- Adam Schefter, NFL
Adam Schefter answers reader questions in his mailbag twice a week. Got a query of your own? Submit it here.
-- Jerry (Nevada)
A: No-brainer, Jerry. Rice will be franchised, as will Bears running back Matt Forte and Saints quarterback Drew Brees, assuming, of course, long-term deals are not reached before then. There are some other players bound to get the franchise tag: Falcons cornerback Brent Grimes, Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, 49ers safety Dashon Goldson and Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker. It also won't surprise me if the Cowboys use it on Anthony Spencer. There will be plenty more, but those are some of the names off the top of my head. But on Rice, the Ravens wouldn't think of doing it any other way.
Q: No one mentions the New England Patriots as interested in Robert Griffin III. With his statement that he'd sit behind and learn from Peyton Manning, why not sit behind Tom Brady? He's probably done at 38 and that would put RG3 in the starting role after three years of learning, and what a backup in the meantime. Could this happen?
-- Bill (New York)
A: Don't see it, Bill. The Patriots would have to give up so much to get up to No. 2, and despite them being the defending AFC champions, they still have plenty of holes to fill at defensive end, safety, cornerback, wide receiver and along the offensive line. As good as RG3 might be, there's no reason for New England to stash a quarterback on its bench when it already has Brady, Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett. The Patriots are sneaky good, but this is a move that is just hard to imagine.
Q: Adam, one thing I haven't seen anywhere is how RG3 stacks up compared to Cam Newton. No one would question that Andrew Luck would be taken above these two, but who would go first between Cam and RG3?
-- Josh (Quebec)
A: With the way Newton played last season, Josh, it's hard to imagine anyone going before him these days. Saying that, every team would love to have that choice. Newton was a total stud during his rookie year, and Luck and RG3 look as if they could be the same types of players for their franchises, wherever they go. Scouts would love to have that problem. But I think if we took a poll of NFL people today, my guess is the order would be Luck, Cam, RG3. But those three could be divvied up in any order and I don't think anyone would be disappointed. They all look like a big part of the NFL's future.
Q: How do you feel the Houston Texans should proceed with in free agency with respect to Mario Williams, Arian Foster and Chris Myers? It seems that the team is going to have to part ways with at least one of these players, and I'm curious to see what you would do if you were the Texans.
-- John (Delaware)
A: The Texans are determined to keep all three, John, as difficult as it will be. It sounds like Williams and Myers will at least get to the test the market, whereas Foster is a restricted free agent, so it will be tougher for him to get a gauge of his true value. It wouldn't surprise me if Myers and Foster returned to Houston and Williams did not. That's certainly plausible. But let's remember that the salary cap is going to be flat, and it won't be easy for teams to sign real expensive free agents. There's still a chance Williams returns to Houston, where he wants to be, but it's a very fluid situation.
Q: As you've said, the Washington Redskins should be players in the Manning market, and candidates to move up and draft RGIII. What do you think the Skins are most likely to do to fill their need at quarterback?
-- Nolan (Mississippi)
A: Whatever they can, Nolan. They have to find a quarterback, be it Manning or RG3 or Kyle Orton or whomever. We all know that Washington is not going to stand pat at that position this offseason -- it's going to make a bold move there; it has to. My sense is it will be exploring every one of those situations, lines in the water on all, and we all just have to wait to see which fish bites. Not even the Redskins know right now which quarterback they will be able to catch this offseason. But they are fishing, absolutely.