Top Remaining Free Agents

While most of the top free agents in this year’s cycle have long since signed with new clubs, there are plenty of potential difference-makers still available. Those players remain on the market for various reasons — price tag, injury concerns, etc. — but they all could be a key factor in the fortunes of whatever team they ultimately join. Let’s take a look at the best of who’s still out there:

  1. Jadeveon Clowney: If you think you’ve been reading a lot about Clowney over the past couple of months, you’re right. That’s what happens when a former No. 1 overall pick and a young dynamic talent is still up for grabs this late in the offseason. Clowney’s high asking price, originally said to be $20MM per year, certainly scared some teams off, as did his recent core muscle surgery. Some will also point to his relatively low sack totals as evidence that he is not the dynamic pass rushing force that he believes himself to be. But he undeniably has the chops to be a game-changer against the run and pass, and he is content to wait for the right situation to come along. Once teams have the opportunity to evaluate him themselves, his market should heat up rapidly.
  2. Cam Newton: Here’s another former No. 1 overall pick that we have written a great deal about recently. Like Clowney, the 2015 MVP may be signed by now if interested teams could have their own doctors examine him, and Newton is willing to be patient and wait for that to happen if waiting will allow him to secure a starting gig somewhere. But at this point, it looks like only an injury or major underpeformance will open the door for a QB1 role in 2020, so he may have to settle for a top backup job for now and hit the free agent market again in 2021. He is reportedly warming to that idea.
  3. Everson Griffen: Like Clowney, Griffen is a talented pass rusher, but unlike Clowney, Griffen has multiple double-digit sack campaigns under his belt. The 32-year-old posted eight QB takedowns in 2019, and it is a little surprising to see him unsigned this late in the process. A reunion with the Vikings may be in the cards, and the Seahawks are the only other club to be connected to Griffen at this point.
  4. Jason Peters: The only reason Peters isn’t signed yet is because of his age (38). He turned in a typically terrific season in 2019, and he has been connected to a number of clubs over the past couple of months. The problem is, many of those teams have filled their needs at the offensive tackle spots, so even though Peters has said that he is willing to play on the left or the right side, his options are now more limited. The Chargers could still be in play, and another year with the Eagles may also be a reality.
  5. Logan Ryan: Unlike several of the players ahead of him on this list, Ryan doesn’t have any notable health concerns, but his asking price — he’s seeking around $10MM per year — could be depressing his market. He turned in a productive 2019 season with the Titans and has the versatility to move around the defensive backfield, which has apparently led to multi-year offers. Given the need for quality corners in today’s game, Ryan will likely land a lucrative deal soon, it just may not be as lucrative as he wants. The Jets and Dolphins are involved in the bidding.
  6. Markus Golden: Golden enjoyed what appeared to be a breakout season with the Cardinals in 2016, posting 12.5 sacks in just his second year in the league. But injuries limited the edge rusher over the 2017-18 seasons, and he had to settle for a one-year prove-it deal with the Giants in 2019. He perhaps thought that he proved it, recording 10 sacks for Big Blue, but those 10 sacks came from just 26 total pressures, which is probably an unsustainable conversion rate. So far, only the Giants — who put the rarely-used UFA tender on Golden — have been publicly connected to him.
  7. Devonta Freeman: We haven’t heard a peep about the two-time Pro Bowl running back since the Falcons released him in March. The fact that Atlanta replaced him with Todd Gurley and his frightening injury concerns isn’t a good sign, and Freeman’s 3.6 YPC average in 2019 certainly isn’t helping matters either. Freeman’s own injury problems limited him to two games in 2018, so he is now two years removed from his last effective season. It’s nonetheless a bit of a surprise that there have been no rumors of interest in his services.
  8. Delanie Walker: The best tight end left on the market, Walker has battled injuries over the past two seasons and will turn 36 in August, so it makes sense that we haven’t heard too much about him lately. But while he may not be a TE1 anymore, he could still be a useful weapon in the passing game, and he also has a history of being a strong blocker. The Colts, Packers, and Redskins were said to be interested in him in March, and those teams continue to look like good fits even after the draft. The Ravens, who rely heavily on TEs and who traded Hayden Hurst to the Falcons this offseason, also make some sense.
  9. Eric Reid: The 28-year-old safety turned in what appeared to be a strong year in 2019, starting all 16 games for the Panthers and posting a career-best 130 tackles. The problem is, he may have had so many tackle opportunities because he allowed over 77% of throws in his vicinity to be completed. Still, he is an experienced and generally solid back-end defender, and the Texans — who employ his brother, Justin Reid seem like a logical fit.
  10. Darqueze Dennard: Dennard, a former first-round pick of the Bengals, thought he had a deal with the Jaguars in March. But Jacksonville backed out of the deal, and while there was no word on why that happened, it could be that health concerns made the Jags skittish. Dennard missed the first few weeks of the 2019 season due to a knee procedure, but he did play every game from Week 10 forward and graded out well in terms of Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics. He has been Cincinnati’s primary slot corner over the past several seasons, but there has been no reported interest in him since the failed Jaguars pact.
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16 comments on “Top Remaining Free Agents

  1. DarkSide830

    some midling team should take a chance on Freeman with the thought of potentially flipping him for a mid-to-late-round pick during the season.

    • wagner13

      Steelers, Bears, and Bucs all seem like they could potentially use him as a third-down/complimentary option

    • hOsEbEeLiOn

      *top remaining.

      Berry didn’t play at all in 2019. Played 3 games between 2017-2018.

      Worth a flier on but certainly not a top remaining free agent.

      He’s 31 and hasn’t played last 3 years.

  2. hOsEbEeLiOn

    Griffen is unsigned cause of his mental health issues. It’s not all that surprising.

    Same thing happened to Barrett Robbins. Dude had a pro bowl and all pro season in 2002 out of football by 2003. He famously went awol before the bucs and raiders Superbowl after not taking his depression medication or something.

    link to si.com

    • Rory Parks

      Yes, but while those mental health issues — which forced him to miss time in 2018 — will likely never go away, he coped with them well in 2019 and turned in a Pro Bowl performance. I could see teams being a bit worried, but still thought he would have signed by now.

  3. crosseyedlemon

    A 36 yr old TE makes this list but the greatest kicker in NFL history doesn’t? AYE CARUMBA!

  4. joeshmoe11

    Logan Ryan and Dennard over Larry Warford? IDK, starting quality OG seems more valuable than slot CBs, esp this late in the off-season

    • crosseyedlemon

      Agreed. I think an OL like Cordy Glenn or Greg Robinson would be of more value than Dennard.

      • wagner13

        Robinson sucks and isn’t getting signed after getting caught with a metric ton of weed

      • Whateverworks77

        Robinson is great if you need 157 lbs of weed distributed…oh wait…maybe not…he was busted before he could distribute it.

  5. keysox

    Bears got to in on Walker. They need a TE. 8 m a season.
    Wait they already have 10 of them.

  6. phenomenalajs

    I would think more teams would exercise the UFA tender like the Giants did on Markus Golden. It doesn’t have the same effect on a player’s options like a franchise or transition tag would. The player has the same right to seek a long term deal with any team until the start of training camp or 7/22 (whichever is later). The team can still count the player toward draft pick compensation the following year if he signs somewhere else, while other UFAs now no longer count toward the formula. If he doesn’t find a deal by then, the Giants only have to offer him 110% of his last deal (in this case it would be for $4.125M) and he would have until the tenth week of the season to sign. He could either play for the Giants or sit out the year.

  7. TheBlueMeanie

    I’m kind of surprised the Lions haven’t kicked the tires on Dennard, especially since he’s a local product from Michigan State.

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