After the big rush by some teams to land big-name players in the first handful of days, free agency has slowed down to a crawl. Most teams don't have much cap space to play with, and front offices are engaged in a tricky dance with agents as both sides try to get the best deal.
There are still plenty of good players available, though, and we'll take a look at the latest buzz surrounding three of the top names still on the board.
Nnamdi Asomugha Could Be A Starter In San Francisco
Asomugha has been talking with the 49ers and Saints for the past week or so, trying to decide which team would be the best fit for him in 2013. On Monday, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported that the cornerback was "torn" between the two teams:
Ian Rapoport @RapSheet
Nnamdi Asomugha is still torn between #49ers and #Saints, I'm told. But New Orleans pushing really hard to get him. #Staytuned3/25/2013, 5:39:28 PM
Then, on Tuesday, CSN Bay Area's Matt Maiocco reported Asomugha would compete against Carlos Rogers should he sign with the 49ers:
Matt Maiocco @MaioccoNBCS
If Nnamdi Asomugha signs w/ 49ers, he'll compete against Carlos Rogers. 49ers will not cut Rogers because he might be better than Asomugha.3/26/2013, 5:50:18 PM
Rogers was the team's No. 1 cornerback the past two seasons. He didn't play as well in 2012 as he did in his first season with the team, but there's no doubt Rogers is still an excellent player.
That said, the 49ers like to run press-man coverage on the outside a lot of the time—a technique that Asomugha owns. The Eagles played a soft zone most of the time—which is not Asomugha's forte—and he struggled as a result.
If the former Oakland Raiders star can rediscover his inner shutdown corner, he could overtake Rogers in the starting lineup.
The Eagles Might Land A Bargain Free Agent in Victor Butler
Butler is an intriguing pass-rusher who may be playing for Chip Kelly and the Eagles next season.
On Monday, Butler left Cleveland to head for Philly, per the Plain Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot:
Mary Kay Cabot @MaryKayCabot
Former #Cowboys LB Victor Butler is leaving #Browns visit without a contract and headed to Philly to visit #Eagles, source told PD.3/25/2013, 8:02:13 PM
Then on Tuesday, the Philadelphia Inquirer's Jeff McClane reported that Butler was taking a physical with the Eagles:
Jeff McLane @Jeff_McLane
Victor Butler is at the NovaCare Complex now undergoing a physical with the #Eagles. Will have update on FA OLB if he signs or leaves.3/26/2013, 2:59:32 PM
McClane later reported that Butler left his physical without a contract, but that the two sides were interested in making a deal:
Jeff McLane @Jeff_McLane
Victor Butler left the NovaCare without a contract, but there is still mutual interest in signing, according to an NFL source.3/26/2013, 9:25:19 PM
Butler never emerged as a consistent pass-rusher during his four seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, but he was stuck behind DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer. Even in limited duty, he racked up 11 sacks and five forced fumbles.
The Eagles already paid Connor Barwin to come over and rush the passer, and the team has Vinny Curry, Brandon Graham and Trent Cole on the roster.
That said, 3-4 teams can never have enough pass-rushers. Furthermore, Cole and Graham both have stiff hips, which could be trouble for them as outside linebackers.
Landing Butler would be a savvy move to continue adding pieces to the team's defense.
Darrius Heyward-Bey Would Be A Smart Pickup for the Detroit Lions
Heyward-Bey was recently released by the Oakland Raiders.
The Indianapolis Colts hosted the receiver (h/t ESPN's Adam Schefter), but he left Indy without a deal.
Early Tuesday morning, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reported, "In need of a wide receiver who can stretch the field opposite Calvin Johnson, the Detroit Lions have a visit scheduled with Darrius Heyward-Bey on Wednesday."
The former No. 7 overall pick never produced on the field in the way the Raiders had hoped when they drafted him, but there's no doubt he still has the potential to be great.
He caught 64 passes for 975 yards and four touchdowns in 2011, and though his receptions and yards diminished in 2012, he still hauled in five touchdowns.
Heyward-Bey's speed makes him an intriguing pickup for the Lions. With him stretching the field on one side and Calvin Johnson commanding double teams on every single play, the middle of the field would be wide open for exploitation.
Better still, Heyward-Bey won't be expensive to sign, as he has a lot to prove before he'll land another big contract.
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