Will NFL.com’s top-ranked free agent even hit free agency?
Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, who is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on Thursday, has been linked to every team from Dallas and Minnesota to Tampa Bay and Tennessee. But the likelihood that he stays in the Windy City is increasing.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported the Bears had a “positive meeting” with Jeffery’s agent Saturday and that both sides are “more than open to a reunion.”
Just this week, Antonio Brown became the highest-paid wide receiver in the NFL when he signed a four-year extension that moves his per-year average to $17 million. Jeffery will be looking to exceed that number with his next deal.
Jeffery has said that he wants to sign with a contender, explaining Thursday, “Whatever the next chapter is, I’m ready for it. I’m looking at the teams that obviously need a wide receiver, but also put me in the best situation to win a championship right now.”
Hendrick Ekpe Jersey Youth
The Bears will host Allen on March 20, Allen told the Alabama Media Group, while his visit to the Jaguars will come in early April. The Bears hold the No. 3 overall pick in the NFL draft, and the Jaguars own the No. 4 selection, and that’s certainly within the range of draft possibilities for one of the NFL draft’s elite defensive line prospects. Allen has been projected to be the Bears’ selection in the latest mock draft by NFL.com analyst Daniel Jeremiah, and no lower than No. 8 overall in any of five NFL.com mock drafts.
The Jaguars count defensive tackle among their primary draft needs.
Allen will be a popular choice for one of 30 allotted pre-draft visits afforded to each team. He made 10.5 sacks among 16 tackles for loss as a versatile and dominant presence on the Crimson Tide’s defensive line as a senior in 2016, paving the way for four national awards: the Lombardi, Nagurski, Bednarik and Hendricks.
The Chicago Bears and Glennon are closing in on a three-year contract, according to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. The deal can be officially signed at 4 p.m. ET on Thursday, when free agency begins. That would satisfy one of the Bears’ primary needs, at least in the short term, and presumably take the Bears out of the quarterback market with the No. 3 overall pick in the draft.
The Bears are still a good bet to select a quarterback in the draft, making Glennon something of a bridge solution, per Rapoport. But with the Bears making an investment in the Glennon deal north of $40 million, the club is more likely to find a rookie quarterback later in the draft. In other words, if the Glennon deal materializes, top QBs like Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, UNC’s Mitchell Trubisky, Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer and Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes probably won’t have to check their phones quite as closely when the Bears are on the first-round clock.
The Bears aren’t the only team with an early first-round pick securing at least a short-term answer at the quarterback position, though. The San Francisco 49ers, who hold the No. 2 pick, have agreed in principle to a two-year deal with Brian Hoyer. The Cleveland Browns, who hold the No. 1 pick, will acquire Brock Osweiler and a 2018 second-round draft pick in a trade from the Houston Texans, according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, although NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported the Browns intend to cut Osweiler. With or without Osweiler, the quarterback draft class could be frozen out of the top three picks in the draft if those teams satisfy their needs at the position in free agency.
The eventual destination for Tony Romo, if the Cowboys do trade or release him, could have a significant impact on the top quarterbacks in the draft, as well. According to one executive, a Romo-to-Denver scenario could help the QB class by leaving a few teams in need of a starter.
As for Glennon, he did not make a start for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last year and threw just 11 passes, but he played extensively under former coach Greg Schiano as a rookie in 2013, and made six starts under Lovie Smith the following year. That experience provides a better picture of Glennon’s NFL future than the guesswork that goes into projecting collegians.
And projecting this group appears to be tricky business.
Kansas City Chiefs GM John Dorsey doesn’t believe there is a ready-made NFL quarterback in the draft class, and NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock doesn’t consider anyone in the group as a viable top-10 pick.