Alterraun Verner of the Tennessee Titans could land a major payday this offseason, and he's not shy about his quest for a big contract. Verner, one of the top names of the 2014 cornerback free agent class, said he would like to return to Tennessee in 2014 but that he's "not afraid" to test the open market, according to Alex Marvez of FOX Sports.
Translation: he's looking to get paid.
A 2014 Pro Bowler who grabbed a career-high five interceptions this season, Verner will certainly be able to fetch a nice price. The question is, are the Titans willing to pay it?
Tennessee just signed Verner's coverage mate, Jason McCourty, to a big extension before the 2013 season, a deal that will count $8.3 million against their cap in 2014. They also selected two corners in last year's draft, including third-rounder Blidi Wreh-Wilson.
For a team that could be looking to add a franchise quarterback through free agency or the draft, it may make sense to save the cap space and let Verner walk. Keep in mind, they let former Pro Bowl corner Cortland Finnegan head out last offseason.
If Verner does hit the open market, he'll be competing against a solid crop of unrestricted free agents, including two fellow Pro Bowlers.
Grimes signed a one-year "prove-it" deal with the Miami Dolphins last year coming off a torn Achilles tendon. He certainly proved it, grading out as the No. 2 corner in the league at Pro Football Focus and earning his second Pro Bowl selection. He has expressed interest in returning to Miami, though he stated he doesn't want to be franchise tagged (he was tagged once before in Atlanta). The only knock on Grimes is age — he'll be 31 on opening day next season.
Talib is the third Pro Bowler scheduled to hit the market. Like Grimes, he capitalized on a one-year deal (with the New England Patriots) by putting together a top-flight season, and will have plenty of suitors after him. He had four picks in 2013, and more importantly, managed to stay healthy. He's battled hip injuries during his career, but his 856 defensive snaps this season were the most since his second year in Tampa Bay in 2009, according to Pro Football Focus.
Munnerlyn had a good 2013 campaign with the Carolina Panthers, but won't demand top-dollar. He's one of eight Carolina starters with expiring contracts — including two others in the secondary — which means the team may have other priorities. When asked if he was optimistic about a multi-year deal with the Panthers, he gave a not-too-confident "kind of, sorta." The 25-year-old did leave the door open for signing another one-year deal with Carolina similar to the one he inked last season.
The Indianapolis Star considers Davis a "heavy favorite" to re-sign with the Colts, and after a stellar 2013 season that seems likely. Indy gave up a second-round pick for the soon-to-be 26-year-old in a 2012 trade with the Dolphins and he's been one of the team's top cover men since his arrival. Of greater question in the Colts' secondary is veteran safety Antoine Bethea, who may be on his way out of Indy after eight seasons.
Other notable CB free agents include Sam Shields of the Packers, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie of the Broncos, Tarell Brown of the 49ers, DeAngelo Hall of the Redskins, Charles Tillman of the Bears, Corey Graham of the Ravens and Mike Jenkins of the Raiders.