Top NFL free agents heading into 2021

Free Agents

This NFL offseason has been huge so far. The free agents are slowly piling up heading into the 2021 season.

 

The NFL franchise tag deadline has come and gone and it has become apparent who some of the top free agents are for the 2021 season. Some of the players hit with the franchise tag include Chris Godwin, Allen Robinson, and Leonard Williams. Tons of players have been released or cut over the past few weeks, many of them past Pro Bowlers. Some of these names include first overall pick Eric Fisher, Malcolm Butler, Emmanuel Sanders, and Alex smith. Some of these players could be of huge value to teams looking to fill gaps, others are on the ends of their careers and are hoping for someone to pick them up. Other released players chose to retire like Thomas Davis and Greg Olson. Some free agents have already managed to find a new home including Mark Ingram in Houston, and J.J Watt in Arizona.

As NFL teams rush to clear cap room for new players, here are some of the top free agents still on the board.

Honorable Mentions:

Kenny Golladay. Golladay is still a young player (27). Kenny only played five games last season but racked up nearly 1,200 yards and recorded 11 touchdowns the season before. He could be very helpful to an organization looking for a good receiving core.

Yannick Ngakoue. Ngakoue is another young talent (25). After being traded to Baltimore early last season and was never able to get his footing the way he had hoped. Yannick recorded 37.5 sacks in his first four seasons with the Jags. His previous success is something many NFL teams could use if it continues in to the future. With the right team, Yannick could post up monster numbers over the next few years.

  1. Eric Fisher

Personally, I think it was dumb for Kansas City to cut Fisher. Fisher was one of the key reasons Patrick Mahomes was a top 5 least-sacked quarterback who started more than 14 games last season. Fisher made the Pro-Bowl last season as well as in 2018. Over the course of his eight-season career, Fisher started 113 of his 117 games. Fisher was the first overall draft pick in 2013 and has been a huge asset to the team ever since. Many NFL teams have struggled with their offensive line over the past few years. Teams like Cincinnati and Houston have struggled more than anyone. If these teams are willing to fork up a little cash for the 2020 Pro-Bowler, he could be a key piece to a team who has recently struggled.

  1. Bud Dupree.

Why Pittsburgh has decided to part ways with Dupree, I’m not sure. Dupree was an absolute monster alongside fellow teammate T.J. Watt. The two have recorded 80.5 sacks over the past four seasons, 31 of those being Dupree’s.  They were one of the league’s top pass rushing duos over the past few years and now another team is hoping to thrive off Pittsburgh’s mistake. While Dupree has yet to make a Pro- Bowl, if he gets the chance to be the number one pass rusher for a franchise, this is likely to change.

  1. Ju Ju Smith-Schuster

While Pittsburgh has not yet 100 percent decided the fate of Schuster, it is likely he will be in another city next season. SI.com put out a pole asking if Schuster stays in Pittsburgh or if “That’s a negative” in which JuJu voted “That’s a negative”. The 24-year-old has had a pretty successful career thus far. JuJu made the Pro-Bowl in 2018 and has posted over 300 catches and over 3,700 yards in his first four seasons. While Smith-Schuster did have 9 touchdowns last season, he failed to reach 900 yards while playing in all 16 games. This may have been due to the rise of breakout star Chase Claypool who recorded a few more yards and an equal number of touchdowns as a rookie. Whether Schuster remains in Pittsburgh or decides to go elsewhere, his future should be bright over the next few seasons.

  1. Aaron Jones

This is another decision I just don’t understand. Green Bay chose not to franchise tag Jones and so his time as a Packer may be coming to an end. Jones is another young player at just 26. He made the Pro-Bowl for the first time in 2020, and posted a league leading 16 touchdowns the year before (tied with Derrick Henry). In four seasons with the Packers, Jones totaled up over 3,300 yards and 37 touchdowns on the ground. He also managed to haul in nearly 500 receiving yards in 2019. NBC Sports posted an article talking about odds for Jones’ next landing spot, the result was Miami. If this turns out to be true, this could be huge for the team as they just missed the playoffs last year. A player like Jones could be a difference maker and could help the team make the post season in 2021.

  1. Trent Williams

This wasn’t an easy number one pick, but with a resume like Williams’, it had to be done. Williams may still be on the 49ers roster next season, but if he’s not, this could be a huge pickup for another team.  He has proven to be one of the best lineman of his time after being drafted fourth overall in 2010. Williams was able to make the Pro-Bowl last season. This was his eighth time in nine seasons. Williams has started in 133 of 134 games he’s played in. At 32 Trent is getting up there in age, but last season he proved he still can make a difference. If another team is able to snag him, he could be a huge reason for any teams success.

 

 

 

 

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