With the Scouting Combine in full swing in Indianapolis, team decision-makers are currently focused on the next crop of NFL players. That will soon change with free agency set to begin on March 11. Although teams can't legally talk to pending free agents yet, rumors are still in full swing.
Michael Vick isn't likely to be one of the top players on the market, but as the top free agent quarterback he'll draw plenty of attention. The Jets have been floated as a possible landing spot for Vick for a while and that thought may have some credence. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, those around the NFL view the Jets as a legitimate possibility for Vick.
The 33-year-old Vick started seven games last season, but injuries and the rise of Nick Foles ultimately sent him into a reserve role. When he did play, he had some success, averaging 8.6 yards per attempt. Geno Smith started every game for New York during his rookie season last year, but he had an up-and-down campaign. The 23-year-old turned in a handful of excellent performances, but they were mixed in with some lackluster efforts. He finished the season with 21 interceptions and only 12 touchdown passes, and he averaged a paltry 6.9 yards per attempt.
Vick is an intriguing option, especially for a team that thinks he can return to his 2010/2011 form. In New York, Vick would be reunited with Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, who coached him in Philadelphia. The familiarity is a plus, but there are still plenty of questions. Vick hasn't played 16 games in a season since 2006 and has had turnover issues in recent years. It's questionable if he would be an upgrade over Smith and, given his advanced age, he wouldn't provide much long-term value.
A few other teams will likely have interest in Vick, but if he does land with New York, we're in store for a headline-filled quarterback controversy in Jets training camp.
The Ravens have said re-signing Pitta is a top priority this offseason and the two sides are making progress on a deal, according to Rapoport. The progress isn't unexpected as not many believe Pitta will reach the open market. If the sides don't get a deal done by March 3, the Ravens could use the franchise tag to prevent Pitta from becoming a free agent. Regardless, Jason Butt of Baltimore Beat Down does not expect the tight end to leave Baltimore anytime soon:
Pitta is an important part to Baltimore's offense moving forward. Something drastic would have to happen for the Ravens to allow Pitta to leave during free agency.
Jones played just 10 defensive snaps last season and was signed through 2014, but that didn't stop the Raiders from inking the cornerback to an extension on Monday. Jones plays a key role on special teams for Oakland, both in coverage and as a returner. The three-year deal is worth a reported $4.355 million. Jeff Spiegel of Silver & Black Pride found the timing of the deal to be a bit odd:
While most believe this will be a busy off-season for McKenzie, it seems odd that he's spending his time extending players already under contract for the 2014 season - especially a special teamer (Jones saw just 10 snaps on defense last season).
With agents and team executives all in town for the combine, the event often leads to contract negotiations for pending free agents. That was the case with Green Bay and Shields. The Packers and Shields' agent met during the proceedings, making progress on a potential contract extension. According to a recent report, Shields is seeking a four-year deal worth $22.4 million. Jason Hirschhorn of Acme Packing Company expects any deal to cost Green Bay more than that:
Ultimately, this probably isn't the contract that Shields signs. If no agreement is in place by March 11, the Packers may franchise tag him to avoid other teams from stepping in and blowing up the price tag. Alternatively, if the Packers do re-sign Shields, it'll almost certainly cost more than $5.6 million per year.