US Sports Veteran
Publish Date: 03/16/2021
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster
This is the most up-to-date list of available NFL free agents following the first day of legal tampering. The lower salary cap didn’t have a significant hit on the deals top-tier free agents signed yesterday, but the remaining players on this list could suffer.
While most players appear alongside their positions and the teams they played for in 2020, some have the designation “UFA”. That marks players that teams released in recent days, creating cap room for other signings or as a method of getting below the declining salary cap.
Check out the original top 100 free agents article.
It’s unknown when and if Gordon will ever play in the NFL again. The 29-year-old’s ongoing issues with substance abuse make him one of the league’s greatest what-could-have-been stories. Gordon led the NFL in receiving yards in 2013, but he was a shell of his former self by the time he joined Seattle last year.
The only thing Gurley did well in 2020 was find the end zone. He punched in nine rushing touchdowns, bringing his career total to 67 in six seasons. Unfortunately, the former All-Pro averaged an abysmal 3.5 yards per attempt behind a struggling offensive line. At only 26 years old, Gurley’s days as a feature back are already over.
Green went from making seven Pro Bowls to start his career to barely playing a role in Cincinnati’s offense. After sitting out the entire 2019 season, Green didn’t look ready to play in 2020. He’s slower now and hasn’t adjusted to his new role as an aging possession receiver. At 32 years old, Green could play for another two or three years if he makes significant adjustments to his style.
97. Denzel Perryman, LB Los Angeles Chargers
Perryman never emerged as a consistent starter for the Chargers. He’s a terrific rotational player, but the Miami product isn’t good enough in pass coverage to start regularly. Perryman has played over 300 defensive snaps in each of the past three years.
Despite inconsistent play, Vaccaro hasn’t surrendered his starting role since entering the NFL in 2013. Injuries seemingly always cause the former 15th overall pick to miss a few games each year. His only 16-game seasons came in 2015 and 2019. Vaccaro has three consecutive seasons with PFF grades over 60.0.
Don’t let the five Pro Bowl selections fool you; Turner hasn’t played at an elite level lately. There’s a reason why the Panthers sent him to Los Angeles last year for injury-prone tackle Russell Okung. Turner is only 27 years old and started all nine of his appearances with the Chargers. However, he posted an abysmal 34.8 PFF grade.
The future Hall of Famer didn’t play a snap in 2020 after the Baltimore Ravens released him for conduct detrimental to the team. Thomas is only 31 years old. While he already began showing signs of regression in 2019, the former All-Pro was still an above-average safety. If Thomas can sell teams on his character and avoid being a distraction, he should get back into the NFL.
Fournette struggled during the regular season, averaging only 3.8 yards per carry and 28.2 rushing yards per game. However, the former fourth overall pick flicked the switch in the playoffs, averaging almost 4.4 yards per carry while pounding in three total touchdowns in Tampa Bay’s first three games. Fournette isn’t a bell-cow back, but he’s a decent second option.
New Orleans recently parted ways with its long-time punter. Morstead joined the Saints as a fifth-round pick in 2009. He just turned 35 years old and might decide to retire rather than uproot his family for a few more years. Morstead was a PFF All-Pro in 2012, 2013, 2017, and 2018.
91. A.J. Bouye, CB UFA
Bouye’s career peaked when he played in Jacksonville alongside Jalen Ramsey. The 29-year-old’s one season in Denver didn’t go well. He only played in seven games and allowed a passer rating over 100 when targeted for the second consecutive year. Bouye has back-to-back PFF grades below 60.0.
From 2014 through 2019, Griffen was one of the most productive defensive ends in the NFL. However, the 33-year-old struggled to remain effective in Dallas and Detroit last year. He played over 500 defensive snaps, tallying 33 tackles, six sacks, and 23 pressures. Griffen could regain some of his former glory in a rotational role.
89. Duke Johnson, RB UFA
Johnson didn’t perform well as a runner behind Houston’s offensive line in 2020, averaging a measly 3.1 yards per carry. He’s a better weapon in the passing game. Since entering the NFL in 2015, Johnson has 307 receptions for 2,829 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Even at 35 years old, Amendola is a productive player. He caught 46 passes for 602 yards with Detroit last year. Over the past four seasons, the former undrafted free agent has 228 receptions, 2,514 yards, and four touchdowns. He’s a guaranteed 575-600 yards per year.
Washington’s all-time leader in sacks hadn’t missed a game in his career entering 2019. Injuries and inconsistent play limited him to 12 games, 5.5 sacks, and 25 pressures that year. Kerrigan saw his snap count decrease dramatically with Chase Young joining the team, limiting him to 5.5 sacks and 13 pressures. At 32 years old, Kerrigan is a good locker room leader and could serve as an exceptional rotational pass-rusher.
86. Lamarcus Joyner, S UFA
Joyner spent the first five years of his career with the Rams. In his final three seasons with the team, Joyner posted PFF grades of 67.3, 74.9, and 91.0. However, he didn’t receive a grade over 55.0 during his two years with the Raiders. Las Vegas didn’t play to Joyner’s strengths, and it showed. The Florida St. product can still be a highly effective safety on the right team.
85. Jamaal Williams, RB Green Bay Packers
One of the better backup running backs in the NFL, Williams was a fourth-round pick in 2017. He’s seen a steady diet of snaps over the past four years, totaling 500 carries. The BYU product departs Green Bay with 1,985 rushing yards and ten rushing touchdowns. Williams averaged over four yards per carry in 2019 and 2020.
84. Rashard Higgins, WR Cleveland Browns
Higgins finished second on the Browns in receiving yards last season with a career-high 599 yards. He also made 37 receptions for four touchdowns in Odell Beckham Jr.’s absence. Most teams probably view Higgins as a highly productive WR3, but he has WR2 potential on a team like Las Vegas.
Special teams are the forgotten third part of football, and Patterson excels at them. Since entering the NFL in 2013, he has received four First-Team All-Pro selections from the Associated Press (AP) for his role as a kick returner. Patterson earned Second-Team All-Pro nods in the same role in 2015 and 2018. The 29-year-old isn’t a consistent offensive weapon, but he’s capable of lining up as a wide receiver or running back on offense.
The Patriots relied on Guy for the last four seasons. He consistently played over 500 defensive snaps per year, creating havoc along the defensive interior. While Guy isn’t a flashy player, he’s a reliable run defender that can occasionally get home. He’ll turn 31 soon.
Rankins shows flashes of potential every year, but he never put it all together with the Saints. The former 12th overall pick peaked in 2018, amassing 40 tackles, eight sacks, and 25 pressures. Unfortunately, injuries became a problem in 2019, and Rankins found himself outside of New Orleans’ starting lineup this past season.
Bell never recovered from his 2018 holdout. He went from earning All-Pro selections to slugging it out with the New York Jets. Eventually, Bell’s relationship with New York deteriorated, and the Jets cut bait. Bell signed with Kansas City. He didn’t show anything in 2020 to hint that he could return to his superstar form, but someone should roll the dice on the 28-year-old.
Three years ago, Humphries made 76 receptions for 816 yards and five touchdowns with the Buccaneers. He disappeared in Tennessee over the past seasons years, only catching 60 passes for 602 yards and four touchdowns. If he can stay healthy, Humphries is a low-end No. 2 receiver.
78. Tashaun Gipson, S Chicago Bears
The former Pro Bowl safety is in the mercenary stage of his career despite only being 30 years old. After spending 2019 in Houston and 2020 in Chicago, Gipson might get a multi-year deal. He played all 16 games this past season, intercepting two passes and swatting away seven more.
At 31 years old, Rudolph isn’t the promising young star he once was. However, the Notre Dame product is still capable of contributing on a winning team. Rudolph caught 28 passes for 334 yards and a touchdown on over 550 snaps last season. He’s not afraid of battling in the trenches and offers a great locker room presence.
An under-the-radar free agent prospect, Hyder led the 49ers with 8.5 sacks in 2020. The former undrafted free agent also tallied 49 tackles and 31 quarterback pressures. Coming off a cheap one-year deal with San Francisco, Hyder wants a significant raise for his breakout season.
While he won the Comeback Player of the Year award last season, Smith wasn’t very good. The 36-year-old threw more interceptions than touchdowns and averaged under ten yards per completion. While Smith could serve as an excellent mentor quarterback, he’s no longer a consistent starter.
74. Richie Incognito, G UFA
Incognito’s NFL career is a rollercoaster of drama, but the four-time Pro Bowler leveled out in his mid-30s. He’s only played in 14 games over the past three years. At 37 years old, Incognito is at best a mid-level starter. Unfortunately, teams can’t count on him to stay healthy.
Before suffering an injury in Week 9 against Pittsburgh, Brissett had Indianapolis positioned to make the playoffs in 2019. However, the former Patriot wasn’t himself after exiting that game. Brissett has two seasons as a full-time starting quarterback under his belt, but that doesn’t mean the 28-year-old should have a starting job in 2021.
Alualu was the tenth overall pick in 2010. He flamed out in Jacksonville and never lived up to the hype. However, Alualu found new life in Pittsburgh as a nose tackle. Rotating in over the past four seasons for the Steelers, Alualu became a highly efficient player. He received an 89.6 grade from PFF in 2020 and an 80.1 in 2019.
While Taylor entered 2020 as Los Angeles’ quarterback, fans expected to see Justin Hebert at some point. The change came sooner than expected, with Taylor suffering a punctured lung at the hands of a team doctor before Week 2. The former Pro Bowler’s last season with even remotely good quarterback play was 2017. He’s slid into a career-backup role since leaving Buffalo.
Casey made five consecutive Pro Bowls before arriving in Denver last year. It was a nightmare season for the 31-year-old. He only played in three games before suffering a campaign-ending injury. Casey recorded 493 tackles and 51 sacks in his nine seasons with Tennessee, but his best days are probably gone.
Early in his career, Jackson generated headlines as one of the most promising guards in the NFL. He never lived up to the hype, but the former third-round pick remained a consistent starter for the Raiders. He’s played in 100 games during his career, making 99 starts. Jackson’s last season with a PFF grade over 70.0 came in 2018.
A rising slot corner for San Francisco, Williams only played in eight games this past year. He’s never appeared in all 16 games in a season, but the 29-year-old has four seasons with over 500 defensive snaps in the past five years. According to Pro Football Reference, Williams hasn’t allowed a passer rating over 90.0 when targeted since 2018.
It’s no secret that Trubisky shouldn’t have gone second overall in 2017. He’s disappointed in the NFL, turning the ball over too often and whiffing on easy completions. Accuracy remains Trubisky’s downfall. He could get some starting time in 2021, but he’s headed for a long-term backup role.
In Chicago’s final six regular season games this year, the offense put in a lot of quick throws for Trubisky. The new plan resulted in three wins, Trubisky completing 70.14% of his attempts, and a 96.0 passer rating.
Injuries haven’t allowed Tartt to reach his full potential. The former second-round pick from Samford only has one season with over ten appearances in the past four years. When healthy, Tartt is an average to slightly above-average safety. Unfortunately, his lack of availability could tank his market.
In a pass-happy league, every team needs more cornerback help. Breeland isn’t a star corner, and he might even serve as a backup on a team with excellent corner depth. However, plenty of organizations lack outside coverage. While Breeland’s up-and-down play lessens his value, the veteran should find a starting job in 2020.
Cole still hasn’t matched his receiving yardage total from 2017, but the former undrafted free agent remains a bright light on an abysmal Jaguars team. This season, Cole finished second on the team in receptions (55), receiving yards (642), and tied for first with five receiving touchdowns.
Massie entered the NFL in 2012, and he’s been a starter for most of his career. He arrived in Chicago in 2016. Massie was a consistent starter until injuries robbed him of six games in 2019 and half of the 2020 season. In a league that’s constantly looking for new linemen, Massie should find a starting job in 2021.
Alexander is an average slot corner that fills a position every team needs in the NFL. However, he’s not a high-end coverage specialist. Alexander offers decent value on a short-term, cheap deal, but that’s about it. Quarterbacks completed almost 70.0% of their passes when targeting Alexander this season.
Ogunjobi only missed two starts over the past three seasons. He’s always been a decent player but never took the next step. Since becoming a full-time starter, Ogunjobi has 148 tackles, 13.5 sacks, and 57 pressures.
Free agents might want to avoid the City of Brotherly Love. Robey-Coleman was one of the league’s premier slot corners a few years ago. However, he had a terrible season with the Eagles. Pro Football Reference claims the 29-year-old allowed a 125.2 passer rating when targeted.
Long retired following the 2019 season. After making three consecutive Pro Bowls to start his career, the guard suffered a barrage of injuries. He only started 29 games during his final four seasons in Chicago. Maybe a year off helped the 32-year-old get his body right.
Davis made himself a lot of money filling in for Christian McCaffrey this year. The six-year veteran performed well with the Seahawks in 2018 before vanishing with Chicago the following season. Davis revived and possibly saved his career, along with a number of fantasy football seasons, by tallying 642 rushing yards, 373 receiving yards, and eight total touchdowns in 2020.
Indianapolis found the perfect way to maximize Houston’s value. The Colts only played him for 65% of their defensive snaps in 2019 and 59% of the snaps this year. He played in all 32 games after not having a 16-game season since 2014. The low snap count kept Houston healthy while still allowing him to terrorize quarterbacks. The former All-Pro has 19 sacks and 52 quarterback hits since arriving in Indianapolis.
Teams must determine how much of Suh’s current production results from having Pro Bowlers around him. Playing on a defensive front with Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul makes life easier, especially when Lavonte David and Devin White are right behind you. However, Suh’s role in developing Vita Vea is undeniable. He’s added a lot of value for a 34-year-old signing one-year deals.
Suh hasn’t missed a start since 2011. He’s durable and consistently productive. The former second overall pick recorded six sacks, 44 tackles, and 28 pressures during the regular season. If the asking price is the same as last year (one-year, eight million dollars), most of the league should call Suh this offseason.
Mack is a six-time Pro Bowler, but his last appearance came in 2018. A member of the 2010s All-Decade Team, Mack enters free agency as a recognizable name with declining value. He’s 35 years old and could retire if the right opportunity doesn’t present itself. At best, he’s a short-term answer for a blocking deficient team.
White’s role began evaporating in 2020 as the Patriots adapted their offense around Newton. During the Tom Brady era, White served as a reliable outlet and go-to option out of the backfield. He peaked in 2018, registering 87 receptions for 751 yards and 94 carries for 425 yards. Plenty of offenses could use a specialized pass-catcher like White.
The former fourth overall pick set a career-low with 421 receiving yards this year. Watkins only suited up for ten games during his third season with the Chiefs. The Clemson product’s consistent injuries and inconsistent play make him a tricky player to evaluate. When Watkins is on, he has games like the 198-yard, three-touchdown season opener from Week 1 of 2019. Unfortunately, he usually finishes games with only 40 to 50 yards.
Conner made the Pro Bowl in 2018, producing 1,470 yards from scrimmage and 13 touchdowns in only 13 games. Unfortunately, he’s never even come close to matching that production over the past two seasons. Injuries have always haunted Conner, and they forced him to miss three games this year. While Conner could work well in a two-man backfield, he can’t serve as the lone starter.
This free agent class features plenty of centers. While Mike Pouncey comes with injury concerns, Reiter is a much safer investment. He’s a 29-year-old former seventh-round pick coming off his second season as a full-time starter. Between injuries, retirements, and free agency departures, Reiter should find a new starting gig in 2020.
Cook made back-to-back Pro Bowls in 2018 and 2019. However, he’s already 33 years old and played a much smaller role in New Orleans’ offense this season. Cook only played 43% of the offense’s snaps, finishing the year with 37 receptions for 504 yards and seven touchdowns. With a healthy quarterback, Cook could still top 600 receiving yards.
Fisher suffered a torn Achilles in the playoffs, which led to Kansas City cutting him and clearing cap space. The former No. 1 overall pick in 2013, Fisher overcame a rocky stretch at the start of his career to become one of the NFL’s most consistent tackles. He’s only 30 years old, but the Achilles injury could cut into his 2021 season.
The 24-year-old Ohio State product tore his Achilles in Week 2, ending his career with the Colts. Hooker flashed potential during his first three seasons, intercepting seven passes in his 34 appearances. Injuries and inconsistent play led to Indianapolis declining Hooker’s fifth-year option. Under the right mentorship, Hooker could still develop into a borderline Pro Bowl safety.
Once one of the most feared cornerbacks in the NFL, Peterson has lost several steps. The 30-year-old future Hall of Famer had arguably the worst season of his career in 2020. He still played 99% of Arizona’s defensive snaps, intercepting three passes and deflecting eight more. Teams could target Peterson for his value as a No. 2 outside corner and use him as a mentor for less experienced defensive backs.
Beachum lined up at right tackle for the Cardinals in 2020. The former seventh-round pick is approaching his 32nd birthday and has plenty of starting experience. With offensive line play slipping across the NFL, Beachum should sign a better contract than the one-year, $1,187,500 bargain deal he got from Arizona.
Mack tore his Achilles in Indianapolis’ Week 1 loss to the Jaguars. Jonathan Taylor replaced the 24-year-old, meaning the Colts won’t put any effort into keeping Mack. He’s hitting the market. Between 2018 and 2019, Mack amassed 1,999 rushing yards (76.9 per game and 4.5 per attempt) and 17 touchdowns. The USF product could operate as the lead back for most offenses.
Cincinnati kicked Dunlap to the curb last year, but the veteran proved he still had plenty left in the tank with an impressive eight-game run in Seattle. On roughly 600 defensive snaps, Dunlap amassed 32 tackles, six sacks, and 26 pressures. The Seahawks cut him to save cap space, but Dunlap is still an attractive edge rusher.
Dunbar had a terrific campaign in 2019. According to Pro Football Reference, he only allowed a 61.2 passer rating when targeted. Dunbar failed to match that production with Seattle. He only appeared in six games, recording an interception and five passes defensed. Quarterbacks torched Dunbar, posting a 111.0 passer rating when throwing his way.
When healthy, Okung is still an above-average left tackle. The problem is, he’s never healthy. Durability was a concern for Okung dating back to his early days in Seattle. Now, he’s played in 13 games over the past two seasons. At 32 years old, he’s worth a shot for the right price on an incentive-heavy deal.
Andrews took over as New England’s starting center in 2015. After missing the entire 2019 season, the 28-year-old veteran returned to his role. With guard Joe Thuney also hitting the market, the Patriots have to make decisions about their offensive line. No matter who starts at quarterback, they won’t succeed without a reliable line.
Smith would win Comeback Player of the Year in a typical season, but that title belongs to another Smith in 2020. The former All-Pro linebacker went from budding All-Pro to disgraced superstar fast. After racking up 42 sacks in his first 43 games, Smith had 5.5 sacks in two years before a four-year absence.
Smith returned to the NFL this season. He started all 16 games, tallying five sacks, 20 pressures, and a defensive touchdown. Smith moved all over the place on Dallas defense, flashing surprising versatility and athleticism for a 31-year-old who missed four consecutive seasons.
From 2015 through 2019, Ingram accumulated 43 sacks, ten forced fumbles, and 60 tackles for loss. Unfortunately, the 31-year-old hit a massive wall this season. Ingram played in only seven games, failing to register a sack for the first time in his career. The edge rusher enters free agency at the lowest point of his career, hoping potential employers look past his injury-shortened season.
Brown does his best work in coverage, which makes him well-suited for facing modern offenses. However, he’s a liability in the running game. A former fifth-round selection, Brown proved himself worthy of a future starting job over the past two seasons. The Titans can’t afford to lose many pieces of their already weak defense.
Bobby Wagner and Wright are the only defenders remaining in Seattle from the team’s two Super Bowl appearances. At 31 years old, Wright isn’t the Pro Bowl 4-3 outside linebacker he once was. However, he’s still a highly productive player. Wright is one year removed from a 132-tackle season, and he still tallied 86 tackles, two sacks, and ten passes defensed in 2020.
Woods enters free agency at a very inopportune time. While the 25-year-old is still in the prime of his career, more than half a dozen safeties rank above him on the free agency market. That drives down Woods’ value at a position that is already historically undervalued. Woods is a quality starter, but it could take a while to sign a new contract.
Poole found a home as a slot corner with New York over the past two seasons. According to Pro Football Reference, the former Florida Gator only allowed a 61.6 passer rating when targeted in 2020. That’s the best mark of Poole’s career, meaning he probably won’t match it in 2021. Still, the 28-year-old is one of the league’s best slot corners.
The 26-year-old tight end never got a chance to stand alone in Los Angeles, taking snaps behind Tyler Higbee. Everett is an athletic 6-3 tight end that plays the role of a larger wide receiver. He set career-highs this year with 41 receptions for 417 yards. While Everett shared the spotlight in Los Angeles, he could assume a full-time starting role in 2021.
One of the most underrated players from the past decade, Hayward finally hit the veteran wall last year. He posted a 59.5 PFF grade after earning a Second-Team All-Pro selection from the analytics site in 2019. Hayward is 31 years old and coming off by far the worst year of his career. However, we saw Xavier Rhodes rebound from a similar situation last season.
Wagner was a three-year starter at right tackle for the Lions before joining Green Bay last year. He appeared in all 16 games and earned nine starts. Pro Football Reference claims Wagner played over 600 offensive snaps. He posted a 77.0 PFF grade and has four years with grades over 70.0 in the past five seasons.
Reiff is 32 years old and one of the most experienced left tackles in the NFL. Since entering the NFL in 2012, he’s started 127 games and appeared in 135. Reiff was a cap casualty for Minnesota, but he played over 1,000 offensive snaps in 2020. With a 71.4 PFF grade, Reiff could start on plenty of NFL teams.
Carson hits free agency following his worst season since 2017. Between 2018 and 2019, Carson amassed 2,381 rushing yards (82.1 per game and 4.5 per attempt) and 16 rushing touchdowns. However, injuries slowed the former seventh-round pick down in 2020. He still averaged 4.8 yards per attempt but didn’t have a 100-yard game all season.
When healthy, Carson is a legitimate top rushing threat. His injury history might scare some teams off or push them to include Carson in a tandem backfield.
While he’s no longer a Pro Bowler, Jenkins was productive during his short stay with the Saints. In 13 starts last season, he intercepted three passes and defensed 12 more. Pro Football Reference claims he allowed an 81.8 passer rating when targeted. That’s not great, but it’s solid production for a 32-year-old CB2.
Jones’ time in Detroit went as well as possible. Even at 30 years old, Jones is still a legitimate second option coming off a year with 76 receptions, 978 receiving yards, and nine touchdowns. Rebuilding teams probably won’t look at Jones because of his age and price tag, but the former fifth-round pick should have a sizable market this offseason.
Five years ago, Hilton was a borderline top-ten receiver. He made four consecutive Pro Bowls between 2014 and 2017 and racked up 507 receptions for 8,097 yards in his first seven seasons. Things began going South in 2019. With injuries piling up and Andrew Luck suddenly retiring, Hilton set a career-low in receiving yards. He didn’t bounce back well in 2020, posting the second-lowest receiving total of his career.
At 31 years old, Hilton has plenty of gas left in the tank. He’s a good locker room presence and is willing to work with younger receivers. Hilton is a guaranteed 50 yards per game, making him an attractive asset even as he declines.
One of the biggest surprise cuts of the offseason, Van Noy was one of Miami’s best defensive players last year. He’s a versatile linebacker capable of doing a little of everything and is a fantastic locker room leader. Over the past four years, Van Noy has 290 tackles, 21.5 sacks, and 44 quarterback hits.
Neal made the Pro Bowl in 2017 before injuries limited him to just four games over the next two seasons. He made 15 starts in 2020, recording 100 tackles, two passes defensed, and an interception. Neal fits the Landon Collins mold of the classic box safety. He’s an entirely different player than fellow free agent safeties Justin Simmons and Marcus Williams.
Hill can move outside and cover an opposing team’s top receivers, but he thrived in the slot this year. After only playing 965 defensive snaps between 2018 and 2019 combined, Hill saw 972 defensive snaps in 2020. The results made the Rams one of the NFL’s best defenses. Hill intercepted three passes, returning two for touchdowns, and also returned a fumble for a score.
The former 13th overall pick from 2017, Reddick disappointed during his first three NFL seasons. With Chandler Jones landing on injured reserve, Reddick played a massive role at outside linebacker for Arizona. He finished 2020 with 12.5 sacks, which more than doubled his career total. Five of his sacks came in Week 14, and 7.5 of them came in a three-week span.
Reddick’s production this season is a clear outlier. The 26-year-old dominated several games down the stretch, but it’s hard to see his performance translating to future seasons. Betting on Reddick is a risky proposition.
The 30-year-old former Pro Bowler remains polarizing. He hasn’t started all 16 games in a single season since 2016. However, he just topped off a year with nine sacks and 27 quarterback pressures. If teams project for some decline when evaluating Vernon, they could land an essential No. 2 pass-rusher.
Vernon suffered a season-ending Achilles injury late last season, which could raise red flags for potential suitors.
Sanders turns 34 in the coming days, but the former third-round pick still has plenty to give. He’s appeared in 43 games over the past three years, amassing 198 receptions, 2,463 yards, and 14 touchdowns. Sanders is an easy 50 yards per game and could sign on as the No. 2 option on a championship contender.
The former Super Bowl hero won’t return to Tennessee for a fourth season. Butler posted a 71.6 PFF grade in his final season with the Titans, which marked his best performance since arriving in Nashville. While he’s no longer a Pro Bowler, Butler can start and play over 1,000 defensive snaps per year.
Somehow Rhodes made the Pro Bowl in 2019 despite having one of the worst years for a former star corner in recent history. Luckily, he returned to form this season with the Colts. Rhodes played a significant role on one of the NFL’s best defenses, generating two interceptions and 12 passes defensed.
After trying to carve out a role in his first three years with the Panthers, Samuel finally began posting impressive numbers. In Carolina’s new offense, Samuel caught 77 passes for 851 yards. He also carried the ball 41 times for 200 yards. Samuel is a high-end hybrid playmaker that a creative offensive coordinator can turn into a significant weapon.
Dalton entered 2020 as a backup and found himself thrust into Dallas’ starting role when Dak Prescott went down. Injuries and COVID-19 led to Dalton’s season getting off to a rocky start. Things finally stabilized in Week 11, and the Red Rifle won four of his final seven games. In those final appearances, he threw for 245 yards per game, 13 touchdowns, and five interceptions with a 95.1 passer rating.
At 33 years old, Dalton won’t turn back the clock and make another Pro Bowl. However, he’s the perfect option for teams looking for a bridge quarterback or a short-term solution. Dalton should get a starting job in 2020.
After a breakout performance in eight games with Arizona last year, Drake had Pro Bowl expectations entering 2020. He fell short of those hopes by a mile, but the coaching staff deserves some blame. The Cardinals didn’t utilize Drake to his fullest potential. However, the former Dolphin still ran for 955 yards and ten touchdowns while averaging 4.0 yards per attempt.
Arizona placed the transition tag on Drake last offseason, essentially giving him a one-year, $8.483 million deal. The Cardinals don’t want to lose Drake, but the running back could raise his value on another team with a more clearly defined role for running backs.
Villanueva’s days as a Pro Bowler are behind him. The fan vote and above-average play alongside several All-Pros made the former undrafted free agent one of Pittsburgh’s most recognizable faces. However, with Maurkice Pouncey retiring and the team’s offense in shambles, it’s time for Villanueva to find work elsewhere. He’d serve as an upgrade for most teams at left tackle.
The Colts recently lost ten-year starter Anthony Castonzo to retirement. With loads of cap space, Indianapolis could send an offer Villanueva’s way.
Clowney bet on himself and lost bigtime. After three consecutive Pro Bowl seasons with the Texans, Houston traded Clowney to Seattle. The star edge rusher had a decent season but left in free agency seeking a gigantic payday. He never got a massive contract and signed a one-year deal late in the offseason with Tennessee. Clowney only started eight games. Injuries limited him to 19 tackles, 12 quarterback pressures, and zero sacks.
Assuming he stays healthy, Clowney is still an elite run defender and a good enough second option in the pass rush. However, durability is a massive concern for the 27-year-old.
The Buffalo Bills parted ways with Brown after he missed almost half of the 2020 season with injuries. The soon-to-be 31-year-old had arguably the best year of his career in 2019, amassing 72 receptions for 1,060 yards and six touchdowns. Brown can consistently produce 50 yards per game, even with shaky quarterback play.
A slot corner, Hilton saw significant playing time in each of his four seasons with the Steelers. The former undrafted free agent amassed seven interceptions, 32 passes defensed, 9.5 sacks, and 237 tackles playing a dynamic role on Keith Butler’s defense. Hilton makes plays when Pittsburgh needs them most, and he’s one of the NFL’s best slot corners.
After a well-documented falling out with three teams, confrontations off the field, and fits on social media, Brown joined Tom Brady in Tampa Bay. It took a while for the league’s former best receiver to adjust, but he eventually caught on. In his final four regular season games, Brown had 25 receptions for 315 yards and four touchdowns.
Even at 32 years old, Brown is still a viable threat at every level of the defense with an incredible work ethic. He’ll likely never emerge as a Pro Bowler again, but a 900-1,000-yard season isn’t unthinkable. However, there aren’t many teams willing to overlook Brown’s history or tolerate his antics.
Which version of King will teams see in 2021? In 2018, the former fifth-round pick received First-Team All-Pro honors from the AP and PFF for his role as a slot corner. However, King couldn’t match that production in 2019, and the Chargers traded him to Tennessee last year. His last interception came in 2018.
At 26 years old, King can still return to form and become one of the NFL’s best slot corners. That’s a gamble some team will take this offseason.
Smith-Schuster can move outside, but he did the most damage from the slot in 2020. The 24-year-old peaked in 2018, racking up 111 receptions for 1,426 yards and seven touchdowns. However, those numbers came while playing alongside Antonio Brown. In Pittsburgh’s short-passing offense, Smith-Schuster caught 97 passes for 831 yards and nine touchdowns this season. The USC product isn’t a No. 1 receiving option, but he offers high-volume potential as a No. 2.
Entering 2020, Schwartz was one of the 35 best players in the NFL. He hadn’t missed a start in his first eight seasons and was coming off a stretch of making four All-Pro teams consecutively. Unfortunately, the 31-year-old underwent back surgery recently that could lead to his retirement. When healthy, Schwartz is a top-ten offensive tackle.
After missing his rookie season, Jackson flashed Pro Bowl potential on limited snaps in 2017. The tape turned into fool’s gold over the last three years as Jackson never even approached his previous level of play. However, Pro Football Reference claims Jackson hasn’t allowed a completion percentage above 59 in the past three years. The 28-year-old likely remains a second option at cornerback for most teams, but he’s an intriguing prospect.
The Denver Broncos didn’t pick up the team option on Jackson’s deal. The former cornerback hits the open market after posting three consecutive years with PFF grades over 80.0. Jackson is approaching his 33rd birthday, which likely limits the length of deals teams would sign him to.
Jackson is a consistent contributor that developed into a fringe top-ten safety over the past few years. He still possesses enough versatility to take snaps at cornerback too.
Fuller had a career-year this season, setting career-highs with 54 receptions, 879 yards (79.9 per game), and eight touchdowns. However, he only appeared in 11 games because of a PED-suspension. Fuller hasn’t played in more than 11 games in a season since his rookie year (2016). The 26-year-old is a preferable second receiving option on and offense, and his speed creates mismatches across the board.
Injuries limited Sherman to five games this season. The 32-year-old future Hall of Fame corner is clearly past his prime. Although, he did receive All-Pro selections from the AP and PFF in 2019. Sherman’s age and lack of speed might scare some teams away, but the former fifth-round pick can still provide quality starting snaps for a contender.
Harris dominated in 2019, tying for the NFL-lead with six interceptions. According to Pro Football Reference, Harris only allowed a 44.2 passer rating when targeted. For his efforts, the former undrafted free agent earned a Second-Team All-Pro nod from PFF. Minnesota franchise tagged Harris, which worked against the safety’s favor because he struggled in 2020.
Despite his dip in productivity, Harris is still a top-ten safety worth a significant investment. However, in a loaded safety free agency class, Harris could see his value suffer and wait months before reaching a new deal.
Golladay only played in five games this past season, but that shouldn’t impact his value. The Pro Bowl receiver peaked in 2019, catching 65 passes for 1,190 yards and a league-leading 11 touchdowns. At 6-4, Golladay is a premier jump-ball target and excellent vertical threat. Golladay’s production is tied to explosive plays more than Chris Godwin or Allen Robinson, which is why he ranks third among the elite free agent receivers.
After taking a year off from football because of a dispute with Washington, Williams had arguably the best season of his career. The AP passed over the 32-year-old when selecting All-Pros, but PFF rewarded Williams. The analytics site gave Williams a 91.9 grade, which finished ahead of David Bakhtiari’s 91.8 and Garett Boles’ 90.3.
Williams is still at the peak of his powers. Considering that other former All-Pro left tackles like 35-year-old Duane Brown and 39-year-old Andrew Whitworth are still two of the best players at their positions, a massive deal for Williams isn’t out of the question.