INDIANAPOLIS — Last week, we brought you an interesting article from MMQB's Andy Benoit, who presented a list of his top 25 pending free agents that could find themselves signing lucrative deals starting March 9, when the NFL's free agency period officially begins.
Benoit, you right remember, believed six of his 25 top pending free agents — defensive tackles Brandon Williams and Calais Campbell, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, linebacker Dont'a Hightower, safety Tony Jefferson and defensive back Micah Hyde — could be good fits on the Indianapolis Colts’ roster (read his entire piece by clicking here).
So that got us thinking: as the Colts try to get back to the top of the mountain in the AFC South, could some of their divisional rivals make some free agency splashes this offseason, as well?
As it turned out, two of the three AFC South teams were found as potential suitors for the players on Benoit's list. Let's take a look at just that:
The Texans have one pending free agent as a potential target on Benoit's list: Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Bennie Logan. Here's what Benoit wrote:
24. BENNIE LOGAN, DT, EAGLES
He moves laterally with tremendous aplomb for a man of his size (6'2", 309). In the right scheme, he can help make a run D elite.
Match Game: PHI, NO, HOU
Analysis: Ouch. If Logan ends up with the Texans, then they just have a completely unfair defensive front heading into 2017, especially with the return of J.J. Watt, who missed the entire 2016 season with back issues.
Logan in 2016 played in 13 games and totaled just 24 tackles, but he had 2.5 sacks and forced two fumbles. His aforementioned size makes him an ideal player to plug gaps and make room for others behind him to make plays, but he has the athleticism and football talent to be able to make plays on his own, too.
In four NFL seasons, Logan has amassed 163 tackles with 5.5 sacks and three forced fumbles. He'd no doubt be a welcomed addition to the Texans' defensive front, which had the 10th-best overall rating as a group from Pro Football Focus this season, even without Watt.
Logan could be an ideal guy to either spell or replace Vince Wilfork, who has hinted at retirement already this offseason.
Of Benoit's 25 top potential free agents, he had the Jaguars as a potential landing spot for none of them.
Analysis: What does this mean? While it certainly doesn't mean the Jaguars are a finished product, or they won't be in the free agent hunt, it just appears that none of these particular players might be good fits for what the new personnel approach in Jacksonville will be.
Jacksonville has two important pending free agents of its own this offseason in offensive tackle Luke Joeckel and safety Johnathan Cryprien, the team's first- and second-round picks in the 2013 NFL Draft. They're also seeing cornerback Prince Amukamara, defensive linemen Tyson Alualu, defensive tackle Abry Jones, wide receivers Bryan Walters and Arrelious Benn, "offensive weapon" Denard Robinson and defensive tackle Jordan Hill, among others, hit the free agent market.
One might imagine Jacksonville will at least take a look at Texans cornerback A.J. Bouye (more on him later), and maybe even a guy like Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry, who will certainly draw a lot of interest on his own.
Keep an eye on Tom Coughlin and his crew this offseason, as they try to continue to build on some young, drafted talent with maybe a couple free agent splashes in the coming weeks.
The Titans tied the Colts with six players as potential free agent targets on Benoit's list. Here's the haul:
4. A.J. BOUYE, CB, TEXANS
This safety-corner hybrid became a lockdown perimeter mugger against receivers on the defense's right side in 2016. No corner improved more over the last 12 months.
Match: TEN, GB, CHI
12. ALSHON JEFFERY, WR, BEARS
His availability is a concern—he's missed 17 games over the last five years, four to a PED ban in '16—but when he's on the field, he's as potent a downfield weapon as you'll find.
Match Game: CLE, SF, TEN
15. TRUMAINE JOHNSON, CB, RAMS
He has an excellent feel for defending off-coverage, especially against big receivers, and he's capable of tightening up to play straight man-to-man.
Match Game: LAR, TEN, GB
16. STEPHON GILMORE, CB, BILLS
Gilmore's long arms and physicality serve him very well outside. He lacked consistency in '16, but the raw talent is there.
Match Game: TEN, BUF, SF
17. DRE KIRKPATRICK, CB, BENGALS
He's prone to the occasional mistake, though those have been fewer and further between over time. Not many corners have his combination of length and hip fluidity.
Match Game: CIN, TEN, TB
21. TERRELLE PRYOR, WR, BROWNS
He improved in critical areas in year one as a wideout. He's no sure thing, but he has the size and athleticism to develop into a WR1.
Match Game: CLE, SF, TEN
—————————Analysis: Apparently, the Titans need help at cornerback.
With four of these six players playing that position, one might think Mike Mularkey and defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau will be focusing on their secondary this offseason.
It's interesting that Benoit listed the Titans first under Bouye's potential matches (although that could mean completely nothing), as that would represent a potential rising star going from one division rival to another.
As we learned last week on A Look Around The AFC South, Bouye began the 2016 season as the Texans' No. 4 cornerback, but by the end of the season, his performance had him regarded as one of the top at his position — in the entire league.
Now that he's heading into the offseason as an unrestricted free agent, the Texans have a big decision to make regarding Bouye, who had 63 tackles, a sack and an interception to go with an impressive 16 passes defensed in 2016.
But the team already has three pretty-well established (and well-paid) cornerbacks in Jonathan Joseph, Kareem Jackson and Kevin Jackson. So keep an eye on that.
Another intriguing matchup would be if Pryor got signed by the Titans.
With Marcus Mariota coming off a promising second season as the team's quarterback — and with DeMarco Murray being one of the top running backs in the league once again — teaming those two with Pryor could present nightmares for every single defense Tennessee matches up against, including twice a year against Indianapolis.
Scary thought, for sure.
The analysis from those producing content on Colts.com does not necessarily represent the thoughts of the Indianapolis Colts organization. Any conjecture, analysis or opinions formed by Colts.com content creators is not based on inside knowledge gained from team officials, players or staff.