NFL free agency 2019: 5 players on the move

NFL free agency 2019: 5 players on the move

The 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. The initial contract talks start Monday and the signing period officially begins Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET.

While some have already found a new home, there are several remaining stars with unknown destinations.

Here are the biggest names expected to be on the move in free agency:

Le’Veon Bell

The 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 Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert confirmed the organization won’t use the franchise tag on him. 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 rushers.

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

Earl Thomas

The veteran safety has been vocal about his unhappiness in Seattle, which was most evident when Thomas appeared to flip the bird to his team’s sideline while being carted off the field after breaking his leg.

Nonetheless, the six-time Pro Bowl selection is expected to have multiple options in free agency now that he’s healed and healthy. There’s even been speculation he could get more than $13 million 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 with the injury.

Landon Collins

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

Collins tallied 96 total tackles and four pass breakups in 12 games for the Giants but suffered a partially torn rotator cuff in Week 13 requiring surgery after he was placed on injured reserve. Still, the Giants should have plenty of suitors, particularly Kansas City after it was reported the Chiefs expect to make Collins “a priority” this offseason.

On the other hand, the Cowboys have already denied having interest in Collins or Thomas, citing their steep price tags.

Teddy Bridgewater

With Joe Flacco headed to Denver and Nick Foles bound for Jacksonville, the Saints backup is arguably the best remaining quarterback available. Still, Bridgewater doesn’t come without baggage.

In his first full season back after suffering a gruesome knee injury in training camp in 2016, Bridgewater impressed during the preseason with the 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 lackluster performance as he finished 14 of 22 for 118 yards.

Eager to continue his comeback, Bridgewater can contribute to the team with the right needs under center.

Tyrann Mathieu

Tyrann Mathieu bet on himself last season signing a one-year deal with the Texans for a somewhat measly $7 million. The wager paid off as he helped lead a Texans team to a division title and a season in which Houston finished 12th in the NFL in total defense and Mathieu proved to be a valuable player once again on the back end.

Last year’s safety market was bad. No one signed for what they should have. Whether that is because the players weren’t all that good or for another reason no one made what they deserved.

We’ll see if that changes this season as Mathieu, 26, is young, athletic, productive and versatile. He also showed good leadership as he helped mentor rookie safety Justin Reid.