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NFL Free Agents 2019: Predictions Based on Rumors Surrounding Available Veterans

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMarch 14, 2019

New Orleans Saints quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) passes in the first half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in New Orleans, Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)
Bill Feig/Associated Press

NFL free agency started at a rampant pace Wednesday, but not all of the high-profile players on the market inked deals. 

As the second full day of free agency approaches, there are plenty of stars on both sides of the ball available. 

As it always does, the quarterback position is drawing more interest than most other roles, as a coveted young signal-caller has interest from two franchises. 

The focus of the defensive side of the ball is in the secondary, with a few defensive backs meeting teams who could sign them as early as Thursday.

                     

Teddy Bridgewater

With Joe Flacco off to Denver and Nick Foles headed to Jacksonville, Teddy Bridgewater is one of the most coveted quarterbacks on the free-agent market. 

Although he hasn't played much since he suffered a leg injury in 2016 during Minnesota's training camp, the 26-year-old is drawing interest from a few teams. 

Bridgewater already has an offer to return to the New Orleans Saints, as NFL Network's Mike Garafolo pointed out: 

Mike Garafolo @MikeGarafolo

I mentioned on our @AroundTheNFL show a short while ago the #Saints' deal for Teddy Bridgewater the team believed they were gonna close out was for around $7 million base value, sources say. So as he meets the #Dolphins, he has decent money on the table from New Orleans already.

However, the Miami Dolphins are involved in the hunt to sign the former Vikings and Jets quarterback, as ESPN's Dianna Russini noted: 

Dianna Russini @diannaESPN

The deal between Teddy Bridgewater and the New Orleans Saints is not official. Saints feel like it will get done but the Miami Dolphins are involved, trying to land Bridgewater per sources.

After the Dolphins were rumored to have interest in Bridgewater, they confirmed a visit with the quarterback on their official Twitter account: 

Miami Dolphins @MiamiDolphins

We have completed our free agent visit with QB Teddy Bridgewater.

Both New Orleans and Miami pose intriguing situations for the player, as he could continue to put himself in position to be Drew Brees' successor with the Saints or earn a shot at a starting job in Miami. 

Bridgewater is drawing interest because of the promise he showed during his first two seasons with the Vikings.

Unfortunately, there isn't much of a sample size for teams to evaluate since Bridgewater recovered from his injury, except for preseason and a Week 17 start for the Saints in 2018. 

Taking a risk on the Louisville product doesn't guarantee Miami bringing in a starting-caliber quarterback, but a return to New Orleans could ease some concerns about the team's succession plan for Brees. 

Although it's tough for a player such as Bridgewater to continue the waiting game for playing time, New Orleans gives him the best chance to develop and be successful when he eventually steps on the gridiron as a consistent starter.

Prediction: Bridgewater remains with the Saints. 

                        

Ronald Darby 

The Kansas City Chiefs' defensive makeover could continue with the signing of Ronald Darby.

According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Chiefs are meeting with the 25-year-old with serious interest behind the talks: 

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

Source: #Eagles CB Ronald Darby is expected to visit the #Chiefs tonight. If all goes well, he could sign considering the serious interest.

Although he's never played for Andy Reid, the Kansas City head coach should have plenty of notes on Darby from his connections throughout the NFL, as he played for former Reid assistant Doug Pederson in Philadelphia. 

Kansas City is an intriguing team for the Florida State University product because it has shown it's willing to overhaul its secondary, with Tyrann Mathieu already signed. 

Adding a lockdown corner in the shape of Darby would help improve Kansas City's passing defense, which was 31st in the NFL in 2018. 

Other teams could enter the market for Darby in the coming days, but if he has a good visit to Kansas City, it would be wise of him to seriously consider joining up with a Super Bowl contender. 

Prediction: Darby lands with Kansas City. 

                  

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

Another free-agent defensive back has interest from a pair of NFC teams, one of which he played for a year ago.

According to Rapoport, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is visiting the Chicago Bears Thursday despite Washington's efforts to re-sign him.

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

This is interesting: Source says the #Bears are hosting #Redskins FA S HaHa Clinton-Dix tonight and tomorrow. The Skins have tried to re-sign him, but no deal yet...

The 26-year-old was traded to Washington halfway through the 2018 season in order for the Green Bay Packers to get some return on the safety before he hit free agency. 

In nine appearances for the Redskins, Clinton-Dix made 66 tackles and forced a fumble to close out his fifth season in the NFL. 

Keeping the player is imperative for the Redskins, who would be a terrific safety partner for the newly signed Landon Collins.

However, the Bears are more of a contender than the Redskins, and the allure of joining a team in such a position could be too much for Clinton-Dix to turn down. 

Prediction: Clinton-Dix signs with the Bears. 

                   

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from Pro Football Reference.

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