March 18 – roughly 16 days from now – marks a new era in NFL football.  This year sees more free agents than fans usually would expect to see, plus players are in the midst of a battle over their collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with team owners.  Some of the biggest names in the game, like Tom Brady, are entering free agency this year, and it’s possible that they use the CBA as a bargaining chip to get what they want, even if it means making deals behind closed doors.

On the other hand, owners may try to use the CBA to their advantage, forcing players to agree to certain terms if the agreement is approved by players.

Will Dalton Replace Brady?

Undoubtedly, one of the biggest free agency stories centers on Tom Brady and what his future holds.  He is said to be on the radar of several teams, including the New Orleans Saints, the Las Vegas Raiders, the LA Chargers and the Indianapolis Colts.  Of course, it’s also possible that he could stay with the New England Patriots, his home for the past 20 years.  Seeing him switch jerseys after so long would be an odd result for many fans.

If Brady does decide to give up on his team, the Pats already have a contingency plan.  Head coach Bill Belichick reportedly has his sights on the Cincinnati Bengals and quarterback Andy Dalton to replace Tom Brady, but he won’t come cheap.  He’s one of the few quarterbacks who can brag of four consecutive winning seasons.

Other NFL Free Agency News

Jadeveon Clowney could end up staying with the Seattle Seahawks, which would be fine with GM John Schneider.  The defensive end has also said that he wouldn’t mind remaining on the squad, but that he isn’t opposed to making a move, either.  That’s football-ese for “show me the money.”  If the Seahawks don’t produce, he could end up with the Colts or even the New York Giants.

Jerry Jones is used to getting what he wants, and he wants Dak Prescott back with the Dallas Cowboys for another season.  Having a new head coach in Mike McCarthy means there’s a new era coming for the Cowboys, and even McCarthy thinks that Prescott is a “Super Bowl-caliber quarterback.”  Between Jones and McCarthy, they’ll do everything they can to keep their star at home and complete their run on the Lombardi Trophy.

The Cowboys might be able to keep Prescott, but they’re almost definitely going to have to give up Byron Jones.  The cornerback is being scouted by the Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants, and, according to some rumors, they might be willing to offer him a deal that exceeds what the Cowboys are willing to offer.

New York Jets fans will be happy to know that Robby Anderson most likely will be returning for another season.  The wide receiver is high on the team’s list of players it wants to retain, but there’s a potential problem.  He could decide to hold out for more money, which could force the Jets into an awkward position of having to make some unwanted choices.

Yannick Ngakoue doesn’t want to play for the Jacksonville Jaguars anymore.  Hoping a team will give him the $22 million a year he is looking for, he is looking out for the best offer; however, he shouldn’t hold his breath.  The defensive end will most likely be stuck with the team for another year, as the Jags are going to pull out the franchise tag on him.

Another tagged player now possibly off the list is Brandon Scherff.  The offensive guard had a chance to be picked up by someone else as he comes into free agency, but the Washington Redskins put the brakes on those plans.  Head coach Ron Rivera believes he’s too valuable at home, and wants to work out a long-term contract with the three-time Pro Bowler.  If they can’t reach a deal, the Skins have no problem using the tag to make sure he stays around a little longer.