NFL Free Agency: Philip Wheeler

Leading up to the beginning of the NFL Free Agency period I will be going through some of the former Georgia Tech players who will be looking for new teams and big contracts. There are some notable players on the list of FAs this year and quite a few should get multiple year deals. Let’s take a look at one of Tech’s best linebackers in the NFL, Philip Wheeler.

Philip Wheeler was drafted in the third round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts. He played for four seasons in Indianapolis until he signed a one year deal with Oakland last offseason. His tackle numbers have increased each year as he has gotten more playing time. His one year deal with the Raiders will end up paying off, however, as he had a very strong year for them. For the 2012 season, Wheeler had 109 tackles, 3 sacks, 2 FFs, and 6 pass deflections. Those numbers put him towards the top of the 2013 Free Agent class and he will be looking for a big pay day.

Wheeler is still relatively young(only 28) so I expect him to sign a three or four year deal with a team. I also don’t see him worrying about the team’s past performance, meaning he will go to the highest bidder. It will be interesting to see who will get a better contract between him and Daryl Smith, since both are top tier linebackers in this year’s FA group. Free Agency starts tomorrow at 4 P.M., so news on his status may come quick. Teams have been allowed to talk to players’ agents, which means he should already have visits line up. If he gets an offer he likes, he may be signed by a team within the next few days. Hopefully he can find the best deal for himself and I’ll let you know where that is when it happens.

Stats from ESPN.com.

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Dawan Landry Released by the Jaguars

Today the Jaguars released Dawan Landry in order to save more cap space. This was definitely a cost outweighing performance cut for a team who is in full rebuilding mode. Landry played pretty well last year for the Jags, but they do not want to pay him the money he is guaranteed on the contract he signed two years ago. The Jags have a new GM and he has come in and immediately started to eliminate overplayed players. This also means Daryl Smith probably won’t be back with the Jags, as he is a top tier 4-3 OLB. I’ll keep everyone updated when I here more information about free agency. Remember, it starts on Tuesday at 4 P.M.

NFL Free Agency: Keith Brooking

Leading up to the beginning of the NFL Free Agency period I will be going through some of the former Georgia Tech players who will be looking for new teams and big contracts. There are some notable players on the list of FAs this year and quite a few should get multiple year deals. Let’s take a look at arguably the best Tech linebacker of all time, Keith Brooking.

Brooking has had a very decorated career in the NFL, earning Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors during his time with the Atlanta Falcons. After leaving the Cowboys two season ago, most people believed he was out of the league. Brooking, however, signed a one-year contract with the Broncos and eventually earned the starting job a few games into the 2012 season. He racked up 54 tackles while playing in all 16 games, which is quite impressive given how long he has been around.

His one-year contract before last season shows the Broncos weren’t expecting much from him and one has to imagine that he doesn’t have much left in the tank. The only thing Brooking is still chasing is a Super Bowl ring, so he may choose to re-sign with the Broncos to give it one last shot. With that said, I honestly see him testing out the free agent market, but eventually retiring. He’s given all he has to the NFL and it is better to go out a starter than a back-up. It will surely be interesting to see what road Brooking takes because he won’t have many options when free agency starts.

NFL Free Agency: Daryl Smith

Leading up to the beginning of the NFL Free Agency period I will be going through some of the former Georgia Tech players who will be looking for new teams and big contracts. There are some notable players on the list of FAs this year and quite a few should get multiple year deals. Let’s take a look at arguably the best Tech player set to hit FA this offseason, Daryl Smith.

Daryl Smith, drafted by the Jaguars in 2004, has spent all eight of his NFL seasons in Jacksonville. He has made a name for himself with his impressive play and has consistently been recognized as one of the best 4-3 OLBs in the NFL. Unfortunately for Daryl, he sustained a groin injury in the preseason last year and missed 14 games. Prior to last season he was expecting a large contract, but he probably won’t get that type of money after his contract year injury.

Daryl Smith

zimbio.com

By all accounts, Smith would like to stay in Jacksonville now that he has two kids and has a house there. However, the Jags have gone through a complete front office overhaul and may not see him as a long term solution for a rebuild. If he comes at a cheaper price, I expect him to resign with the Jaguars. If he is intent on getting as much money as he can, then he will most likely sign with a playoff contender who is one or two defensive players away from winning it all.

I can see multiple teams giving him a contract loaded with incentives, since he is a very good player. If he can prove that last year was a fluke, then he shouldn’t have an issue playing through the end of his next contract. He certainly has a lot to prove this year so keep an eye out for his name when the FA period begins at 4 P.M. on March 12th.

2013 NFL Free Agents

The NFL Free Agency period begins at 4 P.M. on March 12th and there are quite a few former Georgia Tech players looking for a job. As we get closer to the beginning of FA, I’ll write a few posts about certain Tech players and where they should end up. For now, Michael Johnson is the only player who knows where he’ll be next year. He was franchise tagged by the Bengals, ensuring he will be with them for at least one more year. Here’s the rest of the free agents this year.

UFA (Unrestricted Free Agent)- Player is allowed to sign with whatever team he would like at the start of the FA period.

RFA (Restricted Free Agent)- The player’s old team places a qualifying offer on them and the player is allowed to talk to other teams. If the player signs a deal with another team, his original team is allowed to match the offer. If they choose not to match it, they will receive draft pick compensation in the round the RFA was designated in. This is somewhat confusing and it makes it pretty hard for RFA to sign with a different team because most teams don’t want to give up draft picks for players.

Exclusive Rights Free Agent- These FAs have two years of NFL experience but are not currently on a roster. If their former club offers them a three years veteran’s minimum contract, then they must take it or else not play in the NFL.

RB

Tashard Choice- UFA

Jonathan Dwyer- RFA

Anthony Allen- Exclusive Rights

TE

Will Heller- UFA

OT

Andrew Gardner- RFA

DE

Michael Johnson- Franchise Tagged

DT

Vance Walker- UFA

LB

Keith Brooking- UFA

Daryl Smith- UFA

Philip Wheeler- UFA

Gary Guyton- UFA

Free Agent info was acquired from footballfutures.com