The 2018 NFL League year is just a few weeks away. On March 14, 2018 the NFL free agency period begins at 4:00 pm. Many notable players are free agents this year, including Drew Brees and Le’Veon Bell. However, it is likely that both of these players will stay with their current teams. Here are some of the notable names of players who are all but certain to be on a new team next season.
Malcolm Butler- CB
2017 Team: New England Patriots
The hero of Superbowl 49 will most likely need to find a new home this offseason, after being benched in this year’s Superbowl against the Eagles. Some people think that if he played on defense in that game, the Patriots might have won, but that is not the case. Many teams looking for one of the league’s top cornerbacks will pursue Butler, who will be 28 years old in March. One interesting spot where Butler could land is with the New York Jets. The Jets currently have the second most cap space, which is around $81 million. By signing with the Jets, Butler could join a young defense led by Jamal Adams and Leonard Williams, and get a shot at revenge against the Patriots twice a year.
(Photo: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
A.J. McCarron- QB
2017 Team: Cincinnati Bengals
The three time BCS National Champion filed a grievance against the Bengals, which allowed him to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason. The Browns had a trade in place with the Bengals for McCarron just minutes before the trade deadline this past season. However, the Browns were unable to send their approval of the trade to the NFL before the deadline, which resulted in McCarron staying with the Bengals for the rest of the season. Now an unrestricted free agent, McCarron will have many teams looking to sign him. The most notable team is the Cleveland Browns. The Browns have the most cap space and are clearly interested in him, since they were minutes away from completing a trade for him last season.
Andrew Norwell- G
2017 Team: Carolina Panthers
After signing with the Panthers as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2014, Andrew Norwell has quickly became one of the league’s best guards. Norwell, who was a first team All-Pro this past season, has started every game for the Panthers for the past two seasons. Almost every team can use a player like Norwell, so he will be in high demand. The Panthers have placed a second round tender on Norwell, meaning that they have the opportunity to match any team’s offer on him, but if they do not want to match the offer and he signs with another team, the Panthers will receive a second round selection as compensation. Many teams in the league will make a run at the All-Pro guard, who is only 26 years old, this offseason. One team that could be a great fit for Norwell, if they can make it work without breaking the bank, is the New York Giants. The Giants were in the bottom half of the league this year in total yards per game and their offense struggled for most of the year. If they can add Norwell, draft a player like Saquon Barkley, as many people are predicting, and add in Odell Beckham Jr coming back, they can have one of the league’s top offenses next year.
All three of these players will be in high demand this offseason. There are many other notable free agents to keep an eye out for, like Allen Robinson, Sheldon Richardson, Kirk Cousins and many others. This NFL offseason is shaping up to be a good one and we are only a few weeks away from the start of the 2018 league year.