NFL news roundup: Blake Bortles to visit Texans, Jaguars; Michael Bennett to test free agency

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Blake Bortles and Michael Bennett will be two of most sought-after players in football in the coming weeks. Both are gearing up to talk to suitors. Plus: Trindon Holliday cut loose. SB Nation's GIF Tournament V

Blake Bortles will visit with the Houston Texans and the Jacksonville Jaguars after his pro day workout on March 19, according to Alex Marvez of Fox Sports 1. Bortles is considered one of the top, if not the top, quarterback prospects in the country entering this May's 2014 NFL Draft. The Texans and the Jaguars, meanwhile, are two of the most quarterback-needy teams in the league, and both own top three picks.

Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel are considered the other top signal callers alongside Bortles. In fact, some consider them to be superior prospects, including SB Nation, which has Bridgewater as the No. 1 quarterback prospect ahead of Bortles at No. 2.

Bortles is the No. 1 overall pick in SB Nation's latest mock draft, however, because he is believed to fit the prototypical mold of Texans head coach Bill O'Brien's preferred quarterback. Bortles is much bigger than Bridgewater or Manziel at 6'5, and comes from a pro-style offense that used many of the same concepts that O'Brien likes to run.

Brett Kollman at Texans blog Battle Red Blog warns that pundits shouldn't assume O'Brien is only interested in big, cannon-armed, cookie-cutter passers:

A Bill O'Brien quarterback must be a perfectionist in both the physical and mental aspects of the position. When standing at the line of scrimmage, he is the one calling protections; he is the one adjusting individual routes for all of his receivers. The deep system of "check with me's" is so much more than just simply changing a pass play to a run play; in fact, the quarterback has the power to turn a pass play into any play.

Whoever the Texans take at No. 1, the Jaguars will be ready at No. 3 to pounce on whoever is left over, which should be an exciting prospect, all things considered.

Michael Bennett to test free agency

Michael Bennett had a breakout year for the Seattle Seahawks through their run to a championship. Now he will see what the free market thinks of him. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Bennett will not re-sign with the Seahawks prior to the official start of free agency on March 11.

Danny Kelly at Seahawks blog Field Gulls is not surprised:

This is apparently news if you're on Twitter today, but is completely logical and expected. Bennett is arguably the top non-tagged free agent this year -- probably the top defensive lineman anyway -- and after betting on himself in 2013 with a one-year 'prove it' deal, he has indeed proven that he's a disruptive pass rusher that can stay healthy for a full season.

Bennett took a skeptical one-year deal with the Seahawks and parlayed it into 8.5 regular-season sacks on the best defense in the NFL. He was a strong run stopper as well as a pass rusher, and reportedly has a lucrative offer on the table from the Seahawks. Bennett could ultimately wind up back in Seattle, but he's going to see what other offers are out there first.

Broncos won't make tender offer to Trindon Holliday

The Denver Broncos will reportedly let Trindon Holliday become a free agent, according to Pro Football Talk. Holliday is unquestionably one of the most explosive athletes in the NFL, and was a dangerous kick returner when he had the ball in his hands. Unfortunately, he also had a bit of trouble holding onto the ball.

Bronco Mike, via Broncos blog Mile High Report:

This is not surprising news. Holliday, while possessing ridiculous explosion that led to a plethora of return touchdowns, also possessed an equally potent and deadly fumbling problem that showed up in the punt game. This led the Broncos to use Eric Decker late in the season as the punt returner while Trindon remained back to return kickoffs.

Couple his diminutive role with the fact that the return game is almost entirely active from the punting aspect and you have someone that cannot justify a spot on this roster.

Given Holliday's speed and relative youth (he'll be 28 in April), he will likely be given a chance to make a roster elsewhere this offseason.

Titans agree to terms with DE Ropati Pitoitua

The Tennessee Titans have agreed to terms on a three-year deal with defensive Ropati Pitoitua, according to Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean. The contract is reportedly worth a total of $9.6 million and includes $2.175 million in guarantees.

The Titans were Pitoitua's third team in as many seasons. He had trouble sticking in one spot, but apparently found his calling as a run-stuffing specialist in Nashville. In 16 games played last season, Pitoitua had 44 tackles and a career-high four sacks, two of which came against the New York Jets, his former team, in Week 4.

Bengals agree to terms with G Mike Pollak

The Cincinnati Bengals also retained a key piece of depth, agreeing to terms with offensive guard Mike Pollak ahead of the March 11 start of free agency. Pollak filled in capably for injured starters last season, starting five games. He joined the Bengals last year after being released by the Carolina Panthers prior to the start of the 2013 season.

Bengals blog Cincy Jungle approved of the re-signing:

Because of injuries to both Kevin Zeitler and Clint Boling at different points last year, Pollak got extensive playing time. He got five starts and had a +6.2 grade by Pro Football Focus. He can play both guard spots and will solidify what was one of the best offensive lines in the league in 2013. ...

... This is a great signing for the Bengals, and if Boling isn't ready for the start of the 2014 season due to last year's torn ACL, Pollak could be the opening day starting left guard.

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