagles have decided not to place a franchise tag on Foles, and he will be able to sell his services as a free agent.

Foles seems quite likely to sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars, per Les Bowen of the Philly.com. That rumor has been making the rounds since the end of last season.

The Jaguars made it to the AFC Championship Game following the 2017 season, and many NFL observers expected them to continue to grow in 2018 and supplant the Patriots as the top team in the AFC.

However, the Jaguars fell to last place in the AFC South with a 5-11 record, and improvement at the quarterback position is needed if they are going to get back to playoff contention because Blake Bortles has been a disappointment.

The Jaguars were 3-9 when he started at quarterback last year, and he had a 13-11 TD-interception ratio.


Additional players

The New York Giants will not place the franchise tag on strong safety Landon Collins, and that move is somewhat surprising because he was the best defensive player on their roster.

Collins close the year on injured reserve with a shoulder injury, but he is a hard-hitting player who loves the physical side of the game. Collins led the Giants with 96 tackles last season and had four passes defensed.

Former New York Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo is now in a similar position with the Kansas City Chiefs, and it would not be out of the question for the defensively porous Chiefs (31st in yards allowed, 32nd against the pass) to make a run at Collins.

Meanwhile, safety Eric Weddle has been released by the Baltimore Ravens. NFL insider Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweeted that Weddle is in Los Angeles and is talking to the Rams about signing. 


Free-agent predictions

RB Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers to New York Jets

QB Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles to Jacksonville Jaguars

DL Trey Flowers, New England Patriots to Detroit Lions

S Landon Collins, New York Giants to Kansas City Chiefs

S Earl Thomas, Seattle Seahawks to Dallas Cowboys

OT Trent Brown New England Patriots to New York Jets

QB Teddy Bridgewater, New Orleans Saints to Miami Dolphins