Dec 30, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings (85) against the Minnesota Vikings at the Metrodome. The Vikings defeated the Packers 37-34. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Wallace, Greg Jennings Head Talented NFL Free Agent Group

The 2013 NFL Free Agency period so far has been big on some talented apparent entrants and few huge contracts delivered that I’ve heard of so far. Certainly nothing long-termly monstrous like Super Mario last year. I haven’t even heard of more than a franchise tag, and only thoughts and projections.

It’s still early yet and moves will be made, but just look at some of the names available or as yet unsigned otherwise:

Dwight Freeney, DE/OLB, IND

Charles Woodson, CB, GB

Jeff Saturday, C, GB

Greg Jennings, WR, GB

Bart Scott, LB, NYJ

Calvin Pace, LB, NYJ

Steve Breston, WR, KC

Branden Albert, OT, KC

Dwayne Bowe, WR, KC

Reggie Bush, RB, Mia

Jake Long, LT, Mia

Mike Wallace, WR, Pit

Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Pit

I could go on and on here, but do you see a pattern here? Some teams are letting some older guys go while they don’t necessarily have a replacement for them who is apparent yet.

This is the time of year the entire puzzle gets the cloudiest. I’ve never seen so many teams giving up multiple guys like this in the same season. Not by a long shot. Usually one is kept but for every Joe Flacco that gets a big new contract with his old team there looks like there will be ten or twenty with new homes. On a few occasions, a lesser released player may get picked back up by his original team at a reduced rate. It’s NFL economics.

We Panthers fans are still in neutral over the whole deal since there just is no room for the team under the cap right now. With GM David Gettleman being a new honcho, it’s hard to figure what he’s up to but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a similar movement go through the Panthers’ roster and shake it up when all is said and done.

Try and fathom a roster without Jon Beason, DeAngelo Williams or Chris Gamble this fall and what it would do to Carolina’s team. A lot of pressure would go on 2nd year corner Josh Norman to be the number-one corner and leave them razor-thin at the position. They’d either have to sign a free agent corner or spend a 14th overall to land a sure-fire starter and there’s always uncertainty and a learning curve with rookies.

With every team in the NFC South needing defensive linemen, and three of those teams drafting in consecutive order with the Panthers in the middle could make things interesting indeed, but with so much veteran talent out there, teams don’t feel a need to be in a hurry to grab anyone yet.

First, there is the NFL combine coming up next week and all eyes turn to Indy as the process begins. Until then, the proverbial free agent gas tank is being filled. While Joe Flacco is going to get a huge deal with the Ravens, Reggie Bush’s destination is still up in the air.

In the end, you shouldn’t really read that much into it. It’s in part ripple effect of the rookie wage scale – teams are hoping to go younger and cheaper because of the “rent controls” of the scale.

Teams are trying to save themselves from themselves by getting as many bodies in that first contract age and free up more money for those free agents. It will be interesting to see if there’s another $100 million contract out there like Super Mario got.

Guys like Charles Woodson and Dwight Freeney are way too old to command a big long-term deal. The Packers cleaned house and might have eyes set on a guy like Reggie Bush – the apparent premier RB in UFA this year.

The Dolphins could wind up in the position of swapping one, Bush, for the other, Greg Jennings. Joe Philbin was his OC in Green Bay before landing the Miami gig, so if he lands a big contract there, he will probably be worth it given the unique situation. The ‘fins need multiple receivers and Jennings is one of the best and he’s still young. Mike Wallace isn’t a great fit for Philbin’s system, but should command similar money elsewhere.


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Tags: 2013 NFL Free Agents

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