Kendall Wright

Top 2018 NFL Free Agents By Position: Offense

NFL free agency will get underway on Wednesday, March 14th, and while the list of free agents will change between now and then, we do have some idea of who will be available when free agency kicks off. The frenzy is right around the corner and it’s time for us to break down the outlook for each position. We’ll start today on offense, before getting to defense and special teams later this week.

Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each offensive position. The rankings aren’t necessarily determined by the value of the contracts that each player is expected to land in free agency, they are simply the players we like the most at each position, with both short- and long-term value taken into account. Restricted and exclusive-rights free agents are not listed here since they are unlikely to actually reach the open market. The same goes for players who have been franchise tagged or transition tagged.

We’ll almost certainly be higher or lower on some guys than you are, so we encourage you to make your voice heard in our comments section to let us know which free agents we’ve got wrong.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by offensive position for 2018:


  1. Kirk Cousins
  2. Drew Brees
  3. Case Keenum
  4. A.J. McCarron
  5. Sam Bradford
  6. Teddy Bridgewater
  7. Colin Kaepernick
  8. Josh McCown
  9. Mike Glennon
  10. Drew Stanton
  11. Jay Cutler
  12. Chase Daniel
  13. Ryan Fitzpatrick
  14. Brock Osweiler
  15. Tom Savage

There were many difficult calls when putting this list together, but ranking Kirk Cousins as the No. 1 QB available was not among them. Cousins is the best quarterback to reach free agency in recent history and he’ll become the highest-paid player of all-time – at least, for some period of time – in mid-March. Who will make history with Cousins? That’s anyone’s guess right now. The Browns have more cap room than any other team, but a recent report from Adam Schefter of listed the Broncos, Cardinals, Jets, and Vikings as the final suitors for Cousins. Of those four, the Jets have the most money to work with, but they’re concerned about the Vikings winning out and Cousins’ desire to win could point him in another direction. If the Broncos and Cardinals want in on the Cousins sweepstakes, they’ll have to get creative with the books.

Drew Brees is included here, but by his own admission, he’ll be re-signing with the Saints rather than testing the open waters of free agency. Unless the Saints lowball their franchise QB, it’s hard to see him leaving New Orleans.

Case Keenum put together a tremendous season for the Vikings, but he doesn’t have a history of success beyond 2017. There will be plenty of interest in Keenum, but only after QB-needy teams strike out on Cousins. The incumbent Vikings could re-sign Keenum, but right now, it seems like they are intent on exploring the Cousins waters first.

There isn’t a ton of footage on A.J. McCarron, which made his placement on this list awfully tricky. We know this much: McCarron did well in place of Dalton in the home stretch of the 2015 season and his former offensive coordinator Hue Jackson was salivating at the chance of landing him before the Browns bungled the trade with the Bengals. McCarron’s relative youth is a plus (he won’t turn 28 until September) and his lack of experience can be looked at as a positive. Unlike some of the other names on this list, he hasn’t run up his NFL odometer.

What will NFL teams make of Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Bradford this offseason? Not long ago, both seemed like quality starting options. However, there are serious injury questions about both players and any team signing them will either look to backstop them with another decent option or ask them to come onboard as a QB2. With that in mind, one has to wonder if Bradford would consider retirement if asked to hold the clipboard for another signal caller. Bradford has earned upwards of $110MM over the years in the NFL, so it’s safe to say that he has enough money in the bank to call it quits if he wants. For now, he’s intent on playing.

Colin Kaepernick‘s placement on this list is sure to draw some strong reactions from his fans and detractors alike. Looking purely at his football ability, there’s no question that he belongs on someone’s roster. At minimum, Kaepernick profiles as a high-end backup, even after a year out of the game.

Quarterbacks coaches have long believed that Mike Glennon is capable of great things, due in part to his height. At 6’7″, he can see over any defensive line, but he hasn’t done much on the field to prove that he is a quality Week 1 starting option. Josh McCown, who is a decade his senior, edges him here for his surprisingly strong performance in 2017 at the helm of a weak Jets offense.

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Extra Points: Kap, Wilfork, Titans, CBA

Speaking Thursday, commissioner Roger Goodell rejected the notion that NFL owners are blackballing free agent quarterback and political activist Colin Kaepernick, noting (via ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez) that teams “all want to get better. And if they see an opportunity to get better as a football team, they’re going to do it. They’re going to do whatever it takes to make their football team better. So, those are football decisions. They’re made all the time. I believe that if a football team feels that Colin Kaepernick, or any other player, is going to improve that team, they’re going to do it.” While one wouldn’t expect Goodell to publicly throw owners under the bus, Kaepernick is likely, at minimum, an NFL-caliber backup. Yet, after throwing 16 touchdowns against four interceptions and finishing second among QBs in rushing yards in 2016 (468, with a 6.8 YPC), the longtime 49er hasn’t garnered much interest this offseason.

Elsewhere around the sport…

  • As was the case a month ago, free agent nose tackle Vince Wilfork is unsure whether he’ll attempt to continue his career in 2017 or retire. “Mentally, I’m where I’ve been all this while, I’m 50-50,” Wilfork told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Friday. Wilfork added that he’s not going to rush into a decision, and he shot down the idea that his retirement talk is a ploy to avoid training camp and the preseason. “Camp now is like ‘Camp Cupcake.’ You’re only in pads for 10 days,” he said. “I mean, it’s so different now, so anybody that thinks I’m missing because I want to miss training camp or preseason, man, that is baloney.” Wilfork, a 13-year veteran who spent his first 11 seasons in New England and the previous two in Houston, is coming off the 12th straight campaign in which he started in all of his appearances. The 35-year-old took part in 15 of the Texans’ regular-season games in 2016 and picked up 21 tackles.
  • Bears wide receiver Kendall Wright swiped at his previous employer, the Titans, earlier this week, implying to Kevin Fishbain of Pro Football Weekly that they’ll rue letting him go. On why Tennessee reduced his playing time last season, including making him a Week 17 healthy scratch, Wright said: “That’s a question I can’t [answer]. Ask them. They’’ll feel it after this year.” The onetime 94-catch man (2013) hauled in a career-worst 29 receptions in 2016, but Wright believes he “probably was the best receiver on the Titans roster last year.” After, in Wright’s words, only “playing like 10 plays a game” last season, the sixth-year man is now part of a Chicago receiving corps that includes two other notable veteran newcomers in Victor Cruz and Markus Wheaton, 2016 breakout Cameron Meredith and injury-challenged 2015 first-rounder Kevin White.
  • Talks on a new collective bargaining agreement haven’t begun because the players have yet to give NFLPA boss DeMaurice Smith permission to negotiate with the league, reports Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (Twitter link). That’s not ideal for the league because it prevents it from hammering out new television and media deals, suggests Cole. The current CBA runs through 2020.

Contract Details: Taylor, Cook, Willson

The latest contract details from around the NFL:

  • Tyrod Taylor, QB (Bills): Taylor earns an additional $500K if the Bills make it to the divisional round of the playoffs in 2017, which becomes $1MM if they advance to the AFC Championship, and $2MM if they advance to the Super Bowl. The same package of incentives applies to 2018 (via Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk).
  • Jared Cook, TE (Raiders): Two years, $10.6MM, $1.6MM in incentives (effectively a one-year $5.3MM deal with $800K in incentives) (Twitter link via Ben Volin of The Boston Globe).
  • Luke Willson, TE (Seahawks): One year, $1.8MM, $1MM in incentives (Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle).
  • Kayvon Webster, CB (Rams): Two years, $7.75MM. Salaries of $2.75MM (guaranteed), $3MM. $1MM 2017 roster bonus guaranteed, $500K 2018 roster bonus guaranteed. (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Sean Spence, LB (Colts): One year, $2.5MM. $750K signing bonus. $500K in incentives (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Kendall Wright, WR (Bears): One year, $2MM. $250K signing bonus. $2MM in incentives (Twitter link via Wilson).

Bears Sign Kendall Wright

Kendall Wright will attempt to re-establish his value in a new locale in 2017. The former first-round Titans pick will join the Bears on a one-year deal worth up to $4MM, Adam Caplan of reports (on Twitter). The team confirmed the move (via Twitter).

Kendall Wright (Vertical)

Wright will join Markus Wheaton in trekking to Chicago from the AFC on what will be a revamped Bears receiving corps, one that lost Alshon Jeffery.

After being marginalized in what became a run-based attack in Tennessee, Wright knew he would not be back for a sixth Titans season shortly after his fifth concluded. He was a healthy scratch in Tennessee’s regular-season finale and did not surpass 500 receiving yards in either of his final two Titans slates.

But the 27-year-old Wright, who’s played much of his career in the slot, has a 1,000-plus-yard receiving season to his credit. He finished the 2013 campaign with 94 receptions, 1,079 yards and two touchdowns. He added six touchdowns in 2014, a season that featured 715 yards for Wright, but one that doubled as his last as the Titans’ clear-cut No. 1 wide receiver. After going for more than 2,300 yards in his first three seasons with Jake Locker as the primary distributor, Wright totaled just 824 in his last two Titans seasons.

Wright likely had a backer in a high-ranking place on the Bears’ coaching staff, with former Titans OC Dowell Loggains now the Chicago OC. Loggains was Tennessee’s OC from 2012-13.

With the signing, the Bears are expected to release Eddie Royal, as Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune writes. Royal, who will turn 31 in May, has one year remaining on his contract, but the $5MM that he is due in 2017 contains no guarantees, so Chicago can clear the full $5MM from its salary cap by cutting him. Per Biggs, Royal’s contract will likely be terminated when he can pass a physical after undergoing surgery in late December to repair a turf toe issue.

AFC South Rumors: Jaguars, Texans, Titans

Former Jaguars defensive lineman Jared Odrick has filed a $5.5MM grievance against the club as a result of Jacksonville voiding his guarantees while claiming Odrick didn’t undergo the proper treatment during rehab, according to Tom Pelissero of USA Today (Twitter link). Odrick was released by the Jaguars in late February after two seasons with the team. Per Pelissero, the issue of Jacksonville forcing players to complete rehab at the Jags’ facility has been resolved.

Here’s more from the AFC South:

  • Mutual interest exists between the Texans and free agent tight end Ryan Griffin, but no deal is imminent and Griffin is expected to use free agency to gauge his value, reports Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. It’s unclear at present whether Griffin will be able to slide into the $4-5MM per year range, but other clubs are likely to be interested in the 27-year-old. In 2016, Griffin posted 50 receptions for 442 yards and two touchdowns in 16 games (two starts).
  • The Titans will let former first-round picks Kendall Wright and Chance Warmack walk in free agency, per Paul Kuharsky of Wright admitted earlier this year that he was ready to leave Tennessee, where he’s managed only 65 receptions over the past two years. On the other end of the spectrum, the Titans do want to retain veteran tight end Anthony Fasano, and “some level of conversation” is occurring between the two parties, according to Kuharsky.
  • In case you missed it, the Colts won’t be re-signing veteran safety Mike Adams, who’d spent the past three years in Indianapolis.

AFC Notes: Titans, Bills, Raiders, Texans, Fins

The Titans made wide receiver Kendall Wright a healthy scratch for their season finale last Sunday, and now the impending free agent is ready to leave Tennessee. “I saw the 2017 Tennessee Titans, and I am not a part of the 2017 Tennessee Titans,” Wright told on Monday (via Chris Wesseling of “It is what it is. I respect everybody in the building.” A first-round pick in 2012, Wright began his career with three straight seasons of at least 57 catches and 93 targets, but the Titans tamped down their reliance on him the past two years. In 21 games dating back to 2015, Wright has combined for just 65 receptions and 102 targets. Now, with a trip to the open market looming, Wright feels “free.”

While Wright looks like a lock to exit the organization, two of his coaches – Bob Bratkowski (receivers) and Jason Tucker (assistant WRs) – definitely won’t be back in 2017. The Titans parted ways with the duo Wednesday, tweets Jim Wyatt of the team’s website.

More from the AFC:

  • The Bills will interview their interim head coach, Anthony Lynn, on Thursday, according to John Wawrow of the Associated Press (Twitter link). There was a report Tuesday that Lynn might not want to take over on a permanent basis in Buffalo, though he’s at least keeping that option on the table. The 48-year-old is a popular candidate around the NFL, as PFR’s Head Coaching Search Tracker shows.
  • Raiders safety Karl Joseph says he’ll play in Saturday’s wild-card matchup in Houston, James Palmer of tweets. The rookie missed the last four games of the regular season, and his return is big for Oakland with Nate Allen in the concussion protocol.
  • Unlike Joseph, Texans quarterback Tom Savage won’t be available this weekend, relays Palmer (Twitter link). Savage suffered a concussion last Sunday, thereby reopening the door for Brock Osweiler to start, but there was hope that Savage would be OK to serve as a backup. That won’t be the case, though, and the Texans will have to turn to Brandon Weeden as their No. 2 option.
  • The Dolphins worked out linebacker Ron Thompson, defensive end Arthur Miley and four defensive backs – L.J. McCray, Floyd Raven, Trent Matthews and Daniel Davie – according to ESPN’s Adam Caplan (Twitter link). Miami’s need for DBs is obvious, as its secondary is extremely banged up with the team’s weekend wild-card game in Pittsburgh approaching. Cornerback Byron Maxwell and safety Bacarri Rambo didn’t practice Wednesday, while safeties Reshad Jones and Isa Abdul-Quddus are on the shelf thanks to season-ending injuries.
  • In addition to the previously reported Elijah Shumate and Jeff Richards, the Chiefs auditioned receiver Tre Houston, kicker Devon Bell, defensive tackle Montori Hughes, linebacker Deon Lacey, defensive end Terrell Lathan, tight end Ryan Malleck, running back Will Ratelle and defensive back Julian Wilson last Friday, per Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star. All are candidates to sign reserve/futures deal with the Chiefs, writes Paylor, who notes that now-starting running back Spencer Ware joined the team on that type of contract in January 2015.
Zach Links contributed to this post.

South Notes: Saints, Colts, Hoyer, Wright

Some inside the Saints organization view Drew Brees‘ contract as an albatross that’s hampered their ability to progress, Ian Rapoport of reports (via Conor Orr of

The Saints are over the cap going into the offseason for the second straight year and may have to part with more veterans as a result. Brees will be due a $30MM cap hold in 2016, a number that will likely be renegotiated if the soon-to-be-16th-year quarterback is to return for an 11th season in New Orleans.

The 36-year-old Brees enters the final year of the five-year, $100MM deal he inked in 2012.

Here are some more items from the Southern divisions during Week 16’s penultimate game.

  • NFL executives aren’t ruling out Sean Payton going back on his word on returning to New Orleans for an 11th season, per Rapoport. A path out of the Big Easy for Payton is a potential trip to Los Angeles. Payton’s daughter attends USC, and Rapoport believes a union with Philip Rivers would make sense if the Chargers move north and opt not to bring back Mike McCoy for a fourth year.
  • The Colts‘ pair of middle-aged starters appear to be heading in divergent directions, with Adam Vinatieri looking set to come back for a 21st season and Matt Hasselbeck appearing prepared to retire after his 18th year, Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star writes. Hasselbeck left a game due to injury for the fourth straight week. Both are free agents after the season, but Colts punter Pat McAfee insists the 43-year-old Vinatieri will suit up next season.
  • Hasselbeck does not sound optimistic when referring to his chances at making another start this season, per Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star. With the Colts almost certainly out of the playoff picture, Charlie Whitehurst or Stephen Morris could get the call in Week 17.
  • Despite Brandon Weeden‘s surprising work keeping the Texans in front in the division, Bill O’Brien will go back to Brian Hoyer once the veteran is able to return from the concussion he suffered, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports.
  • Kendall Wright appears likely to be shut down for the Titans‘ Week 17 game against the Colts after the fourth-year wide receiver reinjured his MCL, Terry McCormick of reports. Wright left Sunday’s game in the first half when doctors determined he could endure a further setback by continuing to play on the injury that cost him three games in November. Wright’s set to enter his fifth-year option season in 2016 and will do so coming off by far his worst year as a pro.

AFC Notes: S. Smith, Jets, Wright, Wake

After Steve Smith Sr. suffered a torn Achilles during Sunday’s win over the Chargers, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh was among those quick to express hope that the standout receiver will reconsider his plans to retire, telling reporters, “I have a feeling Steve Smith will be back.” As Jamison Hensley of details, Harbaugh wasn’t the only one in the Ravens’ locker room conveying that sentiment.

“I’ll definitely be whispering in his ear, hopefully to get him back out there,” running back Justin Forsett said.

While Smith announced before the season that 2015 would be his last year in the NFL, there are doubts that he’d want to go out this way. If he does decide to play one more year in 2016, the Ravens “would certainly welcome him back,” writes Hensley.

Here’s more from around the AFC:

  • If the Jets decide to add an outside quarterback to add depth after Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith got banged up on Sunday, don’t expect them to consider adding Ryan Mallett, according to Adam Schefter of (via Twitter).
  • Titans wide receiver Kendall Wright suffered a sprained MCL on Sunday, a source tells Schefter (Twitter link). However, the injury doesn’t sound nearly as serious as the MCL tear suffered by Le’Veon Bell on Sunday, which means Wright’s season shouldn’t be in jeopardy.
  • Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald examines a few options the Dolphins have with Cameron Wake, as the team decides whether or not to retain the veteran defensive end – who is recovering from a torn Achilles – for the 2016 season.
  • Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune (Twitter links) identifies Chargers running back Donald Brown as a potential trade candidate in advance of tomorrow’s deadline. As Gehlken notes, Brown is buried on San Diego’s depth chart, and drew serious interest from another team when he was briefly cut by the Chargers earlier this year.

Extra Points: Lions, Mexico, Titans, Ravens

A look around the NFL as the fifth Sunday of the season draws to a close:

  • The Lions dropped to 0-5 with their 42-17 loss to Arizona, but head coach Jim Caldwell said afterward that there won’t be any changes to his staff (Twitter link via Josh Katzenstein of the Detroit News).
  • A regular-season game in Mexico in 2016 is a strong possibility, CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reports. “It’s going to happen next year,” one high-ranking club official said. “We just don’t know which teams it’s going to be yet.” The Raiders are candidates to play there, per La Canfora, who writes that those in league circles believe a series of games in Mexico would be highly successful from a financial standpoint.
  • Titans receiver Kendall Wright caught three passes for 29 yards in the team’s 14-13 loss to Buffalo. After the game, the fourth-year man was indignant about his role in the Titans’ offense. “I’m beyond frustrated,” Wright stated, per John Glennon of the Tennessean. “I don’t feel like I’m being able to do what I can do until late in games. I feel like I’m a good receiver and I feel like I’ve been open and I can beat the DBs or whoever is (covering) me, but I haven’t really been given the opportunity I’ve been looking for.”
  • The Ravens fell to 1-4 after losing to Cleveland and Clifton Brown of CSNMidAtlantic provided reasons as to why it’ll be too much for them to overcome. Among them: the difficulty of the AFC North and the Ravens’ lack of home-field advantage.
  • Three injured Cardinals – linebackers Alex Okafor and Kenny Demens and defensive back Chris Clemons – will get MRIs during the upcoming week. Head coach Bruce Arians isn’t optimistic about their statuses. “I do not feel good,” he said, according to Darren Urban of the team’s website (via Twitter).

Titans Pick Up Kendall Wright’s Option

APRIL 28: The Titans have officially exercised Wright’s option, GM Ruston Webster confirmed today (Twitter link via Wyatt).

APRIL 23: While they don’t have to formally make the call for another week and a half, the Titans are expected to pick up the fifth-year option for wide receiver Kendall Wright, according to Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean. The team will have until May 3 to make the decision official.

Wright, 25, grabbed a career-low 57 balls last season, though a career-high six of those receptions went for touchdowns. During the 2013 season, Wright developed a strong rapport with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, en route to a 94-catch, 1,079-yard campaign. However, the Titans shuttled through quarterbacks last season, with Jake Locker, Charlie Whitehurst, and Zach Mettenberger all receiving at least five starts, and Wright’s production suffered.

While Wright could be catching passes from Mettenberger again in 2015, there’s also a chance the Titans use their second overall pick on a quarterback like Marcus Mariota, so it remains to be seen if the club will have some continuity at the position. Either way, Wright, Justin Hunter, and free agent signee Harry Douglas are expected to anchor the receiving corps.

As the 20th overall pick in the 2012 draft, Wright will be in line for a 2016 salary worth $7.32MM if the Titans elect to exercise his fifth-year option. That salary will be guaranteed for injury only until the start of the ’16 league year — at that point, if Wright remains under contract, his salary would become fully guaranteed.