The NFL free agency period officially starts in March and the deep class of players includes Darrelle Revis, Justin Houston, Brian Orakpo, Byron Maxwell, Chris Johnson, Cecil Shorts, Jordan Cameron, CJ Spiller, Mark Ingram, Dez Bryant and Walter Thurmond and teams like the Cleveland Browns, Washington Redskins, New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings could be interested.
The Raiders, Jaguars, Browns and New York Jets are projected to have the most cap space in the league and they are expected to use the majority of it in free agency. The Jets cleared out a ton of space coming into last season, while the Raiders had the most cap space in the league last year. The Patriots are very likely to keep Revis even if they decline his $20 million option, as he is interested in staying in New England. According to ESPN Boston, the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets are also interested in signing Revis.
Revis likely will need to sign a new deal or take a may restructure for the Patriots to fit him under the salary cap and if they can't agree, another team could sweep in. According to CSN New England, the team is likely to cut Danny Amendola to help free up some cap money, while Jerod Mayo and Vince Wilfork may need to take pay cuts to remain. The Browns and Redskins will have money to spend and so will the Jets, as they are projected to have over $40 million in salary cap space.
Justin Houston is one of the top free agents on the market and the Chiefs are expected to try and retain him in free agency. According to Pro Football Talk, the Chiefs may use the free agent tag if they can't work out a deal with Houston and ESPN.com reports that the one year deal should be at just over $11 million for his position. Houston had 22 sacks in 16 games last season and with the two week window now open, the team has the chance to use the franchise tag.
Terez Paylor from the Kansas Star reports that Houston's representatives and the Chiefs will meet this week ahead of any decision about the franchise tag. Houston has been very impressive in his short career, putting up double digit sacks in three straight season and recording 33 sacks over the past two years. Orakpo was hit with the franchise tag before last season and CSN Washington reports that the Redskins will likely not be using it again on him this year.
The tag number is expected to be around $13 million and that is likely too high for the Redskins after the injury issues with Orakpo. Over the last three seasons Orakpo has played in just 24 games and last season he played in seven games and made 24 tackles and recorded 0.5 sacks. With players like Justin Houston, Jerry Hughes, Jason Pierre-Paul and Greg Hardy on the market, Orakpo may find himself on the outside looking in at the beginning of free agency.
Byron Maxwell is a free agent from the Seahawks and he could be a target for teams in need of help in the secondary. Walter thurmond is also hitting the market while Chris Johnson is a free agent after the Jets declined to pick up his option for next year, ending his run in New York after just one season.