With the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine in the books, much of the football spotlight will be redirected back on the NFL. Before the Draft begins comes the free agency period. Beginning March 11, NFL teams are permitted to contact, and enter into contract negotiations with the agents of players who will become unrestricted free agents upon the expiration of their 2018 player contracts at 4:00 p.m. ET, on March 13.
For some former Tide players, this means their rookie contracts are coming to an end and they are looking for big paydays. For others, it is the end of their second pro contract, or one-year deals signed by aging veterans who are trying to hang on.
Landon Collins, S, Giants, Age: 25
CAREER: Three-time Pro-Bowler (2016-2018); led the team in tackles all four seasons; team captain.
STATUS: In theory, the Giants would be doing everything in their power to keep their highly-productive safety. But this is the team who has hung onto Eli Manning way past his expiration date that we are talking about. Recently, there were reports that Collins had cleaned out his Giants locker which makes my powers of perception tell me he is ready to get the heck out of the Big Apple. There was some talk of New York putting the Franchise Tag on him which binds him to the team for one year at a salary no less than the average of the top five salaries of safeties in the league. Collins could’ve held out if they did so. The latest news is that the Giants are inexplicably letting him walk. About 31 other NFL teams are sitting on the edge of their seats, waiting to pounce. Collins is looking for a long-term deal and if the Giants don’t want to give it to him, there will be plenty of other suitors willing to step up.
I want to thank the Giants organization for believing in me and allowing me to have 4 great years in NY. I can’t express how great it was to play with my teammates and in one of the greatest cities in the world. I will forever cherish my time in the blue and white and the— LANDON COLLINS (@TheHumble_21) March 5, 2019
C.J. Mosley, ILB, Ravens, 26
CAREER: Four-time Pro Bowler (2014, 2016–2018); recorded 105 or more tackles in four of his five seasons in the league; heart and soul of the Ravens defense.
STATUS: A year ago, Baltimore exercised the fifth-year option on Mosley’s rookie contract. Inside linebackers tend to not get paid the big bucks in free agency, but Mosley could be an exception. He is a leader of the NFL’s No. 1 defense and is vital to their success. Recently, Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta said the team will do what it takes to keep the linebacker on the roster next season. The Ravens declined to use the franchise tag on Mosley, and it appears they will do everything in their power to keep him.
Ravens decline to use franchise tag on C.J. Mosley, per @AdamSchefter. History says Baltimore will still find a way to keep him. In their 24-year history, Ravens have never let a first-round pick who reached multiple Pro Bowls go elsewhere after his rookie deal expired.— Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) March 4, 2019
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Redskins, 26
CAREER: 2014 All-Rookie Team; 2016 Pro Bowl; 18 career interceptions, 3 in the postseason.
STATUS: One of the strangest moves of last season happened when the Packers sent Clinton-Dix to the Redskins in midseason for a bag of magic beans (2019 fourth round pick). He’s an excellent cover safety as well as a defensive play-maker, but it felt like he did not quite gel with Washington in such a short time. The former No. 21 pick was third on the Redskins in tackles despite playing only nine games with the team. He was third in tackles for all safeties in the NFL behind Collins and Adrian Phillips. The final year of his five-year rookie contract expires and he will probably hit the open market. He will find a job, but don’t expect him to be making Eric Berry money.
Mark Ingram, RB, Saints, 29
CAREER: Two-time Pro Bowler (2014, 2017); Had his first two 1,000 yard rushing seasons in 2016 and 2017; Missed first four games of 2018 due to suspension for PED use.
STATUS: It’s crazy to think that Ingram will be turning 30 in December. That is the cursed age when running backs tend to fall off a cliff in both productivity and health. It’s not a good situation in which to be a free agent. Ingram and teammate Alvin Kamara have become a nice one-two punch for New Orleans, and all indications are that the Saints want to keep that intact. My gut tells me they will push for a one year deal. Ingram hopes to spend his whole career in the Big Easy but he will walk if the team low-balls him. Paging Damien Harris.
Kareem Jackson, CB, Texans, (turns 31 in April)
CAREER: Cornerstone of the defense for the 2010s decade; Started since Day 1; 16 all-time interceptions; 3 pick-sixes.
STATUS: Jackson had one of his most productive seasons as a pro in 2018 with two picks and 70 solo tackles being named a Pro Bowl alternate - a first Pro Bowl accolade of any kind for Jackson. The most consistent member of the Texans secondary, it is amazing that he has never been to the game. He could likely be a starter at almost any other team in the league. The Texans have enough cap room to sign him, Jadeveon Clowney, and Tyrann Mathieu if they so choose, but they will not break the bank for any one player. It may come down to the length of the contract.
James Carpenter, OL, Jets, 29 (birthday March 22)
CAREER: Started as a rookie for Seattle but suffered a season ending ACL injury and even missed the first half of Season 2 with the Seahawks; Seattle foolishly did not pick up his fifth-year option and let him walk after four; Served as the Jets starting left guard for the past four seasons; 97 career starts.
STATUS: Carpenter may be on a lousy team but he is on a good team for an offensive lineman free agent. The Jets main offseason focus is the offensive line. They will not be able to address all their needs with the draft which might put him in a good position. His numbers were among the best on New York’s offensive line, allowing only five sacks, five quarterback hits and 13 pressures, all of which were among the lowest on the Jets. With birthday number 30 fast approaching, the Jets should be able to resign Carpenter. If they choose a different strategy, another team will pick him up.
Mark Barron, LB, Rams, 29
CAREER: All-Rookie team with the Bucs; Traded to the St. Louis Rams for a fourth and sixth-round draft pick in 2014 (Year 4); moved to linebacker and accumulated 113 tackles in 2015 and 117 in 2016; production dropped off last season; 8 career picks; 93 career starts.
STATUS: Just yesterday it was announced that the Rams were waiving Barron to free up $6.3M in cap space, despite being a starter. He can still be a productive player for someone at an economical price.
Chance Warmack, G, Eagles, 27
The former Tide All-American’s career has not gone quite as expected after being drafted tenth in the 2010 draft by the Titans. He was a full-time starter at right guard for three seasons, but he never developed into the kind of player that the Titans were hoping to see on the interior of their line. Then he injured his hand and missed the bulk of Year 4. Tennessee declined to exercise their fifth-year option on his contract. In 2017, the Eagles signed him to a low-cost one-year deal followed by a one-year extension before the season began. He played in only 20 games with three starts for the Philadelphia. He has value as a back-up but not much else.
D.J. Fluker G, Seahawks, turned 27 last week.
Fluker was a four-year starter for the Chargers, starting 59 games but was released following Year 4. The Giants signed him to a one-year, $3 million contract. He played in nine games, starting six at right guard before hurting his toe in Week 11 and was placed on injured reserve. Last season, he signed with the ‘Hawks for the bargain price of $1.4M, playing in 10 games, starting nine at right guard before injuring a hamstring. Seattle like what they have in Fluker, especially after having the top rushing team in the league. They intend to resign him.
Damion Square, DT, Chargers, 30
Square is the poster child for perseverance. After going undrafted in 2013, he signed with the Eagles, playing in 10 games but had 0 starts. They waived him and he’s picked up by the Chiefs. Another waiver and then the Chargers claimed him. They like what they see and hang onto him. In 2017, the Chargers sign Square to a two-year deal and he responds. Over the last two seasons, he has played in 32 games on the interior line with 11 starts in 2018. He had 31 tackles, 3 sacks, and 7 QB hits last season. Look for LAC to try and re-up him.
- T.J. Yeldon, RB, JAX, 25 - Rookie option not picked-up. 3,174 total yards over four seasons. Underrated pass-catcher out of the backfield (55 rec, 487 yds, 4 TD in 2018). Still may have value as a third down back.
- Arie Kouandjio, G, WASH, 27 in April - Arie-K was considered likely to be the 2018 starter at left guard, but a season-ending surgery last summer to repair a torn quad knocked him out for the year. If he is healthy, the Redskins would likely resign him.
- Cyrus Kouandjio, T, DEN, 25 - Little brother is not having the success big brother is having. Three years as a a reserve with the Bills and tw owith the Broncos who waived him in December.
- Jalston Fowler, FB, TEN, 28 - Waived after three years with the Titans and resigned in October of 2018. Relased in November.
- Andre Smith, RT, CIN, 32 - Started 93 games in three stints with the Bengals in between a season apiece in Minnesota (2016) and Arizona (cut after 8 games in 2018, resigned by Cincy). Too bad coach Marvin Lewis is out in Cincinnati.