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NFL Notebook: Surprise Names Set to Hit Free Agency

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Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker C.J. Mosley runs onto the field before an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

The NFL Notebook takes a trip around the league to keep you up to date with some of the biggest news this week:

The NFL's version of "March Madness" commences next week – it's called free agency.

Each club had until this past Tuesday to use the franchise designation on one of its veteran players. Six teams exercised this option. It's the ones who opted to let their top talent test the market, though, that have added an extra layer of intrigue entering the league's new year on March 13.

Baltimore Ravens linebacker C.J. Mosley was not franchised and will become an unrestricted free agent next week. At 26, Mosley has made the Pro Bowl in four of his first five NFL seasons.

Mosley's former teammate at Alabama finds himself in similar company. The New York Giants' Landon Collins will also become an UFA in an already loaded safety market. In four seasons, the 25-year-old has earned Pro Bowl honors three times. Collins was also an All-Pro selection in 2016.

Another notable name who was not franchised is Patriots defensive end Trey Flowers. A two-time Super Bowl Champion, Flowers is expected to be one of the most sought-after players in free agency.

The six players franchised in 2019 include: DE Dee Ford (Chiefs), DE Demarcus Lawrence (Cowboys), DE Frank Clark (Seahawks), DT Grady Jarrett (Falcons), LB Jadeveon Clowney (Texans) and K Robbie Gould (49ers).

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AB awaits new team – According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Pittsburgh Steelers may find a trade partner for wide receiver Antonio Brown soon, possibly by the end of this week.

Schefter reported last week that several teams have shown interest in landing Brown. The four-time All-Pro and seven-time Pro Bowler will be 31 at the start of the 2019 NFL season.

Brown has had six straight seasons with at least 1,200 yards receiving. If this is it in Pittsburgh, he'll depart second in catches, receiving yards and touchdowns all-time behind Steelers great Hines Ward.

Talented Safety Market – With free agency less than a week away, several starting-quality safeties are set to hit the open market.  The list includes Collins, Seattle's Earl Thomas, Houston's Tyrann Mathieu, Washington's Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Baltimore's Eric Weddle, the Rams' Lamarcus Joyner and the Chargers' Adrian Phillips, among others.

The names above have combined to make 19 Pro Bowls and earn eight All-Pro selections.

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