Free agency buzz

Scout.com takes a look around the NFL three days before the scheduled start of free agency.

Cincinnati Bengals – According to a team source, look for the team to make a hard run at signing veteran DT Sam Adams, who was released by the Buffalo Bills recently. Adams played for head coach Marvin Lewis with the Baltimore Ravens when Lewis was defensive coordinator. In an interesting twist, Adams passed up signing with the Bengals prior to the 2003 season and decided to accept less money to sign with the Bills because he thought they were the better team. As it turned out, Lewis became the headman with the Bengals in the 2003 season and they've been on the rise ever since. The source also pointed out that it wouldn't be surprising to see Adams take a little less money to sign with the Bengals if he had to because of his strong relationship with Lewis.

Minnesota Vikings – The smart speculation is that the team has their eye on Carolina Panthers WLB Will Witherspoon, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent. The weakside linebacker is very important in the scheme defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin will run (see Derrick Brooks and Cato June). With lots of available salary cap space, the Vikes could make it very hard for the Panthers or any other team to sign Witherspoon.

Another player who could attract some interest from the team is San Diego Chargers OLB Ben Leber, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent. Leber would likely play the strong side for the Vikings if they signed him and vice president of player personnel Fran Foley is familiar with him from his tenure with San Diego.

New England Patriots – Don't be surprised if the team winds up trading veteran TE Daniel Graham by April's draft. The former first-round pick has been underutilized in the passing offense in recent seasons and is on the final year of his contract at only $545,000. The team is very high on third-year TE Ben Watson and likely will increase his role going forward. At the very least, those who follow the team closely say this will likely be Graham's last season in a Patriots uniform.

Philadelphia Eagles – The team usually likes to make a quick strike on the first day of free agency. If free agency isn't pushed back again and it starts on Thursday, look for the Eagles to sign one to two impact free agents.

The team has been compiling a list of available free agent centers and also has their eye on ones who will be released, so it's a virtual lock that one is signed. The No. 1 target on their list to sign at the position is New Orleans C LeCharles Bentley, who scout.com reported back at the Super Bowl wouldn't be re-signing with the Saints. According to a published report, Bentley denied a report that he'll be signing with the Eagles right at the start of free agency. However, a team source indicated to scout.com that Bentley had to deny any association with the Eagles because of possible tampering charges. The source said to expect Bentley to become a Philadelphia Eagle within the first days of the start of free agency.

As scout.com first reported earlier this week, the team has interest in New York Jets C Kevin Mawae, who was released over the weekend. Interestingly enough, the Eagles were very interested in signing during free agency of 1998. Instead, they signed C Steve Everett, who was the No.1-rated offensive lineman in free agency that year.

According to a team source, the team may also make a run at New England Patriots WR David Givens. It may come down to how much money he wants. Most teams view him as a complementary receiver, not a true No.1. The Eagles view second-year pro Reggie Brown as a No.1 receiver, so if Givens wants to be paid like a No. 1, he'll likely be signing elsewhere.

The team is also looking for a veteran backup quarterback and is said to have their eyes on former Dolphins starter Jay Fiedler, who was recently released by the Jets, and Jeff Garcia (Detroit Lions). Garcia makes more sense because of his familiarity with the West Coast offense.

On the defensive of the ball, look for the team to sign a veteran weakside linebacker to compete for the starting job against second-year LB Matt McCoy. Possibilities are Jamie Sharper, who was recently released by Seattle, Scott Fujita (Dallas Cowboys), and Shawn Barber, who was recently released by Kansas City. Barber played one season for the Eagles back in 2002.


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