The Super Bowl is over and that means that NFL free agent and trade rumors can start this offseason and heading into 2014, names like Brian Orakpo, Brandon Spikes, Aqib Talib, Greg Hardy, Justin Tuck and Brent Grimes are some of the top defensive players on the market and teams like the Oakland Raiders, NY Giants, Miami Dolphins and Chicago Bears could be in play for them.
The New England Patriots are coming into free agency at an interesting time after losing the AFC Championship game to the Denver Broncos and one area of focus will be on the defense. Talib has played very well since coming over from the Buccaneers and the team would like to keep him, while Spikes has been a good player since getting drafted, but the way the team has their linebackers, he could end up leaving for another team. Orakpo is the top linebacker while Tuck and Hardy are top names on the D-line, but Spikes could be one of those under the radar signings for a number of teams.
The Patriots can afford to let him leave this offseason since they are pretty stacked at linebacker with Dont'a Hightower, Jerod Mayo and Jamie Collins, three players who are signed through 2016 and 2017 and that means Spikes is likely on the way out. Mayo was injured last season but he has developed into one of the best young backers in the league and had 55 tackles before getting injured and he is signed through 2017. Hightower has played very well since coming into the league and he was best on the team with 97 tackles and he started 14 of 16 games last season and even with Spikes leaving, he could be in line to take over as the leader of the defense.
Orakpo is going to make some money and it depends on whether it will be his team in the Washington Redskins or not, as he is one of the best young pass rushers in the game. The Chicago Bears will be in the mix for any of the players at cornerback or linebacker, as their defense struggled mightily last season. Tuck or Hardy could be options, but with Julius Peppers already on the roster, Marc Trestman may want to upgrade the cornerbacks after they were one of the worst units in the league. The LBs also lost out last season with Nick Roach and Brian Urlacher moving on and getting someone like Orakpo or Spikes could be a huge boost for the team.
Those are some of the top defensive players on the market and teams like the Raiders and Bears could be some of the ones looking to make a splash in free agency.