Andrew Harnik/Associated Press
With the start of NFL training camps mere weeks away, several high-profile free agents remain unsigned. Pass-rusher Jadeveon Clowney is the biggest name left on the market now that nine-time Pro Bowler Jason Peters has re-signed with the Philadelphia Eagles, but he is far from the only big-hitter available.
Tight end Jordan Reed is one of those potential free-agent home runs. He’s a bit of a risk, as injuries have limited him to just 19 games over the last three seasons—including all of 2019. However, he was a Pro Bowler in 2016 and carries a lot of upside for a team looking to take a chance.
According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, at least three teams are interested in taking that chance:
Ian Rapoport @RapSheet
One name to watch as teams gear up for training camp: FA TE Jordan Reed. The former Washington play-maker has three teams interested and plans to play in 2020. A potential low-risk, high-reward signing.
While Rapoport didn’t list any teams specifically, there are a couple that make perfect sense. The Dallas Cowboys, for example, need to find a replacement for Jason Witten. The Carolina Panthers could use a replacement for Greg Olsen.
However, there’s a sleeper team out there that might make even more sense for Reed: The San Francisco 49ers.
Yes, the 49ers have arguably the league’s best tight end in George Kittle. However, they appear interested in adding a second pass-catching tight end to the offense. According to NFL Network’s Michael Silver, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan made a run at “the TE he coached” in Austin Hooper earlier in free agency.
Shanahan coached Hooper while offensive coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons. He also coached Reed during his rookie season in 2013.
While Shanahan and Reed didn’t spend a ton of time together, there is some familiarity there. That, along with San Francisco’s desire to have an elite tight end duo, could be enough to land Reed with the 49ers.
Prediction: Reed signs with San Francisco
While a concussion cost Reed his 2019 season, Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen had a stellar campaign. He racked up 41 tackles, 8.0 sacks, 24 quarterback hits and was named to his fourth Pro Bowl.
Yet, Griffen hasn’t drummed up a ton of interest to this point, which, as Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson recently pointed out (h/t Jeff Cavenaugh of 105.3 The Fan), is weird:
Jeff Cavanaugh @JC1053
“Nothing. Nothing. It’s really weird.” – @CharlesRobinson on what he’s heard about Everson Griffen’s free agency.
The Cleveland Browns made some sense for Griffen, as new head coach Kevin Stefanski comes over from Minnesota. However, the Browns have never really been interested in him, according to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com.
“As far as Everson Griffen, you know, that would have to be a bargain-basement thing,” Cabot recently told 92.3 The Fan. “They’ve never been interested in him. Even though Kevin Stefanski has a history with him from Minnesota, they just have not shown any interest in signing him.”
Griffen recently spoke up on Twitter about the perceived lack of interest. His post was in response to a tweet from Moshe Kravitz of WIP Radio suggesting that the defensive end should be at the top of the wish list for the Philadelphia Eagles and other teams:
Everson Griffen @EversonGriffen
@MosheKravitz AMEN BROTHER
Some might take this as Griffen wanting to land in Philadelphia. However, it’s more likely that Griffen simply believes that he should garner more demand this late in free agency.
He would be a good fit in Philadelphia, sure, but a return to Minnesota might make even more sense. He appeared to be done with Minnesota during early free agency, but he also told NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero “never say never” regarding a possible return.
With his window to land with a team before camp winding down, a return to the Purple and Gold might be Griffen’s best bet to find a home and have another strong season in 2020.
Prediction: Griffen re-signs with Minnesota.
Guard Larry Warford is another Pro Bowl player left sitting on the open market. He’s coming off back-to-back-to-back appearances in the all-star exhibition and a three-year stint with the New Orleans Saints.
The Eagles would have been a perfect landing spot for Warford, as they needed a replacement for injured guard Brandon Brooks. However, they re-signed Peters to help fill that void. Adding Peters and Warford would be overkill.
However, there is a team out there that could provide an equally ideal fit: The Carolina Panthers. Carolina traded Pro Bowl guard Trai Turner to the Los Angeles Chargers for tackle Russell Okung. Warford could be a tremendous replacement for Turner, and his contract demands are not outlandish.
NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported back in May that Warford was looking for something in the $7 million-per-year range. This would make for a tight fit, but it would be doable, as the Panthers have just over $11 million in cap space, per Spotrac.
The Panthers would also make sense, as offensive coordinator Joe Brady worked with Warford in New Orleans in 2017 and 2018.
Warford also spent the last two seasons working with new Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
Prediction: Warford signs with Carolina.
Send your news and stories to us email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org and WhatsApp: +447747873668.
Before you go...
Democratic norms are being stress-tested all over the world, and the past few years have thrown up all kinds of questions we didn't know needed clarifying – how long is too long for a parliamentary prorogation? How far should politicians be allowed to intervene in court cases? To monitor these issues as closely as we have in the past we need your support, so please consider donating to The Climax News Room.