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NFL Free Agents Not Likely To Be Retained

Find out which players likely won’t be retained by their teams, as they will choose cheaper replacements.

Mark Gunnels

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It’s March, which means NFL free agency is quickly approaching. Teams can start talking and negotiating with unrestricted free agents as soon as Monday.

Having said that, there are multiple players who could see themselves being pushed out the door due to incoming rookies.

Who are they?

Let’s take a look:

Russell Okung, LT, Seattle – In most cases, players have agents to represent them, but veteran tackle Russell Okung is taking a different approach, as he’s representing himself. 

“It’s very possible that I could stay here,” Okung stressed. But I know my value, and I’m not going to settle for anything less than that. If it works out, great. And if it doesn’t, that’s great as well.”

In what’s a very thin market for tackles, Okung is expecting a big payday and with other areas of concern, it’s uncertain if Seattle will be able to satisfy the former Pro Bowler.

If the two sides are unable to reach a deal, don’t be surprised if Seattle drafts Ohio State tackle Taylor Decker.

Despite poor pass protection, Russell Wilson was still able to hoist career numbers. With that being said, the Seahawks still need to find a way to protect their franchise quarterback better.

Decker presents great size at 6-foot-7, 320 pounds. Also, he played basketball in high school, which will help with his agility.

Rolando McClain, LB, Dallas  – Jerry Jones has a lot of vital decisions to make this off-season and one of them is what to do at the linebacker position, specifically Rolando McClain.

McClain hasn’t lived up to his eighth-overall pick status, but is Jerry willing to spend his fourth-overall pick on UCLA linebacker Myles Jack, who just missed majority of the season due to a torn meniscus?

To his defense, Jack is one of the most versatile prospects of this draft class and has similar abilities to Oakland’s Khalil Mack.

At his size of 6-foot-1, 245 pounds, Jack is able to not only help against the run, but he’s an ideal matchup for tight ends running across the middle.

Sean Smith, CB, Kansas City – The Kansas City Chiefs have one of the best defenses in football.

Andy Reid’s defense ranked third in points allowed (17.9 ppg) and they ranked fourth in total sacks (47). Nonetheless , when Kansas City met up with New England in the postseason, their secondary was exposed.

At the same time, in a league where there’s no such thing as having ‘too many’ quality cover guys, Kansas City would surely love to retain Smith, but the price may too hefty.

Considering how thin the open market is at cornerback, some team is probably going to overpay for a guy like Smith and Kansas City just may have to look for his replacement via the draft.

Mackenzie Alexander from Clemson wouldn’t be a bad option. 

“I’m 22, but I’m ready to compete with anybody. There’s nobody more dedicated than me, who’s put more time in or is more of a competitor than me. … I’m here prepared. I’m telling you I’m the best corner in this draft class,” Alexander stated.

When looking at his stats, it’ll shock people after realizing he didn’t snatch down one interception during his two-year Clemson career.

“I had some opportunities to come up with some picks in my career. I didn’t come up with them at the end of the day. I’m taking it like a man. In a lot of my situations, I wasn’t challenged very much,” Alexander claimed. “A lot of quarterbacks on teams stayed away from me, and that was their game plan, really. That’s it, really. That’s how I answer that.”

As a cornerback, you must have confidence, which is something Alexander definitely isn’t lacking.

Malik Jackson, DL, Denver – It feels like yesterday when the Denver Broncos won Super Bowl 50 over the Carolina Panthers.

Instead of basking in their own glory, John Elway and company are already back at work. With Peyton Manning’s decision of possible retirement in the air and free agency approaching, it’s a very busy time in the ‘Mile High City’ to say the least.

To the surprise of no one, Denver placed the franchise tag on Pro Bowler Von Miller, which leaves Malik Jackson out on the market.

Fortunately for Denver, this draft class is filled with talent up front, including Alabama’s A’Shawn Robinson.

Robinson already comes from a winning culture, so it should be a smooth transition to Denver and with him standing at 6-foot-4, 307 pounds, he’ll be a good fit to this already great front seven.

Mark Gunnels is an NFL columnist for Football Insiders. He has several years of experience covering the NFL and NCAA football. He's the radio color commentator for Lincoln University football. Mark's work has been featured on Sports Illustrated, Fox Sports and Yard Barker.

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