By Chris Burke & Doug Farrar
March 10, 2014

2014 NFL free agency predictions: Where will Jairus Byrd, Michael Johnson land?Eric Decker (left) and Alterraun Verner are both expected to test the market in free agency. (Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

NFL free agency opens Tuesday afternoon, bringing with it a flurry of transactions. What can you expect? Chris Burke and Doug Farrar look ahead, predicting where the top free agents in the AFC and NFC will land.

AFC Predictions

1. S Jairus Byrd (current team: Bills): Dolphins

The top safety — and probably the top defender — on the market wants to cash in on his trip into free agency. So, why not head to a franchise that’s shown no qualms about attempting to buy its way to a better roster? Miami ponied up for Mike Wallace last offseason, handed Brent Grimes a huge contract last week and has a need at safety with Chris Clemons departing. -- Chris Burke

2. DE Michael Johnson (current team: Bengals)Falcons

The Buccaneers, Bears and Vikings all have been linked to Johnson in the early days of negotiations. No team needs help off the edge as much as the Falcons. With Chicago reportedly turning its attention to Michael Bennett, the Falcons should be prepared to pounce here. -- CB

MORE: NFL free agency rumors | Potential FA busts | FA primers: QBs, RBs | WRs, TEs

3. CB Alterraun Verner (current team: Titans): Jets

The Jets recently cut CB Antonio Cromartie, leaving an opening at the position. They also could have another $16 million or so in spending money coming their way with the anticipated releases of Santonio Holmes and Mark Sanchez. Plucking Verner off the market to replace Cromartie would be an upgrade. -- CB

4. WR Eric Decker (current team: Broncos): Browns

The draft is rich with receivers and Cleveland holds two first-round picks, so … what gives with this prediction? Well, Decker’s reputation is that of a stellar No. 2 receiver (not a true No. 1). He could fill that role with the Browns alongside Josh Gordon, thereby freeing up Cleveland to focus on QB and defense early in the draft. -- CB

5. OT Eugene Monroe (current team: Ravens): Ravens

Baltimore rolled the dice by not slapping the franchise tag on its starting left tackle. As the situation at tackle began to shake out over the weekend, though, with Arizona, Miami and Oakland reportedly focusing on other available options, the likelihood of a Monroe-Ravens reunion grew. It makes sense for both parties. -- CB

Find more AFC predictions here

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NFC Predictions

1. LB Karlos Dansby (current team: Cardinals): Titans

The Cardinals have offered Dansby a two-year deal in the neighborhood of $10-12 million, which isn’t the neighborhood the veteran is looking to inhabit. Nor should he after the exceptional season he had in 2013. The Titans were looking hard at D’Qwell Jackson before Jackson signed with the Colts, and Dansby would be an amazing fit in Ray Horton’s defense. -- Doug Farrar

2. TE Jermichael Finley (current team: Packers): Patriots

The Patriots clearly need help for Tom Brady, and Bill Belichick loves to take chances on players who are fringe targets of other teams for whatever reason. Finley is coming off spinal fusion surgery,  and he’s yet to be cleared for football activity, but it’s easy to see the gears in Belichick’s brain turning on this one. New England’s offense is built on tight ends who can excel in the slot and flex positions, and if he’s good to go, Finley -- though inconsistent -- could be a potential steal in that system. -- DF

3. QB Michael Vick (current team: Eagles): Jets

Vick won’t command a long-term deal from anyone given his age and injury history, but it’s entirely possible that he’s got a couple of good seasons left. The Jets don’t exactly have a cadre of intriguing targets, but that’s somewhat fixable in a deep draft. Vick showed with the Nick Foles situation in Philly that he has no issue helping a younger quarterback along, and Geno Smith still needs development before he’s going to resemble a consistent NFL starter. -- DF

4. WR Hakeem Nicks (current team: Giants): Ravens

Nicks has worn out his welcome in New York, and given his declining production, he’s almost sure to be disappointed in the offers that come his way. He’s said in recent days that he’s open to a one-year “prove-it” deal, and that he’d love to catch passes from a proven quarterback. Well, the Ravens have a proven quarterback in Joe Flacco, and not enough for Flacco when it comes to targets. This could be a ideal fit for both sides, as Nicks looks to reclaim his rep as a legitimate No. 1 receiver, and the Ravens hope to re-boot their troubled offense. -- DF

5. DT Linval Joseph (current team: Giants): Vikings

The Vikings still have about $40 million in cap space after handing defensive end Everson Griffen a five-year contract extension Sunday, and there are holes all over their defense. Certainly the secondary is a primary concern, but there’s also a real need for a tackle who can draw double teams and set the pace for the front seven. Joseph has proven that he can be such a player, and it’s a near-certainty that he’s going to test the market after four years with the Giants. -- DF

Find more NFC predictions here

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