Now that most teams in the NFL have been eliminated from play this season, many fans are thinking towards next season already. Well here is a small jump start on what decisions your team may make this offseason regarding some of the big names hitting the market this summer.
Mike Iupati, OG, San Francisco 49ers to Carolina Panthers
Dave Gettleman announced the other day that the Panther’s would not be shy to spend some money to bring in talented players this offseason, hence Iupati. He fits their run often mentality, and is one of if not the best run blocker in the league. There is a reason that Frank Gore has been so successful in San Francisco and part of it can be attributed to Iupati’s success out there as well. With as many injuries and struggles that the Panther’s offensive line have had this past offseason, it should be no surprise if they sign Iupati.
Justin Houston, OLB, stays with Kansas City Chiefs
It is hard to imagine Houston leaving Kansas City, as he has played such an important role to their organization in the several seasons he has been in the league. He recorded his first 20 sack season of his career this past season, and led the league in the category with 22.0. He is tremendous running complementary to Tamba Hali, Kansas City’s other star pass rusher. The Chiefs have such a talented front seven, and I am sure that they would pay a lot of money to Houston to keep it that way.
Jeremy Maclin, WR, stays with Philadelphia Eagles
Last offseason the Eagles lost their most talented receiver in DeSean Jackson, and I highly doubt that they would want to do that again this offseason with Jeremy Maclin. Maclin was not only the top threat in the passing game this season for the Eagles, but he was also top ten in the league in receiving yardage. With the Eagles’ next best receiving option being Riley Cooper, I have confidence in their ability to resign Maclin.
Randall Cobb, WR, Green Bay Packers to Oakland Raiders
Cobb could be going on to play with former teammate James Jones in Oakland, considering the Packers not wanting to use all their cap space on two receivers (Jordy Nelson being the other; Nelson was resigned last season). With Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, and other players like Andrew Quarless, Davante Adams, and Jarrett Boykin stepping up lately, the Packers do not want to over pay Cobb when they already have players who can play almost just as well. I think that Cobb would get a much better deal from an organization that would love to add a receiver like Cobb to the mix, Oakland and Carolina being two contenders, but since I already gave Iupati to Carolina I am shipping Cobb off to Oakland.
DeMarco Murray, RB, Dallas Cowboys to Atlanta Falcons; Dez Bryant, WR, stays with Dallas Cowboys
Yes, I know, why would the Cowboys let go of the league leading rusher. With both Murray and Dez Bryant on the market this offseason I believe that the Cowboys can only retain one of the two (hence why I put, and most likely they would rather invest in Bryant for several reasons. Due to the decline in value in running backs lately, fewer teams will be after Murray, and more enticed to go for the big name receivers on the market like Bryant. Also much of Murray’s success this season can be attributed to his offensive line, so even though he is a very talented back and I don’t want to say he is not, his numbers could be slightly skewed due to his incredible number of opportunities he received. Also being injury prone and turnover prone hurt his stock as well. Dez Bryant on the other hand has been much more consistent for the Cowboys, and is by far the main target for Tony Romo in Dallas. If Dallas chooses to not resign Bryant it would be a large drop off to Cole Beasley in the depth chart at receiver. Plus with the upcoming draft being loaded with talented running backs, the Cowboys could much easier replace Murray than Bryant.
Demaryius Thomas, WR, stays with Denver Broncos
The Broncos are already having a tough offseason, and it isn’t even the Super Bowl yet. They just had a ‘mutual’ separation with head coach John Fox, and Peyton Manning could be off as well. Demaryius Thomas is one asset that they can’t let go of. He is in the top tier of receivers in this league, and though his numbers may be slightly different without Peyton in Denver, he would still be one of the league leaders anywhere else. No matter what other offseason adjustments the Broncos decide to make this offseason, Demaryius Thomas is priority number one.