The NFL's franchise tag deadline has come and gone, and now seven former Ohio State players are heading into free agency ahead of the 2016 season. Players will soon find themselves either signing with their current team to a new contract, or will be heading to a new city to start all over.
In less than a week, teams will begin talking to players and negotiating contracts ahead of the open market on Mar. 9. Now that organizations have had a chance to evaluate incoming talent at the NFL Combine, they'll be more aware of their specific needs, and will certainly capitalize on the free agency talent.
In a somewhat surprising move by the Rams, the team let go of their all-time leading tackler after seven seasons with the organization. Drafted in the second round by the former St. Louis Rams, Laurinaitis became the leader of the defense, and started in all 112 (!) games over seven seasons since 2009. The lack of injury history should be a major selling point for teams looking to add a veteran to their linebacker corp.
The quarterback turned wideout was cut from the Cleveland Browns just after the final 53-man roster deadline only to be snapped up in Week 13. Pryor's short first season at his new position only resulted in one 42-yard reception, despite lining up for 91 snaps in three games with the team. With Hue Jackson as the new head coach for the Browns, Pryor may be hoping to get another chance with the organization, given Jackson's history of preferring big, tall receivers.
The linebacker got plenty of run with the oft-injured Jadeveon Clowney spending the majority of the past two seasons sidelined. Simon has earned big praise from the Texans defensive star J.J. Watt, who lauded the linebacker, "I know he's going to do his job. If I'm running a stunt with John, or if I'm on the same side in the run game, I know he's going to set the edge. I know I can count on him to be where he needs to be. For a teammate, that's all you can really ask for."
Simon's production could earn him an extension to his stint with Houston, but if not, he shouldn't have a problem finding a new team ahead of the 2016 season.
Daniel 'Boom' Herron
Boom started the 2015 with the Buffalo Bills, predominantly filling in while LeSean McCoy recovered from lingering hamstring issues. He gained 37 yards on 11 carries during his time in Buffalo, but only touched the ball in two of the four games he played and was cut following McCoy's return in Week 10. Herron got a call on Thanksgiving to re-sign with the Colts -- his former team of two years -- to finish out the 2015 season. The running back has been on three teams in just four seasons, and if the Colts don't decide to re-sign him to their roster, he might have a harder time finding yet another landing spot.
Full list of Buckeye free agents:
|Name||2015 PFF grade||Position||Age||2015 team||2015 snaps||2016 FA status|
|Terrelle Pryor||50||Wide Receiver||27||Browns||91||RFA|