2018 NFL Free Agents: Latest Rumors, Predictions for Broncos’ QB Search, More

2018 NFL Free Agents: Latest Rumors, Predictions for Broncos’ QB Search, More

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There’s always next year is a trope teams and fans repeat in sports whenever championship hopes fade, and the list of NFL squads who can use it this season grows with each playoff elimination.

The pool of free agents set to hit the market this offseason provides hope for a brighter future for those who are left watching the best teams in the league fight for the Lombardi Trophy.

With that in mind, here is a look at some of the latest rumors from around the NFL, as well as predictions for a handful of landing spots.

                 

Broncos’ Quarterback Pursuit

The Denver Broncos missed the playoffs in each of the past two seasons and are reportedly looking to shake things up at quarterback.

According to Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post, "every option is being considered by the Broncos—drafting a quarterback, signing a free agent, trading for a veteran."

Jhabvala listed Alex Smith and Eli Manning as possible trade targets (with the understanding the Kansas City Chiefs may not trade Smith within the AFC West), Kirk Cousins and Drew Brees as potential free agents and Baker Mayfield, Josh Allen and Josh Rosen as candidates for the upcoming draft.

Troy Renck of Denver7 believes Denver "will pursue Cousins," although he granted there will be backup options should he not sign.

Paxton Lynch was supposed to be the quarterback of the future when the Broncos selected him with the No. 26 overall pick in the 2016 draft out of Memphis. However, he has appeared in just five games in two seasons, recording four touchdown throws and four interceptions. He hasn’t looked the part.

Trevor Siemian is another internal option after three seasons with the team, especially since he was solid in 2016 (3,041 passing yards, 18 touchdown throws and 10 interceptions). Still, he took a step back in 2017, with 12 touchdown throws to 14 interceptions in 11 games. He has just one year remaining on his rookie contract.

Jhabvala noted "hope" for the two signal-callers "has been eroded by mediocre performance and time."

That leaves the Broncos looking elsewhere, especially since they are in a competitive window given their potentially dominant defense, which finished third in the league in yards allowed in 2017 and fourth in 2016 despite missing the playoffs both years.

Denver won’t want to start a rebuild with a rookie with that defense leading the way, the Chiefs won’t trade Smith within the division and the New Orleans Saints will bring Brees back after a successful campaign.

That leaves Cousins as the most attractive option, and the thought here is general manager John Elway will convince him to come to Denver after Washington moves on following a second straight playoff-less season.

Prediction: The Broncos go all-in on signing Kirk Cousins and succeed.

                

Josh McCown‘s Future

The New York Jets struggled in 2017 on the way to a 5-11 record, but quarterback Josh McCown impressed at times, with 2,926 passing yards, 18 touchdown throws and nine interceptions. The yardage and touchdown numbers were career-high marks for the 38-year-old.

His future figures to be a primary talking point for the organization before the 2018 season, and Calvin Watkins of Newsday reported the team has "expressed a desire" to re-sign him.

While retirement may be an option for the veteran, he appeared comfortable in the system as the primary starter and had the Jets at 3-2 before a collapse. Watkins noted a number of players think they are close to reaching the playoffs with the core group, which could convince McCown to stay for another year.

If nothing else, he could be a stopgap for a quarterback New York drafts until the rookie is ready to take the field, especially if the team isn’t comfortable with the unproven Bryce Petty or Christian Hackenberg filling that role.

McCown has never played a playoff game in his career, and while the Jets may not seem like a postseason contender to some, Watkins made it clear there is belief within the locker room.

The thought here is hope convinces the veteran to return for another season in an effort to continue his formidable showing from 2017 and finally get over that postseason hump before retiring.

Prediction: McCown signs a one-year deal in New York.

                 

Austin Seferian-Jenkins Returning to the Jets?

There are questions about whether McCown would have one of his primary weapons should he return, with tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins set to be a free agent.

According to Watkins, the Washington product "wants to return, and the Jets have held some talks toward that end."

Seferian-Jenkins set career highs in 2017 with 13 games played, 50 catches and 357 receiving yards. He also hauled in three touchdowns, his most since 2015, when he had four on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

He is still just 25 and establishing himself at the NFL level since this was the first of his four seasons in the league he even played double-digit games.

The Jets aren’t exactly loaded with weapons in the aerial attack considering Seferian-Jenkins’ 357 receiving yards was third-best on the team this past season. A young playmaker who flashed potential in 2017 is worth bringing back to see what he can do with continuity, especially for a team looking to bounce back from a disappointing effort.

Prediction: The Jets re-sign Seferian-Jenkins.

Breaking Sports News

via Bleacher Report – Front Page http://ift.tt/yO6Sgr

January 14, 2018 at 09:48AM

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