Where Will They Go?

Matt Schaub

scout.com looks at skill position players in free agency and where some of them will end up. In this article, we take a look at quarterback and running back.

Quarterback

Matt Schaub/RFA/Atlanta Falcons - As scout.com predicted last weekend, Schaub was tendered at the highest level (first and third round) and the move will be made official by Thursday's deadline. This will keep teams signing him to an offer sheet. Rather the Falcons will now look to deal him knowing they won't be able to keep him next season when he would be scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent. It's unlikely Atlanta will be able to trade him until we get closer to the draft.

Possibilities: Detroit Lions, Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans, Oakland Raiders

Analysis: While Detroit OC Mike Martz likes starting QB Jon Kitna and his leadership qualities, many around the league know Kitna's limited in arm strength. As we saw with the Cincinnati Bengals, Kitna could only take them so far which is why they drafted Carson Palmer.

Cleveland general manager Phil Savage seems to want to continue to back his young signal callers Charlie Frye and Derek Anderson and will let them battle it out in training camp for the starting job. But neither are anywhere near as talented or as ready to be a starter as Schaub who many around the NFL believe could be a really good.


Jeff Garcia/UFA/Philadelphia Eagles - The decision was made last weekend not to bring him back after the team signed backup QB AJ. Feeley to a contract extension. Garcia, now 37, probably has one to two years left as a starter.

Garcia will look for teams that will give him the best chance to start but there aren't many left.

Possibilities: Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders

Analysis: Once Dallas releases veteran QB Drew Bledsoe, they will need someone to back up Tony Romo so Garcia makes some sense there and he played very well against them this season so they know what he can do.

The Giants don't have a quality backup behind Eli Manning.

Tampa Bay could at least give Garcia a chance to compete for the starting job against Chris Simms who has yet to realize his potential.

Tennessee needs a backup for Vince Young since Collins is unsigned.

Denver will need a backup for Jay Cutler once Jake Plummer is traded or released as expected.

Oakland is the only team not to have a clear starter. The only quarterback under contract is Andrew Walter.


Kerry Collins/UFA/Tennessee Titans - He signed a one-year with Tennessee prior to last season. He still wants to be a starter but the team would like to have him around again to back up Vince Young.

Possibilities: Tennessee Titans


Running Back

Ahman Green/UFA/Green Bay Packers - He turned 30 recently but Green did quite well last season considering he was coming back from a pretty serious knee injury. He showed that he still has a few good years left in him.

Possibilities: New York Giants, New York Jets, Houston Texans, Denver Broncos

Analysis: The Giants are looking for another back to share playing time with third-year RB Brandon Jacobs and Green would be a good fit for their scheme. He also is a solid pass protector and is a good receiver out of the backfield which the Giants would need with Tiki Barber retiring.

The Jets cut veteran RB Kevan Barlow and Curtis Martin should be finished playing so they need another back to be in the mix.

The Texans don't have a clear-cut starter with Domanick Williams' future still clouded because of knee problems and veteran RB Ron Dayne is unsigned.

Denver was after veteran RB Jamal Lewis last year at this time and they still don't have a clear starter.


Michael Turner/UFA/San Diego Chargers - Over the last few years, Turner has done a nice job backing up RB LaDainian Tomlinson and that hasn't gone unnoticed around the league. The Chargers know they will likely lose him next year when he becomes an unresricted free agent so they may place the first-rounder tender on him.

Possibilities: New York Giants, Green Bay Packers, Buffalo Bills, New York Jets, Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans, Denver Broncos

Analysis: Again, the Giants need to find a replacement for Tiki Barber and Brandon Jacobs still has a lot to prove. Turner would be a good fit here.

Green Bay doesn't have a quality replacement for Ahman Green and the 25-year old Turner could be it.

If the Bills can deal RB Willis McGahee as they would clearly like to do, they would have interest in Turner.

The Jets have Leon Washington who they like but he's a bit small to be a starter and Cedric Houston projects to be a backup.

Veteran RB Reuben Droughns is coming off of a poor season and could be on the downside of his career.

Houston's starting job looks to be still open and Turner could fill it.

Denver doesn't have a clear starter so Turner could finally solve their starting position.


Chris Brown/UFA/Tennessee Titans - When Brown is healthy, he's capable of putting up big numbers but his upright running style makes him susceptible to injury. Because of that, the interest in him may not be as strong as with the other young backs that will be on the free agent market.

Possibilities: Denver Broncos

Denver will likely look to bring in a veteran back and Brown should fit their zone blocking scheme well.


Mid-Level

Sammy Morris/UFA/Miami Dolphins - What will help him get noticed in free agency is two things. He did a very solid job backing up Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown over recent seasons and he's an excellent special teams player.

New England and Philadelphia are two teams that have a need for a veteran backup.

Ron Dayne/UFA/Houston Texans - He revived his career last season and Houston would like to re-sign him but as a backup.

Kevan Barlow/UFA/New York Jets - He was released recently and the Jets did the smart thing and letting hit go. Barlow hasn't ever been able to capitalize on his one good season in 2003.

Dominic Rhodes/UFA/Indianapolis Colts - He hurt his chances after having an off the field incident a few weeks ago. League sources point out that Rhodes, despite his lack of size, ran well inside this past season.

Correll Buckhalter/UFA/Philadelphia Eagles - Sources believe he turned down an extension last season and opted to test the free agent market. He's a great story considering he overcame two serious knee injuries but Buckhalter has proven he's just a backup.

Najeh Davenport/UFA/Pittsburgh Steelers - He's been hurt a lot over his career but Davenport is a good short-yardage back and special teams player. He could compete for the top backup job for many teams.

T.J. Duckett/UFA/Washington Redskins - Washington gave up a lot for him yet they will let him walk. Duckett is a one-dimensional player who is an excellent short-yardage runner but that's about it.

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