On March 18th, free agency opens in the NFL, which should kick off the wildest off-season we've seen in recent memory. Some of the players who have shaped the past decade and a half of pro football - Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Philip Rivers, and A.J. Green among many, many others - are set to hit the open market, some for the first time in their careers. We don't profess to be fortune tellers as to where they'll eventually end up, but we'll try our best.
NFL Free Agency Predictions
Drew Brees Will Return for 2020, as a Saint
Since the new year dawned, the Saints' future Hall of Fame quarterback has waffled on whether or not he will return for the 2020 season, with his stance shifting from "definitely returning" to "maybe returning". The only thing he's made crystal-clear is that he won't be playing for any team other than the Saints. Even at age 41, Brees has more reasons to play than not to play. For one, even though he's won a Super Bowl ring already and will likely go into the Hall with numerous records, his legacy isn't entirely secure. Three straight grueling playoff exits have seen to this. Despite that, the Saints will still be a championship contender, and Brees would still have Michael Thomas to throw to. There's no reason that #9 couldn't go out on top next year.
Derrick Henry Will Get His Massive Payday
Even after leading the NFL in rushing and almost single-handedly carrying the Tennessee Titans to the AFC Championship game, there are some who question whether free agent running back Derrick Henry is worth the $70 million he feels he is. If the Titans wish to remain contenders in the AFC playoff picture, however, they don't have much of a choice. Ryan Tannehill played well in the latter half of the season, but only with Henry's running as a cushion. He isn't the kind of quarterback to which a coach can entrust an entire offense.
Dak Prescott Will Get the Tag
A recurring storyline throughout the 2019 NFL season was "Will Dak Prescott get his new contract?" As this storyline drags out into the following off-season, it has become clear that Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is in no hurry to lock down his franchise quarterback for the amount of money that he is asking for, which is rumored to be $40 million per year - which would make him the league's highest-paid quarterback.
The most likely scenario, given the Cowboys' lackluster finish to the 2019 season, is that the Cowboys will apply the franchise tag to Prescott, extending the negotiating window while still increasing his pay from $2.02 million to $33 million. That way, Prescott will still get his much-overdue pay increase, while still being on the clock to prove he's truly worthy of a long-term extension.
Philip Rivers Will Sign With the Colts
Philip Rivers' time with the Chargers is officially over, and the 38-year-old quarterback will don another uniform next season. The news of his family's move to "Florida" (though no specific town was named) caused speculation that Rivers would end up with the Buccaneers, as they may be ready to move on from the error-prone Jameis Winston.
However, the Bucs are not the only team linked to Rivers. As we explained last month, Rivers would make a better fit with the Indianapolis Colts, a team coached by his former offensive coordinator in San Diego, Frank Reich. Dan Patrick also floated this possibility during Super Bowl week.
Tom Brady Will Sign With the Chargers
Speaking of Rivers, his impending departure from the Chargers will leave them with a big hole to fill. While it would be more sensible to draft the quarterback of the future, it's not every year that a quarterback as accomplished as Tom Brady comes up in free agency.
Contract re-negotiations between Brady and the Patriots have reportedly hit a standstill, and while there is still a slim chance of the two reaching a deal before free agency opens, the Chargers and Raiders are favorites to land him should that not happen. While rumors have linked Brady to the Raiders in the past month, the Chargers would be the more practical destination for Brady, given his ties to Southern California.