NFL free agency 2019: Five players on the move

The free agent market is nearly open.

The NFL negotiation period allows teams and representatives of pending free agents to work out potential contracts, and there are plenty of players waiting on prove-it deals and lucrative paydays.

Initial contract talks can start from Monday and the signing period officially begins Wednesday at 16:00 EST.

Here we look at some of the biggest names expected to be on the move in free agency.


Le'Veon Bell

The soon-to-be former Pittsburgh Steelers running back has probably had this week circled on his calendar since last offseason.

Bell held out all of 2018-19 amid his contract dispute with the team, and the Steelers decided against using the franchise tag on him again. Even if he falls short of the high expectations he set, Bell will likely come out with the long-term deal he wants that will make him one of the league's highest-paid backs.

No matter the number, it will be well shy of that of Bryce Harper, who recently tried to recruit Bell to play for the Eagles in Philadelphia after signing a $330millon deal with the Phillies of MLB.

Earl Thomas

The veteran safety has been vocal about his unhappiness in Seattle, which was most evident when Thomas appeared to aim an offensive gesture towards the Seahawks sideline while being carted off the field after breaking his leg in a Week 4 game in September.

Nonetheless, the six-time Pro Bowl selection is expected to have multiple options in free agency now that he is healed and healthy. There has even been speculation he could get more than $13m a year on his new deal.

Widely considered one of the best in the league at his position, Thomas tallied 22 total tackles and three interceptions before being sidelined last season.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Landon Collins

The New York Giants declined to place the franchise tag on the safety, which would have cost the team around $11.2m for the 2019 season.

Collins racked up 96 total tackles and four pass breakups in 12 games for the Giants but suffered a partially torn rotator cuff in Week 13 that required surgery after he was placed on injured reserve. Still, he should have plenty of suitors, with reports the Kansas City Chiefs expect to make Collins "a priority" this offseason.

Teddy Bridgewater

With Joe Flacco headed to the Denver Broncos and Nick Foles seemingly bound for the Jacksonville Jaguars, the New Orleans Saints backup is arguably the best remaining quarterback available, but Bridgewater comes with baggage.

Last year, in his first full season back after suffering a gruesome knee injury in Minnesota Vikings training camp in 2016, Bridgewater impressed during preseason with the New York Jets. However, he was traded to New Orleans ahead of the start of the regular season. He eventually got in some work in Week 17 after the Saints clinched the top seed in the NFC playoffs, though he put on a lacklustre performance as he finished 14 of 22 for 118 yards.

Eager to continue his comeback, Bridgewater deserves the chance to at least compete for a starting job again.

Tyrann Mathieu

The Texans safety bet on himself last season by signing a one-year deal with Houston for a somewhat measly $7m. The wager paid off as Mathieu helped lead them to a division title in a season in which Houston finished 12th in the NFL in total defense, proving to be a valuable player in the secondary once again.

Last year's safety market was bad, with no player at the position receiving the money they deserved.

With plenty of top-tier safeties available this year, it will be interesting to see if that changes, as Mathieu is well worthy of a lucrative payday. The 26-year-old is athletic, productive and versatile. He also showed good leadership as he helped mentor rookie safety Justin Reid.

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