|Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin (left) and free agent-to-be Greg Jennings could soon be reunited.|
In the spirit of Valentine's Day, let's play NFL matchmaker. Perusing the unofficial list of free agents, and considering other players likely available on the trade market, what is one match between player and team that you would like to see happen?
Greg Jennings, Joe Philbin should rekindle past chemistryThe most obvious Valentine's Day-style match wouldn't be a surprise. Green Bay Packers receiver Greg Jennings thrived under Miami Dolphins coach Joe Philbin when Philbin was the offensive coordinator in Green Bay, and now he has a chance to join Philbin again. That should happen, if for no other reason than because the Dolphins badly need someone who can make life difficult for opposing defenses in a way they didn't last season.
Brian Hartline is productive, but he's not a No. 1 receiver. The Dolphins have seen the benefit of bringing someone in who has previous knowledge of a system; they've seen how such a player can hit the ground running. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill (who played under Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman at Texas A&M) was the best example of that. Jennings going to Miami just makes sense; it's time for the team to begin building around Tannehill.
Mike Wallace in Carolina? Nothing could be finerPittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace could form an amorous pairing with the Carolina Panthers. Big-armed quarterback Cam Newton would have at his disposal a deep threat that could keep defenses on their heels, while veteran receiver Steve Smith would have somebody to take the load off of him. With Wallace, defenses wouldn't be able to stack the box to stop the running game, either.
The Panthers are the only team in the NFC South without multiple game-changing wide receivers. Adding one of the game's most dangerous deep threats could change an awful lot for Carolina's offense.
Greg Jennings and Miami are a perfect matchGreg Jennings wants to get paid and boost his Hollywood image. The Miami Dolphins desperately need a true No. 1 receiver. Jennings played for Miami coach Joe Philbin when he was the Green Bay Packers' offensive coordinator. Jennings and the Dolphins are a match made in heaven.
Reggie Bush and Falcons belong togetherI love playing Valentine's Day matchmaker. One time, I set up two of my friends, and they wound up getting engaged! Of course, the wedding never came, and she married someone else. But for a while, it worked great! So with that success in mind, I'd like to say, "Reggie Bush, meet the Atlanta Falcons."
Atlanta needs a running back, but there aren't many impressive ones out there. Bush would fit the Falcons' high-octane offense, giving them a presence that could be similar to the one Marshall Faulk brought to the St. Louis Rams. Bush's speed -- matched with better understanding and execution the past couple of seasons -- would mean a whole new headache for Atlanta's opponents, who didn't have to worry about facing an explosive running threat in 2012.
I don't think Bush will suddenly turn into Faulk, but he could make the same kind of jump in production Faulk did when he left the Indianapolis Colts for St. Louis. So maybe he'll be Faulk Lite -- which is still pretty awesome. It's all about being in the right system for a running back. With the way Atlanta can spread the field? Look out. Chunk-yardage runs and long gains out of the backfield will be made to order for Bush, who doesn't need 28 to 30 carries per game to be effective. Twenty will do just fine -- he should easily average 100 to 125 combined yards per game with that much action. The crazy thing is, had the light gone on for Bush earlier in his career, he never would have left the New Orleans Saints. Happy Valentine's Day!
Percy Harvin to Detroit would be a dreamAs a fan of football, I'd be most intrigued by a match between Percy Harvin and the Detroit Lions, given that Harvin would instantly improve the Lions' special teams unit, which ranked 31st in kickoff returns in 2012.
Oh, you were thinking about what he could do on the Lions' offense. Fair enough. It's scary to think of how dynamic Detroit would be with Calvin Johnson and Harvin (in the slot); it would be like a game of "Madden" come to life!
Sadly, this will never happen, because no matter how tired the Vikings have grown of Harvin, they will not hand him over to the Lions (even though they totally should, you know, for the good of the game). The most realistic match would be the one I mentioned in my most recent Pick Six column: Reggie Bush going to the Cincinnati Bengals.
Mike Wallace would make the Bengals completeHere's a scary proposition for the world champion Baltimore Ravens, along with the Pittsburgh Steelers and every other team in the AFC: a Cincinnati Bengals passing attack that features A.J. Green and Mike Wallace. I don't know if that pair would be better than the Atlanta Falcons' duo of Julio Jones and Roddy White, but it absolutely would be good enough to ensure the Bengals' spot atop the AFC North in 2013.
Throw in two-time Pro Bowl tight end Jermaine Gresham (who's still just 24) and 23-year-old receiver Mohamed Sanu, and suddenly Cincy cuts the figure of the scariest offense in the conference (yes, even with Andy Dalton in the driver's seat).