These 6 Free Agents Deserve Fat Contracts This Offseason
By Joe Sorensen
During every off-season there is this discussion over which player deserves to get a nice contract. Whether it is with the same team or in a new stadium, some players deserve a big contract more than others. I am not saying the type of contract that Baltimore Ravens’ QB Joe Flacco received after last year’s Super Bowl, but at least some form of a raise. Here is a list of players that should not only be on teams radar for their skills, but players that teams should not be afraid to pay.
RB Andre Brown
This is a guy that has gotten lost in the mix over the past two seasons. He broke his leg mid-way through the 2012 season. Just as he returned, he re-broke the same leg during the pre-season in 2013. With all of this said, he still managed to have a productive season. In eight games, Brown ran for just under 500 yards and three TDs. He helped solidify the backfield for the New York Giants, who appeared lost at times. It appears that RBs Peyton Hillis and David Wilson have ran their course in New York, there is no way that the Giants should not be willing to pay Brown in order to keep their only productive RB.
Some will claim that he is just a product of the system and that he benefited the most from playing with QB Peyton Manning. Just a note: Moreno is the 1,000-yard rusher to play with Manning since Joseph Addai in 2007. Moreno finished with 10 rushing TDs and 60 receptions. The only other player in the league to do that this year was Kansas City All-Pro RB Jamaal Charles. The receptions may be a product of the system but it still takes skill to do what Moreno did this season. People forget that Moreno was a first-round draft pick in 2009 out of Georgia. He has the talent and skill set to be a lead back in the league. He fell off the radar a bit during the Tim Tebow experiment but has gotten his career back on track since Manning joined the team.
Possible fits: Denver Broncos (more than likely), Cleveland Browns, Miami Dolphins
RB Toby Gerhart
Four years playing behind RB Adrian Peterson is not the easiest thing for anyone to do. He accepted his limited role and made the most out of his opportunities. In 2013, Gerhart only had 36 rushing attempts, but averaged nearly eight yards per carry. At 230 lbs, Gerhart is a power-back who can carry the load for an offense. He is a free agent that should be on the move this offseason and should be given his chance to succeed in the league.
Possible fits: Oakland Raiders, Atlanta Falcons, Cleveland Browns
WR Golden Tate
Coming into the season, with the addition of WR Percy Harvin, Tate was not expected to be as productive as he ended up being. Tate led the team in receptions and receiving yards. He also emerged as a top-tier punt returner, a job he had not had since his rookie season. While QB Russell Wilson has continued to improve in his first two seasons, he is not on the level of Manning or Tom Brady. Even though he is at the young age of 25, Tate’s potential is unlimited.
Tate has already said that he is willing to take on a cheaper contract if the Seattle organization wants him back, which will probably be the case. But if he decides to see his options, I am sure teams will be willing to pay the young WR out of Notre Dame.
DL Michael Bennett
Just like Tate, Bennett is another member of the 2013 NFL Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks. A lot of these players might be heading elsewhere and Bennett should be at the top of the list. Coming over from Tampa Bay, Bennett took a one-year contract to play for a contender. After he finished the season with 8.5 sacks as a member of a crowded defensive line, Bennett should be looking for a new home to show off his talents.
Possible Fits: Buffalo Bills, Arizona Cardinals, Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars
S T.J. Ward
Ward is coming from a young, developing defense that utilized his run-stopping ability from the safety position. Ward had 100-plus tackles for the second time in his four-year career. He was a big part of the defense and a Pro-Bowler during the season. He has been regarded by most as a top-three safety in the NFL and should use this as a motive to gain a new contract that pays.
This week, the Browns announced that there is a chance that they will more than likely use the franchise tag on Ward soon. Ward should use this upcoming season to get the contract he wants from the Browns or decide whether or not he wants to move to some place warmer.