I know it's not technically obeying the NFL rules for teams to have talks with agents of potential free agents, but if you don't think that goes on, I have a beautiful parcel of land in a Florida swamp you might want to buy.
Believe this: Lockout or no lockout, you can bet teams have talked with agents about potential free agents.
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There was a story from a few years ago where a general manager went to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl and other team execs actually said he was tampering with free agents, although no formal charges were filed.
Why? They all do it.
It's like speeding. No big deal -- until you get caught.
So as the NFL owners and players seemingly move toward a resolution to the labor situation, and to free agency after four years rather than six, I offer you 10 free-agent marriages -- player to team -- that make way too much sense.
As you look over the list, just remember the most important thing: The courting has almost certainly already started.
Chargers safety Eric Weddle to the Jaguars: The Jaguars were terrible in pass defense last season, finishing last in the league in net yards per pass play, and they had a revolving door at safety. They do like strong safety Courtney Greene, but they need a ball-hawking, rangy safety. Weddle is that guy. San Diego would love to have him back, and they might get him back, but look for Jacksonville to make a push to get him if he's on the market. He's the type of player Jaguars general manager Gene Smith loves: Hard-working and not a troublemaker in the locker room. Oh, by the way: He can also cover.
Raiders safety Michael Huff to the Cowboys: I keep hearing how the Cowboys will make a run at a top corner. I think safety is the more pressing need, especially if Mike Jenkins can have a bounce-back year at corner. Huff played well last season after a slow start to his career. He is from Texas, so it might be easier to lure him back home. If Jenkins, Terence Newman and Orlando Scandrick can hold up on the corner, Huff will give the Cowboys someone to help upgrade the coverage on the back end.
Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha to the Redskins: The word is Dan Snyder will spend in free agency again. With Carlos Rogers set to hit free agency, the Redskins need help on the corner. Asmougha is a perfect Redskins signing: Big splash, big money. The Texans might be in play for him as well, but word is he isn't that interested. The Jets would make sense, but how interested are they in paying huge deals to two corners, especially with Kyle Wilson waiting in the wings? The Eagles don't make as much sense to me as they do others. That leaves the Redskins.
|Sidney Rice is a big receiver who would be a perfect fit for the Browns. (Getty Images)|
Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson to the Falcons: The Falcons thought left end Kroy Biermann was one of their rising stars heading into 2010. But he was a disappointment as a pass rusher. He is still an effort player, but they need more from their pass rush. That showed up in the loss to the Packers. And John Abraham is getting up in the years. Johnson had 11 1/2 sacks last season and he is only 24 years old. He is also from Georgia and played his college ball there for the Georgia Bulldogs. Signing Johnson would also help weaken a division opponent.
Jets CB Antonio Cromartie to the Raiders: With Asomugha leaving, why not sign Cromartie? He is a big, tall corner who can play the man-press coverage the Raiders love. He wouldn't be nearly as expensive as Asomugha, although he is more of a gambler. He also gets hit with a ton of penalties.
Bengals CB Johnathan Joseph to the Lions: The Lions have major problems at corner. They’ve really improved their front in the past two drafts, but they need to do a better job of covering in the back end. Joseph had a really good 2009 season, but regressed a little in 2010. Even so, he's a quality cover player and would be a nice addition to a defense that needs cover help.
Chargers WR Malcolm Floyd to the Patriots: Floyd is tall and can stretch the field as evidenced by his 22.4 per-catch average. The Patriots lacked a down-the-field threat when Randy Moss was traded. That really showed up in the playoff loss to the Jets. Floyd would help open up the passing game. He will be 30, so the Patriots would have to be careful with the contract. But he is a player who I think would help Tom Brady in a big way.
Redskins CB Carlos Rogers to the Texans: The Texans were horrible against the pass last season. But they do like 2010 first-round pick Kareem Jackson at one corner. They would love a veteran on the other side. Asomugha could be targeted, but there is talk he isn't interested in playing for the Texans. Rogers could be a cheaper option. He has been a good player for the Redskins, even if he has dropped a ton of potential interceptions, which drives the Washington fans crazy. But he would make a lot of sense for the Texans as Wade Phillips takes over running the defense.
Cowboys defensive end Stephen Bowen to the Redskins: He might not be a household name, but he played well for the Cowboys last season. And 3-4 teams, which the Redskins are, need players like Bowen. They do the dirty work to free up others to make tackles. Bowen might not cost a ton, which would make him even more attractive if the Redskins were to spend big on Asomugha.