The NFL’s free agent market has not really cooled down, so much as its come to a screeching halt. After the ceaseless barrage of handshake deals and signings that sputtered out between March 7 and 10, there are very few players inking lucrative long-term deals.
Deals like the massive $114 million, with $60 million guaranteed, that defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh signed with the Miami Dolphins won’t happen again until free agency in 2016. But many valuable free agents are still on the market, and in the coming weeks they could eventually find a new home.
Here are three free agents to keep an eye on over the next few days and weeks.
Vince Wilfork, DT
The New England Patriots legend was cut loose, and now he’s fielding offers from several teams. Boasting a resume that speaks for itself, Wilfork, 33, is a five-time Pro Bowler with two Super Bowl rings, and he could be a huge difference-maker for a number of teams in either conference. According the Houston Chronicle, Wilfork already met with the Texans on Sunday and could team up with former Patriots defensive coordinator Romeo Crenel.
Several other teams are interested in Wilford, The Chronicle reported, but it’s unknown which ones. The Texans, already possessing two-time Defensive Player of the Year in defensive end J.J. Watt and waiting on young pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney to get healthy, could have the most formidable frontline in the AFC with Wilfork in tow.
The Patriots cut him because he was too expensive, and Houston is unlikely to offer Wilfork a deal longer than three or four years given his age. But he’s the type of player who could help Houston get back into the postseason.
Greg Jennings, WR
Jennings is another veteran who was release for salary cap purposes, with the Minnesota Vikings saving a minimum of $5 million or as much as $9 million by cutting him last week. The 31-year-old put together two underwhelming seasons in Minnesota, with 127 receptions for 1,546 yards and 10 touchdowns, but to his credit the Vikings played four different quarterbacks.
At his age, Jennings may no longer be a No. 1 receiver but his does have a Super Bowl win under his belt and the size and strength as a third-down pass catcher. No team or any scheduled visit has been reported, but NJ.com pegged Jennings as a nice fit for the Philadelphia Eagles and head coach Chip Kelly’s system.
Greg Hardy, DE
Likely facing a six-game suspension after he missed most of the 2014 season due to domestic violence charges, Hardy seems to be viewed as radioactive to many teams. He’s one of the best pass rushers in the NFL, but his agent Drew Rosenhaus said last week that teams interested in Hardy didn’t want to be named publicly.
Teams might hesitate to sign Hardy, because of both his past and that he’ll probably miss the first six games of the season, but now the Dallas Cowboys are apparently “considering” bringing him on, 105.3 The Fan in Dallas reported Monday. Uncharacteristically, Dallas has remained reticent on signing expensive, long-term deals this offseason, and Hardy would actually fit right in. Considering his suspension and legal woes, he could take a shorter and cheaper deal just to play next season.