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Terrelle Pryor, Johnathan Hankins headline list of Ohio State NFL free agents

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Several Buckeyes could be heading to new teams as free agency gets in full swing.

San Diego Chargers v Cleveland Browns Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Just a few months have passed since the end of the 2016 NFL season, and players have already started getting cut, traded and re-signed. Several former Ohio State stars are looking for new deals as they head into spring training, and it all starts with the opening of free agency.

A few big name former Buckeyes are looking for new big-money, longterm contracts and others are looking for one more roster spot on their way to retirement. There are a couple notable veterans, like James Laurinaitis and Mike Nugent, who will consider retiring after they both were released before the end of the 2016 season. It wouldn’t be surprising to see them both follow A.J. Hawk’s lead and hang up their cleats.

Terrelle Pryor: Coming off his first 1,000-yard season as a receiver, Pryor is now in a spot to make big money. He has openly expressed interest in staying with the Cleveland Browns, but also suggested he’d let his agents take care of the business side of things. Despite his inexperience at the wide receiver position, his size has been a big factor in his success on the outside. Being able to physically dominate in coverage can make up for inconsistent route-running every now and then.

Johnathan Hankins: After establishing himself as one of the better interior defenders in the league, the Buckeye is now ready for a paycheck to match. The Giants have a tough financial situation, and the team’s decision to use the franchise tag on Jason Pierre-Paul meant even less available funds to resign Hankins. The lineman is young enough to draw a big payday from a team looking to fill a gap in their run defense.

John Simon: The edge rusher has improved over the last two seasons in Houston, in large part thanks to the direction of newly appointed defensive coordinator -- and Buckeye — Mike Vrabel. Simon was able to step up when starter J.J. Watt was sidelined for the entire season. Despite having several career-highs in 2016, Simon ended up missing significant time with a chest injury. He rehabbed 12 hours a day to get back before the end of the season, and he did — officially foregoing the IR designation.

Nick Mangold: The 11-year veteran was released by the team that drafted him back in the 2006. The Jets were facing a cap hit of over $9 million if they kept Mangold on the roster, and decided to part ways with the seven-time Pro Bowler. He doesn’t intend to retire just yet — despite finishing 2016 on IR due to an ankle injury — and could be a good fall gap option for a team focused on short term success.

2017 Buckeye Free Agents

2016 team Name Position Age 2016 snaps
2016 team Name Position Age 2016 snaps
Carolina Panthers Corey Brown (RFA) Wide Receiver 25 585
Carolina Panthers Ted Ginn Jr. Wide Receiver 32 690
Carolina Panthers Andrew Norwell (RFA) Guard 25 1108
Chicago Bears Mike Adams Tackle 27 93
Cleveland Browns Terrelle Pryor Wide Receiver 28 900
Houston Texans John Simon Linebacker 26 516
Miami Dolphins Chimdi Chekwa Cornerback 28 15
New York Giants Johnathan Hankins Defensive Lineman 25 766
New York Jets Nick Mangold Center 33 433