Friday, February 19, 2010
Keep an eye on these 10 players
By Bill Williamson ESPN.com
Brandon Marshall has caught at least 101 passes in each of the past three seasons. The wide receiver is one player to keep an eye on when the free-agency period begins.
There are several intriguing storylines to follow in the AFC West as we prepare for the offseason movement period, which begins March 5.
The following is a look at 10 players to keep an eye on this offseason. Of course, things can change at any time. Remember, this time last year Jay Cutler was comfortably nestled in Denver. Then, he became the offseason story of the NFL.
Branden Albert, tackle, Kansas City: Albert will likely be switching positions soon. This is a big development for Albert and for the Chiefs. Albert, who was taken at No.15 in the 2008 draft, has played left tackle both of his seasons in the NFL. He has been slow to develop. Kansas City may use the No. 5 overall pick on a left tackle. That would enable Albert to move to right tackle. Several NFL scouts believe Albert will be a more effective right tackle than a left tackle.
Antonio Cromartie, cornerback, San Diego: Cromartie is not part of San Diego’s huge free-agent class, but he may be on the move, anyway. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported this week Cromartie is being shopped in trade offers. There is a faction in San Diego that has grown tired of Cromartie. He has struggled at times, especially in run support, and he created some off-field distractions. He could be a memory in San Diego.
Glenn Dorsey, defensive lineman, Kansas City: Dorsey could be on the move as well. Kansas City could decide that he is not worth trying to make him fit in its 3-4 defense. Dorsey was the No. 5 overall pick in 2008 and was considered by many league observers to be the best talent in the draft. However, Kansas City’s new regime changed to a 3-4 defense last year. Kansas City may listen to trade offers. It has already been reported that Detroit could show interest. Dorsey likely would not command a top-15 pick, but the Chiefs could decide to cut ties and try to recoup what it can for a player who doesn’t fit the system.
Elvis Dumervil, linebacker, Denver: Dumervil will likely be a restricted free agent. There will be a lot of interest him. In 2009, his first season as a 3-4 linebacker, Dumervil flourished. He led the NFL with 17 sacks. There has been talk the Dolphins -- Dumervil is from Miami -- could show interest in him. Denver will try to keep him. But Dumervil could receive a huge offer elsewhere.
Vincent Jackson, receiver, San Diego: Jackson is also likely going to be a restricted free agent. He could get a major contract offer elsewhere. It would probably take a first- and third-round pick to acquire Jackson. That is steep price, but Jackson is a top-flight player who has improved in each of his five NFL seasons. San Diego will do what it can to keep him.
Brandon Marshall, receiver, Denver: This could be one of the biggest storylines of the NFL. Denver will likely trade Marshall, who is expected to be a restricted free agent. He has had several issues and the team is expected to part ways with him. Marshall and Denver owner Pat Bowlen have both said he could return, but several teams are expected to make a push for him.
Shawne Merriman, linebacker, San Diego: Merriman is expected to be a restricted free agent. Moments after San Diego was beaten by the Jets in the playoffs, Merriman acknowledged that he might have played his final game as a Charger. With other free-agent issues, Merriman could be lost in the shuffle.
Kyle Orton, quarterback, Denver: Orton is likely going to be restricted free agent. Denver is expected to try to keep him. But ESPN has reported Denver has talked to the Eagles about the availability of quarterback Donovan McNabb. It is probable that Orton returns as Denver’s quarterback, but this is a fluid situation.
JaMarcus Russell, quarterback, Oakland: Russell is likely getting his last chance in Oakland. He is in Arizona working with a trainer and working on his fundamentals. The goals are for him to report to the team’s offseason program in the spring in much better shape than he was in last season and show he has improved as a quarterback. If he is succeeds, he has a chance to help Oakland this season.
Richard Seymour, defensive end, Oakland: Seymour is an unrestricted free agent. Oakland has to re-sign him. It has no choice. Oakland traded its No. 1 pick in 2011 to New England for Seymour last September. The team has talked to him about a long-term contract. If a new deal isn’t struck, Oakland will likely put the franchise tag on him.