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2020 NFL Free Agents: Latest News and Predictions After Week 17

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistDecember 30, 2019

KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 29: Philip Rivers #17 of the Los Angeles Chargers ran off the field following the 31-21 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on December 29, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images)
David Eulitt/Getty Images

With the 2019-20 NFL season over for 20 of the 32 teams, thoughts will quickly turn to the next campaign following Sunday's Week 17 clashes for many.

Already, sound bites are starting to surface over the futures of a number of players who are on course to be free agents at the end of the campaign. 

Veterans Larry Fitzgerald and Philip Rivers both have uncertain futures with the Arizona Cardinals and the Los Angeles Chargers, respectively. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston will come to the end of the rookie contract he signed with the franchise in 2015.

Read on for the latest developments on the future of all three players.

      

Philip Rivers

Speaking after this team's loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, there was a sense that the end may be near for Rivers and the Chargers.

Per Daniel Popper of The Athletic, the 38-year-old said he's not considering retirement yet but noted he would be open to moving teams:

Daniel Popper @danielrpopper

Philip Rivers said he would consider playing for a team other than the #Chargers. At this point, he said, retirement is not really an option.

Here is more of what Rivers said after the clash with the Chiefs, with the eight-time Pro Bowl quarterback seemingly emotional over a possible departure:

Los Angeles Chargers @Chargers

QB1 is all heart. https://t.co/kNalRfkWY7

Given he's been associated with the Chargers since being drafted by the organisation in 2004, at this juncture, it would be peculiar to see Rivers don the colors of another franchise. However, there has been no agreement reached with Los Angeles, so it appears a change will be on the cards.

Rivers struggled at times throughout 2019, throwing 23 touchdowns and 20 interceptions. Even so, there are plenty of teams in the League that would love to have a player of his experience and pedigree on their roster.

Prediction: Rivers leaves the Chargers

    

Larry Fitzgerald

Another long-term relationship between a player and team that may come to an end in 2020 is the Cardinals and Fitzgerald, with the wide receiver also out of contract.

"I’ve got to go through the checklist and process," the veteran said following the Cardinals' loss to the Los Angeles Rams, per Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk. "But I love this organization with all my heart. I’ve given all I've had for 16 years. I just have to take a little time to figure it out."

Per Alper, Fitzgerald also said he enjoyed the 2019-20 season, saying he "can’t remember having as much joy in the process."

The 36-year-old is considered one of the best wide receives of his generation, recently passing the 17,000-yard landmark for his career:

B/R Gridiron @brgridiron

Larry Fitzgerald tops 17,000 career receiving yards He's not slowing down 😤 https://t.co/6EnPNuBz6m

Given the receiver has taken time to make a decision over his future in recent years, Arizona fans won't be too concerned about Fitzgerald not coming back in 2020 yet.

Even though he only managed four touchdowns on the season, the Cardinals will be keen to see if he can establish a better linkup with Kyler Murray in his second year.

Prediction: Fitzgerald extends with the Cardinals

       

Jameis Winston

Winston finished what has been a season of major ups and downs in fitting fashion—throwing a pick-six in overtime to lose against the Atlanta Falcons.

Per ESPN, that interception saw the 25-year-old reach an unwanted NFL landmark:

ESPN @espn

Jameis Winston is the first player in NFL history with 30 Pass TD and 30 Int in the same season. https://t.co/oPe0EpfbLQ

With Winston's contract set to run out soon, Tampa Bay has a big decision to make over the quarterback. Per John Romano of the Tampa Bay Times, Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians said "got to wait and see" when quizzed on Winston's future.

"There’s so much good and so much outright terrible," he continued. "[...]There are a lot of things to evaluate. And we will take our time and evaluate it." 

The man himself vowed to improve his mistakes:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @Buccaneers

"I'm confident in my abilities... I know I'm going to fix my mistakes. I know that for a fact." ➡️: QB Jameis Winston https://t.co/dCwI5Jt3Vx

There's clearly talent to tap into when it comes to Winston, although there's been little sign of his cutting out the costly turnovers that have blighted his development over the last four years.

At this juncture there's unlikely to be a better quarterback available midway through the draft, where Tampa Bay will be picking from. As such, you suspect the Buccaneers will give Winston another season and another chance to smooth down the rough edges in his game before reassessing in 12 months.

Prediction: Winston extends with the Buccaneers