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Remaining NFL free agency questions

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One week into free agency and the vast majority of household names are off the board.

We've steadily shifted into the open market's second phase, where teams will look to plug roster holes with more affordable talent. What can't be fixed now will be addressed in next month's draft. The fun is far from over.

With that in mind, let's break down some of the biggest remaining questions:

Where will Adrian Peterson land?


It won't be easy for the Vikings to trade Peterson. Teams like the Cardinals aren't lining up for the $45 million remaining on his contract. The Vikings, though, appear willing to pay Peterson, making Minnesota the most logical landing spot for the All-Pro runner. If Peterson can't stomach a return to Minnesota, and if the Vikings grant him his release, look for a flock of suitors to come chasing after the NFL's most talented tackle-breaking machine. 

Greg Hardy at a bargain?


Oakland's Reggie McKenzie isn't the only general manager shying away from Hardy. The MMQB's Peter King reported Monday that the former Panthers pass-rusher "is repelling his share of suitors," with one GM saying Hardy "is on our list, but pretty far down." One reason? Clubs believe Hardy is likely to be suspended for the first six games of the season because of last year's domestic-violence incident, per King. Hardy also represents a potential public-relations challenge for the team that signs him, but from an on-field angle, he looms as a potential open-market bargain. A team like the Cowboys makes plenty of sense.

How will Niners restock at linebacker?


The sudden retirements of five-time All-Pro Patrick Willis and rookie sensation Chris Borland have left San Francisco's cupboard bare at inside linebacker. Willis roamed the field as one of the NFL's fastest at his position while Borland -- with 108 tackles in just eight starts -- garnered attention from Defensive Rookie of the Year voters. Their absence places pressure on NaVorro Bowman to return to form after missing all last season with an ACL tear. The exodus also lowers Michael Wilhoite off the trade block, making him the top candidate to start beside Bowman. Backups include Shayne Skov, Chase Thomas and Nick Moody, but look for the 49ers to find help in April's draft. General manager Trent Baalke found Borland in the third round and the team also nabbed Bowman in Round 3. Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee noted that the front office already has eyes for Clemson's Stephone Anthony. On the free-agent market, Mason Foster or Brandon Spikes would make sense in a 3-4 scheme.

Will Titans draft a quarterback?


I came away from last month's combine convinced the Titans are thinking about taking a quarterback with the No. 2 overall pick. Coach Ken Whisenhunt and general manager Ruston Webster praised Zach Mettenberger, but talked about their lofty draft standing as a rare chance to address the most important position in sports. The Titans also sit in prime position to trade the pick. Could Eagles coach Chip Kelly pull one more stunner, moving heaven and earth (and Sam Bradford) for the rights to Marcus Mariota? Could the unpredictable Browns, armed with two first-rounders, have plans of their own? We're early in the process, but my money is on the Titans taking a quarterback themselves.

New home for Charles Clay?


The Dolphins reportedly have "lost patience" and "moved on" from Clay, who they expect will sign with the Bills. Miami can match any offer for the tight end after slapping Clay with the transition tag, but landing Jordan Cameron makes a potential breakup easier to tolerate. The Browns also were whispered about in the Clay sweepstakes, but Cleveland is nothing more than a dark horse for his services. With only Chris Gragg and Chris Manhertz on the roster, Buffalo is set to make a hard push. This should be resolved soon enough.

Who pounces on remaining wide receivers?


A handful of productive wideouts remain. The Chargers and Redskins have eyes for Michael Crabtree, while the Browns are determined to sign former Chiefs pass-catcher Dwayne Bowe. The recently cut Greg Jennings could start for a smattering of teams, while Hakeem Nicks, Mike Williams and Denarius Moore should all find work. This position group has plenty of juice left.

Chargers set to add backfield help?


After losing Ryan Mathews to the Eagles, the Chargers have just Branden Oliver, Donald Brown and Danny Woodhead under contract. Oliver enjoyed a productive rookie season and Woodhead remains a valuable passing-down specialist, but the Bolts must find an early-down hammer to replace what Mathews brought to the table. While free-agent runner Stevan Ridley offers that skill set, San Diego makes plenty of sense as a candidate to tap the draft for a potential starter.

More big moves in New Orleans?


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NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported last week that the Saints are open to trading nearly anyone on their roster. After exporting Jimmy Graham, Ben Grubbs and Kenny Stills and importing Dannell Ellerbe and Max Unger, does the front office have another earth-shaker up its sleeve? Cam Jordan is going nowhere, but what about Drew Brees?

King wrote last week about the conversation that unfolded between Seattle general manager John Schneider and Saints GM Mickey Loomis prior to the Graham swap, which went like this:

Schneider: "Anything off limits?"
Loomis: "No."

Teams don't trade franchise quarterbacks, but New Orleans is already pondering life after Brees. Rapoport reported in November that the team is likely to "draft a quarterback highly this year," noting that people inside the building "believe they can see the finish line" for their 36-year-old signal-caller.

It's highly unlikely, but the concept of moving Brees presents an interesting situation for New Orleans. If a desperate team was willing to flip multiple first-rounders for the final few seasons of Brees' career, the Saints -- already armed with two No. 1s and five picks in the top 80 selections -- would have a chance to rebuild their roster in a way we haven't seen since Jimmy Johnson sent Herschel Walker to Minnesota in October of 1989.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast is joined by Lindsay Rhodes and analyzes every free-agent move. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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