Sports

NFL free agents 2021: Best players still available at each position, including Alex Smith, Richard Sherman



NFL free agency has been fast and furious again in 2021. In the first week, most of the key signings and re-signings were made across the league. But there are plenty of players still available who are capable of contributing well to a team.

For some of these remaining unrestricted free agents, there will be a much longer wait for a landing spot for next season. For many, they will see their time in the NFL — because of age, injuries or other reasons — come to an unceremonious end on the open market.

Here’s looking at the best of who’s left looking for jobs, including several big-name veterans.

NFL FREE AGENCY 2021: Tracking the top 50 signings, all the best by position

NFL free agents 2021: The best players still available at each position

Quarterbacks

  • Alex Smith, Washington
  • AJ McCarron, Texans
  • Chase Daniel, Lions
  • Colt McCoy, Giants
  • Matt Barkley, Bills
  • Ryan Griffin, Buccaneers
  • Blaine Gabbert, Buccaneers
  • Nate Sudfeld, Eagles
  • Sean Mannion, Vikings

The viable backup market dried up quickly with Mitchell Trubisky (Bills), Tyrod Taylor (Texans), Jacoby Brissett (Dolphins) and Joe Flacco (Eagles) among those notable names getting No. 2 jobs. Smith did start for Washington, but he would valuable as a seasoned No. 2, as well.

Running backs

  • Leonard Fournette, Buccaneers
  • James Conner, Steelers
  • Todd Gurley, Falcons
  • Matt Breida, Dolphins
  • Duke Johnson, Texans
  • Brian Hill, Falcons
  • T.J. Yeldon, Bills
  • Chris Thompson, Jaguars
  • Dion Lewis, Giants
  • Rex Burkhead, Patriots
  • Adrian Peterson, Lions
  • Le’Veon Bell, Chiefs
  • Wayne Gallman, Giants
  • Corey Clement, Eagles
  • Jerick McKinnon, 49ers

The Buccaneers and Steelers look like they’re headed toward addressing running back in the draft. Fournette has gotten more interest than Conner. Otherwise, once again the ample supply is hurting the demand.

Wide receivers

  • Antonio Brown, Buccaneeers
  • Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals
  • Sammy Watkins, Chiefs
  • Demarcus Robinson, Chiefs
  • Danny Amendola, Lions
  • Adam Humphries, Titans
  • Willie Snead, Ravens
  • Golden Tate, Giants
  • Damiere Byrd, Patriots
  • Marqise Lee, Patriots
  • Cordarrelle Patterson, Bears
  • Dez Bryant, Ravens
  • Tavon Austin, Packers
  • Dede Westbrook, Jaguars
  • Alshon Jeffery, Eagles
  • Trent Taylor, 49ers
  • Mohamed Sanu, Lions
  • Marvin Hall, Browns
  • Marquise Goodwin, 49ers

Brown is still a good bet to return to the Bucs at the right price. Watkins will likely land as a complementary wideout somewhere. Then there are a bunch of underwhelming, limited slot options here and faded veterans such as Bryant and Jeffery.

Tight ends

  • Tyler Eifert, Jaguars
  • Virgil Green, Chargers
  • Demetrius Harris, Bears
  • MyCole Pruitt, Titans
  • Richard Rodgers, Eagles
  • Seth DeValve, Cardinals
  • Jordan Reed, 49ers
  • Luke Willson, Seahawks
  • Nick O’Leary, Raiders
  • Jeremy Sprinkle, Washington
  • Ricky Seals-Jones, Chiefs

Eifert was a surprise pass by the Jaguars, who need to think more about that position as a key target for Lawrence. There’s not much else to see here anymore except aging journeymen.

Offensive tackles

  • MItchell Schwartz, Chiefs
  • Eric Fisher, Chiefs
  • Russell Okung, Panthers
  • Alejandro Villanueva, Steelers
  • Cameron Fleming, Giants
  • Dennis Kelly, Titans
  • Bobby Massie, Bears
  • Jason Peters, Eagles
  • Demar Doston, Broncos
  • Jared Veldheer, Packers
  • Sam Young, Raiders
  • Bobby Hart, Bengals
  • Le’Raven Clark, Colts
  • Cedric Ogbuehi, Seahawks
  • Julie’n Davenport, Dolphins
  • Marshall Newhouse, Titans

Schwartz has more appeal from the Chiefs’ former starting duo, but age and injuries are concerns with both. Okung and Villanueva are the only real left-side plug-and-play options with their experience. The rest are mostly swing tackles for depth.

Guards

  • Lane Taylor, Packers
  • James Carpenter, Falcons
  • Trai Turner, Chargers
  • J.R. Sweezy, Cardinals
  • D.J. Fluker, Ravens
  • Brian Winters, Bills
  • Jermaine Eluemenor, Patriots
  • Kelechi Osemele, Chiefs
  • Forrest Lamp, Chargers
  • Tom Compton, 49ers
  • Stefen Wisniewski, Chiefs
  • James Ferentz, Patriots

The Packers didn’t keep Corey Linsley inside and seem OK moving on from Taylor with Elgton Jenkins and Lucas Patrick as their best options. Turner and Fluker can still be OK starters if a team needs them. As injuries happen, some of these guys will be signed for pure depth.

Centers

  • Austin Reiter, Chiefs
  • Brett Jones, Vikings
  • Ben Garland, 49ers
  • Joe Looney, Cowboys

Reiter has a good chance to return for the Chiefs. Jones and Looney might end up starting somewhere in the end.

Defensive tackles

  • Tyrone Crawford, Cowboys
  • Jurrell Casey, Broncos
  • Geno Atkins, Bengals
  • Danny Shelton, Lions
  • DaQuan Jones, Titans
  • Corey Peters, Cardinals
  • Abry Jones, Jaguars
  • DeMarcus Walker, Broncos
  • Steve McLendon, Buccaneers
  • Christian Covington, Bengals
  • Damon Harrison, Packers

Ndamukong Suh returning to the Buccaneers has made this group mostly aging former standouts. After Crawford, it’s hard to see much activity here.

Edge rushers

  • Melvin Ingram, Chargers
  • Jadeveon Clowney, Titans
  • Justin Houston, Colts
  • Aldon Smith, Cowboys
  • Carlos Dunlap, Seahawks
  • Adrian Clayborn, Browns
  • Ryan Kerrigan, Washington
  • Olivier Vernon, Browns
  • Everson Griffin, Lions
  • Trent Murphy, Bills
  • Kyler Fackrell, Giants (signed with Chargers)
  • John Simon, Patriots
  • Alex Okafor, Chiefs
  • Taco Charlton, Chiefs
  • Tanoh Kpassagnon, Chiefs

Ingram and Clowney can still bring it, but they have been plagued by durability issues later in their careers. Houston, Smith and Dunlap should get a little more interest, at least, as situational pass rushers. Age is a big limiting factor here, too.

Linebackers

  • K.J. Wright, Seahawks
  • Vince Williams, Steelers
  • Avery Williamson, Steelers
  • Damien Wilson, Chiefs
  • Sean Lee, Cowboys
  • De’Vondre Campbell, Cardinals
  • Tahir Whitehead, Panthers
  • B.J. Goodson, Browns
  • Elandon Roberts, Dolphins
  • Eric Wilson, Vikings
  • Bruce Irvin, Seahawks
  • Deone Bucannon, Buccaneers
  • Dylan Cole, Texans
  • Patrick Onwuasor, Jets
  • Josh Bynes, Bengals
  • Kyle Wilber, Raiders
  • Mychal Kendricks, Washington
  • Neville Hewitt, Jets

Wright, a long-time strong starter who didn’t lose much in 2020, might end up returning to the Seahawks with no big outside offers. The issue is that he’s going into his age 32 season and coming off a shoulder injury. There are some decent rotational guys at this point and not much else.

Cornerbacks

  • Richard Sherman, 49ers
  • Quinton Dunbar, Seahawks
  • Malcolm Butler, Titans
  • Mackensie Alexander, Bengals
  • Brian Poole, Jets
  • Nickell Robey-Coleman, Eagles
  • Breshaud Breeland, Chiefs
  • Steven Nelson, Steelers
  • Casey Hayward, Chargers
  • Gareon Conley, Texans
  • A.J. Bouye, Broncos
  • Buster Skrine, Bears
  • Josh Norman, Bills
  • Jason McCourty, Patriots
  • D.J. Hayden, Texans
  • Daryl Roberts, Lions

Sherman still could end up back in a familiar scheme, such as with Robert Saleh’s Jets, Gus Bradley’s Raiders or Dan Quinn’s Cowboys. Dunbar had a disappointing stint in Seattle after coming over from the other Washington. The slot options such as Alexander, Poole, Skrine and Hayden have some appeal for nickel depth. The older outside guys will have a tougher time.

Safeties

  • Malik Hooker, Colts
  • Xavier Woods, Cowboys
  • Tre Boston, Panthers
  • Bradley McDougald, Jets
  • Duron Harmon, Lions
  • Daniel Sorenson, Chiefs
  • Karl Joseph, Browns
  • Anthony Levine, Ravens
  • Andrew Sendejo, Browns
  • Will Parks, Broncos
  • D.J. Swearinger, Saints
  • Damarious Randall, Seahawks
  • Sean Davis, Steelers
  • Josh Jones, Jaguars

Safety tends to be a slow market because after the special guys such as Justin Simmons, Marcus Williams, Marcus Maye and Anthony Harris get their deals, then it’s about interchangeable veterans tied to landing in the right scheme. Hooker and Woods make enough plays when healthy to get more consideration.

Kickers 

  • Zane Gonzalez, Cardinals
  • Stephen Gostkowski, Titans
  • Dan Bailey, Vikings
  • Mike Nugent, Cardinals

The Cardinals moved on with Matt Prater. The Titans and Vikings look like they’re going for younger options. The kicking carousel never stops.

Punters

  • Jordan Berry, Steelers
  • Thomas Morstead, Saints
  • Chris Jones, Cowboys

There’s not much to see here with Morstead and Jones being expected cuts. Berry has a good chance to end up competing elsewhere in camp.





Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button