COLE’S NOTES: Romo to Jacksonville and other free agent predictions
The situation could not be any more different in the current NFL free agency. There will be plenty of past and present superstars changing their addresses in the next couple of weeks and dawning new uniforms when the Fall rolls around.
This Cole's Notes is going to outline some of those big names and where I see them fitting and where they will probably end up, because sometimes that is a different destination.
The perfect example of that is Tony Romo. I'll be honest and fess up that one tear did sneak out when the news was made official that Romo would be cut by the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday. As a Cowboys fan there is plenty to be said on that topic but that will be left for another day.... tomorrow.
Ever since Romo has been rumoured to be available, the teams that have popped up include the Browns, 49ers, Bears, Texans, the Jets and the Broncos. Spoiler alert! Romo wants to win so you can cross the Browns, San Fran and Chicago off the list.
The Jets made a lot of sense until they cut Brandon Marshall. I don't know if that was a contributing factor for Romo as he has already confirmed that he will not be playing for the J-E-T-SSSS. So that leaves Denver and Houston.
Houston makes sense because their QB situation isn't good enough to even really be considered a situation... it’s more of a quarterback mess. Furthermore Romo has stated that he wants to stay close to home which is currently Texas.
Unfortunately giving up on their $72 million man Brock Osweiler is not an option when considering you want to bring in another high priced player, in Romo.
Denver makes sense because they are a legit QB away from being back in the playoffs and they have two young quarterbacks that would benefit greatly from watching Tony run an offence for a season or two.
They are also one year removed from raising the Lombardi Trophy and were able to win it with an older QB simply managing the team and not carrying it.
The Broncos should be Romo's first pick because they have two star wide receivers, a good defence that will keep the team in most games, and they are led by John Elway who's early legacy as a Front Office leader is that of a WINNER... all of these factors were not available when he was an active Cowboy, at least in recent memory.
After really going through every team, how about this curveball from yours truly... the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Mind blown I know... but hear me out. Are they a winner? Hell no!!! But when you consider that Denver didn't make the playoffs last year while playing in a division that consists of wo playoff teams, in Kansas City and Oakland, with defenses known to force a lot of turnovers and have a variety of players that can get to the quarterback, the Broncos shouldn’t be a lock.
I know the Texans can be scary... Watt and Clowney on the d-line but it really hasn't won them much other than a terrible division. Tennessee is much improved but who knows how healthy Mariota is going to be coming back from a season ending injury and they have some holes to fill in free agency if they want to go anywhere.
And then you've got the Colts. No offensive line, a defence that gives up an awful lot of points and the only reason their D stats aren't worse is because they get to play the Jags twice a year and the Texans twice a year who maybe score 14 points a game on a good day.
Jacksonville provides a young wide receiver core with some serious talent. Both Robinson and Hurns are a season removed from each hauling in more than 1,000 receiving yards. You get those guys going then the three-headed running game only has more room to work with when getting the ball.
Couple all that youth and potential with an Owner and GM that were disappointed with the 2016 season and want to turn things around quick. Which means they will probably be spending lots of money in free agency.
Romo as a Jaguar helps. It also doesn't hurt that Jacksonville has one of the easiest schedules for the upcoming season. Let's not forget that with such a terrible 2016 season the Jags have high draft picks in each round. The icing on the cake is that Jacksonville's schedule stays pretty warm, in way of temperature, playing in that division.
Next on the board is Adrian Peterson! He has already announced that Oakland and Seattle are at the top of his list and that New England is on the radar. When all is said and done AP will choose Oakland and there are so many reasons why that is the right choice.
The Raiders are a division winning team with a great quarterback in Derek Carr, when he is healthy, a really good receiver core that demands a lot of secondary support which should open up the field for the running game, and there is no other running option on the roster at this point so he would be the premiere back.
If he signed in Seattle he would be splitting carries with Thomas Rawls and quarterback Russel Wilson. I think Peterson's ego is too big for that.
It's going to be hard for AP to pass up playing for the Super Bowl winning New England Patriots but they know they can win games without paying a lot of money for a big name running back and if you've ever watched a Patriots game you know they have this guy by the name of Tom Brady who is known for throwing the ball 40-55 times a game. So once again not as many touches for the running back.
Money and carries can be found in Oakland!
The other past-their-prime big name running back on the market is former Kansas City Chief Jamaal Charles.
Charles is a versatile back that is used to splitting carries so I see the list of potential landing spots being a long one... and almost all of the teams make sense. Detroit, Minnesota and the Giants in the NFC are in desperate need of a running game. The list should also consist of every AFC team except Cinncinati, Tennesse and Pittsburgh. But when all is said and done Jamaal will pick Seattle.
Unlike AP I see Charles loving the idea of being a part of a winning team where he can be the "Lighting" to Thomas Rawls' "Thunder”. That paired with his catching ability and the Seahawks need for more pass catchers it just seems to fit like a puzzle piece.
From running back to wide receiver. One of the biggest mystery players on the Free Agent List is former Chicago Bears Alshon Jeffery. His game is a mystery because there were times where he looked like a top five wide out in the league and there were times where you forgot that he wasn't still under suspension.
Playing in Chicago doesn't help any offensive players stats, especially when you are the only weapon on the field so you are constantly being double covered. I can appreciate the loyalty when Jeffery makes it known that he and the Bears are still in talks but he will be too highly regarded by winning franchises that I guarantee he will be moving on from da Bears.
Much like Charles there are so many teams that make sense for Alshon, but based on the winning teams that I believe to have the money to pay him I have it narrowed down to Houston and Washington.
I think Houston would be smart to sign him because he has proven that when he plays alongside a star WR (Brandon Marshall) that he can excel. Well with DeAndre Hopkins already with the Texans that seems like a good comparison.
I think instead of trying to replace Brock Osweiler at QB they are first going to try and get him some weapons to see if that will help justify his huge contract, that was signed before the 2016 season.
Was it the Denver Broncos system that Brock did well in? Or was he a good quarterback when he actually had more than one person to throw it to? Maybe Jeffery is the answer.
With Washington already letting Pierre Garcon walk and DeSean Jackson looking like he is heading elsewhere they seem like a good fit for Alshon. A good fit because Kirk Cousins is pretty good at throwing a football and that division is always a crapshoot so maybe the Redskins are an Alshon away from reclaiming the East title. I do see him coming to Washington next year.
I could go on and on picking out each FA's next team but it's bed time.
I'm very much looking forward to seeing how it all plays out.
PS. Watching this Warriors and Celtics game makes me actually believe that Boston is a legit contender in the East. Through through quarters they are neck and neck with Golden State
Cole Naylor can be heard on 95.5 Hits FM Monday to Friday from 6 p.m. to midnight and Saturday afternoons from noon to 6 p.m.
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