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Joint Base Andrews Features

NEWS | Feb. 16, 2010

NFL off season: who’s staying? Who’s going?

By Airman 1st Class Patrick McKenna 316th Wing Public Affairs

With the Super Bowl now in the rear view mirror, we look ahead to what could be one of the most active NFL off seasons in quite some time. Typically, the NFL off season is low key compared to the other major American sports due to the large signing bonuses players receive and teams ability to keep free agents by using the Franchise and Transition tags. With the NFL potentially heading to a 2011 lockout, next season could very well be uncapped. If that does in fact happen, you can expect to see certain powerful franchises (cough ... Cowboys ... cough) open up the checkbooks and go on a shopping spree.

Suffice to say, this NFL off season could be very active as some teams look to shed payroll while others push all in and sign some big ticket players. This column will discuss four big time players who are rumored to be up for grabs.

Donovan McNabb - McNabb is entering the final year of his contract and is rumored to be available via trade if the price is right. McNabb hasn't been a stranger to criticism from the passionate fans and media of Philadelphia since being drafted more than 10 years ago. The Eagles have been consistently solid in that time frame but never when it matters most (1-4 in NFC championship games) and, unfortunately, McNabb always bares a good amount of that blame.

Unlike previous years, the Eagles have a viable replacement for McNabb in backup Kevin Kolb, who performed admirably in two starts this past season.
There is no shortage of teams (Cleveland, Denver, Carolina and Buffalo) who would be in the market for McNabb if or when he's put on the trade block.

Brandon Marshall
- To say that Marshall's relationship with the Broncos has been hot and cold is sort of like saying the D.C. area just got a light dusting of snow. To be blunt, he's had times where one could say he was a locker room nightmare. What those same critics can't deny, is during that same time period, Marshall has been one of the most dominant wide receivers in the NFL (at least 100 receptions three years in a row) and underpaid (at $2.1 million last year, he was paid less than such future hall of famers like Roscoe Parrish, Troy Williamson and Kevin Curtis).

So why all the recent talk about Marshall being on the trade block? The same reason why Jay Cutler, an elite, young quarterback, was shipped out prior to last season. Coach Josh McDaniels is trying to rebuild the franchise and he most likely views Marshall as someone who's only going to get more irritating, not to mention expensive, these next few years.
A change of scenery and a contract worthy for someone of Marshall's caliber should go a long way in keeping Marshall a happy camper. Teams that should be calling Denver to hear what they want for Marshall are Baltimore, Chicago and Washington.

Julius Peppers - This situation is one of the more toxic in the league. The Panthers have the option of placing the Franchise tag on Peppers where'd he receive a one year deal to the tune of more than $20 million. Peppers is on the record as saying he wants out of Carolina and there should be plenty of teams interested in his services.

Peppers is one of the premier pass rushers in the NFL, and, while he will command a long term deal at an obscene amount of money to teams lacking a pass rush, he's worth almost every penny.

Teams that should be monitoring the Peppers situation closely are the Patriots, Browns and Eagles.

Michael Vick - Vick showed flashes of his old self at points this past season despite having to shake off two years of rust. He most certainly will not be brought back at the $5 million he's owed next season and there should be at least a few teams who will give him a shot to be their signal caller.

The team that would be a perfect fit for Vick is the Buffalo Bills who have no quality quarterbacks on their roster and need to do something drastic to keep pace with the Patriots, Dolphins and Jets.