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Insider

Under-the-radar free agents

3/9/2013

Adam Schefter answers reader questions in his mailbag once a week during the NFL season. Got a query of your own? Submit it here.


Q: It was a bit surprising to me that the Kansas City Chiefs released right tackle Eric Winston. Is he the best available tackle on the market? Where could he land?

-- Jacob (Tennessee)

A: There should be interest in Winston, Jacob, especially with all of the teams that have offensive line questions in this league. If I were the Cowboys, Dolphins, Bears, Cardinals or Eagles, I would see if I could get Winston at well below what it would cost to get a premium right tackle such as Phil Loadholt or Andre Smith on the free-agent market. The other thing to keep in mind is that this draft is loaded at tackle. Plenty of teams will find plenty of help. So the question teams will ask is: Are they better off going with an unproven cheaper rookie tackle or someone like Winston? Two years ago he was one of the league's top tackles; last season, not so much. But there will be a tackle-needy team on which Winston will be an asset.


Q: Adam, I know that this free-agent class doesn't have a lot of big names like last year's with Mario Williams and Vincent Jackson. Who are a couple under-the-radar free agents that could prove to have great value?

-- Kerry (D.C.)

A: We've heard about some of the bigger names, Kerry -- Mike Wallace, Wes Welker and Greg Jennings. But there are some players who can help just about any team. New York Jets guard Brandon Moore is a very good player who can add depth in an area where a lot of teams are weak. Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Michael Bennett is Martellus' brother, but also very good in his own right. And New England Patriots cornerback Kyle Arrington is a solid corner who could help some teams. There's plenty of depth in this free-agent class, Kerry. The key will be the prices for some of these players. I always believe that after the first 48-72 hours of free agency, players go on sale. That's how it happens every year. And that's when there are some good bargains.


Q: I can't believe my Jets are actively trying to trade Darrelle Revis. What do you think we can get back for him? What teams are interested?

-- Deron (N.Y.)

A: Nobody other than maybe the Jets and Revis' agents knows the team or teams that are interested, Deron. I really don't believe the San Francisco 49ers or Atlanta Falcons are, and they've been listed as two possibilities. Here's the deal: The Jets are determined to try to trade him. The question is whether another team will be willing to give them back something to make it worth their while. And that's where the tough part comes in. Coming off a knee injury, Revis' value is nowhere near its peak.

So is the Jets' new general manager, John Idzik, ready to auction off his best player at a well-below market value price? It would be hard for any GM to surrender premium compensation without seeing Revis play. So if the Jets were to trade him today, I'd guess they would get maybe a second-round pick this year and a conditional pick next year, depending on Revis and the team's performance. But those are educated guesses at best.


Q: With pro days coming up, which player has the most to prove? Is it Manti Te'o? Matt Barkley?

-- Wendy (Indiana)

A: It's Barkley, to me, Wendy. He hasn't thrown for scouts yet, but he is expected to do so at USC's pro day in a couple of weeks. If he throws well, and impresses scouts, I could see him going in the first round of the draft. But scouts want to see how his shoulder has bounced back from the injury that plagued him for much of last season. If the answer is good, Barkley could be the first quarterback drafted. And he might be anyway.


Q: Adam, do you think that Ed Reed will be back with the Baltimore Ravens? Or are the Patriots likely to sign him? Who else is interested? Thanks!

-- Jason (California)

A: That's a great question, Jason, one of the most intriguing of free agency. I see Reed in the same situation Ray Lewis was a few years ago. The Ravens allowed Lewis to test the market, hoping and believing he wouldn't ultimately leave. But that helped determine his value and Baltimore was able to re-sign him. I would imagine the same script will be in effect. Baltimore will let Reed test the market. There are only certain teams I believe he would like to play for, and New England would be one.

But the Patriots have a lot of needs they have to address as well, and how much are they willing to spend on an aging safety, albeit maybe the greatest safety in NFL history? If it's not much, then Baltimore becomes the favorite to land Reed. But it's hard to see another team outside Baltimore and New England that could make a real move. It's one of the most interesting questions of next week.