The Business of Ball with Joseph James Francis

2018 NFL Free Agency

By: Joseph James Francis

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

If you are a fan of 28 of the 32 NFL teams, you are now a spectator for the next 3 weeks. I have moved into pure hater mode, rooting for teams I dislike to get knocked out. Go Jacksonville! The next victory for the rest of us is the NFL draft and of course free agency. Every team will be looking to bolster their line-ups, even the ones still involved in the playoffs. There are definitely some juicy free agents this offseason that could help teams get over the hump. Let’s take a look at 5 key free agents that could stir up the market.

Kirk Cousins (WAS)

4,093 Yards, 27 TD’s, 13 INT’s

Kirk Cousins is intriguing for many reasons. The jury is still out in my opinion on whether or not Cousins can lead a team to glory. I think he lacks the situational awareness, accuracy, and prowess to take a team to the promise land. That being said, he does have good numbers and is a valuable starter in the NFL. Cousins also hasn’t had a dynamic team around him during his tenure in Washington. Another issue is that if Washington franchise tags Cousins again, they would owe him close to 35 Million dollars for next seasons. This makes this off-season crucial for nailing down whether they wish to keep him.

Most Likely: Stays in Washington

Maybe: Heads to Cleveland

Wildcard: Off to Denver

Drew Brees (NO)

4,334 Yards, 23 TD’s, 8 INT’s

Drew Brees is coming off one of the best seasons in his career. The dual threat of Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara breathed new life into the QB as his passer rating was a whopping 103.9. The Saints had a resurgence after several down years and it was all due to the strength of their defense along with the Running Back play and a super efficient Brees. He led the NFL in competition percentage with an amazing 72%. Let us remember that the Saints would be in the NFC title game if Marcus Williams didn’t tackle like Ralph Wiggum. The Saints, however, face a problem with how much money Brees commands. Last year Brees made 24.5 million and he is a major cap hit for New Orleans. He does consider himself a lifetime Saint and more than likely the team will make re-signing him a top priority this offseason

Most Likely: Stays in New Orleans

Maybe: Heads to Arizona

Wildcard: Off to the New York Giants

Le’Veon Bell (PIT)

1,291 Yards Rushing, 9 TD’s, 655 Yards Receiving, 2 TD’s

Pittsburgh’s workhorse Le’Veon Bell has had another amazing season and once again he faces free agency. With their devastating loss the to Jaguars this past weekend, the offseason in Pittsburgh is sure to be interesting. Last year saw Ben Roethlisberger contemplate retirement, and I predict the same sort of talks will happen again. Bell himself has also threatened retirement if the Steelers place the franchise tag on him again. While I don’t think Bell will retire, I do think he will sit out training camp once again. Look for him to be on the move if Big Ben decides to hang it up.

Most Likely: Stays in Pittsburgh

Maybe: Heads to San Francisco

Wildcard: Off to Detroit

Every Viking Quarterback? (MIN)

Case Keenum: 3,547 Yards, 22 TD’s, 7 INT’s

Sam Bradford: 382 Yards, 3 TD’s, 0 INT’s

Teddy Bridgewater: DNP – Injury

The Vikings are on the way to Philadelphia for the NFC Championship, but come 3 weeks they will have some decisions to make. Until his injury, Teddy Bridgewater was the future of the Vikings. Sam Bradford was brought in to fill the void left by Bridgewater but when he went down the Vikings were forced to go with Case Keenum. Since coming in for Bradford, Keenum has put together easily the best season of his career, even getting some consideration for league MVP. As the Vikings head into a possible Super Bowl at home, could they allow the QB that led them there leave in free agency? I actually think it is possible, mainly because this great season for Keenum can be largely attributed to the amazing play from the stellar Viking defense. Keenum almost doubled his career yards total this year, showing how little experience he does have. Either way, one or more QB’s will not be with the team come next season.

Keenum: Likely Resigned, possibly off to Arizona or Denver

Bradford: Likely Gone, possibly off the Denver, Miami or Washington if Cousins is not resigned

Bridgewater: Likely resigned as a backup to Keenum, possible back up in Chicago, Indianapolis or San Francisco

Jimmy Garoppolo (SF)

1,560 Yards, 7 TD’s, 5 INT’s

This QB took the NFL by storm in the second half of the season. The hapless 49er’s went from laughing stock to a giant killer, winning 5 straight games to end the season, beating 3 playoff teams while they were at it, the Titans, Jaguars, and Rams. The team came alive and were a favorite in several games down the stretch. It is hard to imagine that San Francisco would let Jimmy slide in free agency, but alas they might not have a choice. Garoppolo has definitely caught the eye of the NFL, and teams with a need might be willing to spend top dollar on him. He is still only 26 years old and has not yet reached his prime. Also, being under the wing of Tom Brady and Bill Belichek makes him that much more attractive.

Most Likely: Stays in San Francisco

Maybe: Heads to Arizona

Wildcard: Off to Miami

Some other notable free agents include Jarvis Landry, Antonio Gates, Sammy Watkins, Aldon Smith, Darren Sproles and Malcolm Butler. Look for teams like Chicago, Cleveland, San Francisco and the New York Jets to make a splash and pick up some top talent this offseason.

Joseph James Francis is a Financial Advisor, Money Coach, and Blogger. He can be reached at:

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