- They really do not have any major free agents to worry about. Most of them are just depth options and with limited cap space they really do not need to waste it on them.
Cut: Demaryius Thomas WR, Aqib Talib CB, Menelik Watson OT, Domata Peko DT, and Derek Wolfe DE
- The Broncos have too many contracts for players that helped them during their Super Bowl runs. That is a sure fire way to get you in a hole you can never get out of just ask Baltimore with all the high priced players they are still stuck with. Thomas took a huge step back this season and it really was not the fault of the quarterback play. He played fine the year prior with Trevor Siemian, but this season he looks like a whole different player. They tried to trade him already and if they cannot move him this off season I can see them cutting him. That would give them $7 million in cap space. Aqib Talib is another player they are shopping around and according to sources no one wants to deal with his poor attitude. He has never been a great teammate or role model off the field having bounced around the league already. Cutting him would save $11 million and allow Bradley Roby to finally get a fair shot at a starting gig. I would cut Watson their starting right tackle and attempt to find something better with how bad he was last year. At least with a young guy you can hope to have some upside. Watson being cut would save them $4 million. Peko has been a nice stop gap, but they could do better. Meanwhile, Wolfe is a terrific pass rusher when healthy, but he has not played a full season so far in his career. For what he is getting paid it's not good enough. With all these moves they would have $58 million to use on better talent.
Sign: Kirk Cousins QB Washington Redskins
- They seem to be all in with signing Cousins this off season. Makes sense since John Elway cannot seem to find nor develop a top quarterback after being one for so long. However, I would hedge my bets as to say this is not the same sort of move when they landed Peyton Manning. For one Manning even in his twilight years was a better overall quarterback. Secondly, this defense is nowhere near as dominant as people like to tell you or admit. Cousins would help make them more competitive for sure, but I just feel like catching lightning in a bottle twice is near impossible. I also feel like they are desperate enough to over pay him, which hinder their team further by not being able to sign anyone else to help him. Unlike Manning who could carry a team, Cousins needs help to get to the promise land.
Ideal Draft Pick: Minkah Fitzpatrick DB Alabama
- If they do sign Kirk Cousins then they obviously would not be drafting a quarterback. Instead, I would sell the pick they have right in front of the Jets to a team that needs a quarterback. If not they should look to improve this defense that will need to be reloaded around Von Miller and company. If Bradley Chubb makes it here he will make it hard for them to pass on him, but he is not exactly a perfect scheme fit here. Instead, landing a new defensive back in Fitzpatrick can make losing Aqib Talib and easier pill to swallow. His best fit would be safety and allow them to replace the below average Will Parks. However, he could still make a move back to corner as well. Overall, this would be a nice pick for them to start their rebuild on defense.
Kansas City Chiefs:
Keep: Bennie Logan DT
- They do not have much cap space to go on a spending spree so they might not even have room to sign Logan. Not that they really have to, but they have a couple nice players on the defensive front hitting free agency. Logan is a nice option who is a talented and consistent in the middle. He is by no means a major game changer, but he fits the mold in Kansas City in a player who can put his head down and do his job well.
Cut: Tamba Hali OLB, Derrick Johnson ILB, Allen Bailey DE, and Darrelle Revis CB
- This is more of a cutting off the aging players sort of deal for the Chiefs. Hali is a shell of his former self and injuries have really taken a toll on him now. At age 34 and not much left in the tank cutting him is just doing the veteran some kindness instead of forcing him to leg it out. It would also free up over $7 million in cap space. Derrick Johnson is a different story. At 35 he is still playing relatively well in the run game and decent enough not to be a liability in the pass game. I just think after all these years his voice as a true leader has waned on a team unable to get over the hump in the playoffs. Cutting him would give younger blood an opportunity to rise up and it would also give them $8 million back in cap space. Bailey is an okay defender, but for what he is getting paid he just is not getting it done. Cutting him would save almost $6 million. Obviously, Revis is not the player he was and often was targeted down the stretch when they brought him out of retirement. Without him they could use the $4.5 million freed up on a younger option. All told they go from only $2 million in cap space to $28 million to use this off season.
Sign: Trumaine Johnson CB Los Angeles Rams
- They did just get Kendall Fuller from the Redskins in the Alex Smith trade, but they could use more talent at corner still. Fuller is a better fit at the slot so keeping him there can help him adjust quicker and make a more immediate return on the trade. Meanwhile, signing Johnson can give them a long armed compliment to Marcus Peters on the other side of the formation. His health will be in question so I would try to sign him on a one year deal hoping to get the most out of him. They could also target cheaper options, but this team is still in win now mold with Andy Reid and should try to swing big in free agency.
Ideal Draft Pick: Best edge rusher available
- With their first pick being the 22nd pick in the second round it would be nearly impossible to predict who will be there for them. I have them taking the best edge rusher available where they pick. With Dee Ford being a possible RFA and with Tamba Hali most likely done they will definitely need to find a new pass rusher to pair with Justin Houston.
Los Angeles Chargers:
Keep: Tre Boston S
- The Chargers secondary especially at the safety spot as been in flux for awhile since they let Eric Weddle walk. They finally found a guy who played at a solidly high level in Tre Boston. He seemed to be a perfect fit with their defense and should look to come back to continue his development as one of the better safeties in the league. With some decent cap space they should be able to resign Boston. He should also be tempted by a team friendly deal after he expressed interest in staying in LA.
Cut: Brandon Mebane DT, Jason Verrett CB, and Travis Benjamin WR
- Mebane was statistically one of the worst defenders in the league last year. There really is no reason why he is still employed and cutting him would give them $4.5 million back to use on someone more useful. Verrett has missed most of the last two seasons so far and barring a major resurgence like Keenan Allen has had I think they may be better without him. Of course, they can draft a corner and keep Verrett hoping he can turn it around like they did with Mike Williams at receiver last year. However, cutting him would save them $8.5 million. Lastly, Benjamin has been a major let down after actually playing good in Cleveland with less talent around him. Next season Mike Williams their high first rounder from last year should be a starter essentially relegating Benjamin to a major bench role. Letting him go saves $4.5 million and giving them a total of $50 million in cap space.
Sign: Star Lotulelei DT Carolina Panthers
- With a move to a 4-3 front the Chargers need better interior tackles to clear out more room for their terrific edge rushers. There are a few nice older options, but they should target upside with younger players than go for an older player. One player that still has upside is Lotulelei who for a bit looked better than his teammate Kawann Short until the latter out played him. Some say Lotulelei is a tad lazy, but I think with a new environment and coaching staff he could possibly find that spark again. At the very least his size and strength as a nose tackle could make him an immediate upgrade over their incumbent starters.
Ideal Draft Pick: Vita Vea DT Washington
- It's a toss up on who is the best defensive tackle in the draft between Vea and Da'Ron Payne. I tend to lean towards Payne, but a lot of analysts and pundits side with Vea. The former Husky does have a rare combination of size, power, and athleticism to be a rare pass rushing nose tackle. He is mentioned to be a favorite of the Chargers staff and would love to see him slide to them. That most likely does not happen. I can see Vea being picked in the top 10 when it is all said and done. However, landing Da'Ron Payne is not a bad consolation prize either for a team desperate to find better interior presence to pair with Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa.
Keep: Navorro Bowman LB
- The Raiders defense was atrocious for most of the year and the only time it got a little better was when they picked up Bowman. He is by no means the player he once was after his knee injuries. However, he still has savvy veteran instincts and tackling ability. With him on the field their run defense got a tick better. Maybe with a full off season they can see that number get better. He obviously also has ties with the Bay Area going from San Fran then signing with Bowman mid season. That could possibly give the Raiders a leg up to getting him on a nice discount. Plus, I can see him wanting to stay with new coach John Gruden coming over.
Cut: Sean Smith CB, David Amerson CB, and Bruce Irvin OLB
- The Raiders had a terrible defense last season and need to clear out all the bad eggs. Two of them are at corner where they have essentially stolen money from the Raiders. Sean Smith was once a nice corner for the Chiefs then much like Brandon Carr when he left for money his play fell off a cliff. Meanwhile, David Amerson was a guy I knew played hard on his one year deal for a big pay day after doing essentially nothing his whole career. Well, what do you know, I was right about him and he has gone back to his terrible play. Cutting those two would give them back $14 million to use on better talent. Meanwhile, Bruce Irvin was always an over hyped player on a loaded Seattle defense and after he moved south to Oakland his play went south also. I kind of feel like he is another candidate who got paid and now does not care. Personally, I think these poor signings need to be a big black mark on GM Reggie McKenzie's resume that really is not as good as people like to think. Outside of hitting it big with Derek Carr and Khalil Mack he really has not found good talent or used his cap space wisely.
Sign: Kyle Fuller CB Chicago Bears
- If the Raiders do cut both Amerson and Smith then they would have a big need at corner. If I were them though I would avoid paying a ton for either Trumaine Johnson or Malcolm Butler. They have not done well in that department nor do I think they really fit what they would be looking for. Instead, a young talent on the rise like Fuller can fit their roster that is also on the rise. Now he is a bit of a risk only having one great season after being very inconsistent prior. However, he is still only 25 and has good ball skills to make him always a difficult match up. Of course, they could also sign Butler and Fuller to give them a whole fresh start at corner.
Ideal Draft Pick: Derwin James S Florida St
- People love Roquon Smith to them for some reason, but in my opinion off ball linebackers do not have the same impact as a ball hawking safety. With Reggie Nelson as an upcoming free agent and coming off a terrible season the Raiders should have an opening. James is a better all around safety in my opinion than Karl Joseph was when they reached for him. He has better instincts, ball skills, size, and speed to fly all over the field. Some may even dabble with him as a small linebacker, but leaving him as an intimidating back end option would be better. Just imagine him battling with Gronk in coverage where James' size is actually a good match up with the big polar bear.