We’ve spent the week talking a lot about free agency, which is now just a few short days away. Front offices will spent the weekend frantically trying to get deals done with the guys they can’t afford to lose, but as usual, some contacts just won’t work out. Today, we’re going to look at the top ten NFL free agents who need to be re-signed before Tuesday at 1 PM.
1. It’s hard to overstate the importance of DT Ndamukong Suh to the Detroit Lions. They need to keep him, but it’s looking less and less likely that they will. Furthermore, the team has already said that the franchise tag won’t be exercised on Suh. If a deal can’t get inked by Tuesday, Suh will become this year’s most sought-after free agent. Word on the street is that the Indianapolis Colts and the Miami Dolphins will both push hard to sign the defensive powerhouse.
2. The Chicago Bears, who are currently in turmoil after recent comments about Jay Cutler’s inability to win, need to make a major effort to re-sign C/OG Brian de la Puente. Roberto Garza will almost certainly be done after his 15th season in 2015, so it’s critical for Da Bears to keep de la Puente on the roster.
3. Now that the Dallas Cowboys have officially used the franchise tag on WR Dez Bryant for the 2015 season, they need to turn their attention to getting a deal done with RB DeMarco Murray. The ‘Boys have gone 22-2 when Murray has had 20 or more carries per game. You don’t want to lose stats like that.
4. As I mentioned yesterday, it would behoove the Philadelphia Eagles to re-sign WR Jeremy Maclin to a long-term deal, particularly with so much cap space freed up. I fully expect this to happen well before free agency begins, which should make Philly fans very happy people.
5. Atlanta Falcons LB Sean Weatherspoon may have missed all of last season with a torn Achilles tendon, but he’s still the best defensive lineman on the team’s roster. Dan Quinn and the powers-that-be in the ATL need to try to keep Weatherspoon on the roster at least until more reliable guys can be added to the line.
6. The Arizona Cardinals need to do everything they can to keep DT Dan Williams around for awhile. Without Williams on the field, the team allowed 4.92 yards per run and 43 first downs. With him, those numbers were reduced to 3.97 yards per run and 36 first downs. In other words, Williams basically is the team’s run defense.
7. CB Darrelle Revis fit seamlessly into the New England Patriots’ culture when he arrived last off-season and certainly contributed on the field in 2014. Revis is among (if not the) top CB in the league, so if the Pats can manage to re-sign him, they absolutely should. Revis Island is a definite asset to the defending Super Bowl XLIX champions.
8. LB David Harris may not be a household name, but he’s a solid presence on a New York Jets team that tends to struggle at, well, every position. Harris may be 31-years-old, but he’s still an excellent player. If the Jets don’t manage to keep him around, Harris is expected to draw interest from multiple franchises.
9. The Baltimore Ravens are (one would presume) working tirelessly to get a deal inked with RB Justin Forsett. Forsett was the team’s 2014 MVP and had 17 runs of 20 (or more) yards over the course of the season. Forsett’s a key offensive player and the Ravens really can’t afford to let him go.
10. As per usual, the Indianapolis Colts have work to do on their defense. S Mike Adams, though, was one bright spot during the 2014 season. The 33-year-old veteran’s seven takeaways were tied for No. 1 in the league last season. Adams is a leader on the Colts’ largely inexperienced defense, and with lots of money to play with, there’s no reason for Ryan Grigson and Chuck Pagano to cut him loose.