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The Eastern Echo Wednesday, May 22, 2024 | Print Archive
The Eastern Echo

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Prediction: Top five potential NFL free agency splashes

Echo Sports Columnist Caleb Burlingame lists his top five free agents and where they might sign for the 2021-2022 season.

With still over a month until the 2021 NFL Draft, teams around the league are scrambling into free agency to try and bolster their team as much as possible. There are many notable names in free agency this year, and today I’m going to be looking into the top five most interesting free agents and where I think they’ll land. Let’s get into it.

5. Jameis Winston signs with the Texans

In the past few seasons Winston has been an enigma. He’s a high touchdown/high interception type of quarterback, and has usually been designated as a backup quarterback for the likes of Tom Brady and Drew Brees. In this free agency he has been offered by the New Orleans Saints, the  LA Chargers, and the Houston Texans.

I argue that the Texans are the most predictable landing spot for Winston. He would arguably be the backup for the Saints and most certainly for the Chargers, and I think Winston is going to want to go to the place where he can showcase his talents the most. Sure, Houston’s offense isn’t super talented, but they have David Johnson and company.

If Winston doesn’t sign with Houston, then I see New Orleans as the next pick. Drew Brees is on borrowed time in the NFL and Winston could take his place much sooner than he would on the Chargers. The Chargers, of course, have their franchise QB in Justin Herbert and won’t be looking to play Winston over him unless Herbert suffers an injury.

All in all, the Texans are the most logical pick for Winston.

4. Jonnu Smith signs with the Buffalo Bills

Jonnu Smith had a monster breakout season last year, racking up eight touchdowns and 500 receiving yards. That’s extremely good for a tight end, and his new free agency offers are showing of that. Smith has been offered by the Tennessee Titans, the Buffalo Bills, the New England Patriots, and The Washington Football Team.

While I think Smith would fit in well with any of these teams, I think Buffalo is the best pick. Buffalo was one game from the Super Bowl last year and are only missing two pieces on offense, a tight end and a running back. Smith would have one of the best quarterbacks in the game throwing to him, and he would be a part of a very talented team.

The runner up to get Smith I think would be New England, since they are offering 5.5 million more and have the greatest coach of all time at the helm. Washington is also strongly at play to get Smith, but I think if Smith cares more about winning he will sign with Buffalo.

3. JuJu Smith-Schuster creates a superteam with the Cardinals 

I know what you’re thinking. “Caleb, the Cardinals are offering JuJu 47 million less! Smith-Schuster would be insane to turn down that amount of money!” And you’d be right! That is an insane amount of money to turn down, but the only other team offering Smith-Schuster right now is the New York Jets.

Look what happened to Le'Veon Bell when he went to be a “star” in New York. His career arguably died, and while Smith-Schuster will most likely sign with the Jets to get his payday, there is a side of me that knows his career would be better off signing with Arizona. He would create a super team with Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins, JJ Watt, and Kenyan Drake. That team would be a favorite for the Super Bowl.

I’m not saying JuJu will pick Arizona, but in my heart it is the right choice.

2. Kenny Golladay becomes Belichick's newest star in New England

As a Lions fan, this one hurts (why am I always having to say that?) Golladay was a fan favorite in Detroit over the past few years, but it is clear that it is time to move on from him. Golladay has been offered by the Indianapolis Colts, the New York Giants, and the New England Patriots, but the only answer here is New England.

New England offered Golladay 105 million dollars compared to the 60 million that was offered by the other two teams in play. For a receiver, 105 million is a massive check, and Golladay would get to play under Bill Belichick. While New England’s quarterback position is shaky, Golladay should be confident that Belichick will figure that out before next season.

1. Aaron Jones takes his talents to South Beach

When the best running back in the league is up for grabs, teams come running. Jones was spectacular last year for Green Bay, and has now been offered by the Packers, the Cardinals, and the Miami Dolphins. The Cardinals are offering about 13 million less than what the Packers and Dolphins are offering, and they have Kenyan Drake, so I think they are in last place for the Aaron Jones sweepstakes.

That leaves it between Green Bay and Miami. Green Bay has floundered in the playoffs over the past few years and their star quarterback Aaron Rodgers will probably be on his way out soon. I doubt Jones will want to stay in a situation like that instead of heading to an up and coming team in Miami. Warm weather, a young quarterback, and a team that’s on the upswing rather than the downswing. Jones should go to Miami.