Johnson, coming off a $11.175 million franchise tag last season, is one of the top unrestricted free agents entering free agency next week, with the top defensive end, Greg Hardy, staying in Carolina.
The Minnesota Vikings [are reportedly making Johnson their “top target”] due to his relationship with former defensive coordinator, and current Vikings head coach, Mike Zimmer.
The Bengals are also making a last-second effort to re-sign Anthony Collins.
Teams are permitted to begin negotiating with agents today, even though contracts cannot be executed until free agency officially starts at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
The Browns entered the weekend armed with $49.9 million in salary-cap space, but Farmer and Pettine should use a buyer-beware approach in free agency if they want to avoid getting burned.
Some pitfalls of free agency:
The homework typically isn’t as thorough: “You don’t know the player as well as you know a player who’s coming out in the draft and certainly not as well as you know a player who is your player.”
The prices are all out of whack: “The best players are signed. So these are essentially ‘B’ players whose agents are looking for ‘A’ money.”
Previous production might be a byproduct of a specific role or system: “When the player changes teams and changes systems and changes locale, he’s going to have an adjustment period. Football is not a seamless transition.”
The article goes on to list the order of positions from most likely to be addressed in free agency to least likely: safety, cornerback, offensive line, inside linebacker, wide receiver, running back and, least likely to be addressed through free agency, quarterback. In terms of importance, ILB and S should be at the top right now.
The two sides have been unable to make any steps in getting a deal done since negotiations started. “Nothing new on Eugene Monroe for [the] past several days, per sources, sides remain far apart, he’ll go to free agency and see what’s out there.”
Turn attention to re-signing Oher. Play him at LT or RT. If he stays at RT, have a competition between Osemele and a draft pick for LT
If Oher leaves, Wagner moves to RT, and Osemele and a draft pick compete for the LT spot
Keep Osemele at G and draft two tackles
The draft is deep with offensive line talent this year, but relying on rookies and entirely new pieces to play well and cohesively isn’t a great plan. It may be the only plan, given the expeditious increase in the salary cap, as teams will be willing to pay more for talent, regardless of a player’s worth. Letting Oher walk is less detrimental to the offensive line than trying him again at LT or paying him top OL money to play RT.
The Steelers got under the salary cap by turning a portion of Brown’s 2014 base salary into a signing bonus, which will then be prorated and spread out over the remaining years of his contract. Brown is under contract with the Steelers through 2017.
It’s uncertain if the Steelers are done for the time being with their restructures and whatnot considering that as of tomorrow afternoon they can start negotiations with their in-house free agents. I’d say they’re not going to stop at Brown’s restructure.
In free agency news, Sanders is expected to move on, but the Steelers should try to re-sign Jericho Cotchery. DE Red Bryant, DT Paul Soliai, and CB Tarell Brown [are] free agents whom the Steelers might target.