Kirk Cousins, Quarterback
Entering his seventh season in the NFL, all with the Redskins, Cousins is in the middle of trade and free agency rumors. At the end of the 2017 season, the Redskins traded for Alex Smith (former Chiefs QB), with the intention of dealing Cousins away. Now the question is who will grab him and will he be franchise tagged first, again.
Coming off three straight seasons as a starter for the Redskins, Cousins was poised to continue his improvement this off-season and leading the Redskins to their first playoff appearance since 2015(the first season Cousins started all season) entering the 2018 season. That won’t happen, probably.
Le’Veon Bell, Running back
At the end of his fourth season with the Steelers in 2016, Bell accepted a franchise tag, keeping him with the Steelers for the 2017 season with hopes of signing a big, long-term deal. That hasn’t happened. Instead, Bell played some of the best football of his career and hasn’t signed a deal to keep in Pittsburgh. Bell is one of the best running backs in the NFL, and he wants to be paid for his performance.
Steelers ownership would rather sign Bell to an extension, but are still considering tagging him for a second consecutive season. Bell, who wants more money for his on-field efforts, isn’t happy about the one-year franchise tag option.
To make both parties happy, Bell will have to come down on his expectations a bit, but the Steelers will need to make a 4-5 year deal worth a large sum. Bell is more than worth it.
Marcus Peters, Corner back
The 18th overall pick in the 2015 draft, Peters has lived up to his draft stock. In his three seasons in the league, Peters has taken the NFL by storm. His rookie year, Peters collected an NFL-best 8 INTs, earning the Defensive Rookie of the Year award, In 2016, he finished with 6 INTs, good for 2nd-best, and finished with 5 INTs last season, earning him the fifth best INT total on the year. Through three seasons, he has gotten himself 19 INTs, the most in that period.
Although the Chiefs have a fifth-year option on Peters, they’re not expected to pick it up in 2019 to extend his rookie deal. His numbers speak for themselves, and Peters has brought his best in the biggest games, including the 2017 AFC Wild Card game against the Titans where he picked off Marcus Mariota.
Malcolm Butler, Corner back
Butler proved his legitimacy during the Patriots Super Bowl run in 2014/15 when he intercepted Russell Wilson in the endzone on the last drive of the game to seal the win. Since then, his rookie season, the undrafted corner back has earned himself sacks, fumbles and interceptions in three-straight seasons for the Patriots. After the 2016 season, Butler was resigned to a 1-year, $3.91 million contract that kept him in New England through last season.
During the 2017 season, Butler tallied just two interceptions and was albeit replaced by Stephon Gilmore in the Patriots backfield. After getting benched, and not playing a snap, in Super Bowl 52 against the Eagles, Butler and the Patriots are expected to part ways. This leaves Butler, a good talent in any backfield, to make a shot at signing the 2014 Super Bowl 49 MVP runner-up.
Adam Vinatieri, Kicker
After 10 seasons with the Patriots and 12 seasons with the Colts, Vinatieri is still hungry for more. Needing just 58 points to pass Morten Anderson for the top-spot in the NFL’s all-time scoring list, Vinatieri is reportedly close to a signing a 1-year extension with the Colts.
After missing one too many kicks in the 2017 season, Vinatieri missed out on a $500,000 performance bonus (90% on the season). Now, the 45-year-old in his 23rd season is still booting it through the uprights at a high rate. Currently finishing up a 2-year, $6 million deal, Vinatieri has been well worth the money for the Colts. If Andrew Luck is healthy going into the 2018 season, Vinatieri could be kicking more PATs than FGs.
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