0 of 32
Elise Amendola/Associated Press
We’re only about a week away from finding out who’ll wind up where.
Hundreds of NFL players will change teams when free agency gets underway next week, as the legal tampering period starts Monday. And while some teams will be more active than others, everybody will eventually get in on the action.
Without accounting for potential re-signings before the start of the new league year March 18, here’s a look at one impending free agent every NFL squad should look to sign.
1 of 32
Bryan Bennett/Getty Images
Arizona Cardinals pass-rushing stud Chandler Jones was the Defensive Player of the Year runner-up in 2019, but he’s not well-supported.
No other current Arizona player had more than three sacks last season, so the league’s sixth-worst pass defense in terms of DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average) at Football Outsiders desperately needs a front-seven presence to replace departed veteran Terrell Suggs.
Enter Derek Wolfe, who recorded a career-high seven sacks along with 12 quarterback hits and eight tackles for loss despite missing a quarter of the 2019 campaign with the Denver Broncos because of an elbow injury. Wolfe isn’t a superstar and is more an interior presence, but he’s also a strong run defender who has a history with Cards defensive coordinator Vance Joseph from their time together in Denver.
And the 30-year-old should come a little cheaper than the premium edge talent slated to hit the market, which is ideal for a Cardinals team that isn’t loaded with salary-cap space relative to its counterparts.
2 of 32
Rey Del Rio/Getty Images
The Atlanta Falcons have even less money to spend and an even larger need for pass-rushing help.
Atlanta had the NFC’s lowest defensive pressure rate last season, the Vic Beasley Jr. era is over, 2017 first-round pick Takkarist McKinley has yet to fully emerge and is recovering from shoulder surgery, and the 31-year-old Adrian Clayborn is hitting free agency.
They should at least find enough loose change to replace the 27-year-old Beasley with somebody younger who has a higher ceiling, and Carl Nassib makes a lot of sense.
The 26-year-old 2016 third-round pick has accumulated 12.5 sacks, 25 quarterback hits, 20 tackles for loss and three forced fumbles the last two years in a part-time role with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He’s a decent run defender with enough talent to flourish in a full-time role, while his modest resume should keep the price relatively low.
3 of 32
Brett Carlsen/Getty Images
The 14-2 Baltimore Ravens had the NFL’s best record in 2019, but they ranked in the bottom 12 with just 37 sacks. Altogether, 26 percent of those sacks came from impending free-agent edge-rusher Matt Judon, whose contract is slated to expire next week.
Even if the Ravens bring back Judon, they miss departed 2018 pass-rushers Za’Darius Smith and Terrell Suggs, and recent Day 2 picks Tyus Bowser and Jaylon Ferguson have yet to emerge.
With that in mind, it might be time for a team that is talented elsewhere to splurge. The Ravens aren’t loaded with cap space, but they have few other major needs and are still projected to have more than $30 million. That should enable them to chase a hot second-tier free-agent pass-rusher like Shaq Lawson.
The 25-year-old 2016 first-round pick has yet to live up to a lot of his predraft hype, but his 6.5 sacks and 18 quarterback hits in 2019 were both career highs. He and Judon would form an expensive but exciting edge-rushing duo for a team in win-now mode.
4 of 32
Roger Steinman/Associated Press
The Buffalo Bills have two quality veteran wide receivers in John Brown and Cole Beasley, but neither is a true No. 1. The two have been to zero Pro Bowls in a combined 14 seasons.
If Buffalo wants to help quarterback Josh Allen break out in his critical third pro season, it should take advantage of more than $80 million in salary-cap space and spend lavishly on an elite outside receiver to line up opposite Brown.
Amari Cooper is exactly that after back-to-back Pro Bowl campaigns with the Oakland Raiders and Dallas Cowboys. The 25-year-old 2015 No. 4 overall pick already has four 1,000-yard seasons.
He recently told 105.3 The Fan he wants “to be a Cowboy for life,” but money talks, and the Bills have a lot more of it than the Cowboys, especially considering a possible extension for Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott. In fact, the Bills can outspend anybody on the market except the uncompetitive Miami Dolphins, the free-agent-wary Indianapolis Colts and the receiver-loaded Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
So why not Buffalo?
5 of 32
Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press
The Carolina Panthers have plenty of pieces to pick up after somewhat of an exodus in recent months, and they’d be smart to start by replacing retired star linebacker Luke Kuechly.
But Carolina has limited cap space and, considering the state of its rebuilding roster, the team will want to avoid aging linebackers. Cory Littleton, 26, would probably be too expensive and Danny Trevathan, 29, would probably be too old, but the underrated Nick Kwiatkoski might be just right.
The 26-year-old hasn’t missed a game since 2017 and is coming off his best season.
PFF’s Ben Linsey wrote earlier this offseason.
“Kwiatkoski has earned overall grades of 80.5 and 72.6 with well-rounded efforts across run defense, tackling, pass-rushing and in coverage. Those numbers came on 382 snaps and 512 snaps, respectively, so it remains to be seen how he handles a full season with a starter’s workload. However, Kwiatkoski has shown enough to be intrigued by what he would look like in that role.”
He’d never fully fill Kuechly’s shoes, but Kwiatkoski would make a lot of sense for a team looking to recover from a tough stretch.
6 of 32
Mark Humphrey/Associated Press
The Chicago Bears have insisted that Mitchell Trubisky will remain their starting quarterback in 2020, but the 2017 No. 2 overall pick’s leash should be extremely short after a disastrous third pro season in which he averaged a league-low 6.1 yards per attempt.
It’s already been floated that the Bears could pursue Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, per KOA’s Benjamin Allbright, but if that doesn’t transpire, the team will have to sign a veteran with upside.
Tom Brady, 42, is too old, Jameis Winston is too turnover prone for this particular job, Philip Rivers probably wouldn’t accept a backup job and Teddy Bridgewater looks likely to land a starting role. Bridgewater should probably be the team’s top option after he won all five games he started in place of an injured Drew Brees in 2019, but Marcus Mariota should be the guy at the bare minimum.
There’s still arguably some hope for the 2015 No. 2 overall pick. He was benched during a critical contract year in 2020, but his career numbers aren’t awful, and he’s still only 26.
7 of 32
Frederick Breedon/Getty Images
The Cincinnati Bengals are widely expected to use the draft’s top pick on highly touted quarterback Joe Burrow. And while they have 2019 first-rounder Jonah Williams lined up to take over for the soon-to-be departed Cordy Glenn at left tackle, Burrow would benefit greatly from a talented and experienced player at the other offensive tackle position.
And Jack Conklin is clearly the best right tackle option available.
The 2016 top-10 pick was PFF’s sixth-highest-graded right tackle in 2019 despite coming off a torn ACL, and the same outlet also ranked him as the best sub-30-year-old offensive lineman scheduled to hit the open market.
That means he’ll be expensive, but the Bengals have few key impending free agents, and it looks as though they’ll break from character and participate in free agency this offseason, according to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. This would be a good way to spend some cash.
8 of 32
Rick Scuteri/Associated Press
The Cleveland Browns desperately need to find a reliable left tackle to replace the mistake-prone Greg Robinson, who is set to hit free agency and was recently arrested and charged with intent to distribute marijuana and possession intent to distribute.
Because the talented Browns are in win-now mode, they oughta consider a short-term deal with an established player at that critical position.
That means Cleveland should try to trade for Trent Williams or sign either Jason Peters or Andrew Whitworth, all of whom would immediately bolster the offense. But Williams would likely be costly in a trade, and Peters has had injury issues, so we’ll go with the 38-year-old Whitworth.
Whitworth is probably running out of gas, but he’s missed just one game since 2014, was an All-Pro as recently as 2017 and was a key part of a Super Bowl team in 2018.
Most importantly, the Browns can easily outspend the Los Angeles Rams, who will undoubtedly try hard to retain Whitworth.
9 of 32
Michael Hickey/Getty Images
With the Dallas Cowboys focused on retaining key offensive players Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper, it looks as though the organization has given up hope that it will re-sign starting cornerback Byron Jones.
With that in mind, we have to set the bar low for the Cowboys on the open market. They won’t likely be major players in free agency, but they could use another body capable of competing for a starting job at safety.
So they should target Karl Joseph, who started 41 games in his first four seasons with the Raiders and still has upside as a 26-year-old 2016 first-round pick. He’s yet to live up to expectations, but that means he’ll probably come cheap on a short, prove-it contract.
10 of 32
Adam Hunger/Associated Press
The Denver Broncos are hoping 2019 second-round pick Drew Lock can become a steady franchise quarterback in his first full season as an NFL starter, but Lock would benefit from significantly more talent in a receiving corps that is thin beyond top target Courtland Sutton.
Robby Anderson would make a ton of sense.
The 26-year-old wide receiver is coming off three consecutive 700-plus-yard, five-plus-touchdown seasons in a bad New York Jets offense, and he has the playmaking ability to be a strong outside option opposite Sutton.
Anderson’s trajectory won’t allow for a discount, but only 10 teams have more cap space than the Jets. Imagine Lock along with Sutton, Anderson and tight end Noah Fant. That’d be fun.
11 of 32
Kathryn Riley/Getty Images
Even with the high-priced Trey Flowers on board as its top edge-rusher in 2019, the Detroit Lions defense had the NFC’s worst sack rate. Flowers needs more support, which is why it would make a lot of sense for Detroit to bring back veteran outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy.
Van Noy struggled during his early-career stint with the Lions, but he flourished under the tutelage of current Lions head coach Matt Patricia during his first couple of seasons with the New England Patriots. He’s an obvious fit for Patricia’s system, and he’d be an upgrade over Devon Kennard, who is also 28 years old and can be cut to create $5.4 million in savings.
The Lions might want to aim higher and could use help along the offensive line and in the secondary, but they rank in the middle of the pack in terms of cap space. After Detroit splurged on Flowers last offseason, Van Noy might be the team’s most realistic target this year.
12 of 32
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
Unsurprisingly, the Green Bay Packers are expected to part ways with veteran tight end Jimmy Graham, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. But their championship window is closing, considering quarterback Aaron Rodgers‘ advanced age (36), so they can’t afford to take a step backward in the pass-catching corps.
So while general manager Brian Gutekunst has already said the team will be more restricted in free agency this offseason, per ESPN’s Rob Demovsky, the front office should at least fork over premium money to land emerging star tight end Austin Hooper.
Even though he missed three games with a sprained MCL, the 25-year-old established new career highs with 75 catches, 787 yards and six touchdowns in a Pro Bowl 2019 season with the Falcons. His numbers have shot up in each of his first four pro campaigns, and he can become a star in the right environment.
This isn’t breaking news. Demovsky reported last month that Gutekunst will target Hooper on the open market.
13 of 32
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images
The oft-maligned Houston Texans offensive line has improved of late, but it is missing one piece: a high-quality, reliable guard to work with presumed 2020 starters Laremy Tunsil, Max Scharping, Nick Martin and Tytus Howard.
They signed veterans Senio Kelemete and Zach Fulton to lucrative contracts two offseasons ago, but neither has panned out. Now, they can raise nearly $10 million by parting ways with both players, and they’ve already got nearly $63 million in cap space.
That should make it easy to sign a talented free-agent guard such as Andrus Peat, who is still only 26 years old and has been a Pro Bowler the last two seasons with the New Orleans Saints.
Brandon Scherff or Joe Thuney would be similarly big prizes, but they might also be a little more expensive, and the Texans do have to worry about re-signing D.J. Reader while also considering an eventual blockbuster pact for quarterback Deshaun Watson.
14 of 32
David Eulitt/Getty Images
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported last month that the “mutual interest” between the Indianapolis Colts and quarterback Philip Rivers isn’t much of a secret. After all, Colts head coach Frank Reich and offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni both coached Rivers for several seasons in San Diego, and Indy is probably realizing that Jacoby Brissett isn’t the long-term answer under center.
Brissett isn’t a bad quarterback, but he lacked big-play ability in a prove-it season in which he ranked ahead of only two qualified passers with a 6.6 yards-per-attempt average.
Rivers might not be a long-term solution either after the 38-year-old’s numbers plummeted in 2018, but he’d have more support in Indianapolis and could at least make a good bridge quarterback at a reasonable rate (especially if a discount might be on the table).
Considering that the Colts don’t often care to splurge on the open market, this is about as bold as one might expect from a team that has plenty of cap space but will owe Brissett $12.5 million even if he’s off the roster in 2020.
15 of 32
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images
In a matter of months, the cap-strapped Jacksonville Jaguars were forced to part ways with top cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye (who they agreed to trade to Denver last week), leaving a massive hole at one of the game’s most important positions. And while the Jags will likely still want to remain fiscally conservative this offseason, they at least have some cash to bring in a veteran cover man.
Daryl Worley might be the ideal non-first-tier free-agent target for Jacksonville, because he’s got tremendous raw talent and measurables, he’s somewhat proven and his ceiling remains high.
The 2016 third-round pick just turned 25, he’s got superb size (6’1″, 215 lbs), speed and athleticism, and for a long stretch midway through last season he looked the part of a No. 1 corner. He’ll have to become more consistent, but that lack of polish should at least keep him in Jacksonville’s price range this offseason.
The Jags are trying to remain competitive while saving money and looking toward the future. Worley works in every respect.
16 of 32
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
The Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs don’t have much to do aside from some in-house work this offseason (will they re-sign Chris Jones? Will they extend Patrick Mahomes?), but Kansas City could use another option in the offensive backfield.
Damien Williams is a quality player coming off a strong Super Bowl performance, but his 111 carries in 2019 were a career high, and he’ll be 28 soon. Plus, LeSean McCoy probably won’t be back for his age-32 season, per NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo.
With that in mind, the Chiefs might have the luxury of chasing intriguing free-agent back Kenyan Drake, who exploded with a 5.2 yards-per-attempt average and eight touchdowns in eight games after the Miami Dolphins traded him to Arizona midway through the 2019 campaign.
The 26-year-old won’t come cheap after that hot finish, but suitors could benefit from the fact that this running back market is loaded with big-name players. The Chiefs should take advantage of that and add another weapon as they try to load up for a repeat.
17 of 32
Paul Sancya/Associated Press
Regardless of whether the Las Vegas Raiders lose Worley, they need help in the secondary. Last year in Oakland, the defense surrendered a tied-for-league-worst 8.3 yards per pass attempt and an AFC-worst 103.8 passer rating, while the pass D ranked 30th in DVOA.
Bring on Byron Jones, who seems unlikely to return to the distracted Cowboys and has already been linked to the Raiders. The 27-year-old has a Pro Bowl on his resume and is coming off a season in which he was PFF‘s 17th-ranked cornerback.
“He allowed just 0.39 yards per coverage snap on those reps [in press-man coverage] in 2019,” wrote PFF’s Anthony Treash last month, “the second-lowest figure at the position and over eight-tenths of a yard lower than the average.”
That might also make Jones expensive, but his modest interception numbers (he has just two picks in five NFL seasons) could keep the price down, and the Raiders are in good cap shape anyway.
18 of 32
Frederick Breedon/Getty Images
The Los Angeles Chargers agreed to trade left tackle Russell Okung to the Panthers earlier this month, per Rapoport, and right tackle Sam Tevi has failed to prove he should be anything more than a backup. Even if 2019 third-round pick Trey Pipkins has a shot to become something at that position, the Bolts badly need experience in support of their new (to be determined) quarterback in 2020.
They should be in on Conklin, Whitworth, Peters and Williams, but we’ll give them longtime Green Bay Packer Bryan Bulaga. He might be a tad cheaper than Conklin and probably has more years ahead of him than at least Whitworth and Peters (Williams remains under contract with the Washington Redskins).
Bulaga isn’t a superstar, but he’s a steady and reliable pass- and run-blocker who has missed just two starts the last two years.
The icing on the cake is that new Chargers offensive line coach James Campen served in that same role for the Packers during the first eight years of Bulaga’s career in Green Bay.
19 of 32
Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images
Regardless of whether or not they lose Whitworth, the Los Angeles Rams offensive line is in serious need of talent. Whitworth is 38, right tackle Rob Havenstein has disappointed and guard Austin Blythe is slated for free agency after a down year.
The Rams might not be able to afford the top names scheduled to hit the open market at tackle or guard, but Daryl Williams is an intriguing, relatively young option who could be flying under the radar.
The versatile 27-year-old played every position but center for the Panthers in 2019, and two years prior to that he performed at a Pro Bowl level at right tackle. He’s not a star, but he’s a strong run-blocker who is rarely penalized and has growth potential.
At the very least, Los Angeles should kick Williams’ tires to see if a new environment might help him excel.
20 of 32
Elise Amendola/Associated Press
Like both aforementioned Los Angeles teams, the Miami Dolphins’ first point of focus this offseason should be to bolster the offensive line. In Miami’s case, it’ll be about building from the inside out for a young new quarterback, and the good news is the Dolphins have more money to spend than anyone else in the NFL.
That should tempt Dolphins head coach Brian Flores to chase one of the best players from his former team, guard Joe Thuney.
Earlier this month, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald listed Thuney as one of several current or former Patriots who might draw interest from Flores’ Dolphins.
Inexplicably, Thuney has yet to make a Pro Bowl. But the 27-year-old has missed zero starts in four NFL seasons, and in 2019 he made PFF‘s All-Pro second team. That same outlet concluded Thuney has been “one of the 10 most valuable guards in each of the past three seasons,” and he’s become one of the best pass-blocking interior offensive linemen in the league.
He won’t come cheap, but the Dolphins should flex their financial muscle.
21 of 32
David Banks/Getty Images
With practically no salary-cap space, the Minnesota Vikings may have to get creative this offseason. It’ll be especially difficult for the Vikes to fix a secondary that struggled in coverage in 2019 and now might lose impending free-agent cornerbacks Mackensie Alexander and Trae Waynes, both of whom will likely get paid for their raw talent and growth potential.
Minnesota might instead have to consider releasing veteran Xavier Rhodes, who was beaten often in 2019 and whose departure would free up more than $8 million in cap space. Regardless, a team in win-now mode could use a proven veteran presence at that position.
Byron Jones and Chris Harris Jr. would likely be too expensive, but the Vikings may be able to get a reasonable price for Prince Amukamara, a good-not-fantastic player on the north side of 30.
The nine-year veteran has missed just two starts the last two seasons and is a year removed from a three-pick campaign. His signing wouldn’t cause euphoria in Minneapolis, but the former Bear has always been solid in coverage, and he likely could be had on a short-term deal that wouldn’t crush the Minnesota payroll.
22 of 32
Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images
You might have heard that the New England Patriots need a tight end. The 39-year-old Ben Watson and 27-year-old journeyman Matt LaCosse couldn’t locate, let alone fill, the shoes that belonged to the departed Rob Gronkowski in 2019, and whoever quarterbacks the Pats in 2020 deserves a high-quality option in that spot.
That means the Pats should be in the running for both Austin Hooper and Hunter Henry, both of whom are scheduled to hit the open market after promising walk years.
We’ll assign Henry to the Pats because Hooper has the more impressive resume and fewer injury concerns, and New England is likely to have to settle for the less expensive option considering all of the in-house work on the team’s plate.
There’s a good chance Henry doesn’t leave Los Angeles, but if he does, the Patriots have to make the 25-year-old a priority following a 2019 campaign in which he caught 55 passes for 652 yards in just 12 games.
23 of 32
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Michael Thomas is, like, really good at football. But the superstar New Orleans Saints receiver can’t do it all in that receiving corps. Veteran impending free agent Ted Ginn Jr. has to be running out of gas at 34, and 2018 third-round pick Tre’Quan Smith has yet to emerge as anything more than a backup-caliber player.
The problem is the Saints don’t have much money to spend this offseason, so they’ll have to be thrifty in their attempt to find another experienced potential target for quarterback Drew Brees.
In that respect, Breshad Perriman makes a lot of sense.
The 2015 first-round pick has turned into a journeyman, but he quietly put up a career-high 645 yards and scored six touchdowns as the third option in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ passing game last season. Considering the presence of Alvin Kamara and Jared Cook, that’d essentially be his role in New Orleans, where he’d have a chance to flourish opposite Thomas on the other end of throws from the most accurate passer in NFL history.
His limited resume means Perriman will come a lot cheaper than the top tier of receivers on the market, but he’d have a tremendous chance to finally live up to his potential in prove-it mode with the Saints.
24 of 32
Chris Szagola/Associated Press
It’s time for the New York Giants to make a defensive splash.
They surrendered 28.2 points per game last season, and nobody in the NFC had fewer takeaways. But now, only a handful of teams have more salary-cap space, and the Giants have the talent on offense to make a lot of progress in 2020.
They need a game-changer, and Jadeveon Clowney is the closest thing in this year’s free-agent class. The three-time Pro Bowler has the 11th-best PFF grade among all edge defenders dating back to 2017. While his sack numbers have never taken off, he’s one of the best all-around players in the league at the position. Plus, he had four forced fumbles in 2019.
The 2014 No. 1 overall pick is only 27 years old, and he’d immediately become the focal point of a defense that is in desperate need of a player just like him. The good news is it sounds like he’s down to play for the G-Men, per Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.
25 of 32
Mark Tenally/Associated Press
The New York Jets should jump into the interior offensive line sweepstakes with the Dolphins and Texans. If they land Andrus Peat or Joe Thuney instead of Brandon Scherff, that’s fine. But we’re giving them Scherff because he might be more affordable considering his age and recent injuries.
Scherff is great, but he’s a touch older than those other guys, he’s missed 13 games the last two seasons because of injury, and he’s recovering from elbow and shoulder injuries that sent him to injured reserve late in 2019.
The Dolphins and Texans have more cap space than Gang Green, so Scherff winds up with the Jets in this hypothetical scenario. But the key is to get a star guard because they’re a mess at that position. The expensive and aging Brian Winters struggled in an injury-derailed 2019 campaign, and neither Alex Lewis nor Tom Compton is a good starting option moving forward.
Without more talent inside, they’re wasting their money on Le’Veon Bell.
26 of 32
Michael Zagaris/Getty Images
It’s no secret that the Philadelphia Eagles receiving corps was a train wreck in 2019. Philly won’t likely bring back the mistake-prone Nelson Agholor, and neither Alshon Jeffery nor DeSean Jackson was healthy enough to be relied upon in 2019.
The Eagles should certainly look at Amari Cooper, A.J. Green and Robby Anderson, but Emmanuel Sanders might be a more reasonable target considering the money they already have tied up at that position. He’ll likely come cheaper than those three and on a short-term commitment.
Philadelphia was considered a potential suitor for the veteran when Denver shopped him ahead of the 2019 trade deadline. He ended up with the San Francisco 49ers, where he continued to prove that the Achilles injury he suffered in 2018 was no longer a factor.
The 32-year-old racked up 869 yards and scored five touchdowns while helping the 49ers make a Super Bowl run. Most importantly from the Eagles’ perspective, he dropped just two passes on 97 targets.
27 of 32
Justin Casterline/Getty Images
Ben Roethlisberger is old and expensive, which means the Pittsburgh Steelers have little choice but to shoot for the stars in 2020. But with almost no cap space and plenty of in-house work to do on defense, they’ll have to be beggars rather than choosers in their pursuit of more support for Big Ben.
They desperately need an upgrade at tight end after incumbent starter Vance McDonald totaled just 273 receiving yards and averaged 7.2 yards per catch last season. That was the lowest average in the NFL among 118 qualified tight ends and receivers. The Steelers can save $5.7 million by parting ways with him, and they shouldn’t have to spend much more than that to land a second-tier free-agent tight end like Eric Ebron.
The 2014 first-round pick won’t get as much love as Hooper or Henry because he’s coming off a down year and was a bust with the Lions before that. But he’s still only 26, and he proved in 2018 that under the right circumstances, he can excel. That year, with Andrew Luck running the Indianapolis offense, he led all tight ends with 13 touchdown catches in a Pro Bowl campaign.
He’s worth a flier for a team that will otherwise have to abstain from free agency.
28 of 32
Ted S. Warren/Associated Press
Not only do the San Francisco 49ers have few glaring holes to hill following a Super Bowl campaign, but they also have very little money to utilize on the open market. Expect San Francisco to remain relatively silent in free agency, but John Lynch and Co. should try to bolster the cornerback position.
Richard Sherman is coming off a strong campaign but will soon turn 32, Ahkello Witherspoon was inconsistent last year and the jury is still out on Emmanuel Moseley. They could use another veteran to compete for a job outside, and Trae Waynes makes a lot of sense.
The 2015 top-12 pick hasn’t panned out in Minnesota, but he’s just 27 and has flashed on and off in outside coverage. He’s got tread on his tires and 53 career starts under his belt, and he might have a chance to flourish in a new environment.
Regardless, he’s not Chris Harris Jr., Byron Jones or even Bradley Roby, so the cap-strapped Niners may have a shot.
29 of 32
Rick Scuteri/Associated Press
Add one more team to the interior offensive line mix, and this one has even less money to spend than the Dolphins, Texans and Jets. We’re leaving the Seattle Seahawks with Graham Glasgow, who isn’t a star but missed just two games in a steady four-year run to kick off his career in Detroit.
He had the eighth-highest PFF grade among 28 qualifying guards and didn’t allow a sack in 2019.
That could make him useful in Seattle, where the offensive line is still problematic. Veterans D.J. Fluker and Mike Iupati were liabilities at guard in 2019, and it’s beginning to look like 2017 second-round pick Ethan Pocic will never meet expectations inside.
A team that is positioned to compete right now and needs to protect the highest-paid quarterback in the game needs somebody else at the guard position, and Glasgow could be in Seattle’s price range.
30 of 32
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have to move on from turnover king Jameis Winston, especially considering the anticipated market at quarterback this offseason. While some Bucs fans will inevitably clamor for the decorated Tom Brady, the well-accomplished Philip Rivers or the realistically unattainable Dak Prescott, the team’s best realistic option is Teddy Bridgewater.
“I’ve always loved Teddy,” Bucs head coach Bruce Arians said of Bridgewater when he helped the Saints beat Tampa Bay early in the 2019 season, per Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. “He’s a good, solid player and should be a starter in this league.”
Bridgewater lacks the cannon arm that is often associated with Arians’ offense, but so does Brady, and so did Carson Palmer when Arians helped him put together a career year as a veteran with the Cardinals.
Bridgewater is only 27, he’s won 22 of his 34 career starts and he has a 2015 Pro Bowl nod on his resume from his last season as a full-time starter. He’s got a nice blend of potential and pedigree, and he should be ready to step into an ideal situation in Tampa.
31 of 32
Al Bello/Getty Images
With the Giants focused on landing a bigger fish like Clowney, the team’s runaway sack leader from 2019 could find himself on the market. If that’s the case, the Tennessee Titans should see if they can get a discount for a player who might slip under the radar amid a strong pass-rushing class.
That player is Markus Golden, who has actually compiled double-digit sacks in his last two 16-game seasons. But because two injury-impacted campaigns separate those strong campaigns, the soon-to-be 29-year-old won’t break the bank.
That’s good news for the Titans, who need another pass-rusher to work with Harold Landry but can’t spend too much money because they’ll have to deal with big-name impending free agents Ryan Tannehill, Derrick Henry, Jack Conklin and Logan Ryan.
If they enter the realm of free agency at all, it should be so that they can call Golden’s agent.
32 of 32
David Richard/Associated Press
The Josh Norman era is over, and Quinton Dunbar might want out, leaving the Washington Redskins with quite a pickle at cornerback. Fabian Moreau is a borderline starter, and the jury is far out on Jimmy Moreland.
Fortunately for the Redskins, only seven teams have more salary-cap space. That means they can spend some cash and potentially control who they land in an attempt to revive the cornerback position in 2020.
They should target another former Panther in James Bradberry, who has some work to do but is coming off a three-pick walk year. There’s no denying the 26-year-old 2016 second-round pick has lots of talent and upside, so he should be expensive. But that hasn’t often scared off the Redskins in the past, and in this case they’re desperate.
Oh, and there’s that whole Ron Rivera connection. The new Redskins head coach was Bradberry’s coach the last four years in Carolina.
Brad Gagnon has covered the NFL for Bleacher Report since 2012. Follow him on Twitter. Or don’t. It’s entirely your choice.