One of the most exciting parts of the offseason for football fans is seeing what big name players are going to change teams. Some teams will go into the offseason having a ton of cap room and be desperate to sign players to big contracts and steal players away from other teams. Some players will be unhappy in their current situation and asked to be released or traded. Additionally, some players will be cap casualties.
In other words, the salary cap makes it nearly impossible for teams to keep all of their star players and as a result, we see major movement each off-season. For instance, last season we saw players such as Malik Jackson, Martellus Bennett, Josh Norman, and many other star players switch teams.
The story will be not be any different this offseason. Whether it is free agency, trades, salary cap casualties, we will certainly see big name players changing teams. For example, one such team that may have to move on from some big names this year is the New York Jets. The Jets are already over the salary cap and free agency has not even started yet (classic Jets, right?). Meanwhile, we see other cap-strapped teams like the Cowboys re-structure players contracts and push off the problem for later seasons.
Overall, this article will choose the top 15 players that could change teams this offseason. The players' new homes will be predicted, and the players will also be ranked from worst to best. If there are some major players not included on this list, the likely reason is I expect the player to stay with their current team. For example, I am expecting Melvin Ingram to stay with the Chargers.
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15 Jimmy Garoppolo - Chicago Bears
The Jimmy Garoppolo situation is a confusing one. One day there is a report that he is on the trading block, the next day there is a report that the Patriots are keeping him. My belief is that the Patriots are saying he will not be traded just to make a desperate team like the Bears overpay. My prediction is that the Bears will trade a first round pick and possibly a mid round pick to acquire Jimmy G. I have to say, Garoppolo sure would look good in a Bears jersey playing in his home area.
Overall, I believe Garoppolo will be traded and one factor that many people are overlooking is Jacoby Brissett. It is said the Patriots are very high on him as a prospect and if he shows that he can be Tom Brady's backup and even eventual replacement, Garoppolo will surely be traded.
14 Kenny Britt - Baltimore Ravens
Kenny Britt is one of the more underrated receivers in the game. With a poor quarterback situation all of last season, Britt was still able to accumulate a 1,000 yard receiving season. He is a big body at 6 foot 3 and over 200 pounds and he is also young at the age of 29. Britt could be in line for a big payday, but with other many big wide receiver free agents, he may be available for a reasonable contract.
A team like the Baltimore Ravens desperately needs a wide receiver. They can go after a player like Britt without breaking the bank and still fill other needs, such as cornerback. Overall, Britt would be a welcomed addition in Baltimore and Joe Flacco would be a huge upgrade at QB for him.
13 Sheldon Richardson - Dallas Cowboys
Sheldon Richardson can still be a valuable player even though he had a down season in 2016. However, his troubles off the field, feuds with his own teammates will be more than enough for the Jets to ship him out of town. Right there to scoop him up will be the Dallas Cowboys. Rumor has it that the Cowboys were interested in the big defensive tackle before the trading deadline this past season, but ultimately the deal fell through because the asking price was too high.
With the Cowboys still needing help on the defensive line, I look to them to reopen dialogue with the Jets regarding Richardson. At this point, the Jets may be so desperate to move on that the asking price is lower and they are able to pull off a deal with the Cowboys.
12 Darrelle Revis - Pittsburgh Steelers
Darrelle Revis's legal situation makes his playing situation much more complicated than it would have been a week ago. Regardless, with the Jets having now released Revis, he will find himself on a new team in 2017. I just do not know what team will want to take him on. Revis was clearly trending downward as a corner last season and his legal situation will make it that much harder for a team to take a chance on him.
However, as always, one team may look past all of the issues and sign Revis. If it does happen, I think that the team will be the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers desperately need help at corner/safety and maybe the Steelers think they can get one more solid year out of Revis while their championship window is still open. Revis could even move over to safety.
11 DeSean Jackson - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
DeSean Jackson can still fly. The problem for the Washington Redskins is that they do not have enough money to pay everyone and they have other needs such as paying a quarterback, and upgrading their defensive line.
Ultimately, I think Jackson will leave for a bigger payday. The team I am predicting Jackson to sign with is the Buccaneers. We know that Jameis Winston wants him and it is also obvious the Buccaneers need a true number two receiver to complement Mike Evans, and Jackson would be a great fit. He's not an effective no.1, but he'd be the ideal no.2 behind a big body like Evans. Evans would be free to run his intermediate routes, while Jackson acts as a deep threat. Add in Adam Humphries, and you have a pretty dangerous receiving core.
10 Martellus Bennett - Jacksonville Jaguars
Martellus Bennett proved he is a great player this past season in New England. Bennett can block, catch, and run after the catch. I just do not see the Patriots paying Bennett the type of money he wants, especially if it is more than what Rob Gronkowski makes. As a result, Bennett will look to cash in and sign with a team such as the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags have a ton of cap space and also have a need at the tight end position after trading Julius Thomas. Bennett will be the perfect fit.
Overall, Bennett may not have had out of this world stats, but he did the little things that every team needs. Also, do not forget, he was playing through injuries most of the season.
9 Brandon Marshall - New York Giants
Brandon Marshall had a bad year last year, but I tend to blame most of this on poor quarterback play. Nonetheless, I expect the rebuilding Jets to part ways with Marshall. He is over 30 years old, and has a cap hit of $7.5 million heading into next season, which is just too much for a rebuilding team.
One team that should be interested if Marshall is to be cut is the New York Giants. The Giants desperately need a big wide-out to complement Odell Beckham Jr. and I think that person could be Marshall. At this stage in his career, Marshall should be able to come at a reasonable price due to the aforementioned reasons. Do not expect Marshall to be a 1,400 yard receiver again, but I think he can still be very productive.
8 Alshon Jeffrey - Philadelphia Eagles
Alshon Jeffrey is one of the better "jumpball" receivers in the game. One team that desperately needs a play-maker on the outside? The Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles invested a lot into Carson Wentz and he did not have enough talent at the wide-out position during his rookie season. As a result, I fully expect the Eagles to aggressively pursue Jeffrey.
Overall, if not for his recent suspension, I would have had Alshon Jeffrey much higher on this list. I am curious to see if he will still be the same player without PEDs? The answer to this question remains to be seen, but there is still no doubt in my mind a team in need will throw a ton of money his way. And the Eagles will likely be that team.
7 Stephon Gilmore - Chicago Bears
The cornerback market will be relatively thin in free agency. As a result, players like Stephon Gilmore are going to hit the jackpot. Do not get me wrong, Gilmore is a solid player and is only 26 years old. Gilmore also did finish with a career high five interceptions last season and has 14 interceptions thus far in his career.
However, Gilmore has his issues with inconsistency and I am not sure if he is worth shut down corner type money just yet. Nonetheless, there will be a team that pays him to be shutdown corner because of the thin market at his position. One team that has the money to pay Gilmore is the Chicago Bears. They struggled in the secondary last season and the team needs to turn things around as soon as possible, or people will be on the hot seat.
6 Brandin Cooks - New England Patriots
There is no doubting that Brandin Cooks is talented. He is one of the best deep threats in the league. However, he seems to be unhappy with his role in New Orleans as referenced by his Instagram post during the middle of last season. This could mean we see New Orleans decide to trade Cooks before they end up losing him for nothing when free agency rolls around (Cooks is heading into the final year of his contract).
I am going to make a bold prediction and guess Cooks ends up with the Patriots. Bill Belichick has raved about Cooks in the past and the Patriots and Saints have a great relationship where it is not hard to see them trading with each other. Perhaps the Patriots trade one of their solid defenders for Cooks? It is probably a long-shot Cooks is moved, but we have seen crazier things happen.
5 Joe Thomas - Seattle Seahawks
How much longer will Joe Thomas have to play for a bad team? He is still one of the best offensive linemen in the game but, he has not had the chance to play in the playoffs. Surely, Thomas must wonder about life outside of Cleveland, especially after seeing his old friend Alex Mack start in the Super Bowl. Thomas would be a welcomed addition to just about any team in the NFL.
Thomas would be a perfect fit for the Seahawks. They desperately need help up front as we saw Russell Wilson get hammered last year. Thomas would also provide veteran leadership, which can never be underestimated. It may not happen, but I am hoping that Thomas finally gets away from the Browns and moves on to a legitimate playoff team.
4 Calais Campbell - Washington Redskins
I am sure the Arizona Cardinals would love to keep Calais Campbell, as he has been a great player for them over the years. However, with the recent Michael Bennett contract extension, I am not sure Campbell will be sticking around. It is being reported that Campbell wants more money than what Bennett received and I do not think the Cards will be able to pay both Campbell and Chandler Jones. Remember, the Cards also drafted Robert Nkemdiche as a possible replacement in the 2016 draft.
One team that could sign Campbell is the Washington Redskins. The Redskins had a horrible run defense last season and desperately need all the help they can get on the D-line. It will be interesting to see what happens with Campbell.
3 Tony Romo - Houston Texans
Personally, I do not think Romo will be able to maintain good health for a full season. So why do I have him so high on this list? Well, his position automatically gives him a lot more value than other plays on this list. Also, IF Romo does stay healthy, he is one of the best quarterbacks in the game. Do I think he can stay healthy? Probably not, but remember, there are reports that Romo believes he has three years as a starting QB in him.
So, why Houston? Well, obviously the Texans have a major need at quarterback. Moreover, it is arguable and reasonable to assume that if the Texans have a legitimate quarterback heading into next season, they will be Super Bowl contenders. Finally, it would be beneficial for Romo to play in Houston for family reasons. He gets to keep his family in the state of Texas.
2 Dont'a Hightower - Indianapolis Colts
An original first round pick of the New England Patriots, Dont'a Hightower is one of the better linebackers in the game. He is a great leader on the field, excels at stopping the running game, and can also generate pressure on the quarterback. He does struggle in coverage at times, but his strengths make up for this.
Ultimately, I think the Patriots would love to keep Hightower, but his price tag just may be too high. We know the Patriots do not go out of their way to overpay players and often, players that they do re-sign take a little hometown discount. I think Hightower is going to try and cash in. This is where a team that struggles on defense and has tons of cap space like the Indianapolis Colts will make him an offer he cannot refuse.
1 Adrian Peterson - New York Giants
The Minnesota Vikings would have loved to keep Adrian Peterson. He has been one of their best players ever since he came into the league and he is adored by the fan base. Additionally, Peterson is a former league MVP. However, an $18 million cap hit for a running back north of 30 was too much. Sure, the Vikings would have probably loved to restructure his contract, the way Peterson has been talking about the Giants (and other teams), I think the Vikings were forced to cut Peterson when they saw he would not take a pay-cut.
I chose Peterson to end up with the Giants because they are not that far off from being a legitimate Super Bowl contender and their need at running back is obvious. Peterson will get a chance to be a workhorse and play with a contender.
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