2021 NFL free agency unofficially begins today at noon ET, with players able to agree to deals with team during the legal tampering period ahead of the start of the new league year on Wednesday. This year’s free agent class might not have a ton of elite options, but it appears to be one of the deepest groups in recent memory. So, this order could vary quite a bit (especially when you consider different schemes and roster builds), but it’s a rough (unnumbered) ranking of the 2021 NFL free agents. [Note: The free agent quarterbacks, except for one, are listed at the end of the rankings.]
Leonard Floyd | EDGE | Age: 28 | Team: Rams
An undervalued player almost since he entered the league in 2016, Leonard Floyd is one of the most versatile edge defenders in football and is coming off a 10.5-sack campaign with the Rams. In addition to his ability to take down the quarterback, Floyd sets the edge against the run and has the athleticism to smoothly drop back into coverage as a perfect fit as a 3-4 outside linebacker.
Trent Williams | OT | Age: 32 | Team: 49ers
Stud left tackle Trent Williams could easily be considered the top free agent on the board, but the age gives Floyd the edge. However, Williams had a year off when he refused to play for Washington a couple of seasons ago, and he’s an exceptional talent that could have at least a few years left of top-level play on the blindside.
Kenny Golladay | WR | Age: 27 | Team: Lions
A mysterious injury situation led to a disappointing 2020 for Kenny Golladay, but the six-foot-four talent has shown the flashes of a potential dominant No. 1 receiver—and he’s set to get paid like it this offseason after the Lions opted against franchise tagging him. Golladay, who had 11 touchdowns in his last full season a couple of years ago, is one of the league’s top scoring threats.
Nelson Agholor | WR | Age: 27 | Team: Raiders
Anyone that watched a lot of football last season shouldn’t be surprised by Nelson Agholor landing squarely in the top ten among 2021 free agents. The former first-round pick is a dynamic talent that can line up all over the formation and can work as a deep threat just as well as he can be a chain-mover. If there was a full offseason and/or Agholor had a larger role over the first month of 2020, he easily could have been an 1,100- or 1,200-yard receiver. And the former Super Bowl hero stepped into a leadership role for Las Vegas last season, so he’ll provide a boost to a receiver room and a locker room overall.
Haason Reddick | EDGE | Age: 26 | Team: Cardinals
It took a while for the Cardinals to place Haason Reddick into a role that suits his skillset, but he still found a way to play solid football since being taken in the first round of the 2017 draft. Finally unleashed, the Temple product turned it on as a pass rusher last season, with 12.5 sacks including a five-sack performance. At age 26, Reddick might be hitting his prime as a potential yearly double-digit sack artist.
Shaquil Barrett | EDGE | Age: 28 | Team: Buccaneers
While Shaquil Barrett wasn’t able to follow up his 19.5-sack run in 2019 with double-digit sacks in 2020 (he had eight during the regular season), the 28-year-old was a major factor in Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl run. The Bucs clearly want to bring Barrett back, but he should have plenty of suitors as one of the game’s top pass rushers.
JuJu Smith-Schuster | WR | Age: 24 | Team: Steelers
A couple of years ago, it would have been crazy to think JuJu Smith-Schuster would hit free agency at 24 years old and not get franchise tagged. Smith-Schuster has been used as more of an underneath target recently, but he is capable of being an all-round player to build a receiving group around. A case can definitely be made for JuJu to be the top overall free agent available this offseason—it’s a matter of whether you believe he’ll get back to the form that saw him post a 111/1,426/7 line as a second-year player in 2018.
Bud Dupree | EDGE | Age: 28 | Team: Steelers
While Bud Dupree is coming off a torn ACL, he should be a top target for teams in search of pass rush help this offseason. Dupree has always been a consistent yearly producer, but he took the leap over the past two years with sack totals of 11.5 and 8.0 (before getting injured in early December), also forcing six fumbles.
Patrick Peterson | CB | Age: 30 | Team: Cardinals
2020 wasn’t a stellar season for Patrick Peterson, but the former All-Pro will turn just 31 this summer and can still be a key piece on a top defense. Peterson has the experience and ability to play in any defensive scheme, and he could be a steal during free agency.
Joe Thuney | OL | Age: 28 | Team: Patriots
It was going to be tough for the Patriots to tag Joe Thuney two consecutive seasons, which means the two-time Super Bowl champion will hit free agency. Thuney helps control interior pressure from opposing defenses, and New England has had a strong rushing attack behind him.
Antonio Brown | WR | Age: 32 | Team: Buccaneers
These next two are pretty much locks to remain in Tampa Bay. Antonio Brown can still strike fear into secondaries, and his well-known work ethic should help him remain productive into his mid-30s—if he can stay out of trouble.
Rob Gronkowski | TE | Age: 31 | Team: Buccaneers
Rob Gronkowski showed he can still play at a very high level after catching two touchdowns in Super Bowl LV. When he’s not doing damage as a receiver, Gronk is also a force as a run blocker.
Will Fuller | WR | Age: 26 | Team: Texans
Will Fuller is outside the top ten for a couple of reasons. One, the injury history; and two, the PED suspension (with some speculating the PED use is what helped him stay healthy in 2020). But Fuller is one of the league’s premier deep threats and displayed his ability to be a No. 1 target on offense last season.
Jadeveon Clowney | EDGE | Age: 28 | Team: Titans
The injuries are also a concern for Jadeveon Clowney, but when he’s on the field you can expect maximum effort and a guy that will set the edge. In the right situation, the former No. 1 overall pick arguably still has untapped potential to finish more plays with sacks.
Xavier Rhodes | CB | Age: 30 | Team: Colts
In his first year away from Minnesota, Xavier Rhodes had moments where he showcased the play that made him a former All-Pro cornerback. Teams should be lining up to sign on for a short-term deal with Rhodes.
William Jackson III | CB | Age: 28 | Team: Bengals
William Jackson III hasn’t had big interception totals (three in his career), but he possesses the skillset to travel around the formation with opposing receivers. The former first-round pick might get more recognition if he lands with another team (or if he remains in Cincinnati and the team progresses into a contender).
Shaquill Griffin | CB | Age: 25 | Team: Seahawks
Shaquill Griffin stepped into Pete Carroll’s defense and started 11 games as a rookie, and he’s started in 53 games over the past four years. That experience at just 25 years old makes the press corner an intriguing option, and Griffin has also said he wants to shadow top receivers, so he has the confidence you need at cornerback. This is a very strong free-agent class at the cornerback position.
Malik Hooker | S | Age: 24 | Team: Colts
Malik Hooker tore his Achilles last season, but this ranking is with the expectation that he’ll get back to 100% for the start of this season. Hooker will turn just 25 next month, and it was difficult not to be very high on him coming out of Ohio State—he has the attributes to become a big-time turnover-maker on the backend of a defense.
Corey Linsley | C | Age: 29 | Team: Packers
Former fifth-round pick Corey Linsley worked his way into a First-team All-Pro selection at center for the Packers last season, so he’s a worthy investment as he approaches 30 years old. If history is any indication, Linsley could have years of high-caliber play left at the pivot.
Yannick Ngakoue | EDGE | Age: 25 | Team: Ravens
It was an odd situation with Yannick Ngakoue forcing his way out of Jacksonville to Minnesota, only for the Vikings to trade him away to the Ravens midseason. The bottom line is Ngakoue has been a productive player with at least eight sacks in all five of his NFL seasons.
Carl Lawson | EDGE | Age: 25 | Team: Bengals
Carl Lawson doesn’t have the sack production of other top free agent pass rushers, but he plays with a very high motor and puts pressure on the quarterback. Playing on a team that might be ahead and allow their defensive lines to get after the quarterback more could lead to an explosion in sack numbers for Lawson.
Chris Carson | RB | Age: 26 | Team: Seahawks
Chris Carson can be a serious tone-setter for an offense, with a no-nonsense running style that’s somewhat reminiscent of Adrian Peterson in terms of violence. The downside to that is injuries, but Carson—also a versatile receiver—can be a workhorse among the league-leaders in rushing.
Curtis Samuel | WR | Age: 24 | Team: Panthers
Curtis Samuel is one of those guys that makes it most difficult to numerically rank the free agents this year. The former Buckeye is a dynamic talent that can play both wide receiver and running back, and he’s someone all offensive coordinators should be absolutely thrilled with being able to utilize.
Desmond King | DB | Age: 26 | Team: Titans
Desmond King was named an All-Pro at two positions (defensive back and punt returner) just two seasons ago, and he’s just 26 years old. The former draft steal of the Chargers is one of the NFL’s best defenders in the slot, and he probably hasn’t received enough respect throughout his career.
Levi Wallace | CB | Age: 25 | Team: Bills
Surprisingly, the Bills did not tender Wallace, making him a restricted free agent. The former undrafted player has worked against the odds for all the playing time he’s received dating back to his time at Alabama, and he’s an all-around good cornerback.
Anthony Harris | S | Age: 29 | Team: Vikings
Following six interceptions in 2019, Anthony Harris followed it up by becoming a more consistent force against the run, racking up over 100 tackles in Mike Zimmer’s defense.
Justin Houston | EDGE | Age: 32 | Team: Colts
There are plenty of underrated players in the NFL, but Justin Houston might top the list. He has a 22.0-sack campaign on his resume (2014), and all he does is produce even late in his career, with at least eight sacks in each of the past four seasons (two with Kansas City, the past two with Indy).
Trey Hendrickson | EDGE | Age: 26 | Team: Saints
Trey Hendrickson exploded for 13.5 sacks last season (more than half of his tackles were sacks), always just finding a way to get home to the passer. He also appears to be a player that sometimes agitates offensive lineman, which is probably a plus.
Keanu Neal | S | Age: 25 | Team: Falcons
In Keanu Neal’s three healthy seasons (of five years in the league), he’s recorded 100 tackles in each one. You’d maybe like to see more interceptions, but the former Pro Bowl safety is an intimidating presence that can pop the ball away from ball-carriers and receivers coming across the middle.
Mitchell Trubisky | QB | Age: 26 | Team: Bears
Playing in Chicago and hearing all the skeptics and constant criticism simply because he was drafted ahead of Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson made for a difficult situation for Mitchell Trubisky. However, Trubisky has displayed the tools that made him an intriguing prospect, and he can be a starter in the right situation. Trubisky is 25-13 as a starting quarterback since his rookie year.
Hunter Henry | TE | Age: 26 | Team: Chargers
Another player that’s unfortunately dealt with numerous injuries throughout his career, Hunter Henry is still just 26 years old and is one of the top all-around tight ends in the league.
Jonnu Smith | TE | Age: 25 | Team: Titans
Many have been clamoring for Jonnu Smith to be used more by the Titans, as the versatile tight end has showcased his plus athleticism while making big plays when targeted. Smith has even contributed some at running back in the past.
Mitchell Schwartz | OT | Age: 31 | Team: Chiefs
Before the back injury last season, Mitchell Schwartz was a very durable and consistent player for the Chiefs over the past handful of years. Schwartz would probably not be available if not for the lower cap number this season, and he can provide instant stability to the right side of an offensive line. You can make a case for the former All-Pro to be listed quite a bit higher.
Trai Turner | OG | Age: 27 | Team: Chargers
Trai Turner provides similar production on the interior—prior to last season, Turner made five consecutive Pro Bowls while on the Panthers.
Mike Hilton | DB | Age: 27 | Team: Steelers
Mike Hilton flashes off the screen when you watch the Steelers play, which isn’t surprising considering he’s recorded 237 tackles, 9.5 sacks, and seven interceptions as a nickelback in Pittsburgh’s defense. Hilton is just a really good football player.
Dalvin Tomlinson | DL | Age: 27 | Team: Giants
The defense overall hasn’t been top-notch, but Dalvin Tomlinson has been a factor in the Giants playing some stout football against the run. The Alabama product has also recorded 3.5 sacks in each of the past two seasons.
John Johnson III | S | Age: 25 | Team: Rams
A team captain and someone thought of as a franchise tag candidate, John Johnson III can be a major upgrade at safety for a contending team. The leadership paired with the production and age could lead to even better play for Johnson during his second contract.
Sammy Watkins | WR | Age: 27 | Team: Chiefs
When healthy and on the field, Sammy Watkins remains a dangerous player, as he showed just a couple of seasons ago during the Chiefs’ championship run. Watkins can run every route and is almost like a running back with the ball in his hands.
Melvin Ingram | EDGE | Age: 31 | Team: Chargers
The contract year for Melvin Ingram was a disappointment, but at soon-to-be-32, he’s an ideal pass rush complement to a top disruptor on the other side of a defensive line.
Bashaud Breeland | CB | Age: 29 | Team: Chiefs
Bashad Breeland has probably been undervalued for his role in the Chiefs defense emerging over the past two years. The veteran cornerback brings confidence, physicality, and ranginess to a secondary.
Jason Verrett | CB | Age: 29 | Team: 49ers
It’s a shame Jason Verrett has dealt with so many injuries throughout his career, but it was awesome to see him persevere and put together a very good season last year with the Niners. Verrett will compete and can travel with opposing receivers.
David Andrews | C | Age: 28 | Team: Patriots
A steady presence in the middle of the Patriots offensive line, David Andrews is set to get paid as he enters free agency.
James Conner | RB | Age: 25 | Team: Steelers
If you could guarantee full health, James Conner might be much higher than this. The Pitt product can do it all in the backfield, with a promising blend of power and elusiveness.
Matthew Judon | EDGE | Age: 28 | Team: Ravens
Two-time Pro Bowler Matt Judon couldn’t follow up his 9.5-sack, four-forced fumble 2019 campaign with quite as strong of a showing last year, but he’s a reliable edge presence.
Romeo Okwara | EDGE | Age: 25 | Team: Lions
Former undrafted free agent Romeo Okwara notched his first double-digit sack season in 2020, and he might continue to grow with more playing time.
Shelby Harris | DL | Age: 29 | Team: Broncos
Shelby Harris finds a way to make plays on the defensive line, and just take a look athis effort in chasing down Tyreek Hill as a defensive lineman if you didn’t catch this play on Sunday night last December.
Aldon Smith | EDGE | Age: 31 | Team: Cowboys
Even at 31 years old, the upside for Aldon Smith remains tantalizing. He started off looking like his old self last year for the Cowboys, and he can still be a force as he continues to get acclimated to playing.
Alejandro Villanueva | OT | Age: 32 | Team: Steelers
Not only does Alejandro Villanueva give you a steady protector on the blindside, but he’s the type of leader you want in the locker room.
Eric Fisher | OT | Age: 30 | Team: Chiefs
Former No. 1 overall pick Eric Fisher was considered a “bust” by some early in his career, but he shook that off and went on to play a key role for the Chiefs’ emergence under Andy Reid.
Jayon Brown | LB | Age: 26 | Team: Titans
He hasn’t again come close to the six sacks he recorded in 2018, but Jayon Brown flashes as an off-ball linebacker.
Richard Sherman | CB | Age: 32 | Team: 49ers
The age and durability are concerns for Richard Sherman, but the experience and pedigree make him someone teams in need of cornerback help should look at.
Janoris Jenkins | CB | Age: 32 | Team: Saints
A cap casualty by the Saints, Janoris Jenkins did a good job in New Orleans for one of the better man-to-man secondaries in the league over the past couple of years.
Malcolm Butler | CB | Age: 31 | Team: Titans
You know Malcolm Butler is going to compete (as evidenced by his 100 tackles last season with the Titans) and he can play inside or outside.
Kevin Zeitler | OG | Age: 31 | Team: Giants
[UPDATE: Zeitler, who was free to sign with any team already, has signed with Baltimore ahead of the legal tampering period.] The Giants probably would not have cut Kevin Zeitler if not for the decreased salary cap, and he can be an upgrade at guard for a number of teams.
Austin Reiter | C | Age: 29 | Team: Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes is a fan of center Austin Reiter, but other squads are going to look to steal him away.
Kenyan Drake | RB | Age: 27 | Team: Cardinals
This group of skill position players can move all around the free agent board, but Kenyan Drake might be fresher than the few backs below him. Drake is a versatile big-play threat that can also contribute as a returner.
Todd Gurley | RB | Age: 26 | Team: Falcons
Todd Gurley was essentially benched for a part of last season, but the former Offensive Player of the Year still has one of the top noses for the end zone in the league. Despite knee concerns, Gurley is just 26 and has the talent to prove many people wrong in the second stage of his career.
Le’Veon Bell | RB | Age: 29 | Team: Chiefs
The good news is Le’Veon Bell might be fresher after he was used sparingly in Kansas City, and he’s a workout warrior. The former All-Pro would be at his best in a consistent role that allows him to impact the game as a runner, receiver, and pass protector.
Tevin Coleman | RB | Age: 27 | Team: 49ers
When Tevin Coleman is at 100%, he’s lightning in a bottle with rare first-step acceleration. The former Falcon and Niner will turn just 28 in a few weeks.
Marlon Mack | RB | Age: 25 | Team: Colts
Coming off the torn Achilles is what has Marlon Mack last among this tier of running backs, but he can be a superb and key member of a committee backfield.
A.J. Green | WR | Age: 32 | Team: Bengals
The Bengals paid A.J. Green franchise tag money last year, so his down 2020 was eye-opening. However, Green might just need a fresh start to get back to form, as things simply appeared off for him in Cincinnati last season.
T.Y. Hilton | WR | Age: 31 | Team: Colts
A late-season resurgence improved T.Y. Hilton’s outlook at age 31. He can still pressure defensive backs deep down the field and on intermediate routes.
Corey Davis | WR | Age: 26 | Team: Titans
Former No. 5 overall pick Corey Davis had his most consistent season in 2020, and he might just be getting started. This could certainly prove to be too low for Davis.
John Ross | WR | Age: 25 | Team: Bengals
John Ross gets a bad rap, but he’s just 25 and has in fact made plays when he’s had a role on offense (including seven touchdowns in 2018). The amazingly fast receiver is capable of developing into one of the game’s top deep threats in the right spot.
Rashard Higgins | WR | Age: 26 | Team: Browns
Baker Mayfield really likes throwing to Rashard Higgins, who just finds a way to get open and make plays as a bigger targer.
John Brown | WR | Age: 30 | Team: Bills
A bit of a surprise release by the Bills, John Brown is still a capable deep threat. Durability is the primary concern with the veteran receiver.
Marvin Jones | WR | Age: 31 | Team: Lions
Marvin Jones had had nine touchdowns in three of the past four seasons, and he remains a productive downfield and scoring threat on the outside.
Michael Davis | CB | Age: 26 | Team: Chargers
Michael Davis has an ideal blend of speed and physicality, and he has some tenacity as a former undrafted player.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix | S | Age: 28 | Team: Cowboys
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is a very curious case after he was cut by the Cowboys ahead of last season and never landed with another team. But the former first-round pick is a rangy safety with playmaking ability, and he might be fresh after sitting out in 2020. Ha Ha is a potential value signing.
Damontae Kazee | S | Age: 27 | Team: Falcons
Thought somewhat undersized, Damontae Kazee seems to flash whenever I watch him play. He’s a playmaker that’ll fly around and make hits.
De’Vondre Campbell | LB | Age: 27 | Team: Cardinals
Somewhat quietly, De’Vondre Campbell has emerged as one of the NFL’s most consistent linebackers through five seasons. He has at least 90 tackles and 1.5 sacks in each of his past four years.
Russell Okung | OT | Age: 32 | Team: Panthers
While Russell Okung has been limited to 13 games over the past two years, he’s an experienced tackle you can rely on when he’s healthy. He’s going to want his contract in bitcoin.
Carlos Dunlap | EDGE | Age: 32 | Team: Seahawks
Carlos Dunlap has been one of the NFL’s most consistent pass rushers over the past decade, so contending teams should consider bringing him in. He’s a perfect fit as a 4-3 defensive end.
Jarrad Davis | LB | Age: 26 | Team: Lions
The role of Jarrad Davis declined under Matt Patricia, but he’s a former first-round pick that just had 100 tackles and six sacks back in 2018.
Mackensie Alexander | CB | Age: 27 | Team: Bengals
This next cornerback group is also solid and could be listed much higher. Mackensie Alexander is competitive and can man the slot or the outside.
Ronald Darby | CB | Age: 27 | Team: Washington
Ronald Darby has played well in all three of his stops throughout his career (Buffalo, Philadelphia, Washington) and can bring plus experience to a defense.
Rasul Douglas | CB | Age: 25 | Team: Panthers
Perhaps undervalued when he was with the Eagles, Rasul Douglas had his best season last year in his first season with the Panthers. The six-foot-two cornerback can be an excellent No. 2 cornerback at the very least.
Troy Hill | CB | Age: 29 | Team: Rams
Troy Hill exceled as a nickel for the Rams last season, recording 77 tackles, a career-high three interceptions, and two touchdowns. He can also play outside cornerback.
Casey Hayward | CB | Age: 31 | Team: Chargers
A late cut by the Chargers, Casey Hayward can be brought in to compete for a role on the inside or outside of a secondary.
Chidobe Awuzie | CB | Age: 25 | Team: Cowboys
When Chidobe Awuzie has been at his best, he can contend with most receivers on the outside.
Rayshawn Jenkins | S | Age: 27 | Team: Chargers
Coming off 84 tackles and two interceptions for the Chargers last season, Rayshawn Jenkins is an interesting option at safety during free agency. The Miami product plays with some swagger.
Jalen Mills | DB | Age: 26 | Team: Eagles
Jalen Mills is a versatile player (he moved from cornerback to safety then back down to corner when needed last year for the Eagles). Mills occasionally gets beaten badly in single coverage, but he’s a gritty competitor.
Sidney Jones | CB | Age: 24 | Team: Jaguars
Former second-round pick Sidney Jones made some plays in his first season with the Jaguars last season, and he’s a talented young corner that needs to stay healthy and get more playing experience to reach his potential.
Gerald Everett | TE | Age: 26 | Team: Rams
Gerald Everett didn’t fill the exact “Jordan Reed” type of role Sean McVay was hoping when he was taken in the second round in 2017, but he can create chunk plays at tight end and isn’t afraid to get involved as a blocker.
Mo Alie-Cox | TE | Age: 27 | Team: Colts
Former college basketball player Mo Alie-Cox might have his best football ahead of him, and he possesses the ability to become one of the league’s top red-zone threats.
Nndamukong Suh | DL | Age: 34 | Team: Buccaneers
Nndamukong Suh helped the Bucs defensive line take over games last season, and he isn’t slowing down much in the second decade of his career.
Denico Autry | DL | Age: 30 | Team: Colts
Denico Autry has recorded 20 sacks over the past three years, and he is likely to be one of the bigger values in free agency on a short-term deal.
K.J. Wright | LB | Age: 31 | Team: Seahawks
Part of why K.J. Wright is relatively low in the rankings is that it’s difficult to see him leaving Seattle. He’s been a constant along with Bobby Wagner in the Seahawks defense.
James White | RB | Age: 29 | Team: Patriots
James White might ultimately remain with the franchise he’s won championships with, but he’s a third-down weapon as a receiver out of the backfield.
Leonard Fournette | RB | Age: 26 | Team: Buccaneers
Running with serious power and determination, Leonard Fournette became known as “Playoff Lenny” for the Bucs last postseason. Fournette brings experience and versatility to a backfield.
Jordan Howard | RB | Age: 26 | Team: Eagles
Last season was a disappointment for Jordan Howard in that he couldn’t secure a big role in Miami, which derailed his season a bit. Ultimately, he landed in Philadelphia, where he had just showed he can still run the ball effectively in 2019 before a neck issue stopped a promising campaign. Howard is just 26 years old, has twice ran for 1,000 yards in a season, and knows how to find the end zone.
Breshad Perriman | WR | Age: 27 | Team: Jets
Averaging 16.5 yards per catch over his career and averages of 21.3, 17.9, and 16.8 over the past three seasons, Breshad Perriman has emerged as a serious threat to defenses down the field.
Cordarrelle Patterson | WR | Age: 30 | Team: Bears
Cordarrelle Patterson can chip in at both receiver and running back on offense, but it’s his kick return prowess that makes him a great addition to a team.
Emmanuel Sanders | WR | Age: 34 | Team: Saints
Even at 34, Emmanuel Sanders can work in a productive trio of receivers as a moveable piece that can find holes in a defense.
Duron Harmon | S | Age: 30 | Team: Lions
Duron Harmon helps bring flexibility to a secondary.
Darqueze Dennard | CB | Age: 29 | Team: Falcons
Former first-round pick Darqueze Dennard can cause disruption in press coverage and is a sound tackler.
Jason McCourty | CB | Age: 33 | Team: Patriots
Jason McCourty is a wise, experienced cornerback that could probably play any position in the defensive backfield if called upon.
Daniel Sorensen | S | Age: 31 | Team: Chiefs
Daniel Sorensen has a knack for making plays, and he’s undervalued heading into free agency.
Xavier Woods | S | Age: 25 | Team: Cowboys
“Balanced” comes to mind with Xavier Woods, who is solid in coverage and can come up to make both routine tackles and big hits. Considering Woods’ age, he could definitely be higher on many team’s lists.
Eric Wilson | LB | Age: 26 | Team: Vikings
Coming off somewhat of an underrated breakout campaign, Eric Wilson finds a way to make plays (eight sacks over the past three seasons). Wilson racked up 122 tackles, three sacks, and three interceptions for the Vikings last year.
Kyle Van Noy | LB | Age: 29 | Team: Dolphins
Kyle Van Noy has been successful as a versatile linebacker, but—even with the cap situations around the league—is it telling that the Dolphins opted to release him after one year?
Solomon Thomas | DL | Age: 25 | Team: 49ers
The third overall pick in the 2017 draft, Solomon Thomas has been unable to find sack production and was on the field for just two games last season. But the Stanford product was a consensus top-ten prospect for a reason, and he could be a value signing if he puts everything together.
Markus Golden | EDGE | Age: 30 | Team: Cardinals
Markus Golden has been somewhat up and down when it comes to sack totals, but he just turned 30 and can at least be an impactful situational pass rusher.
Sheldon Rankins | DL | Age: 26 | Team: Saints
Having Sheldon Rankins this low is another indication of the depth during free agency this year. He’s helped the Saints remain stellar against the run and can also generate pressure up the middle.
Riley Reiff | OT | Age: 32 | Team: Vikings
Riley Reiff can play either tackle spot or guard, so the veteran should not have trouble garnering interest on the open market.
A.J. Bouye | CB | Age: 29 | Team: Broncos
A.J. Bouye is in middle of a group of veteran players that can contribute as above average starters. The Raiders have already shown interest.
Jamaal Williams | RB | Age: 25 | Team: Packers
Almost a perfect backup running back, Jamaal Williams is someone you can also feel good about as a starter because he’s a guy you can count on making positive plays, including in pass protection.
Kelvin Beachum | OT | Age: 31 | Team: Cardinals
Kelvin Beachum has done well in Pittsburgh, Jacksonville, New York, and Arizona, working his way from a seventh-round pick to a consistent offensive tackle.
Danny Amendola | WR | Age: 35 | Team: Lions
The age might be a concern, but Danny Amendola has a feel for getting open. And he’s also been a clutch player throughout his career.
Kawann Short | DL | Age: 32 | Team: Panthers
The past two seasons (five games played) are a concern for Kawann Short, but the longtime Panther may be determined after getting released.
Jaquiski Tartt | S | Age: 29 | Team: 49ers
Jaquiski Tartt is a solid safety that’s missed a lot of games due to injury.
Kyle Long | OG | Age: 32 | Team: Bears
After a one-year retirement, Kyle Long is an intriguing potential addition at guard.
K’Waun Williams | CB | Age: 29 | Team: 49ers
K’Waun Williams is a reliable player that’s clearly at his best in the slot.
Takkarist McKinley | EDGE | Age: 25 | Team: Raiders
Teams will have to talk to Takk McKinley and see where he’s at after a whirlwind stretch in which he barely played last year.
Mike Remmers | OT | Age: 31 | Team: Chiefs
The Chiefs are looking to bring Mike Remmers back, but other teams will be looking at him as a starter at tackle.
Mike Davis | RB | Age: 28 | Team: Panthers
Mike Davis filled in and played well for Christian McCaffrey last year, showing what he can do with an extended opportunity. Davis is built sturdily, but he also brings quickness and receiving ability.
Brian Poole | CB | Age: 28 | Team: Jets
Veteran cornerback Brian Poole can effectively man the slot in any defense.
Dan Arnold | TE | Age: 26 | Team: Cardinals
There was breakout hype for Dan Arnold ahead of last season, and he has the look of a receiver playing tight end with the way he can get down the field.
Johnathan Hankins | DL | Age: 28 | Team: Raiders
Johnathan Hankins has played a lot of good football, but he’ll turn just 29 later this month.
Tyson Alualu | DL | Age: 33 | Team: Steelers
Former first-round pick Tyson Alualu is still playing well into his 30s, controlling offensive linemen in the run game.
Alex Mack | C | Age: 35 | Team: Falcons
Alex Mack brings valuable experience at center.
Everson Griffen | EDGE | Age: 33 | Team: Lions
After playing for two new teams for the first time last season, Everson Griffen might find more production landing with a contender that will allow him pin his ears back and worry about getting after the quarterback.
Derek Wolfe | DL | Age: 31 | Team: Ravens
You can expect solid play from Derek Wolfe on a defensive line.
Jared Cook | TE | Age: 33 | Team: Saints
Jared Cook is somewhat of a freak athlete, and he can still stretch a defense down the seams into his mid-30s.
Matt Breida | RB | Age: 26 | Team: Dolphins
Matt Breida has been unable to win a consistent role for the Niners or Dolphins, but he’s a home-run hitter with toughness.
Rex Burkhead | RB | Age: 30 | Team: Patriots
The Patriots are probably the best spot for Rex Burkhead, who will produce at running back when called upon and can be a key special teams contributor.
Josh Reynolds | WR | Age: 26 | Team: Rams
The touchdown production hasn’t been what might have been expected when Josh Reynolds entered the league, but he’s done a really nice job of filling a reserve receiver role for Sean McVay since 2017. He has the talent to be a full-time starter either outside or in the slot and could be ranked quite a bit higher than this.
Willie Snead | WR | Age: 28 | Team: Ravens
Willie Snead brings toughness, leadership, and reliability as a slot receiver.
Cordrea Tankersley | CB | Age: 27 | Team: Vikings
Cordrea Tankersley simply hasn’t been on the field much throughout his career, but the talent is worth taking a flier on.
Alex Smith | QB | Age: 36 | Team: Washington
Alex Smith returned from his terrible leg injury to go 5-1 and lead Washington to an NFC East title last season. He’s down with this group of quarterbacks, but I would feel comfortable—health cooperating—with Smith as a starting quarterback. He is a superb leader that commands the respect of everyone, and he’s shown he can win games.
Ryan Fitzpatrick | QB | Age: 38 | Team: Dolphins
Ryan Fitzpatrick is a sparkplug off the bench, as his playing style often rallies the team around him.
Joe Flacco | QB | Age: 36 | Team: Jets
Joe Flacco also played well as a backup last season, including playing very well against the Patriots in primetime.
Tyrod Taylor | QB | Age: 31 | Team: Chargers
It’s difficult to imagine Tyrod Taylor handling the terribly luck he had last season any better. He can be a bridge quarterback or an ideal backup to a young starter.
Jameis Winston | QB | Age: 27 | Team: Buccaneers
The upside for Jameis Winston is high, but it’s difficult to get past his turnover woes.
Jacoby Brissett | QB | Age: 28 | Team: Colts
Jacoby Brissett is an outstanding teammate that’s settled in as a great backup that will do whatever his team needs of him (including come in for quarterback sneaks).
Andy Dalton | QB | Age: 33 | Team: Cowboys
There were some poor outings, but Andy Dalton proved he can still throw the ball around with success while filling in for Dak Prescott last season.
Blaine Gabbert | QB | Age: 31 | Team: Buccaneers
Blaine Gabbert is expected to remain with the Bucs, who have talked about him as a potential long-term answer whenever Tom Brady retires. It’s hard to believe Gabbert is only 31 years old.