Ndamukong Suh (Getty Images)

There were plenty of big stories in the NFL world in 2014 , and we can probably expect a few more in 2015. Looking ahead to the next calendar year, what are some of the things we should be keeping an eye on in the NFL? Glad you asked … 1. Who will be the biggest free agent on the market?  Let’s assume Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant gets re-signed or stuck with the franchise tag. It’s very hard to believe he’s hitting free agency. Even if he did, Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh might still be No. 1 on the list. His franchise number is obscene ($26.7 million) so it’s unlikely the Lions tag him, and he’s come this far so why not test the open market? Yes he can be a bit dirty at times, but finding a disruptive force like this on the defensive line is just about impossible. Also battling Suh for the top spot: Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston, fresh off a 22-sack season. 2. For the teams that can’t sign Suh, who will be next on the free-agent priority list? Bryant, in the unlikely chance he reaches free agency, is a big one. Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray is a really interesting case in this era of not investing in running backs. Will a guy who won the rushing title by almost 500 yards really not get a big deal? The Denver Broncos have two stars, receiver Demaryius Thomas and tight end Julius Thomas, who they haven’t locked up to extensions. Philadelphia Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin, Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy (isn’t that interesting?) and New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul are also big names about to hit the market. Though, with all players whose contracts will expire, teams have a bit of time to work out a new deal. NFL free agency begins on March 10 at 4 p.m. ET. [ Join FanDuel’s $1.75M Wild Card fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 14,530 teams paid ] 3. Who will be the biggest name currently under contract that will be added to that free-agent list?  Darrelle Revis. The New England Patriots got the star cornerback as a nice one-year rental, although technically it was a two-year deal. He has had an exceptional season, but with a massive option looming he would have a $25 million cap hit next season. So, yeah, add Revis to that list of free agents. Although, like with all pending free agents, there’s time to work things out before Revis hits free agency. 4. What about trades, will any big-name quarterbacks be moved? Jay Cutler is the most fascinating possibility. If some team takes him, it’s basically a “get out of jail free” card for the Bears just one year into his massive contract. Would a team like the St. Louis Rams or Tennessee Titans do it? Don’t underestimate teams’ desperation at quarterback. Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III finished the season well enough that you’d think trading him would be off the table unless Washington got a great deal, but with that franchise, who knows? 5. Will Jameis Winston be the most hotly debated draft prospect ever? It’s hard to think of anyone else who will reach the level of craziness we can expect for Winston. Maybe Johnny Manziel had more pre-draft debate, because he was a huge star in the social-media era and there were more on-field questions than we’ll see with Winston. But whatever off-field stuff we heard about with Manziel was not to the same level of what we’ll hear about with Winston. if Winston never had been in trouble through college, it’s hard to imagine he wouldn’t be the first pick. Now? We’ll see on April 30 in Chicago, the site of this year’s draft. 6. Will there be any big-name coaching hires? With so few openings (only five at the moment), and many hot assistants available, it seems unlikely. Adam Gase, Todd Bowles or Dan Quinn might be great hires but they aren’t big names, at least not yet. The one name that has come up a couple times early in the process is Mike Shanahan, and for better or worse, that would be a big-name hire. 7. Will Roger Goodell survive another year? Don’t forget, former FBI director Robert Mueller’s report on Goodell’s handling of the Ray Rice ordeal has yet to be released (but let’s plan on it being released at 4:58 p.m. ET on some upcoming Friday, as is the NFL’s wont). The results of that report or any other major misstep could put him in danger, but keep in mind that it certainly doesn’t appear that the owners who are making a ton of money under Goodell’s watch want him out, and they’re the only ones who matter for this question. 8. Will anyone have an Odell Beckham-like breakout in 2015? There are a few good receivers like Alabama’s Amari Cooper and Louisville’s DeVante Parker in the draft that could be instant stars, as could Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon or Georgia’s Todd Gurley if he’s healthy. Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota and Winston should start right away. But one returning player to watch is Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. His great December after the Vikings were off the radar (72.3 completion percentage, a fantastic 9.2 yards per attempt and a 99.8 quarterback rating) gives hope that he can be a legitimate star in the NFL. 9. What will happen with Peyton Manning? Manning slowed down late in 2014, to the point the Denver Broncos started building their offense around running back C.J. Anderson, a virtual unknown two months ago. Manning’s December numbers of three touchdowns, six interceptions and 76.8 rating point to something being wrong, whether it was undisclosed injury, aging, a common slump or just a small sample size. It will be very interesting to see how he performs in the playoffs. He’ll turn 39 in April of 2015, and it’s no secret the NFL’s biggest star is closing in on retirement. We just don’t know when that will happen. 10. Who will win the Super Bowl? New England Patriots. Though nobody would be surprised if the Seattle Seahawks won it again. If any of the other 10 playoff teams took home the Vince Lombardi Trophy, it would be a fairly surprising result, though not impossible. But it would be an upset. – – – – – – – Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdowncorner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab

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