NFL Free Agency Preview

Charles Garrison

After starting every regular season game in the past three years for the Washing- ton Redskins, quarterback Kirk Cousins will not be under contract and will be up for grabs for NFL teams come 3 p.m. on March 14. The Redskins have already pre- pared a replacement for Cousins, as they traded for former Kansas City Chiefs quarter- back Alex Smith on Jan. 30. This just about guarantees that Kirk Cousins will be leaving for a new franchise.

After San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo recently received a record- breaking five-year, $137.5 million contract, Cousins is looking to land a similar cash prize this year. Although this takes an enormous sum of money, multiple teams are willing to pay the price for a reliable starting quarterback. Among these, commentators believe the Arizona Cardinals, Denver Broncos, and Minnesota Vikings are the most likely suitors for Cousins. The Cardinals recently lost their starting quarterback, Carson Palmer, to retirement, and they already have a talented roster outside of the most important position on the eld. Cousins would add a tremendous boost in Arizona.

For the Broncos, GM John Elway is known for his aggressive moves to help his team; he could be dishing out triple-digit millions for the quarterback he so desperately needs. Lastly, the Vikings, the least desperate team: unless they re-sign one of their own between then and now, will have no quarterbacks on their roster on March 14 when free agency starts. However, Minnesota seems to be the most coveted location for a quarter- back to go, as they came one win short of the Super Bowl this year, and they appear to be just one quarterback away from winning the big game. Although it is uncertain where he will be playing next year, Kirk Cousins will be racking up serious cash this spring, most likely from the Denver Broncos’ pockets.

Another quality quarter- back (and recent Super Bowl MVP) that will make a difference for the team he plays for is Nick Foles. Nick Foles is coming off of a legendary championship run where he defeated the Falcons, Vikings, and Tom Brady’s Patriots in the Super Bowl. Nick Foles’ stock is at an all time high right now and audiences still forget that he’s a 2013 Pro-Bowler. While he will not be a free agent this o season, his contract with the Eagles becomes void in February of 2019, almost assures he gets traded before then. Any team, looking for a game managing veteran quarterback such as the Denver Broncos or Buffalo Bills, should have their eyes on Foles.

New England Patriots cornerback and Super Bowl 49 savior Malcolm Butler will be seeking a different team for the 2018 season. He recently tweeted his intent to leave the Patriots, as they ended on bad terms when the team refused to play him in the Super Bowl. Like Cousins, he is one of the most coveted players in this year’s free agency class and arguably the best available player at his position.

Of the cornerback-needy teams in the NFL, the Houston Texans, Seattle Sea- hawks, and Oakland Raiders will likely be pursuing Butler. If the Texans snagged Butler, he would immediately boost their defense at one of their most dire needs, the secondary. Also, the players are all for it, as Texans star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins showed. On Feb. 5, Hopkins tweeted: “Wusup @Mac_BZ (Butler’s twitter) we got a place for you in Houston.” There is almost no question the Texans will make a run at Malcolm Butler this spring. The Seattle Seahawks, have also been on a long search for a cornerback to be on the opposite side of perennial Pro Bowler Richard Sherman.

The only factor that could hinder the Seahawks from acquiring Butler is their lack of money to spend, being in the bottom ten of NFL teams in salary cap space. The Oakland Raiders under brand new Head Coach Jon Gruden are another team that we believe would love to add Malcolm Butler to their team. It is inevitable that Malcolm Butler will be seeking greener pastures this o season, but where those pastures are is yet to be seen, although most likely he will be coming to Houston.