Wally Spurlin
The Dating Game: Perfect Fantasy Landing Spots for 2014 Free Agents

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The NFL combine is well underway as teams poke, prod and workout the 2014 NFL Draft class. What it represents for many (including yours truly) is being one step closer to some real fun – the opening of free agency.

That magical time of year when teams can go out and buy the biggest or flashiest names available. It’s as close to a fantasy auction style draft as there is in the ‘real’ NFL realm. If you have the money and a hankerin’ for a certain free agent, he is all yours.

Heck, even the league seems to love the idea as they continually raise the salary cap, allowing more teams to enter the fray for selected talent. No wonder commissioner Roger Goodell makes so much money … he does things right (yes, I love to grab the low-hanging fruit from time to time).

With the Winter Olympics in the rear view mirror (my heart aches for the United States women’s hockey team), and the boys of summer congregating out west and down south, it is time for some matchmaking!

With a tip of the cap to Chuck Barris, let’s play the fantasy football free agency “Dating Game.”

QUARTERBACKS

Michael Vick: Let’s go ahead and slide Vick to Cleveland as a stop-gap one year starter/mentor to Johnny Manziel once he’s selected in the draft. He could also be a nice example of hot to turn things around for wide receiver Josh Gordon.

Josh McCown: A return to Chicago is the only move that makes sense. McCown has already proven to be productive in the offense and Jay Cutler hasn’t played 16 games in a season since 2009.

Josh Freeman: Go west, young man! Oakland is where strong-armed quarterbacks go to disappear (read: Kerry Collins , Duante Culpepper). Freeman can sling it deep and the Raiders have some young speedsters at wide receiver.

Matt Cassel: Cassel must believe he can get paid more than the $3.7 million he was due to make in Minnesota after exercising his right to void the deal. I don’t. Go back to Minnesota because he already knows how to hand the ball to Adrian Peterson where he likes it.

Tim Tebow: He’s got to sign in Jacksonville, right? Right? It makes too much sense! Do I enjoy beating a dead horse … you bet!

RUNNING BACKS

Ben Tate: With Mike Lombardi out as the general manager in Cleveland, I am officially on board the New York Giants’ train for Tate next season. Tate showed an improved receiving game in 2013. That should net him a clear cut three-down gig next season. The Giants are in dire need.

Maurice Jones-Drew: Jones-Drew may not be what he once was but he is still a name. The Oakland Raiders need a running back … any running back. Jones-Drew can fill the void that losing both Darren McFadden and Rashad Jennings left. This match could just be crazy enough to work.

Darren McFadden: The Cleveland Browns seem to be playing ‘spin the bottle’ with their upper management positions, so why not running back? If he stays healthy, McFadden is capable of posting huge numbers. If he doesn’t … well the new regime in place for 2015 will have to deal with that.

Rashad Jennings: After fizzling out as the heir apparent to Maurice Jones-Drew in Jacksonville, Jennings put up career best numbers for the Oakland Raiders last season. Once the Tennessee Titans let Chris Johnson go, they should bring Jennings on board to help fill the void. He’ll get to face his former team twice a year and that should be fun.

Knowshon Moreno: Moreno needs to stay in Denver. It took five long years to get to the elite level of production he showed this season and his skill set is a perfect fit. A new system and lesser quarterback could return Moreno to being a fantasy afterthought.



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