1. Drew Brees, San Diego
Background: Drew Brees is a solid quarterback who will get a starting gig in the NFL. The liklihood of that place being San Diego looks slim, but Brees is most efficient with mid-range to short passes. Brees has a few possible homes with Miami and Dallas being the main players in free agency.
Projection: Dallas. As metioned earlier, Brees is one of the NFL's best short-option passers. He is best utilized with a good tight end. While Miami may enter the mix, they appear to be more interested in Daunte Culpepper's situation and Jason Witten would be a nice target for Brees.
2. Jeff Garcia, Detroit
Background: Garcia hasn't been nearly as effective as Detroit was hoping when they signed him on board. At age 35, Garcia is beginning to age. However, Garcia is still a risk to run and is a above average scrambler. Garcia is best suited for a team that is looking for an potentially explosive quarterback who will make a few mistakes. Garcia is a wildcard who has boom or bust written all over him. Possible teams interested in Garcia include: Philadelphia, Detroit, Houston, and Oakland.
Projection: Houston. Don't get me wrong, David Carr is the starter in Houston. However, a veteran backup will help Carr along and should Carr get injured, Garcia's mobility would be a strong addition to the lack of protection Texan quarterbacks see. If Oakland makes a push for him, however, look for Garcia to go there. Garcia is the type of quarterback who wants a starting job above all else, and Oakland looks like the most likely place, but with Moss on the field and Garcia's less-than-perfect long ball, Oakland will likely look elsewhere first.
3. Josh McCown, Arizona
Background: Another wildcard come free agency, McCown is a talented quarterback who has spent his first few seasons fighting for a starting job. Wherever he goes, the story will likely be the same, but at 27, McCown is a young option that some team will likely take a risk on. However, it would be likely that such a team would have a veteran starter, looking for a cheap, young athlete to mold. The most likely teams interested include: Kansas City, Minnesota, and Tennessee
Projection: Minnesota. With rumors of Culpepper being traded or released, Minnesota will give the reigns to seasoned starter Brad Johnson. Tennessee and Kansas City would also both be good fits for McCown, but Minnesota has the most cap space and will likely look for McCown to be their backup.
1. Shaun Alexander, Seattle
Background: A player wins the MVP Award and how he he rewarded? With a nice pay increase? Nah, let him hit free agency. Almost unheard of, if Shaun Alexander does indeed hit the free agent market, many teams will come running. An all-around prototypical running back, Alexander is a playmaker who will immediately help any team. Possible homes for Alexander include: Seattle, Minnesota, Arizona, and Carolina.
Projection: Seattle. There's no place like home. He wants to play in Seattle. Seattle wants him there. The trick will be working out a deal before free agency starts otherwise Alexander's demand will skyrocket and another team could sneak in and steal the coveted running back away.
2. Edgerrin James, Indianapolis
Background: On a running back scale of 1-10, Alexander is a 10. That would make James a 9.9. Nearly as good as Alexander in every part of the game, James is missing one thing: the MVP Award. Lilely to leave on the sole basis of money, James will be a force come free agency. Potential teams interested include: Minnesota, Indianapolis (Franchise), Carolina, and Arizona.
Projection: Minnesota. With the flick of the wrist, Minnesota should be able to land arguably one of the NFL's best running backs. Minnesota, along with Arizona, has some of the most money to spend in free agency, but look for James to favor Minnesota. They will be competitive next season and he will be handed the starting job, unlike in Arizona where Arrington could steal carries.
3. Jamal Lewis, Baltimore
Background: Jamal Lewis hit free agency a year too late. However, this burly runner has speed to match and with his history on and off the field, whichever team ends up landing him will get a potential bargain in a running back who once set the NFL single season rushing record. Possible homes for Jamal include Minnesota, Baltimore, Green Bay, Carolina, and Arizona.
Projection: Arizona. Minnesota should land Edge. Baltimore will likely stick with Taylor. Green Bay always has Gado. Carolina recently transition tagged Foster. That leaves the Cardinals to nab Lewis for cheap. Lewis will be a great fit for Arizona as they look for a boom or bust running back who, if he succeeds will be explosive, but if he fails is veteran enough to help Arrington succeed in the starting role. Lewis will likely see his carries take a hit somewhat as Coach Green continues to try to mold Arrington.
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