Best team fits for free agents

Free agency is just around the corner. We've already broken down our top 99 free agents, now it's time to start predicting the madness. We started by picking the players who are bound to get paid too much followed by free agents who offer the most bang for the buck. Now it's time to examine the best player-team combinations.

Matt Forte to Jets

Matt Forte, who is looking at a fresh start after a successful nine-year run with the Bears, has been connected to the Patriots for weeks. Forte would certainly be a nice fit in Josh McDaniels' offense, but we see an equally appealing fit 220 miles south. Ryan Fitzpatrick made magic with Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker last season, but the Jets lacked a third receiver to serve as a Fitz security blanket. Bilal Powell emerged in that role late in the season, but he's a free agent and Forte would represent an upgrade. Forte could be to Jets coach Todd Bowles what LaDainian Tomlinson was to Rex Ryan once upon a time in the Meadowlands. -- Dan Hanzus

Mario Williams to Raiders

The Raiders need an edge rusher to pair with Khalil Mack. Adding Williams would be similar to the Broncos adding DeMarcus Ware to Von Miller. Oakland has enough cap space to give Williams one last big payday. The Raiders should focus their offseason spending on defense, and adding an edge rusher like Williams not only will help get after the quarterback, but will boost a currently weak secondary. Many will question Williams' effort after he took plays off last season. However, edge rushers of his caliber are few and far between. With a fresh start on an up-and-coming team, Williams should return to his double-digit sack totals. Having a talented young stud like Mack to take attention away will be beneficial to a 31-year-old who would see plenty of one-on-one matchups in Oakland. -- Kevin Patra

Travis Benjamin/Marvin Jones to Packers

Is it time for a bit of a cosmic shift in how the Packers operate? The team has taken pride in their homegrown roster, but with Aaron Rodgers struggling to bear the weight of the entire offense last season, it might be time. There are some interesting names out there, including Travis Benjamin out of Cleveland and Marvin Jones out of Cincinnati. Both would provide a reliable slot option between a recovering Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. Both would also take some pressure off Davante Adams, who struggled mightily in the limelight last year. It was difficult to see Rodgers down the stretch firing 10-yard comebacks to James Jones as his most effective means of gaining first downs. Mike McCarthy was stuck placing Cobb at running back just to generate some life in the offense. Speed and reliable hands will go a long way for the league's best quarterback. -- Conor Orr

Doug Martin stays home

Sometimes the best free-agency fit means no move at all. The Bucs won't get Doug Martin for cheap after last season's explosive 1,400-yard campaign, but Tampa Bay should do all it can to keep one of the league's top backfields intact. Martin was a hard-charging whirlwind in 2015, showing the ability to gain yardage inside and out, while Charles Sims gave the Bucs a dangerous component through the air. Martin, especially, kept defenses honest, making life easier for rookie quarterback Jameis Winston. Instead of breaking up the band, Tampa should keep this act together for the long haul. -- Marc Sessler

Bruce Irvin to Falcons

Amid trade rumors connecting Bruce Irvin to Atlanta, the pass rusher was quoted last offseason as saying he wanted to follow former Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn to the Falcons in 2016. If that remains the case, here's Irvin's chance to team with Vic Beasley for a much-needed speedy edge rushing duo in Quinn's defense. The Falcons might have competition in the form of another former Seattle coordinator, Jacksonville's Gus Bradley. -- Chris Wesseling

Danny Trevathan to Bears

Coming off a Super Bowl win, Broncos linebacker Danny Trevathan likely is not coming back. While the presence of his old position coach in Atlanta makes the Falcons a logical landing spot, the coach that drafted him -- John Fox -- is looking for defensive help in Chicago. Trevathan sounds game, saying before Super Bowl 50: "Coach Fox is one of the guys that gave me the opportunity to showcase I can fit within the scheme ... I'm sure we'll end up talking." With talented defensive coordinator Vic Fangio in place, the Bears would give Trevathan the chance to star inside a defense that could be on the rise in 2016. -- Marc Sessler

Derrick Johnson back to the Chiefs

Not much can be gleaned from smokescreen season, which lasts from the start of the combine through free agency and the draft. But one thing was incredibly clear when listening to Chiefs general manager John Dorsey: They want Derrick Johnson back in red and yellow.

"We are going to move this thing forward," Dorsey said at the combine after noting that he's already met with Johnson's reps. "Anytime you become the all-time leading tackler for the Chiefs, we're not going to let good football players go in this thing."

Johnson has quietly been one of the best inside linebackers in football over the last decade, and at 33, he was arguably outplayed by only Carolina's Luke Kuechly at the position last year, which is no small feat. The Chiefs not only want him back because he's a franchise legend, but because they need him back to anchor that defense. -- Conor Orr

Marvin Jones to Giants

We'd love to see Victor Cruz make it back from his lingering lower-body issues, but the Giants can't count on it. General manager Jerry Reese needs a legit option to line up across from Odell Beckham Jr., and Marvin Jones is an ascendant talent who has already proven he can be a fine second banana to A.J. Green in Cincinnati. The Giants could create weekly mismatches with Jones facing off against the opponent's second-best cornerback every week. If Cruz regains his form, slide him back into the slot and you've got yourself a formidable set of triplets for Eli Manning. -- Dan Hanzus

Alex Mack to Jaguars

Two years ago, Mack signed an offer sheet with the Jacksonville Jaguars that was matched by the Browns. At the time the center cited the enthusiastic direction of the Jacksonville franchise as the reason for signing the tender. Two years later, he should ink for good with Gus Bradley's squad. Sure, Mack has spoke highly of returning to the Browns and perhaps going to Seattle would give him the best shot at winning, but Jacksonville makes too much sense. More than the money -- we expect Mack to be the highest-paid center, by far, no matter where he lands -- the Jags offer something the Browns can't: a bonafide franchise quarterback. Mack could help Blake Bortles take the next leap into superstardom. The 30-year-old blocker would finally be on an offense loaded with talent. The Jags also need a center to bolster their interior blocking, the offense's biggest issue last season. It almost happened two years ago. It should this time around. --Kevin Patra

Dwayne Allen to Steelers

"Everybody's looking for a Heath Miller, the all-around traditional tight end that can block, can catch," Bruce Arians said last week. Dwayne Allen is that traditional tight end, as referenced Wednesday. If the Steelers land him as Miller's replacement, they can scratch tight end off their shopping list and concentrate on adding secondary help in the early rounds of the draft. -- Chris Wesseling

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content