Here I’ll take my best guess as to where some of the big-name free agents – and a few not-yet free agents – will land.
NFL fans best not laugh at this Carmelo Anthony ordeal. No matter how much fatigue some have over it, when a huge star switches teams, it is an overwhelmingly positive thing for a league.
If the NFL has a lock out shortened season, no season, or misses more than one season, they will need big names changing places to help regain their lost fan base.
Oshiomogho Atogwe, FS: Dallas Cowboys. The back end of the Dallas Cowboys secondary got exposed in their 2009 playoff game in Minnesota. This off-season has a more strategic, needs-addressing feel to it for the Cowboys. They stood pat last off-season but I think Rob Ryan (who wants tough players), Demarcus Ware and Jay Ratliff will sell Atogwe on Dallas. Atogwe and his 22 lifetime INTs (and 16 FF and 8 fumble recoveries) will be welcome on a defense that couldn’t get takeaways last year in important games (they were 7th in INTs, 19th in fumble recoveries but had just one total turnover in their first four losses, and got more than 2 in just one of their 10 losses).
Chad Ochocinco, WR: New England Patriots. Chad’s option has been picked up for $6m which isn’t guaranteed. Based on how Marvin Lewis has been talking all off-season, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him cut. Their young receivers are highly-skilled and Ochocinco will be getting an uncharacteristically large sum of money from a notoriously cheap owner, coming off a rather unproductive season (831 yards, 4 TDs in 14 games). I’m sure some of his production was effected by both Alfred (Carson Palmer) and Batman (Terrell Owens) but, once cut, I think New England will add him for his consistent ability to get open on intermediate routes.
Terrell Owens, WR: New York Jets. They have the veteran leadership to keep T.O. – sometimes a childish malcontent – in check. They have never shied away from taking on players with issues and he’ll come at a cheap price tag. Then again, Rex Ryan famously said this year that he has 3 #1 receivers. This deal becomes more likely if they fail to re-sign both Edwards and Holmes.
Bob Sanders, SS: Minnesota Vikings. Sanders could well go to the Panthers instead, as he has ties to both Carolina’s secondary coach Ron Meeks (Colts d-coordinator over Sanders 2004 thru 2008) and Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier (his secondary coach in 2005, 2006). Sanders is used to winning and the Cover-2. Advantage: Frazier.
Deangelo Williams, RB: Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins don’t look to be bringing back the other Williams (Ricky) and they will also be losing Ronnie Brown. Sparano is a Parcells disciple and Parcells was big on trusting veterans. Sparano was allowed to play young guys and build with them but, this off-season, had the awkward experience of having his job offered to Bill Cowher and potentially Jim Harbaugh. He needs to win now. The one thing that makes me think Williams could be going to Green Bay or somewhere else is that I believe part of the reason Miami has soured on Ronnie Brown is his health, and Deangelo has missed 13 games over the last two seasons.