Free Agency is upon us and starting this week teams will look to begin bolstering their rosters for the 2016 NFL season. Over the past few weeks it has become evident that Bruce Irvin is one of the top unrestricted free agents in the NFL.
While in Seattle Irvin proved to be an extremely versatile and valuable linebacker for one of the league’s best defenses. As a result Bruce Irvin has placed himself in a position for a lucrative second contract. A host of teams will attempt to gain the services of Bruce Irvin and what he brings to a defense but who has the best shot?
Below we will examine the suitors vying for the former West Virginia standout and their chances of landing the talented linebacker.
Jacksonville Jaguars – 30% chance of signing Irvin
Last week the Jags were the most talked about team regarding the pursuit of Irvin. There were even rumblings on Twitter from former WVU teammates that suggested Irvin could be Jacksonville bound. Irvin did play for Jacksonville head coach Gus Bradley for one year in Seattle so there is at least some familiarity there. The Jaguars would love to bolster their pass rush and are likely the odds on favorite to add Irvin.
The Giants land on the list simply because they are in such desperate need of defensive help and have an abundance of money to spend in free agency. The Giants had the worst defense in the NFL in 2015 and will need proven veterans to infuse some life into a weak defensive roster. Irvin’s ability to play several positions fits well into defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s scheme. It would be nice to see Bruce Irvin and WVU teammate J.T. Thomas line-up together again as well.
Atlanta Falcons – 20% chance of signing Irvin
Atlanta is Bruce Irvin’s hometown and his relationship with Atlanta head coach Dan Quinn is well documented. Irvin himself has predicted he would end up in Atlanta in 2016. However in the last week Irvin has backed away from this prediction and even openly questioned returning home on Twitter. With that said the Falcons still figure to be a strong contender to ink Irvin. Having Vic Beasley and Bruce Irvin would give Atlanta an instantly lethal pass rush.
Arizona Cardinals – 20% chance of signing Irvin
Rumors the Arizona Cardinals jumped into the mix for Irvin surfaced Monday. The Cardinals would love to land the former rival linebacker to improve their pass rush and strengthen an already formidable defense. This would be an interesting fit for Irvin as he would jump to a former conference rival. Late Monday there was a lot of smoke to this rumor and where there is smoke there are usually flames when it comes to free agency. I’m sure if Irvin was to leave Seattle he would love the opportunity to line up against Seattle twice a year.
Seattle Seahawks – 10% chance of signing Irvin
Although he seems like a foregone conclusion Irvin’s time in Seattle is over Irvin has made it clear he has strong ties with the organization. Irvin has even gone as far as to say he would be open to giving Seattle a hometown discount. Irvin has stated repeatedly he would love to remain in Seattle for both his family and his Seattle teammates. Anything is possible and its not out of the question the team that took a chance and made Irvin a first round pick might choose to keep him in Seattle.
Carolina Panthers – 5% chance of signing Irvin
In the Super Bowl the Panthers learned first hand how important putting pressure on the quarterback is in the NFL. Irvin would obviously be a welcomed addition to the Panthers defense. Irvin could thrive on the Panthers and compliment their strong secondary. The Panthers will likely lose a few key defensive players of their own to free agency so there will be holes to fill. The team has seen what Irvin can do first hand.
A player like Irvin is such a commodity in the NFL that any number of teams looking to make a splash in free agency could scoop Irvin up this week. Other teams in the hunt for Irvin’s services could include Oakland, San Francisco, and Dallas. Whomever is lucky enough to win the Irvin sweepstakes will be getting a proven player who could be just entering his prime.