At 3 p.m. CT on Tuesday, NFL free agency officially begins, touching off a frantic whirlwind of rumors, signatures and dollar signs. Among the players hoping to get paid are a handful of former Ole Miss Rebels, including Greg Hardy, Kendrick Lewis and Jerrell Powe.
Here are the guys set to become unrestricted free agents.
The Kraken's willingness to sign a franchise tender with Carolina last offseason instead of insisting on a multi-year deal looks like it backfired. He missed all but one game in 2014 after that ugly domestic violence incident and, despite having those charges dropped in court, could still face a suspension from the NFL. He'll find out during a Tuesday hearing with the league, but even if he's cleared, teams will be able to hold the scandal over his head and dock him contract dollars.
Still, Hardy's only 26 and is easily the best pass rusher on the market. Bleacher Report's Jason Cole reports that the 49ers, Colts, Falcons, Jaguars and Titans are after him, though Atlanta's interest has since been questioned.
It's being widely reported that Parnell will ink a five-year, $32 million deal with the Jaguars the moment free agency begins. If that's true, it's an incredible pay day for a guy who had just two career games at offensive tackle before an impressive stint filling in for Doug Free in Dallas last season. Keep in mind that this guy was a basketball player at Ole Miss before being convinced by Houston Nutt to become a defensive end during his senior year. Parnell went undrafted and toiled on the Saints practice squad before getting on with the Cowboys. Now he's gonna be making $6.4 million a year. Get money, dude.
After a bounce-back year in Houston, Lewis is in line for more than the one-year deal he settled for last offseason. He allowed fewer big plays in the passing game and, more significantly, was much better against the run: in 2013 he missed a tackle on a rusher every 6.7 attempts; that number improved to 13.5 in 2014. It looks like the Texans will let him take off and there's been chatter that he'll land with the Jets.
It looks like Powe will be following Lewis out the door in Houston. He's playing on an already crowded defensive front and graded out as the worst of the group in 2014, according to Pro Football Focus. A multi-year deal probably isn't in his future, but he's managed to stay in the league this long, so hopefully he'll latch on somewhere.
More names to watch
John Jerry, Ashlee Palmer, Chris Spencer, Micheal Spurlock and Cassius Vaughn