The Washington Redskins' Champ Bailey turned down a long-term deal early in the season and appears poised to test free agency this year.
The odds on this dynamic quarterback leaving the Colts are remote. Team officials and representatives for Manning have conducted on and off again discussions about a new contract. Here's a look at the top 5 free agents in the National Football League this year. A
minor stumbling point in getting Manning under an extended contract has been the
team's salary cap status, which team sources lead us to believe will be worked
early in the off-season to accommodate re-signing Manning and keeping the core
of the Colts roster in tact.
Rumors persist that one team has
begun breaking down their roster and salary-cap numbers to make a run at
Manning. Numerous league sources, team General Managers and other team player
personnel evaluators expect Manning to command a record-breaking contract, with
the largest signing and workout bonus' in league history.
From one anonymous team player
personnel director, "Signing a quarterback like Peyton Manning would be a major
coup for any organization seeking a top-notch quarterback. The next issue will
be installing an offense similar to what he worked with in Indianapolis, because
if you don't, you will not see immediate returns. Let's remember, he has played
in one system since he came into the league and he can't change colors
St. Louis Rams
Pace has had to live with having the ‘franchise tag' applied to him. Again, if
Pace does not come to terms of a long-term deal with the Rams, the team could
again place the tag on him, making it difficult for this perennial All-Pro from
having the true opportunity to taste the free agency waters. Numerous teams have
expressed an interest in Pace over the past two years, but at the cost of two
first-round draft picks as compensation for the team which signs him, has been a
deterrent. As was the case following the 2002 season, representatives for Pace
has requested the Rams front office not place the ‘franchise tag' on
and team insiders believe Pace really enjoys playing in St.
for Mike Martz and is willing to remain in St.
if the Rams would place a record-setting contract in front of him. Talk of a
20-million signing bonus request coming from the Pace camp are exaggerated, but
a five-year deal at eight-plus million dollars a season, with a 15-million
dollar signing bonus is a contract base his representatives has not denied when
speaking with The Insiders Network.
have surfaced that Pace has not fully recovered from a previous knee injury,
which could slowdown this dominant offensive left tackle. Reviewing his play in
the 2003 season and speaking to league player personnel evaluators place Pace in
an elite category of offensive tackles, with Baltimore's
Jonathan Ogden and Seattle's
Walter Jones. Tremendous run-blocker, with very good strength and technique in
the pass blocking facet of the game, Pace has been dominating at the point of
attack and has proven his game has not slipped.
Pace is as good as any left tackle in the game today. This is a player you plug
into your lineup for the next five-to-seven years, just knowing the left side of
the line is anchored and the quarterback will not have to worry about his
backside," one player personnel director said.
- Bailey turned down a long-term deal
from the Redskins early in the season and appears poised to test free agency.
Highly respected and commonly regarded as being the top shutdown cornerback in
the league today, Bailey will be one player that will be in great demand, if he
does not received the ‘franchise tag' from the
- The 2004 free agency signing period
is expected to begin in late February / early March and the cornerback position
may be the overall strength of the free agency signing period. Bailey is a good
character ‘guy' that wants to win desperately. His competitive nature rubs off
on others around him and has displays a good, coachable attitude. Bailey has
tremendous speed and quickness, which helps he cheat in coverage and recover
when beaten off the line. Closing speed ranks second to none in the game today
and plays with the instincts of a wide receiver.
- With the Redskins coaching issues
settled, look for the organization to begin serious negotiations with
representatives for Bailey. One issue according to team sources was Bailey was
looking to exit Washington due to
the direction of the team and/or former head coach Steve Spurrier. With
stability returning to the organization with the return of highly respected Joe Gibbs on
the sidelines, the Redskins may have the ability to get Bailey back in the
San Francisco 49ers
Say what you will, Terrell Owens
can be a major distraction. He has shown the tendency to become the story,
rather than the solution to a team's losing ways, but his desire to win and get
the ball in his hands cannot be questioned. Owens wants to win, he wants the
ball, and is outspoken. But, the bottom-line is, Owens is a player and one which
will be a commodity on the open-market.
Owens is best suited to a
West-Coast type system due to his physical strength and ability to gain critical
yards after the catch. Prior to the 49ers sub-par 2003 season, Owens was one of
the league's best in this type of offense. The 49ers of 2003 modified the
offensive scheme and became more of a vertical oriented team and Owens'
production dropped somewhat, some due to lack of overall game-breaking speed. At
times Owens loses focus, especially when frustrated when he is not getting the
"Put Terrell Owens in the West
Coast offense or an offense that relies on the intermediate passing game, with
slants, etc and he will excel and be exactly the player we seen in San
Francisco," one league General Manager said. "One-hundred receptions, 1200-1300
yards, and 10-12 touchdowns will come, he is that good getting open, finding the
seams, and breaking tackles."
The story for Walter Jones compares
to the situation described above about Orlando Pace. Like Pace, Walter Jones
seeks a record breaking deal, as he is indeed one of the very best in the game
at the offensive left tackle position. Solid run-blocker, solid pass-protector,
Jones would easily leave Seattle, if the
opportunity presented itself. Feeling like the team has prohibited his right to choice, Jones again seeks the ability to change teams
this off-season. The ultimate question again this off-season will be, "Will the
Seahawks again place the franchise tag on Jones?"
Free Agent Rankings: Offense
List: NFL FA
Offense | NFL