Jeremy Maclin - WR - Philadelphia Eagles
Free-agent WR Jeremy Maclin (Eagles) and the Philadelphia Eagles are trying to work out a new contract, but the team has until 4 p.m. Monday, March 2, to put the franchise tag on Maclin.
Huddle Up: If Philly doesn't have any other plans with the tag they could lock Maclin up with the tag while still working on a long-term deal. Either way, sounds like Maclin will at minimum be an Eagle for the 2015 season--and most likely beyond.
Demaryius Thomas - WR - Denver Broncos
The Denver Broncos are expected to use the franchise tag on WR Demaryius Thomas Monday, March 2, all but ensuring the team keeps the wideout for the 2015 season. They are expected to use the 'nonexclusive' tag, which makes it possible for other teams to negotiate with Thomas. However, the team has the right to match any offer, and if he is signed away the team is compensated by the signing team with two first-round draft picks.
Huddle Up: Nothing really new here as Thomas has been atop the Broncos' free-agent priority list for awhile now and the two sides will continue to work on hammering out a long-term deal. Among all pass catchers over the last three seasons, Thomas ranks third in receptions (297) and second in receiving yards (4,483) and receiving TDs (35).
Ndamukong Suh - DT - Detroit Lions
Detroit Lions impending free-agent DT Ndamukong Suh is not expected to be a serious option for the Miami Dolphins, according to beat writer Barry Jackson.
Huddle Up: Suh might not even make it to the open market if the Lions decide to use the franchise tag, and while the Dolphins certainly need defensive-line help, they're not going to be able to pay top dollar unless they continue their WR purge (i.e. getting rid of Mike Wallace).
Randall Cobb - WR - Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers are working to re-sign impending free-agent WR Randall Cobb, according to a pair of league sources. And while the two sides reportedly aren't close to any kind of deal, Cobb is viewed as a core player that the team definitely wants to keep.
Huddle Up: While one national story iterated that the Packers weren't focusing on re-signing Cobb, most reports out of Wisconsin still say that the team's priorities are retaining free-agents RT Bryan Bulaga and Cobb -- and not necessarily in that order. Cobb is coming off a career year with 91 receptions for 1,287 yards and 12 TDs and is rumored to be seeking a multi-year deal averaging $9-10 million per season, and if the Pack want to go the franchise-tag route, they have until 4 p.m. ET Monday.
EJ Manuel - QB - Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills QB EJ Manuel still seems to be the No. 1 option at quarterback, for now, with Josh McCown heading to the Cleveland Browns. Buffalo could still add a quarterback in free agency or the draft.
Huddle Up: Manuel, who's 6-8 in 14 starts over two seasons in Buffalo, and the undrafted Jeff Tuel are the only two QBs currently on the Bills' roster so definitely expect a free-agent signing or a draft pick to be used on a QB -- and possibly both.
Zach Miller - TE - Chicago Bears
Free-agent TE Zachary Miller has been re-signed by the Chicago Bears.
Huddle Up: Miller is simply a low-cost insurance option with upside behind starter Martellus Bennett. Miller did garner headlines last summer with 6 catches for 68 yards and two scores in the Bears' exhibition opener but didn't make it out of the preseason with a season-ending foot injury and has only appeared in four regular-season contests overall since 2010 due to various maladies.
DeMarco Murray - RB - Dallas Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys impending free-agent RB DeMarco Murray probably will hit the free-agent market since contract talks with him have gone slow, according to executive vice president Stephen Jones, who also added that Murray could give the team a chance to match any offer he receives during free agency. "There is an expectation that he will get back to us before he signs with another club," Jones said. "There's a hope that he would. But that would be unfair to him and for other clubs to say he's going to bring something back."
Huddle Up: As has been the case, much depends on what happens with Dez Bryant. If the WR is tagged and is unable to work out a long-term deal, it almost certainly means that the Cowboys will be unable to match or come close to the competing offers made to Murray.
Darrius Heyward-Bey - WR - Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers impending free-agent WR Darrius Heyward-Bey will not re-sign with the Steelers this offseason.
Huddle Up: The 2009 No. 1 pick of the Raiders caught only three passes for 33 yards last season in Pittsburgh and it looks as if he'll have try to fight for another bottom-of-the-depth chart position with his fourth team in four years if his career is to continue.
Reggie Bush - RB - Detroit Lions
Free-agent RB Reggie Bush (Lions) is not getting any interest from the New York Giants, according to a league source.
Huddle Up: The Giants appear content with Rashad Jennings and second-year back Andre Williams for now, leaving Bush to look elsewhere for his new team.
Justin Houston - LB - Kansas City Chiefs
Free-agent LB Justin Houston (Chiefs) is moving closer to franchise tag status with the Kansas City Chiefs. There were rumors talks on a new deal had begun, but sources indicate the rumors are false and the team will likely slap the tag on Houston.
Huddle Up: Either way, the Chiefs are determined that the 2014 NFL sacks leader will remain in K.C. for at least another season. Look for contract talks to pick up soon, though, after Houston is tagged as expected.
Dez Bryant - WR - Dallas Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant will receive the franchise tag by the deadline Monday, March 2, executive vice president Stephen Jones confirmed Saturday, Feb. 28. The move will guarantee Bryant roughly $13 million in 2015.
Huddle Up: The tag doesn't preclude the Cowboys from hammering out a long-term deal with Bryant, but they may be apprehensive about a commitment given Bryant's checkered off-the-field history. Bryant getting the tag also means the Cowboys are unlikely to retain DeMarco Murray, as the anticipated plan was to sign Bryant to a long-term deal and franchise the oft-injured running back coming off a career-high workload.
Josh McCown - QB - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Updating previous reports, Cleveland Browns QB Josh McCown has $6.25 million in guarantees in his three-year deal, and he'll make $5.25 million in 2015. The value of his deal is $14 million with the chance to make $20 million, according to a source that has seen the contract.
Huddle Up: The Browns didn't break the bank for McCown, but that's enough to suggest the team won't be pursuing Brian Hoyer in free agency. That leaves McCown to battle Johnny Manziel and Connor Shaw for the starting gig.
Vincent Jackson - WR - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Vincent Jackson was not asked to take a pay cut this season, despite a previous report that he had been asked to do so. Jackson is still expected to return this season.
Huddle Up: Seems silly for the Bucs to jettison a veteran receiver when they're likely adding a rookie quarterback with the first overall pick. There appear to be no cap hurdles to keeping V-Jax, so unless the Bucs start spending in free agency and need to create more room expect Jackson to play under his existing deal.
Stevie Johnson - WR - San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers WR Stevie Johnson is expected to be released this offseason, according to sources. The 49ers would save $5.5 million in salary cap space.
Huddle Up: If Johnson departs and the Niners are unable to re-sign Michael Crabtree, it's all but assured they'll use their mid-first round selection to address the wide receiver position. Either that or they're fully committing to Colin Kaepernick running the option and not throwing much at all.
Julius Thomas - TE - Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos impending free-agent TE Julius Thomas is drawing interest from the Oakland Raiders, according to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport.
Huddle Up: Was Tim Brown the Raiders' last big-time play-making pass-catcher? It sure seems like it as second-year QB Derek Carr can use some weapons. Look for the Silver & Black, the Jaguars and possibly the Falcons to be among the front-runners if Thomas hits the open market.
Devonta Freeman - RB - Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman could be the full-time back in new offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan's scheme next season, according to general manager Thomas Dimitroff. 'My first impression of him is that you can feel the quickness. In our outside-zone-system, I feel like this is tailor-made for a guy who can really explode off the edge,' head coach Dan Quinn said.
Huddle Up: Freeman, a fourth-round pick last season, rushed for 248 yards and a TD on 65 carries and added 225 yards and a score on 30 receptions and right now, he's the front-runner for the starting job next fall with the team releasing veteran Steven Jackson on Friday. Still, the free-agent and 2015 draft RB classes are well-stocked, and don't be surprised if the Falcons add a back to compete for the No. 1 gig.
Josh McCown - QB - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Free-agent QB Josh McCown (Buccaneers) signed a three-year deal with the Cleveland Browns on Friday, Feb. 27, according to his agent. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Huddle Up: McCown -- who had also visited with the Bills, Jets and Bears -- will join his seventh NFL team in 13 seasons and gives the franchise a veteran option with 2014 first-round pick Johnny Manziel trying to straighten up his on- and off-field lives and Brian Hoyer headed to free agency. McCown stood out with the Bears in 2013 but was 1-10 as a starter with 11 TD passes, 14 interceptions and a 70.5 rating last year in Tampa.
Reggie Wayne - WR - Indianapolis Colts
Indianapolis Colts impending free-agent WR Reggie Wayne (triceps) recently underwent surgery on his triceps and has started his rehab. Wayne still has not decided if he will play in 2015.
Huddle Up: Wayne, who will be 37 in November, figures to be welcomed back as a reserve WR and veteran presence in Indy if he chooses to play another season, but it's certainly a wait-and-see proposition for the time being.
Brandon Gibson - WR - Miami Dolphins
Miami Dolphins WR Brandon Gibson was released Friday, Feb. 27.
Huddle Up: The Dolphins are emptying the WR depth chart and clearing cap space, also waiving Brian Hartline on Friday. Gibson spent two mediocre, injury-marred two seasons in South Beach, starting eight games and catching 59 passes for 621 yards and four TDs. Gibson started the first five games in the slot last season before being bumped by rookie standout Jarvis Landry, who went on to lead the team in receiving with 84 grabs.
Adrian Peterson - RB - Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson could be a trade target for the Indianapolis Colts. QB Andrew Luck hasn't had a successful running game behind him so far in Indianapolis. However, Colts running backs not named RB Trent Richardson averaged close to 5.0 yards per carry in the last two seasons.
Huddle Up: Arizona and Dallas (still) also are mentioned as trade destinations for Peterson as signs are starting to point that his run in the Twin Cities might be finished once he's reinstated by the league. A Luck-Peterson pairing would most definitely be juicy, and Indy is certainly in need of a RB after the first-round-pick-for-Richardson trade proved to be a colossal flop. Stay tuned ...
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