The start of free agency is chaos, deals get done fast and several teams made a splash last week. The Browns have a ton of cap room to work with and made Kevin Zeitler the highest paid guard in history. Cardinals spent big on Chandler Jones giving him a five year deal worth $83 million, $53 million guaranteed.
The Packers signed Bennett and the Patriots spent big money on a new CB, Stephon Gilmore. However, as we enter the second week of free agency there are still some high profile names on the market. Here are four big players who are yet to sign with a team ahead of next year.
DL Dontari Poe:
I would have expected Poe to be off the market by now but incredibly he is still available. However he is clearly a player in demand. He visited the Colts on Sunday and has interest from the Jaguars, Falcons, Raiders and Dophins.
The Colts appear to be a front runner at the moment but the Jaguars have a bit more cap space to work with if they want to go in aggressively. The Colts are estimated to have $46 million in cap space while the Jags have an estimated $58 million.
Poe played 16 games in 2016 with 27 combined tackles, 1.5 sacks and three passes defended. He will be off the market soon without a doubt but the question now is, where will he decide to go?
RB Jamaal Charles
After five 1,000 yard seasons and 43 career touchdowns, Charles is a free agent hoping a team takes a chance on him. He played only eight games in the last two seasons after tearing his ACL in 2015, an injury that continued to cause him problems throughout 2016.
It is the second time in his career he has torn his ACL and teams will no doubt have big question marks over whether he will stay fit if they were to sign him to the roster. He could be an excellent stop gap for teams looking to cover the position for a year or two and according to Ian Rapoport, there is mutual interest with the Seahawks.
He is a gamble at this stage of his career, but veteran running backs always are a gamble at some point I guess and while there is no big payday coming his way, it seems he will be able to find a place somewhere for the short term.
RB Adrian Peterson
Another running back on the market, though this is not a surprise, is Adrian Peterson. He missed most of the 2016 season with a knee injury and is the wrong side of 30. He also has a poor relationship publicly after his indictment for child abuse in 2014 which was resolved with a plea deal.
If the price is reasonable then he may be able to find himself somewhere next year, he was scheduled to visit the Seahawks the weekend just gone and they are on the lookout for a seasoned running back on the roster. Seattle has around $17 million in cap space available so there could be a chance for him to sign a short term deal, maybe be in a position to make it to a Super Bowl before hanging up the cleats.
LB Dont’a Hightower
We can safely say that linebacker Dont’a Hightower is now the best player available on the market in free agency. Indications seem to be pointing to a return to New England, but they have always done things differently. The policy for the Patriots seems to be to allow players to go out and assess their market value, then come back and talk.
Hightower has visited the Jets and the Titans, he is apparently scheduled to visit the Steeler but sources from both teams so far seem to indicate that they have the impression he will sign with New England. As of Sunday, the Jets and Patriots have nearly the same amount of cap space – estimated at $33 million.
Hightower will cost money, he racked up 65 combined tackles, 2.5 sacks, 2 passes defended and recovered a safety. He also got the now infamous strip sack in Super Bowl LI in the fourth quarter when he came off the edge on a blitz.
Reports indicate that he may return to New England on a $10 million per year deal, we will have to wait and see what happens next.