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Friday, March 8, 2013
Playbook's definitive NFL free-agency locks

By DJ Gallo

NFL free agency begins March 12. Wooooooo! Break out the checkbooks!

But if paying a large man millions of dollars to tackle, throw, catch, block, run or kick things for you is too rich for your blood, for the low, low price of free you can instead read this column and find out where all the top unrestricted free agents will end up. Seems like a good deal.

Jake Long, OT, Dolphins
Likely destination:
Miami Dolphins

Long has made four Pro Bowls since the Dolphins took him with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 NFL draft, but Miami has only been to the postseason once in that time. We’ve all heard the whispers: Does Jake Long not have what it takes to block his team into the playoffs? Can he not block in a big game? Can he ever block in a Super Bowl? Is he an elite blocker?

Long needs to continue what he started in Miami and prove he is a franchise blocker who can push people out of the way to a ring. If not, his career will never be complete and he will live out his remaining days a failure and an embarrassment to all who know him.

Cliff Avril, DE, Lions
Likely destination:
Cleveland Browns

Avril is the best pass-rusher on the market, but it appears the team willing to pay him the most is the Cleveland Browns. Yikes. He gets drafted by the Lions, but works hard and makes the best of a bad situation. Only then, when he hits unrestricted free agency, the team that backs up the truck for him is the Browns. He’s going to play for two teams in his career and it’s going to be the Lions and Browns. Poor Cliff. No luck. No luck at all.

Ed Reed, S, Ravens
Likely destination:
Baltimore Ravens

Ed Reed isn’t going anywhere. No way. It would be too weird to see him playing in any uniform other than a Ravens uniform. Inconceivable. Wait. Joe Flacco winning a Super Bowl seemed inconceivable, too. Oh, man. Ed Reed is leaving the Ravens.

Mike Wallace, WR, Steelers
Likely destination:
Miami Dolphins

Wallace is very fast. He can’t catch very well, doesn’t run the best routes and has a habit of sulking. But he is very fast. Wallace probably doesn’t realize this, but he lost millions in free agency money when Al Davis died.

Steven Jackson, RB, Rams
Likely destination:
Any team that isn’t the Rams

Jackson has wasted nine years of his career with the Rams. He has to feel free and full of energy. Like he’s getting out of a long and unsatisfying marriage. So, yeah, he’ll hook up with whichever team looks at him first.

Wes Welker, WR, Patriots
Likely destination:
SiriusXM NFL Radio

Scott Pioli gobbles up most any New England Patriots castoff. A year ago, that would have seen Welker donning a Kansas City Chiefs jersey. But Pioli got fired by the Chiefs in January. He is now working for SiriusXM NFL Radio. We’ll see how Welker does playing for a company flag football team.

Greg Jennings, WR, Packers
Likely destination:
New York Jets

Remember this Greg Jennings ad?

It’s weird, it has a woman, and it includes the destruction of the Patriots. It’s pretty much every Rex Ryan dream. Jennings will definitely be receiving a call from the Jets.

Tony Gonzalez, TE, Falcons
Likely destination:
Retirement

The Falcons want Gonzalez back. Chances are they’ll get really close to doing it, too. But then right at the end of the negotiations they’ll completely blow it.

Casey Hampton, DT, Steelers
Likely destination:
Pittsburgh Steelers

This is Casey Hampton. Look at him. Do you really think he’s going anywhere? No way. That’s a whole lot of stuff to move to a new city.

Brian Urlacher, LB, Bears
Likely destination:
Packers, Vikings or Lions

After playing four years with Jay Cutler in Chicago, Urlacher has to be intrigued by the idea of getting to try to kill Cutler twice a season.

Connor Barwin, LB, Texans
Likely destination:
Jacksonville Jaguars

Look at this friggin’ hipster. He’s totally going to ironically sign with a team no regular player would ever want to sign with.

Reggie Bush, RB, Dolphins
Likely destination:
The football team equivalent of your friend Kevin

Every year Kevin drafts Reggie Bush way too early in fantasy football, positive this will be the year Bush lives up to his supposed potential. Some NFL general manager Kevin is going to do the same thing.

Brandon Moore, G, Jets
Likely destination:
New York Jets

Who is Brandon Moore? He is the lineman whose butt forced Mark Sanchez to fumble. The Jets are desperate for playmakers. No way they let this butt walk.

Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Steelers
Likely destination:
Arizona Cardinals

It’s a perfect match for both sides. New Cardinals coach Bruce Arians gets reunited with a running back he had success with in Pittsburgh, while Mendenhall gets to play in a city within driving distance of Area 51 -- perfect for some off-day conspiracy sleuthing.

Randy Moss, WR, 49ers
Likely destination:
Retirement

There doesn’t appear to be much interest in Moss’ services. It’s probably because everyone is too intimidated to be around the greatest receiver ever. Yeah. It’s like when no one approaches you at a bar. It’s because you’re too damn hot.

Shane Lechler, P, Raiders
Likely destination:
Arizona Cardinals

Lechler probably wants out of Oakland. For years their offense was designed around his punting, but then Carson Palmer came in and possessions ended with turnovers instead of majestic Lechler punts. What a waste of talent.

Desmond Bryant, DT, Raiders
Likely destination:
San Diego Chargers

San Diego, Miami, New Orleans. Any low-elevation coastal city will be fine. The man seems to need oxygen.

Brandon Stokley, WR, Broncos
Likely destination:
Denver Broncos

Peyton Manning won’t want to let his bestie get away. Not a chance. He’ll probably really lock onto Stokley. Even if he shouldn’t and even if everyone sees him doing it. And even if there’s another receiver available. And then he’ll just hurl a contract at Stokley across his body. And then people will be like: “How can a guy this good keep doing stuff like this?” And I think I’ve moved on from talking about free agency.

Chris Gronkowski, FB, Broncos
Likely destination:
New England Patriots

Look for New England to bring in a Gronk brother to possibly use for spare parts should Rob Gronkowski need anything replaced due to breakage or disease.

Rex Grossman, Brady Quinn, Matt Leinart, Vince Young, JaMarcus Russell, QB
Likely destination:
New England Patriots

Last year Peyton Manning was on the market. This year a who’s who of failed NFL franchise quarterbacks is available for the holding your nose and taking. Yuck. Yet a case can be made that any of them would be an improvement over Mark Sanchez in New York. So now we know the real reason Tom Brady restructured his contract. The Patriots will use that money to sign this entire fivesome and doom the Jets to another year of being the franchise of Sanchise. Well played, Belichick. Well played.