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NFL Free Agents 2019: Rumors, Predictions for Next Tier of Top Talent

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistMarch 25, 2019

MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 23: Robert Quinn #94 of the Miami Dolphins in action against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Hard Rock Stadium on December 23, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
Mark Brown/Getty Images

The initial frenzy of NFL free agency has died down. We're nearly two weeks into the open-market period, and most of the big names are off the board. While much of the media attention is now going to flip over to next month's draft, it's important to remember that several quality players are still available.

Players like Ndamukong Suh, Eric Berry, Morris Claiborne, Ezekiel Ansah and Jamie Collins remain unsigned and there for the taking. At this point in free agency, there isn't likely to be a major bidding war for their services, either.

This is why the current wave of free agency is a value period. While getting a good player at a fair price in Week 3 won't create a ton of headlines, it can significantly help a team in 2019.

Here, we have some recent rumors and predictions for some of the top remaining free agents.

    

Cowboys Still Interested in Robert Quinn

The Dallas Cowboys finally signed a notable free agent late last week, agreeing to a one-year deal with safety George Iloka.

This move likely puts an end to Dallas' interest in Eric Berry, who took a visit with the team but left without a contract.

Another player who visited with Dallas is defensive end Robert Quinn. According to The Athletic's Calvin Watkins, the Cowboys are still interested in him:

Calvin Watkins @calvinwatkins

Got some nuggets from NFL owners meetings today: Source said Cowboys had good visit with Robert Quinn and would still like to work a deal. Also, team hasn’t ruled out signing Malik McDowell. Team working through some medical information. Various opinions on it.

Adding Quinn makes a lot of sense. Dallas has one premier pass-rusher in Demarcus Lawrence, and while Quinn isn't an elite edge-rusher, he could apply enough pressure on the opposite side to allow Lawrence to thrive even more.

Of course, the Cowboys will have competition for Quinn, who is scheduled to visit with the New Orleans Saints on Monday:

Clarence Hill Jr @clarencehilljr

Per source, Dolphins DE Robert Quinn is visiting Saints Monday. Cowboys still interested in trading for him. Had him in for visit last week to check it out

At just 28 years old, Quinn still has plenty of prime years left. He may pick his next team based on its Super Bowl chances, but he isn't likely to agree to be a budget rental. The Saints, who have just over $20 million in cap space according to Spotrac, can likely offer Quinn the more lucrative deal.

Prediction: Quinn signs with the Saints.

      

Patriots Interested in Jared Cook But Tight End is Committed to Saints

The New England Patriots said goodbye to star tight end Rob Gronkowski on Sunday, as the nine-year veteran announced his retirement from the NFL. This leaves New England in the tight-end market.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, New England has heavily pursued Jared Cook:

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

The #Patriots made a hard run at FA TE Jared Cook, though by this point his agent has been exclusively negotiating with the #Saints. I’m told they are very close on a final deal... but not yet signed.

The problem is that Cook has appeared on the verge of signing with the Saints for some time. He's also a fan of the quarterback situation in New Orleans.

"I've been a big fan of Drew [Brees] for a long time and the way he approaches the game," Cook said, per ESPN's Mike Triplett.

Now that Gronkowski is retired and Cook would be the clear No. 1 tight end, could New England pry Cook away? It's certainly possible, especially if New England tosses out a sizeable contract offer. After all, until Cook actually puts pen to paper, he is available.

According to Peter King of ProFootballTalk.com, Cook won't reconsider his decision to sign with the Saints.

Given the losses New England has suffered in free agency—aside from Gronkowski, they've lost Trey Flowers, Cordarrelle Patterson and Malcom Brown, to name a few—the Saints may actually provide the better shot at a Super Bowl.

Prediction: Cook signs with the Saints.

    

Cardinals May Not Move Rosen

John Froschauer/Associated Press

Though not a free agent, Arizona Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen could be available. If he is, it could have a massive impact on both the remaining quarterback market and April's draft. 

The rumors surrounding the 2018 first-round pick and a potential trade stem from the reality Arizona may be more interested in the incoming Kyler Murray as its future franchise quarterback. While the Cardinals aren't tipping their hand, they're not ruling Murray out at No. 1 either.

"I think everything's on the table," Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury told NFL Network's Steve Wyche. "When you have that first pick, you've gotta turn over every stone and look at every scenario that's out there, and so we're definitely doing that."

If Rosen can be had for a bargain—essentially something lower than the 10th overall pick used to select him—the Cardinals will likely have takers.

According to Bleacher Report draft analyst Matt Miller, however, Rosen may not actually be moved this offseason "according to one top-level executive for a quarterback-needy team."

"Per this exec, the fact that Rosen hasn't been traded yet could mean he won't be," Miller wrote.

The unnamed executive points to a weak market as a reason why Rosen might not be moved.

"Every team is filling their need at quarterback either through free agency or the draft," he said, per Miller. "Who is left to trade a high pick for Rosen?"

Even if Arizona isn't committed to Rosen long-term, it isn't going to just hand over a former first-round quarterback for peanuts.

While there might not be a lot of interest in Rosen right now, that could change shortly before or during the draft as teams figure out just how available he might be. Strong offers will likely come in if Arizona appears completely sold on Murray over Rosen.

Prediction: Arizona trades Rosen days before the draft.  

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