Last Updated: June 12th at 7:55pm ET.
These position-by-position free agent lists are loosely sorted based on 2020 salary projections. They will be depleted by re-signings and franchise tags and replenished by cuts.
My thoughts on notable trades can be found at the bottom of this page.
QUARTERBACKS (Age ~ start of new league year)
Dak Prescott (26) — Franchise Tagged by DAL (Exclusive Rights)
Prescott’s tag is worth over $30 million, and its exclusive-rights designation prevents other teams from negotiating with him. Ideally, the mechanism would serve as a steppingstone toward a long-term commitment. Prescott has never missed a start in his four-year career, is lauded for his intangibles and leadership skills, and keeps getting better, in 2019 setting career bests in yards per attempt (8.2), touchdown passes (30), and sack rate (3.7%). Prescott ranked No. 6 among 34 qualified quarterbacks in Football Outsiders’ DVOA, No. 4 in QBR, and orchestrated the NFL’s sixth-highest-scoring offense.
Ryan Tannehill (31) — Re-signed 4-year, $118 million deal with TEN
Leading the NFL in yards per attempt (9.6), yards per completion (13.6), and passer rating (117.5), Tannehill parlayed his ten regular season plus three playoff starts into a megadeal averaging $29.5 million annually just one offseason after the Dolphins essentially paid the Titans to take him off their hands. Tannehill received $62 million guaranteed, including a $20 million signing bonus. The structure of the contract makes it very likely Tennessee will be tied to Tannehill for the next three seasons. The first two years of the deal are fully guaranteed. Only the final year contains no guarantees. Especially after the Titans franchise tagged Derrick Henry, expect Tannehill to remain a low-volume, ideally high-efficiency game manager in Nashville.
Drew Brees (41) — Re-signed 2-year, $50 million deal with NO
Brees likely could have commanded closer to $30 million annually on the open market, but he took less to stay on what will probably be his final NFL contract. Brees has also stated he is willing to surrender more snaps to swiss-army-knife Taysom Hill, on whom the Saints placed a first-round restricted free agent tender. Although Brees has led the NFL in completion rate in three straight seasons, his late-season effectiveness wanes on an annual basis, and the Saints have morphed into a run- and defense-oriented team during stretch runs. We shouldn’t expect Brees to be a bankable 2020 fantasy starter.
Tom Brady (42) — Signed 2-year, $50 million deal with TB
Although Brady’s short to intermediate passing style doesn’t theoretically fit Bucs coach Bruce Arians‘ “no-risk-it, no-biscuit” vertical approach, it shouldn’t be a stretch to expect Arians and OC Byron Leftwich to construct their 2020 offense in a manner that highlights Brady’s strengths and aims to minimize his weaknesses. Doing so would bode well for slot dominator Chris Godwin and perhaps TEs O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate while heightening high-aDOT deep threat Mike Evans‘ fantasy risk. The Bucs must shorten pass-route depths and find a reliable passing-game back to satisfy Brady’s tendency to accept high-percentage throws rather than panic-force the issue as 2019 Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston so often would. Brady is the antithesis of Winston, who committed 35 turnovers last season. Brady has committed 35 turnovers over the last four seasons combined. Brady is the biggest fantasy winner here from a weapons standpoint after he played with one of the league’s weakest supporting cast for the 2019 Pats. Julian Edelman and James White are in danger of taking catastrophic blows in New England.
Philip Rivers (38) — Signed 1-year, $25 million deal with IND
This signing doesn’t remove Indianapolis from post-Andrew Luck quarterback purgatory, especially after Rivers ranked 27th among 31 qualified quarterbacks in passer rating on 20-plus-yard downfield attempts (59.1) last season, tossing a league-high nine interceptions on such throws. But the Colts can offer Rivers arguably the best offensive line of his career, an indoor playing environment, and a high-octane rushing attack useful for toning down Rivers’ too-aggressive, turnover-propense late-game flurries. In fantasy, a sleeper to benefit from Rivers’ addition is passing-down specialist Nyheim Hines, who will compete for Danny Woodhead–Austin Ekeler usage behind lead runner Marlon Mack. Colts OC Nick Sirianni spent five years on the Chargers’ staff with Rivers, and head coach Frank Reich was Rivers’ position coach for one year and offensive coordinator for two in San Diego.
Jameis Winston (26) — Signed 1-year, $1.1 million deal with NO
Teddy Bridgewater (27) — Signed 3-year, $63 million deal with CAR
A high-end backup but low-end starter, Bridgewater takes over as Carolina’s first-team quarterback with a career 65.2% completion rate but sub-par 7.2 yards per attempt and ho-hum 88.3 passer rating. Bridgewater’s strengths are his smarts, accuracy, and efficiency, and his familiarity with new Panthers OC Joe Brady comes in handy after Brady spent 2018 on Sean Payton‘s Saints staff. While Teddy’s addition bodes positively for Christian McCaffrey, run-after-catch maven D.J. Moore, and breakout candidate TE Ian Thomas, the Panthers will likely continue to struggle to stretch the field, most concerning for Curtis Samuel. I’d bet Carolina will begin looking to upgrade on Bridgewater by 2021.
Cam Newton (31)
Andy Dalton (32) — Signed 1-year, $3 million deal with DAL
Marcus Mariota (26) — Signed 2-year, $17.6 million deal with LVR
Case Keenum (32) — Signed 3-year, $18 million deal with CLE
This union was easy to see coming; new Browns coach Kevin Stefanski served as Keenum’s position coach during his career-best 2017 season in Minnesota. One of the NFL’s top backups, Keenum has thrown 51 touchdown passes versus 27 interceptions over the past three years and is more than capable of moving an offense on the fly. This is a clear-cut backup deal; Keenum will not be challenging Baker Mayfield to start.
Joe Flacco (35) — Signed 1-year, $1.5 million deal with NYJ
Eli Manning (39) – Announced retirement on 1/22
Matt Moore (35)
Brandon Allen (27)
Brian Hoyer (34) — Signed 1-year, $1.05 million deal with NE
Colt McCoy (33) — Signed 1-year, $1.5 million deal with NYG
Blake Bortles (27)
Brett Hundley (26) — Re-signed 1-year deal with ARZ
Chase Daniel (33) — Signed 3-year, $13.05 million deal with DET
A.J. McCarron (29) — Re-signed 1-year, $4 million deal with HOU
Jeff Driskel (26) — Signed 2-year, $5 million deal with DEN
Joe Webb (33)
Nate Sudfeld (26) — Re-signed 1-year, $2 million deal with PHI
Trevor Siemian (28)
Josh McCown (40)
Geno Smith (29) — Signed 1-year deal with SEA
Blaine Gabbert (30) — Re-signed 1-year deal with TB
Kyle Sloter (26)
P.J. Walker (25) — Signed 2-year, $1.565 million deal with CAR
Jordan Ta’amu (22) — Signed 1-year, $680,000 deal with KC
Mike Glennon (30) — Signed 1-year deal with JAX
Drew Stanton (35)
Chad Henne (34) — Re-signed 2-year, $3.25 million deal with KC
David Fales (29) — Signed 1-year deal with NYJ
Sean Mannion (27) — Re-signed 1-year, $1.05 million deal with MIN
Derrick Henry (26) — Franchise Tagged by TEN
The Titans are maintaining continuity throughout their offense with Ryan Tannehill re-signed and Henry returning under second-year OC Arthur Smith, Tennessee’s first playcaller to fully commit to Henry as his offensive centerpiece. Henry responded by leading the league in carries (303), rushing yards (1,540), and rushing TDs (16), even as his passing-game role remained limited. Dion Lewis‘ release perhaps foreshadows Henry seeing an uptick in 2020 targets, although the Titans are likely to add a back via the draft or on a low-cost free agent deal. Regardless, Henry should compete for the league lead in carries once again on a team whose philosophy centers on offensive balance and limiting opponent scoring. The running back franchise tag is worth $10.278 million, lowest of all positions save kicker/punter ($5.019 million).
Melvin Gordon (26) — Signed 2-year, $16 million deal with DEN
One offseason after he turned down a multi-year offer worth $10 million annually from the Chargers, then forfeited four game checks during an ill-fated holdout, Gordon settled for division-rival Denver’s two-year proposal with $13.5 million guaranteed. Beat writers expect Gordon to serve as the Broncos’ 1A back to Phillip Lindsay‘s 1B with an upper hand in the passing game and almost certainly in scoring position. The Broncos have poured major resources into their offensive line over the past two years, including hiring all-world OL coach Mike Munchak. Denver has a chance to drop Gordon into a very favorable run-game environment and keep him afloat as a top 12-15 fantasy back. Lindsay should be downgraded to low-ceiling flex option, while Royce Freeman is likely available for trade.
Kenyan Drake (26) — Transition Tagged by ARZ
The running back transition tag is worth $8.483 million. It allows the Cardinals to match any outside offer Drake might receive. (As a running back, he is highly unlikely to command any offer worth in the range of $8.5 million annually.) Reports of the Cardinals receiving trade interest in David Johnson immediately followed Drake’s tag, and Johnson was indeed traded to the Texans. Across eight games with Arizona last season, Drake averaged 101.8 yards from scrimmage and 5.2 yards per carry with eight touchdowns. At the Combine, coach Kliff Kingsbury described Drake as “a perfect fit for our offense.” The Cardinals fielded a top-two rushing attack in Kingsbury’s first year. Expect Drake to be ranked among this year’s top-15 fantasy backs with Johnson in Houston and Chase Edmonds returning as Drake’s primary backup.
Todd Gurley (25) — Signed 1-year, $6 million deal with ATL
While the jury remains out on what’s left in Gurley’s arthritic-kneed tank, this destination is a near-best-case scenario in fantasy terms. Draft pending, his competition for touches consists only of replacement-level types Brian Hill, Ito Smith, and Qadree Ollison, while Atlanta has finished top eight in total offense in six straight years. Up front, all five offensive line starters return with 2019 first-round picks RG Chris Lindstrom and RT Kaleb McGary likely to improve in their sophomore campaigns. Gurley’s 2019 performance was mediocre or worse according to virtually every advanced metric, but he held up on 16.9 touches per game and should see similar usage in Atlanta.
Devonta Freeman (28)
Carlos Hyde (28) — Signed 1-year, $3 million deal with SEA
Chris Thompson (29) — Signed 1-year deal with JAX
Lamar Miller (28)
Dion Lewis (30) — Signed 1-year deal with NYG
DeAndre Washington (27) — Signed 1-year deal with KC
Jalen Richard (26) — Re-signed 2-year, $7 million deal with LVR
From a fantasy standpoint, the impact of Richard re-signing with the Raiders has less to do with himself than Josh Jacobs, who asserted himself as one of the league’s top runners as a rookie but was frustratingly ignored in the passing game. Richard out-targeted Jacobs 43 to 27 and ran 57 more pass routes than Jacobs on the year.
Jordan Howard (25) — Signed 2-year, $9.75 million deal with MIA
Howard averaged 4.41 yards per carry and scored seven touchdowns in nine games for the Eagles before a painful shoulder/stinger injury derailed his 2019 season. A tackle breaker severely short on passing-game utility, Howard is best deployed as an early-down thumper. The Dolphins’ backfield is wide open with throwaways Kalen Ballage, Patrick Laird, and Myles Gaskin returning as the team’s top-three backs.
Peyton Barber (25) — Signed 2-year, $3 million deal with WAS
Ameer Abdullah (26) — Re-signed 1-year deal with MIN
Theo Riddick (28)
LeSean McCoy (31)
Jonathan Williams (26)
Wendell Smallwood (26)
Devontae Booker (27) — Signed 1-year deal with LVR
J.D. McKissic (26) — Signed 2-year, $3.25 million deal with WAS
McKissic will inherit Chris Thompson‘s old pass-catching role behind dueling early-down RBs Adrian Peterson and Derrius Guice.
Ty Montgomery (27) — Signed 1-year deal with NO
Frank Gore (36) — Signed 1-year deal with NYJ
Corey Clement (25) — Re-signed 1-year deal with PHI
Marshawn Lynch (33)
Alfred Blue (28)
Rod Smith (28) — Re-signed 1-year, $910,000 deal with LVR
Bilal Powell (31)
Buck Allen (28)
C.J. Prosise (25)
Spencer Ware (28)
Dwayne Washington (25) — Signed 1-year deal with NO
Robert Turbin (30)
Senorise Perry (28) — Signed 1-year deal with TEN
Kenjon Barner (30)
Tyler Ervin (26) — Re-signed 1-year, $1.05 million deal with GB
D.J. Foster (26) — Re-signed 1-year deal with ARZ
Taiwan Jones (31) — Signed 1-year deal with BUF
Anthony Sherman (31) — Re-signed 1-year deal with KC
Derek Watt (27) — Signed 3-year, $9.75 million deal with PIT
Zach Line (29) – Announced retirement on 1/15
Dan Vitale (26) — Signed undisclosed deal with NE
Keith Smith (27) — Re-signed 3-year, $4.3 million deal with ATL
Michael Burton (28) — Signed 1-year deal with NO
Roosevelt Nix (28) — Signed 1-year deal with IND
Amari Cooper (25) — Re-signed 5-year, $100 million deal with DAL
Per multiple reports, Cooper turned down “significantly” more money from the Redskins in order to stay in Dallas. Dak Prescott is a huge winner here; Cooper’s ability to beat man coverage perfectly complements Prescott’s see-it, throw-it passing skill set, and Dak’s game has reached new heights since Cooper’s acquisition midway through 2018. Per Next Gen Stats, Prescott’s yards per attempt spike from 7.1 to 8.2 with Cooper on the field since the trade, and Dak’s passer rating leaps from 92.8 to 102.3. The Cowboys return all of their best offensive linemen, their ascending quarterback, their No. 1 receiver, their workhorse back, and No. 2 WR Michael Gallup, who quietly ranked No. 6 in the NFL in receiving yards per game last season. With OC Kellen Moore retaining playcalling duties and taking on a bigger role constructing game plans, Dallas should again trot out an elite 2020 offense.
A.J. Green (31) — Franchise Tagged by CIN
Green showed he had plenty in the tank in 2018 by ranking No. 7 among 97 qualified wide receivers in yards per route run, only to miss all of 2019 with an ankle injury he suffered in training camp. Green was also known to be unhappy with his contract situation — perhaps extending his stay on the sideline — and a holdout seems probable if the Bengals are unwilling to negotiate a long-term deal. Ideally for the organization, Green will return along with John Ross, Tyler Boyd, and Joe Mixon to provide No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow with the most talented supporting cast possible.
Robby Anderson (26) — Signed 2-year, $20 million deal with CAR
Some reports suggested Anderson was dead set on reuniting with Matt Rhule, who coached him at Temple. Others indicate his market simply wasn’t robust. Either way, the Panthers emerged with one of the league’s premier deep threats at a bargain cost. Anderson’s deal makes him just the NFL’s 25th highest-paid wideout and accounts for around 5% of Carolina’s 2020 cap. It’s a downgrade for Anderson’s fantasy outlook going from a Jets offense where he had claim to No. 1 receiver duties to a Panthers team on which he’ll compete for targets with Curtis Samuel and Ian Thomas behind entrenched alphas D.J. Moore and Christian McCaffrey. McCaffrey and Teddy Bridgewater get the biggest fantasy bumps here in an increasingly explosive offense. And the Panthers’ defense looks on pace to be downright dreadful within the otherwise high-octane NFC South. Carolina is suddenly worth team-stack consideration.
Emmanuel Sanders (33) — Signed 2-year, $16 million deal with NO
A big get for New Orleans, Sanders upgrades on last year’s No. 2 wideout rotation of Ted Ginn and Tre’Quan Smith as an elite route runner with soft hands. Sanders’ long speed isn’t what it once was, but he maintains high-level quickness and committed just one drop all last season. He also offers slot-perimeter versatility, a staple in Sean Payton-orchestrated attacks. Sanders is likely to be an inconsistent fantasy producer vying for targets with Jared Cook behind Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara, but this was an important real-life football move.
Larry Fitzgerald (37) – Re-signed 1-year, $11 million deal with ARZ
Fitzgerald’s usage figures to take another hit with DeAndre Hopkins in Arizona, Christian Kirk‘s role likely to grow, and Kenyan Drake entering his first full season with the Cardinals, but the future Hall of Famer will have job security as the team’s most accomplished slot receiver. In related news, Kyler Murray might vault into 2020’s top-five fantasy quarterbacks in my next Top 150.
Breshad Perriman (26) — Signed 1-year, $6 million deal with NYJ
Devin Funchess (25) — Signed 1-year, $2.5 million deal with GB
Nelson Agholor (26) — Signed 1-year, $1.047 million deal with LVR
Danny Amendola (34) — Re-signed 1-year, $3 million deal with DET
Amendola returns as the Lions’ low-cost slot receiver between Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones. Over 11 NFL seasons, Amendola has never reached 700 receiving yards or scored more than four receiving TDs in an individual year.
Randall Cobb (29) — Signed 3-year, $27 million deal with HOU
The Texans’ DeAndre Hopkins replacement. Not really — Cobb is a strict slot receiver and Hopkins did the bulk of his damage outside — but Cobb will be tasked with helping to compensate for Hopkins’ loss as part of what amounts to a wideout committee. The Texans desperately need Will Fuller to figure out how to stay healthy, Kenny Stills to take a big step forward in his second year with the team, and Cobb to pan out at $9 million per year. Albeit without a first-round pick, the Texans are also likely to add pass-catching talent in the draft. Cobb’s addition further blocks doghoused slot WR Keke Coutee.
Paul Richardson (28)
Phillip Dorsett (27) — Signed 1-year deal with SEA
Rashard Higgins (25) — Re-signed 1-year deal with CLE
Demarcus Robinson (25) — Re-signed 1-year, $2.3 million deal with KC
Ted Ginn (34) — Signed 1-year deal with CHI
Tajae Sharpe (25) — Signed 1-year, $1 million deal with MIN
Damiere Byrd (27) — Signed 1-year, $1.35 million deal with NE
A 4.3 burner, Byrd appears to be Phillip Dorsett‘s replacement on the outside.
Taylor Gabriel (29)
Travis Benjamin (30) — Signed 1-year deal with SF
Demaryius Thomas (32)
Geronimo Allison (26) — Signed 1-year, $1.05 million deal with DET
Marcus Johnson (25) — Re-signed 1-year deal with IND
Marqise Lee (28) — Signed 1-year deal with NE
Corey Coleman (25) — Re-signed 1-year deal with NYG
Tavon Austin (29)
Seth Roberts (29) — Signed 1-year deal with CAR
Roberts replaces Jarius Wright in the slot between D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel.
Jarius Wright (30)
Matthew Slater (34) — Re-signed 2-year, $5.35 million deal with NE
This will be Slater’s 13th season as the Patriots’ special teams ace. He’s made eight Pro Bowls.
Chris Hogan (31)
Justin Hardy (28)
Dontrelle Inman (31)
Dwayne Harris (32)
Laquon Treadwell (24) — Signed 1-year deal with ATL
Cody Latimer (27) — Signed 1-year deal with WAS
Chester Rogers (26)
Ryan Grant (29)
Russell Shepard (29)
Jaron Brown (30)
Pharoh Cooper (25) — Signed 1-year deal with CAR
Chris Moore (26) — Re-signed 1-year deal with BAL
Trevor Davis (26) — Signed 1-year deal with CHI
Jermaine Kearse (30)
Cody Core (25) — Re-signed 2-year, $4 million deal with NYG
Core is one of the NFL’s top special teams gunners.
Mike Thomas (25) — Signed 1-year, $850,000 deal with CIN
De’Anthony Thomas (27) — Re-signed 1-year deal with BAL
JoJo Natson (26) — Signed 1-year, $1 million deal with CLE
Hunter Henry (25) — Franchise Tagged by LAC
The Chargers smartly identified Henry as a building block, refusing to let their young two-way tight end hit the open market. Even as an assortment of hard-luck injuries cost Henry 20 games over the past two seasons, he has established himself as a difference maker when healthy and set career highs in receiving (55/652/5) in 2019. Ideally, the sides will use the tag as a foundation for a long-term deal, likely structured similarly to Austin Hooper‘s contract with Cleveland.
Austin Hooper (25) — Signed 4-year, $42 million deal with CLE
This deal makes Hooper the NFL’s highest-paid tight end, easily surpassing Travis Kelce‘s $9.4 million annual average. It also casts doubt on David Njoku‘s future in Cleveland, although new coach Kevin Stefanski was a major proponent of multi-tight end sets in Minnesota, and Njoku’s 2020 cap number is very affordable at $3.03 million. A highly reliable possession receiver, Hooper doesn’t do much field stretching but has caught nearly 80% of his career targets (77.3%) and improved every year. His blocking is neither strength nor catastrophe. Hooper’s fantasy outlook will take a hit downgrading quarterbacks and environments moving from Atlanta to Cleveland, but he should remain a top-ten TE1.
Eric Ebron (26) — Signed 2-year, $12 million deal with PIT
Ebron should take over as Pittsburgh’s primary receiving tight end after Vance McDonald finished dead last among all NFL tight ends in 2019 yards per route run. Although Ebron has long lacked consistency and offers zero blocking value, he’s been an annual plus contributor in scoring position. Per Next Gen Stats, Ebron leads all tight ends in end-zone touchdown catches over the past two seasons, converting 9-of-19 targets when thrown to in the paint. With Ben Roethlisberger due back healthy, Ebron is yet another testament to this year’s depth at the tight end position in fantasy.
Greg Olsen (35) — Signed 1-year, $7 million deal with SEA
Appearing in 14 games for Carolina last season, Olsen showed enough (52/597/2) to believe he has another solid year left as a possession tight end. The Seahawks are deep at the position with Will Dissly and Jacob Hollister set for return, however, and should probably look to limit Olsen’s snaps in hopes of keeping him fresh for another playoff run. This will almost certainly be Olsen’s final NFL season; he has a promising broadcasting career on tap.
Jordan Reed (29)
Tyler Eifert (29) — Signed 2-year, $15.5 million deal with JAX
Delanie Walker (35)
Jimmy Graham (33) — Signed 2-year, $16 million deal with CHI
He somehow got $9 million guaranteed. Graham has never been an asset in the running game, ranked 29th among 39 qualified tight ends in yards per route run last season, and no longer wins in the red zone. He couldn’t carve out a productive role in a 2019 Packers passing game that was desperate for a No. 2 target behind Davante Adams.
Darren Fells (33) — Re-signed 2-year, $7 million deal with HOU
A career blocking tight end, Fells caught a personal-best seven TDs in 2019. He will likely share tight end duties once again with Jordan Akins in Houston.
Trey Burton (28) — Signed 1-year deal with IND
Jason Witten (37) — Signed 1-year, $4.75 million deal with LVR
Witten projects as a rotational player and “locker room guy” behind Darren Waller and Foster Moreau.
Nick Vannett (27) — Signed 2-year, $5.7 million deal with DEN
Vernon Davis (36) — Announced retirement on 2/2
Donald Parham (22) — Signed 2-year deal with LAC
Geoff Swaim (26)
Seth DeValve (27)
DeValve will compete for a roster spot behind prime breakout candidate Ian Thomas.
Charles Clay (31)
MyCole Pruitt (28) — Re-signed 1-year deal with TEN
Lance Kendricks (32)
Levine Toilolo (28) — Signed 2-year, $6.2 million deal with NYG
A 6-foot-8 blocking tight end, Toilolo will replace retired Rhett Ellison.
Marcedes Lewis (35) — Re-signed 1-year, $2.25 million deal with GB
Lewis played an unsung part in Green Bay’s studly 2019 rushing attack.
David Morgan (26)
Garrett Celek (31) — Announced retirement on 2/7
Blake Bell (28) — Signed 1-year, $1.7 million deal with DAL
Demetrius Harris (28) — Signed 1-year deal with CHI
The Bears excel at collecting bad tight ends. Harris was one of the worst in the league in Cleveland last season, making few positive impacts as a blocker and receiver. The Browns cut him in February.
Logan Thomas (28) — Signed 1-year deal with WAS
Tight end snaps are up for grabs in Washington following Jordan Reed‘s release and Vernon Davis‘ retirement. A college quarterback, Thomas has been an inconsistent “flash” player in preseason and limited regular season action with Buffalo and Detroit over the past three years.
Eric Tomlinson (27) — Re-signed 1-year deal with NYG
Nick O’Leary (27) — Signed 1-year deal with LVR
Luke Willson (30) — Re-signed 1-year deal with SEA
Willson returns to compete for a roster spot behind Greg Olsen, Will Dissly, and Jacob Hollister. Willson’s chances will increase if the Seahawks place Dissly on reserve/PUP to start the season; Dissly is recovering from a Week 6 Achilles’ tear.
Richard Rodgers (28) — Signed 1-year deal with WAS
Scott Simonson (27)
Ben Koyack (26)
Luke Stocker (31)
Ricky Seals-Jones (25) — Signed 1-year deal with KC
Clive Walford (28)
Daniel Brown (27)
Bradley Sowell (30)
David Morgan (26)
Ed Dickson (32)
Anthony Castonzo (31) — Re-signed 2-year, $33 million deal with IND
Castonzo weighed retirement early in the offseason. A few months later, he became the NFL’s highest-paid offensive tackle in terms of average annual value. Castonzo has started all 16 games in six of the past eight seasons, establishing himself as one of the league’s premier pass blockers. The Colts are on pace to return all five starters from arguably the best offensive line in the league.
Jack Conklin (25) — Signed 3-year, $42 million deal with CLE
He got $30 million guaranteed. Easily the best young tackle on the market, Conklin has ups and downs in pass protection but theoretically fits Cleveland well. The Browns have two stud backs in Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, potential for a bevy of two-tight end sets featuring Austin Hooper and David Njoku, and a new coach in Kevin Stefanski whose 2019 Vikings offense leaned run first. Conklin is a bully in the trenches, last year helping to pave the way for league rushing leader Derrick Henry. Conklin is an especially dominant outside-zone blocker, the same running scheme Stefanski and Gary Kubiak instituted in Minnesota.
Andrew Whitworth (38) — Re-signed 3-year, $30 million deal with LAR
Annually among the league’s premier pass protectors, Whitworth’s play slipped sharply in 2019. Unable to move as well as in years past, Whitworth became especially penalty prone with 15 flags. The Rams are risking that Whitworth will hold off Father Time for a few more seasons on the blindside of Jared Goff, one of the NFL’s most pressure-sensitive passers. This is a boom–bust signing.
Bryan Bulaga (31) — Signed 3-year, $30 million deal with LAC
The Chargers have used the trade and free agency markets to solidify the right side of their line, acquiring RG Trai Turner from Carolina before signing Bulaga to play right tackle. Injury plagued his previous two seasons, Bulaga turned in a full 16-start campaign in 2019 as part of Green Bay’s elite pass-blocking unit. PFF gave Bulaga positive marks in both pass and run blocking. Signed affordably and by no means over the hill, Bulaga’s addition is critical for whomever the Chargers trot out at quarterback after they moved on from Philip Rivers and whiffed on Tom Brady. Tyrod Taylor currently sits atop the depth chart, but he will almost certainly be pushed by a highly drafted rookie.
D.J. Humphries (26) — Re-signed 3-year, $45 million deal with ARZ
An injury-plagued bust his first four seasons in the league, Humphries got a clean slate under first-year coach Kliff Kingsbury and capitalized to start all 16 games at left tackle in an offense that ranked No. 2 in rushing DVOA. PFF charged Humphries with just two sacks allowed, although he committed too many penalties (14) and was far from perfect. The Cardinals are gambling that Humphries’ arrow will point skyward in his second year in Kingsbury’s spread attack. Humphries won’t turn 27 until the end of the season.
Jason Peters (38)
Kelvin Beachum (31)
Rick Wagner (30) — Signed 2-year, $11 million deal with GB
Cut by Detroit, Wagner received a $3.5 million signing bonus to stay in the division and presumably compete to replace Bryan Bulaga as Green Bay’s 2020 right tackle. Wagner struggled with injuries and played poorly last season. The Packers are gambling that Wagner can rediscover his form of 2018, when PFF graded him as one of the league’s better pass-protecting tackles.
Marcus Gilbert (32) — Re-signed 1-year, $3.75 million deal with ARZ
Demar Dotson (34)
Greg Robinson (27)
Cordy Glenn (30)
Germain Ifedi (25) — Signed 1-year deal with CHI
Brandon Shell (28) — Signed 2-year, $11 million deal with SEA
The Seahawks apparently intend to start Shell at right tackle, replacing failed 2016 first-round pick Germain Ifedi. Shell is coming off a rough year as part of an abominable Jets offensive line, however; only four NFL right tackles surrendered more QB hurries (30), and only four gave up more sacks (7). Shell has always possessed plus length and athleticism, so the Seahawks are betting OL coach Mike Solari can get more out of him than Gang Green did.
Cornelius Lucas (28) — Signed 2-year, $3.8 million deal with WAS
A savvy signing by Washington, Lucas took over as Chicago’s starting right tackle for the final five games last season and earned PFF’s No. 12 overall tackle grade among 73 qualifiers in Weeks 13-17. He allowed just one sack and two QB hits during that span. As Morgan Moses has Washington’s right tackle spot nailed down, Lucas may get a chance to start on Dwayne Haskins‘ 2020 blindside. At worst, he provides quality depth.
Dennis Kelly (30) — Re-signed 3-year, $17.25 million deal with TEN
A reserve swing tackle for most of his career, Kelly figures to get the first crack at replacing Jack Conklin as the Titans’ starting right tackle. Kelly would be a severe downgrade, however, particularly as a run blocker.
James Hurst (28) — Signed 1-year deal with NO
Rashod Hill (28) — Re-signed 1-year deal with MIN
Donald Penn (36)
George Fant (27) — Signed 3-year, $27.3 million deal with NYJ
Desperate for front-five help after the top free agent blockers went quickly on Monday, the Jets overpaid for potential with Fant, a onetime Western Kentucky basketball player who mostly served as a blocking tight end/sixth offensive lineman in Seattle last season. Understandably, only $13.7 million of Fant’s $27.3 million agreement is guaranteed. The Jets need to keep hammering their offensive line in the draft.
Halapoulivaati Vaitai (26) — Signed 5-year, $45 million deal with DET
After releasing RT Rick Wagner, the Lions replaced him with ex-Eagles OL supersub Vaitai, who spent time at both tackle positions and both guard positions during his four-year stay in Philly. Vaitai consistently struggled in pass protection but was an imposing run blocker across what amounted to five starts down the stretch last season. Matt Patricia and OC Darrell Bevell have tried to implement a run-heavy mentality in Detroit.
Cam Erving (27) — Signed 1-year deal with DAL
Marshall Newhouse (31)
Chris Clark (35)
LaAdrian Waddle (28)
Josh Wells (29) — Re-signed 1-year deal with TB
Jerald Hawkins (26)
Jared Veldheer (32)
Mike Remmers (30) — Signed 1-year deal with KC
Brent Qvale (29) — Signed 1-year deal with HOU
Jordan Mills (29)
Jason Spriggs (25) — Signed 1-year deal with CHI
Cameron Fleming (27) — Signed 1-year, $4 million deal with NYG
J’Marcus Webb (31)
Shon Coleman (28) — Re-signed 1-year deal with SF
Andre Smith (33) — Re-signed 1-year deal with BAL
John Wetzel (28) — Re-signed 1-year deal with ATL
T.J. Clemmings (28)
Roderick Johnson (24) — Re-signed 1-year, $1.75 million deal with HOU
Le’Raven Clark (26) — Re-signed 1-year deal with IND
Ben Ijalana (30)
Cedric Ogbuehi (27) — Signed 1-year, $3.3 million deal with SEA
INTERIOR OFFENSIVE LINEMEN
Brandon Scherff (28) — Franchise Tagged by WAS
Scherff’s tag is worth $14.781 million. Injuries cost him 15 games over the past three seasons, including a torn pectoral in 2018 and further arm and elbow ailments last year. Scherff has still made three Pro Bowls in five NFL campaigns and is one of the league’s top blockers in space. PFF has charged Scherff with just two sacks allowed over the last two years (19 games).
Joe Thuney (27) — Franchise Tagged by NE
PFF has charged Thuney with just one sack allowed over his last 41 starts, and he has never missed a start in his four-year career. The offensive lineman franchise tag is worth $14.781 million, however, indicating the Patriots may be using the mechanism as precursor to a trade. If retained one the one-year tag, the Patriots would be paying Thuney in line with a top-echelon left tackle. He plays left guard. Thuney wasted little time signing the tender, putting pen to paper two days after receiving the tag and guaranteeing himself at least the $14.781 base salary for 2020.
Graham Glasgow (27) — Signed 4-year, $44 million deal with DEN
Experienced all across the interior, Glasgow operated as the Lions’ starting center in 2018 and starting right guard in 2019, turning in solid seasons at both spots. With RT Ja’Wuan James due back from an injury-ruined year and LG Dalton Risner entering his second season, the Broncos’ offensive line should take a 2020 step.
Larry Warford (28)
Connor McGovern (26) — Signed 3-year, $27 million deal with NYJ
After a rocky 2018 where he shuttled between guard and center, McGovern took a big step forward as Denver’s full-time pivot man last year. He’ll stay at center for Gang Green, which unsuccessfully trotted out Ryan Kalil and Jonotthan Harrison there last year. Kalil and Harrison were so bad they almost single handedly torpedoed the Jets’ offense on several occasions. McGovern may not be a dominant inside presence, but he’ll add much-needed interior stability to one of the league’s worst lines.
Andrus Peat (26) — Re-signed 5-year, $57.5 million deal with NO
Peat is coming off a career-worst year in which he could barely block anyone late in the season while trying to come back from a broken arm, but the Saints valued his scheme fit and the continuity of their offensive line enough to pay Peat a gargantuan $33 million guaranteed. They’ll return all five starters up front after finishing No. 1 in Football Outsiders’ Adjusted Line Yards run-blocking metric and No. 3 in pass protection.
Ted Karras (27) — Signed 1-year, $4 million deal with MIA
Forced into New England’s starting center job following David Andrews‘ year-ending blood clots diagnosis, Karras started slow but finished strong; PFF graded Karras as its No. 8 overall center among 34 qualifiers over the final five weeks. Karras knows much of Miami’s coaching staff from their time together in New England and should be a youthful upgrade on jettisoned Dolphins 2019 starter Daniel Kilgore.
Daryl Williams (27) — Signed 1-year deal with BUF
Ereck Flowers (25) — Signed 3-year, $30 million deal with MIA
He got $19.95 million fully guaranteed. A running joke for four years with the Giants, Flowers flopped with the Jaguars in 2018 before starting all 16 games for the Redskins at left guard last season. Although he was part of an underrated Washington rushing attack, Flowers himself graded out as PFF’s No. 41 guard among 82 qualifiers, and there were no indications he would command a contract this large. The Dolphins do have money to burn with the league’s most salary cap space and are gambling that Flowers is on an upward trajectory entering his age-26 season.
B.J. Finney (28) — Signed 2-year, $8 million deal with SEA
Ron Leary (31)
Mike Iupati (32) — Re-signed 1-year deal with SEA
Greg Van Roten (30) — Signed 3-year deal with NYJ
Michael Schofield (29) — Signed 1-year deal with CAR
Austin Blythe (27) — Re-signed 1-year deal with LAR
Joe Haeg (27) — Signed 1-year, $2.3 million deal with TB
Quinton Spain (28) — Re-signed 3-year, $15 million deal with BUF
The Bills were quick to re-sign Spain after he emerged as their starting left guard last season, playing all but four of the team’s offensive snaps. GM Brandon Beane should remain open to adding competition, however; Spain ranked a lowly 74th among 82 qualified guards in PFF’s grades. He was charged with 24 QB hurries allowed, tenth most at the position.
Alex Lewis (27) — Re-signed 3-year, $18.6 million deal with NYJ
Acquired from the Ravens by then-new Jets GM Joe Douglas in training camp last year, Lewis went on to start 12 games at left guard. PFF graded Lewis as 2019’s No. 59 guard among 82 qualifiers with negatives marks in both pass and run blocking. Perhaps overly optimistically, Douglas is banking on Lewis improving during his second season under Adam Gase.
Mike Person (31)
Stefen Wisniewski (31) — Signed 2-year, $2.85 million deal with PIT
Denzelle Good (29) – Re-signed 1-year deal with LVR
Good made five starts for last year’s Raiders, three at right guard and two at left guard. Ideally, he will return as a reserve swing lineman also capable of playing tackle in a pinch.
Evan Boehm (26) — Signed 1-year deal with BUF
Wes Schweitzer (26) — Signed 3-year, $13.5 million deal with WAS
Schweitzer is coming off a rough year as a seven-game starter in Atlanta, which fielded one of the league’s leakiest offensive lines. Schweitzer mostly played left guard for the Falcons. The Redskins lost LG Ereck Flowers to Miami.
John Miller (26) — Signed 1-year, $4 million deal with CAR
One of the worst guards in football with Cincinnati last season, Miller was released near the start of free agency. Miller is still young enough with enough career starts (60) that Panthers management deemed him worthy of a cheap, one-year flyer as part of its rebuild.
D.J. Fluker (29) — Signed 1-year deal with BAL
Ryan Groy (29) — Signed 1-year deal with LAC
Kenny Wiggins (31) — Re-signed 1-year deal with DET
Josh Kline (30)
Daniel Kilgore (32)
John Jerry (33)
Kevin Pamphile (29)
Tom Compton (30) — Signed 1-year, $3 million deal with SF
A.Q. Shipley (33)
Xavier Su’a-Filo (29) — Signed 3-year, $9 million deal with CIN
Ryan Kalil (35)
Earl Watford (29)
Patrick Omameh (30) — Signed 1-year deal with NO
Max Garcia (28) — Re-signed 1-year deal with ARZ
Josh Andrews (28) — Signed 1-year deal with NYJ
Joe Looney (29) — Re-signed 1-year, $2.44 million deal with DAL
Ben Garland (32) — Re-signed 1-year, $2.25 million deal with SF
Brett Jones (28) — Re-signed 1-year, $910,000 deal with MIN
Oday Aboushi (28) — Signed 1-year deal with DET
Eric Kush (30) — Signed 1-year deal with LVR
Hroniss Grasu (28)
Dakota Dozier (28) — Signed 1-year, $1 million deal with MIN
Jon Halapio (28)
Jordan Devey (32) — Re-signed 1-year deal with LVR
James Ferentz (30)
Tony Bergstrom (33)
Tyler Shatley (28) — Re-signed 1-year, $1.512 million deal with JAX
Ted Larsen (32)
Chance Warmack (28) — Signed 1-year deal with SEA
Justin McCray (27) — Signed 1-year deal with ATL
Shaq Barrett (27) — Franchise Tagged by TB
Barrett not only led the NFL in sacks (19.5) in his breakout first season with the Bucs, but Next Gen Stats credited him with league highs in sack rate (3.8%) and turnovers caused by pressure (6). His 68 total pressures were third most in the league. Barrett is on record as being willing to take less money to stay in Tampa Bay, so his tag may serve as precursor to a long-term agreement.
Yannick Ngakoue (25) — Franchised Tagged by JAX
Ngakoue is a one-trick pony edge rusher but extremely productive in that role, piling up 37.5 sacks, 14 forced fumbles, and nine pass breakups over his first four NFL seasons while missing just one game. Ngakoue has made it clear he wants out of Jacksonville, however, and he will continue to be the subject of sign-and-trade rumors while wearing the tag.
Jadeveon Clowney (27)
Arik Armstead (26) — Re-signed 5-year, $85 million deal with SF
Armstead shook off a slow start to his career for a monster 2019, tallying ten sacks and two forced fumbles as a near-every-down piece along the NFL’s most ferocious defensive line. He played inside and out, rushing the passer effectively from both alignments but generating a higher pressure rate from the interior (9.1%) than the edge (6.5%), per Next Gen Stats. PFF graded Armstead as its No. 3 overall 4-3 defensive end among 59 qualifiers. Only Joey Bosa and Cameron Jordan earned higher grades.
Dante Fowler (25) — Signed 3-year, $45 million deal with ATL
An early-career disappointment in Jacksonville, Fowler finally fulfilled his potential in a contract year under Wade Phillips with the Rams. He tallied career highs in sacks (11.5), pass breakups (6), and forced fumbles (2), and defended the run stoutly. Among 43 qualified 3-4 outside linebackers last season, PFF credited Fowler with the NFL’s fourth-most quarterback hurries (49) behind only Von Miller (58), Za’Darius Smith (55), and Khalil Mack (54). Fowler is familiar with the ins and outs of Falcons coach Dan Quinn‘s defense after playing for fellow Pete Carroll offshoot Gus Bradley with the Jags and should prove an immense upgrade on Vic Beasley as Atlanta’s new “Buck” linebacker.
Matt Judon (27) — Franchise Tagged by BAL
Even though Judon rushed the passer on 80% of his 2019 snaps, the Ravens tagged him with a linebacker designation. The linebacker tag ($15.83 million) is worth nearly $2 million less than the defensive end ($17.79 million) tag, the latter of which would be more representative of the on-field role Judon plays. Judon set career highs in sacks (9.5) and forced fumbles (4) last season.
Bud Dupree (27) — Franchise Tagged by PIT
Dupree had all the appearances of a first-round draft bust his four seasons in the league before breaking out in his 2019 contract year for 11.5 sacks and four forced fumbles. Dupree also ranked No. 6 in PFF’s run-stopping grades among 44 qualifying 3-4 outside linebackers. Due to one-year wonder concerns, the Steelers figure to let Dupree play out another contract season before considering signing him to a long-term extension.
Everson Griffen (32)
Shaq Lawson (25) — Signed 3-year, $30 million deal with MIA
2016-2018 disappointment Lawson finally showed some 2019 life as a sub-package pass rusher in Buffalo, piling up 6.5 sacks in a rotational role. Lawson will likely get an opportunity to play full time in Miami. Last year’s Dolphins ranked dead last in the league in sacks (23).
Jason Pierre-Paul (31) — Re-signed 2-year, $25 million deal with TB
By tagging Shaq Barrett and extending Pierre-Paul, the Bucs retained their bookend pass rushers after 2019’s defensive turnaround under first-year DC Todd Bowles. Pierre-Paul missed Weeks 1-7 after beginning last season on the reserve/NFI list due to a broken neck suffered in an offseason car accident. He finished fast, tallying 8.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in ten games while defending the run stoutly for Tampa Bay’s immovable front.
Robert Quinn (30) — Signed 5-year, $70 million deal with CHI
This was a surprisingly lucrative contract for an aging pass rusher with one solid season in his last five. Quinn did well to rehabilitate his stock with 11.5 sacks for last year’s Cowboys but was by no means a dominant edge presence, got popped two games for PEDs, played a largely rotational role, and is now on the wrong side of 30. This is an extremely high-risk, boom-bust deal for Chicago.
Mario Addison (32) — Signed 3-year, $30.45 million deal with BUF
He’ll replace Shaq Lawson as Buffalo’s main nickel rusher at a slightly higher cost. Coach Sean McDermott and GM Brandon Beane know Addison well from their time together in Carolina, where Addison is coming off four straight seasons of nine-plus sacks.
Ronald Blair (27) — Re-signed 1-year, $3 million deal with SF
Blair’s market was quiet only because he suffered a Week 10 ACL tear; Blair was a critical and underrated part of San Francisco’s sub-package defense before going down. He’ll try to parlay this one-year return to the Bay Area into a longer-term deal next offseason.
Vic Beasley (27) — Signed 1-year, $12 million deal with TEN
A one-trick-pony pass rusher who hasn’t rushed the passer well since 2016, Beasley projects as a situational edge defender in Tennessee. Beasley struggles when he doesn’t have a clear pathway to the quarterback.
Leonard Floyd (27) — Signed 1-year, $10 million deal with LAR
An enigmatic underachiever throughout his time in Chicago, Floyd is a big downgrade from Dante Fowler on the edge for the Rams. Floyd turned out to be a better run defender than pass rusher with the Bears. From parting with Wade Phillips to losing ILB Cory Littleton (Raiders), Fowler (Falcons), Eric Weddle (retirement), Michael Brockers (Ravens), and Nickell Robey-Coleman (cut), the Rams’ defense appears likely to take a big 2020 step back.
Markus Golden (29)
Jabaal Sheard (30)
Kyler Fackrell (28) — Signed 1-year, $4.6 million deal with NYG
The Packers were smart enough to recognize Fackrell’s 10.5-sack 2018 season as fluky. They signed Preston Smith and Z’Darius Smith as upgrades last offseason, so Fackrell lost his job and finished with one sack on 410 defensive snaps. Much as the Giants did with Markus Golden in 2019, they’re throwing an affordable, one-year prove-it deal at Fackrell to see whether he can stick.
Ezekiel Ansah (30)
Michael Bennett (34)
Carl Nassib (27) — Signed 3-year, $25 million deal with LVR
A high-energy utility lineman capable of playing both end and tackle, Nassib piled up 12.5 sacks combined in Tampa Bay over the past two seasons. PFF graded him as an even better run defender than pass rusher last season. He’s a high-floor signing for the Raiders.
Emmanuel Ogbah (26) — Signed 2-year, $15 million deal with MIA
An active and versatile defensive end-tackle hybrid, Ogbah was leading the Chiefs in sacks (5.5) before tearing his pectoral last Week 10. Ogbah will get a chance to earn a full-time job on Miami’s rebuilding defensive front but would ideally settle in as a situational utility man.
Jordan Jenkins (25) — Re-signed 1-year, $5 million deal with NYJ
Devon Kennard (28) — Signed 3-year, $20 million deal with ARZ
Kennard was released by the Lions despite amassing 14 sacks over the past two seasons as one of Detroit’s few useful pass rushers. The Lions’ trash is now the Cardinals’ treasure, and Kennard should benefit from playing across from Chandler Jones.
Benson Mayowa (28) — Signed 1-year, $3 million deal with SEA
Vinny Curry (31)
Adrian Clayborn (31) — Signed 2-year, $6 million deal with CLE
Terrell Suggs (37)
Quinton Jefferson (27) — Signed 2-year, $13.5 million deal with BUF
Jefferson joins the Bills with end-tackle flexibility, youth on his side, and an ascending career trajectory after a highly disruptive 2019 campaign. Despite playing a rotational role, Jefferson’s 24 QB hurries tied for second most among 3-4 defensive ends. This was an underrated signing at a cost-effective price.
Stephen Weatherly (26) — Signed 2-year, $12.5 million deal with CAR
A nondescript rotational end in Minnesota, Weatherly will compete for snaps on Carolina’s crumbling defensive front.
Aaron Lynch (27) — Signed 1-year deal with JAX
Pernell McPhee (31) — Re-signed 1-year deal with BAL
Bruce Irvin (33) — Signed 1-year deal with SEA
Irvin piled up 8.5 sacks and 16 QB hits in Carolina last year; each mark would have led the 2019 Seahawks.
Clay Matthews (33)
Kamalei Correa (25) — Re-signed 1-year, $3.75 million deal with TEN
Cameron Wake (38)
Anthony Chickillo (27) — Signed 1-year deal with NO
Jerry Attaochu (27) — Signed 1-year, $1.5 million deal with DEN
Shilique Calhoun (28) — Signed 1-year deal with NE
Brooks Reed (33)
Kareem Martin (28)
Brandon Copeland (28) — Signed 1-year, $1.1 million deal with NE
Barkevious Mingo (29) — Signed 1-year, $1.187 million deal with CHI
Nate Orchard (27) — Signed 1-year deal with WAS
Noah Spence (26) — Signed 1-year deal with NO
INTERIOR DEFENSIVE LINEMEN
Chris Jones (25) — Franchise Tagged by KC
A truly dominant inside presence whose youthful age suggests he hasn’t yet peaked, Jones has collected 24.5 sacks, nine pass breakups, and three forced fumbles over the past two seasons. He is also a difference-making run defender and warranted genuine consideration for Super Bowl 54 MVP. Jones has been the subject of some tag-and-trade rumors while hinting at dissatisfaction with the franchise designation.
Javon Hargrave (27) — Signed 3-year, $39 million deal with PHI
He got $26 million guaranteed. Hargrave teams with Fletcher Cox to form a nasty defensive interior and will be unleashed in DC Jim Schwartz‘s up-field penetrating scheme. Hargrave played more of a gap-clogging role as the Steelers’ nose tackle. Considering money, age, and fit, this looks like one of the best signings of the 2020 free agency period.
D.J. Reader (25) — Signed 4-year, $53 million deal with CIN
The Texans were mistaken to let go of Reader, a fast-ascending interior presence with established run-stopping skills and untapped pocket-pushing potential. Last year, Reader ranked 14th among 102 qualified defensive tackles in PFF’s pass-rush grades. Reader’s monster contract should ensure he operates as a three-down player in Cincinnati. The Bengals have been uncharacteristically yet refreshingly aggressive during this free agency period, also landing CB Trae Waynes and LG Xavier Su’a-Filo at positions of need. Their offense especially likely to take a big 2020 step forward, I plan on betting the over on Cincinnati’s Vegas Win Total.
Leonard Williams (25) — Franchise Tagged by NYG
Late last October, the Giants strangely sent the Jets a 2020 third-round pick and 2021 fifth-round pick that could elevate to a fourth in exchange for eight games of Williams in the back half of a losing season. Williams contributed 0.5 sacks to their 4-12 campaign. The Giants then chased the sunk cost by tagging Williams for a whopping $16.26 million. A solid run defender whose pass rush comes and goes, Williams projects as a severely overpaid piece in New York’s 2020 defensive line rotation.
Jarran Reed (27) — Re-signed 2-year, $23 million deal with SEA
Reed appeared to be an emerging star during his 10.5-sack 2018 campaign, only to serve a six-game 2019 suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy and contribute very little upon his return. Even despite its short-term nature, this looks like a boom-bust re-signing for the Seahawks.
Jordan Phillips (27) — Signed 3-year, $30 million deal with ARZ
Phillips began his career as a second-round disappointment for the Dolphins, broke out somewhat unexpectedly for 9.5 sacks in 2019 with the Bills, and parlayed that one season into life-changing money. PFF has noted Phillips generated just 13 non-sack pressures, suggesting his sack total was fluky and very likely to regress to the mean. Nevertheless, Phillips is a young, hulking defensive tackle with plus athleticism and worthy of the risk this deal carries in a market like this, where teams are treating $10 million annually like pocket change.
Shelby Harris (28) — Re-signed 1-year, $3.25 million deal with DEN
Derek Wolfe (30) — Signed 1-year, $3 million deal with BAL
Michael Pierce (27) — Signed 3-year, $27 million deal with MIN
Pierce is the Vikings’ Linval Joseph replacement, albeit without as much pocket-pushing ability. A massive individual at 6-foot, 329, Pierce fell out of favor in Baltimore due to sub-par conditioning. Pierce will defend the run on early downs and likely leave the field in most passing situations for Mike Zimmer.
Maliek Collins (25) — Signed 1-year, $6 million deal with LVR
Ndamukong Suh (33) — Re-signed 1-year, $8 million deal with TB
Gerald McCoy (32) — Signed 3-year, $18.3 million deal with DAL
Even at his advanced age, McCoy showed his tank remains well above “E” by recording five sacks and the NFL’s third-quickest average pass-rush “get off” time (0.94 seconds) among interior defensive linemen, per Next Gen Stats. Only much higher-priced Aaron Donald (0.88) and Chris Jones (0.88) got off the ball faster.
Mike Daniels (30)
Timmy Jernigan (27) — Signed 1-year, $3.75 million deal with HOU
David Onyemata (27) — Re-signed 3-year, $27 million deal with NO
An underrated rotational tackle, Onyemata has played over 1,250 largely disruptive snaps over the past two seasons, collecting 7.5 sacks and creating havoc that doesn’t necessarily show up on the stat sheet. The Saints will hope Onyemata rediscovers 2018 form after more of a pedestrian 2019 campaign that began with a suspension for a marijuana charge.
Michael Brockers (29) — Re-signed 3-year, $24 million deal with LAR
Brockers landed a three-year, $30 million agreement from Baltimore early in free agency, but the deal fell through due to concerns with the health of Brockers’ ankle. Instead, he will stay in Los Angeles to team with Aaron Donald and A’Shawn Robinson on the Rams’ defensive interior.
Linval Joseph (31) — Signed 2-year, $17 million deal with LAC
In-season knee surgery compromised Joseph’s effectiveness in 2019 — he only missed three games but lost considerable productivity — so the Chargers are gambling on Joseph rediscovering pre-injury form. At very least, Joseph should be a big upgrade on washed-up 2019 starting nose tackle Brandon Mebane.
Andrew Billings (25) — Signed 1-year, $3.5 million deal with CLE
Billings is a run-stopping role player with enough youth and athleticism to potentially blossom into a sporadic pocket-pushing factor.
Damon Harrison (31)
Dontari Poe (29) — Signed 2-year, $10.5 million deal with DAL
Marcell Dareus (30)
Danny Shelton (26) — Signed 2-year, $8 million deal with DET
A one-trick-pony run stuffer, Shelton is a younger, cheaper replacement for Damon Harrison at nose tackle. The Lions’ emphasis on acquiring former Patriots continues here; they’ve additionally brought in ex-New Englanders S Duron Harmon and LB Jamie Collins during the new league year.
Treyvon Hester (27) — Signed 1-year deal with GB
Rodney Gunter (28) — Signed 3-year deal with JAX
Sheldon Day (25) — Signed 1-year deal with IND
Xavier Williams (28)
Austin Johnson (25) — Signed 1-year deal with NYG
Mike Pennel (28) — Re-signed 1-year deal with KC
Jihad Ward (25) — Re-signed 1-year deal with BAL
Christian Covington (26) — Signed 1-year deal with DEN
Jack Crawford (31) — Signed 1-year deal with TEN
Al Woods (32) — Signed 1-year, $2.75 million deal with JAX
A’Shawn Robinson (25) — Signed 2-year, $17 million deal with LAR
Robinson is a one-trick run plugger with five sacks in 58 career games (37 starts). He replaces Michael Brockers in L.A.
Beau Allen (28) — Signed 2-year, $8 million deal with NE
A one-dimensional run stopper, Allen inherits Danny Shelton‘s old early-down role.
Hassan Ridgeway (25) — Re-signed 1-year deal with PHI
Ridgeway made five starts in place of injured Malik Jackson on the Eagles’ interior last season before going on I.R. with an ankle injury. He will return to compete for a depth role in Philly.
Clinton McDonald (33)
Vernon Butler (25) — Signed 2-year, $15 million deal with BUF
A major disappointment his first three NF seasons after going 30th overall to the Panthers in the 2016 draft, Butler finally showed signs of life with six sacks in his 2019 contract year. Bills coach Sean McDermott and GM Brandon Beane both worked in Carolina’s organization when Butler was drafted.
Nick Williams (30) — Signed 2-year, $10 million deal with DET
Williams’ 2019 role expanded on the interior of Chicago’s defensive line due mainly to Akiem Hicks‘ 11-game absence. Williams capitalized for the first six sacks of his five-year career. Williams projects as high-end depth with lower-end starter potential at defensive tackle in Detroit.
Kyle Love (33)
Justin Ellis (29) — Re-signed 1-year deal with BAL
Nicknamed “Jelly” for his bodily girth, Ellis’ re-signing continues the Ravens’ emphasis on stocking big-bodied defensive linemen after Derrick Henry gashed them in the playoffs.
Brandon Dunn (27) — Re-signed 3-year, $12 million deal with HOU
Dunn is theoretically a run-stopping role player. He just isn’t very good at stopping the run.
Brent Urban (28) — Re-signed 1-year deal with CHI
Damion Square (31) — Re-signed 1-year deal with LAC
Tyeler Davison (27) — Re-signed 3-year, $12 million deal with ATL
Davis is a rotational nose tackle who leaves the field on passing downs.
Rakeem Nunez-Roches (26) — Re-signed 1-year, $2.25 million deal with TB
Caraun Reid (28)
Adam Gotsis (27)
Corey Liuget (30)
Jonathan Bullard (26) — Re-signed 1-year deal with ARZ
John Jenkins (30) — Re-signed 1-year deal with CHI
Brandon Mebane (35)
Domata Peko (35)
Carl Davis (28)
Margus Hunt (32) — Signed 1-year deal with NO
Jamie Meder (28)
Olsen Pierre (28)
Akeem Spence (28)
Kerry Hyder (28) — Signed 1-year deal with SF
Wes Horton (28)
Sylvester Williams (31)
Stacy McGee (30)
Caleb Brantley (25) — Re-signed 1-year deal with WAS
Chris Smith (28) — Signed 1-year deal with CAR
Cory Littleton (26) — Signed 3-year, $35.25 million deal with LVR
The Raiders attacked their longstanding inside linebacker weakness hard in free agency by pairing Littleton with Nick Kwiatkoski. One of the better pass-coverage linebackers in the league, Littleton combines plus length with plus athleticism and projects as the “drop” linebacker to Kwiatkoski’s downhill thumper. The Raiders’ pass rush and secondary are still lacking, but they’ve gotten a lot better in the middle of the field. Littleton is an ascending playmaker with 7.5 sacks, 22 pass breakups, five picks, and two forced fumbles with the Rams over the past two years.
Joe Schobert (28) — Signed 5-year, $53.75 million deal with JAX
The Jaguars apparently plan to half step their rebuild, severing ties with quality starters A.J. Bouye and Calais Campbell yet breaking the bank on an off-ball linebacker. Schobert is technically a good fit — Jacksonville’s linebacker play fell off a 2019 cliff following Telvin Smith‘s unexpected retirement — and Schobert is a playmaker in coverage with off-the-charts intangibles, a necessary addition to an oft-troubled locker room.
Blake Martinez (26) — Signed 3-year, $30 million deal with NYG
Martinez took a big step backward after a promising 2018 campaign, getting steamrolled in 2019 run defense and flailing in pass coverage while drawing the persistent ire of Packers fans for his opponent whipping-boy ways. In fairness, DC Mike Pettine too often hung Martinez out to dry as Green Bay’s lone somewhat competent off-ball linebacker and provided him minimal help. Martinez shouldn’t have quite as many responsibilities under Giants DC Patrick Graham but will be counted on as a three-down player.
Nick Kwiatkoski (26) — Signed 3-year, $21 million deal with LVR
Inside linebacker is a longtime weakness in Oakland, one they’ll hope ex-Bears supersub Kwiatkoski can fill in Las Vegas. Kwiatkoski’s high-effort style consistently stood out as a 22-game starter in Chicago over the past four seasons, particularly with Danny Trevathan sidelined for nearly half of 2019.
Danny Trevathan (30) — Re-signed 3-year, $21.25 million deal with CHI
Trevathan lost seven games to a dislocated elbow last season, but he is a quality starter when healthy and considered a leader in the Bears’ locker room. During a healthy 2018 campaign, Trevathan ranked No. 17 among 61 qualified inside linebackers in PFF’s grades. Chicago chose to stick with Trevathan over younger Nick Kwiatkoski, whose play jumped off the tape in Trevathan’s 2019 absence.
Patrick Onwuasor (27) — Signed 1-year deal with NYJ
Elandon Roberts (25) — Signed undisclosed deal with MIA
David Mayo (26) — Signed 3-year, $8.4 million deal with NYG
Injuries up the depth chart forced Mayo into a starting job for the 2019 Giants, and he responded by laying wood in run defense. Mayo also plays special teams. This was a cost-effective deal retaining a player who will never be a star but can perform capably in a variety of roles.
Josh Bynes (30) — Signed 1-year deal with CIN
Alec Ogletree (28)
Jon Bostic (28) — Re-signed 2-year, $5 million deal with WAS
Bostic returns to D.C. as a low-end starting inside linebacker the team will likely soon look to replace.
Wesley Woodyard (33)
Reggie Ragland (26) — Signed 1-year deal with DET
B.J. Goodson (26) — Signed 1-year deal with CLE
Deone Bucannon (27) — Signed 1-year deal with ATL
Preston Brown (27)
Kentrell Brothers (27)
Joe Walker (27) — Signed 1-year deal with SF
Bryce Hager (27)
Mike Hull (28)
Tyler Matakevich (27) — Signed 2-year, $9 million deal with BUF
Matakevich will operate as a core special teamer in Buffalo while backing up Tremaine Edmunds, Matt Milano, and A.J. Klein.
Neville Hewitt (27) — Re-signed 1-year deal with NYJ
Will Compton (30)
Corey Nelson (27)
Kevin Minter (29) — Signed 1-year, $1.187 million deal with TB
Daren Bates (29)
Devante Bond (26) — Re-signed 1-year deal with CHI
Julian Stanford (29)
Nick Dzubnar (28) — Signed 1-year deal with TEN
Justin March-Lillard (26) — Re-signed 1-year deal with DAL
Manti Te’o (28)
Tyrell Adams (28) — Re-signed 1-year deal with HOU
Jake Ryan (28)
Albert McClellan (33)
Vontaze Burfict (29)
4-3 OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS
Kyle Van Noy (29) — Signed 4-year, $51 million deal with MIA
The Dolphins’ aggressive offseason confirms they won’t be enduring another “tank” year. Armed with the NFL’s most cap room, the Dolphins have spent big money on Ereck Flowers, Byron Jones, Shaq Lawson, and now Van Noy, who played for coach Brian Flores in New England. On the Free Agent Tracker, Van Noy could have been listed under the edge defenders, 4-3 outside linebackers, or even the inside linebackers; he’s that versatile. Coming off career highs in sacks (6.5) and forced fumbles (3), Van Noy was a linchpin of last year’s AFC-best Patriots defense.
Jamie Collins (30) — Signed 3-year, $30 million deal with DET
Collins has ties to coach Matt Patricia and GM Bob Quinn from New England and can be deployed in a variety of roles, including rushing off the edge. Collins started the 2019 season extremely fast with the Patriots but disappeared down the stretch and played only 33 snaps in the team’s playoff loss to Tennessee. Despite immense talent and athleticism, Collins’ career has been marred by enigmatic underachievement and a tendency to freelance out of defensive structure that ruffles coaches’ feathers. He’s a boom-bust signing.
Nigel Bradham (30)
De’Vondre Campbell (26) — Signed 1-year, $6 million deal with ARZ
Campbell is coming off a rough season on the second level of Atlanta’s swiss-cheese defense, but he has athleticism, length, and youth on his side as a one-year flyer. Campbell will compete for snaps next to ILB Jordan Hicks in Arizona.
A.J. Klein (28) — Signed 3-year, $18 million deal with BUF
Buffalo prioritizes athleticism at linebacker and Klein fits The Bill. He also played for coach Sean McDermott in Carolina. Klein will slot in as Buffalo’s No. 3 linebacker alongside MLB Tremaine Edmunds and WLB Matt Milano.
Mychal Kendricks (29)
Christian Kirksey (27) — Signed 2-year, $13 million deal with GB
This was a surprisingly aggressive deal for Kirksey, who appeared in just nine games over the past two years due to injuries. In his last healthy season — 2017 — PFF graded Kirksey negatively in run defense, pass rush, and pass coverage. The Packers are hopeful Kirskey will be able to stay healthy and upgrade on much-maligned free agent ILB Blake Martinez.
Thomas Davis (37) — Signed 1-year deal with WAS
Davis reunites with Ron Rivera, his longtime head coach in Carolina. Davis’ age finally caught up to him last year with the Chargers. He led the league in missed tackles (19) and was released after the season.
Tahir Whitehead (30) — Signed 1-year, $2.5 million deal with CAR
Kevin Pierre-Louis (28) — Signed 1-year, $3 million deal with WAS
Darron Lee (25)
Sean Lee (33) — Re-signed 1-year, $4.5 million deal with DAL
Kamu Grugier-Hill (25) — Signed 1-year, $3 million deal with MIA
Jatavis Brown (26) — Signed 1-year deal with PHI
Nick Vigil (26) — Signed 1-year deal with LAC
Malcolm Smith (30)
Joe Thomas (28) — Re-signed 1-year deal with DAL
Mark Barron (30)
Miles Killebrew (26) — Re-signed 1-year deal with DET
Lerentee McCray (29) — Re-signed 1-year. $1.05 million deal with JAX
Najee Goode (30)
Adarius Taylor (29)
Stephone Anthony (27)
Maurice Alexander (29)
Kyle Wilber (30) — Signed 1-year deal with LVR
LaRoy Reynolds (29) — Signed 1-year deal with ATL
Byron Jones (27) — Signed 5-year, $82.5 million deal with MIA
The Dolphins beat out the Raiders and Eagles among others for Jones, easily the top corner on this year’s market. Under Bill Belichick disciple Brian Flores, the Fins understand the value of pass coverage, evidenced by large financial commitments to Xavien Howard last year and Jones now. Although Jones lacks experience chasing No. 1 wideouts, he is adept at shutting down one side of the field and can play matchup-man coverage against tight ends. Howard and Jones have a chance to form one of the league’s very best cornerback tandems.
Chris Harris (30) — Signed 2-year, $17 million deal with LAC
The Chargers waited out Harris’ market and got him on a relative bargain deal, critically upgrading their secondary in Patrick Mahomes‘ division. Harris is likely to play outside in Chargers DC Gus Bradley‘s scheme with Desmond King in the slot and Casey Hayward manning the other perimeter position. The Bolts also retained somewhat promising RFA corner Michael Davis on a second-round tender. With Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram returning up front and Darwin James back healthy at safety, this defense is among the most talented in the league.
James Bradberry (26) — Signed 3-year, $45 million deal with NYG
$32 million of his $45 million package is guaranteed. Selected by Giants GM Dave Gettleman in the second round of the 2016 draft, Bradberry developed into a low-end No. 1 corner in Carolina and was often tasked with shadowing No. 1 wideouts like Julio Jones and Mike Evans in the NFC South. Bradberry is big bodied with long arms and known for giving plus-sized receivers fits. The Giants fielded one of the league’s worst cornerback units in 2019.
Jimmy Smith (31) — Re-signed 1-year, $6 million deal with BAL
Logan Ryan (29)
Bradley Roby (27) — Re-signed 3-year, $36 million deal with HOU
Ex-Bronco Roby turned in an above-par first season in Houston, allowing just two touchdowns and an 84.6 passer rating when targeted. The Texans improving their pass rush would go a long way toward making Roby look better on the backend, but the team is short on resources.
Desmond Trufant (28) — Signed 2-year, $21 million deal with DET
The Lions’ addition of Trufant paves the way for a long-rumored Darius Slay trade. Cut by cap-strapped Atlanta, Trufant delivered four interceptions in nine games last season, missing the other seven due to a nagging toe injury and broken forearm. In Trufant’s last healthy season (2018), he held opponents to 6.79 yards per target and just four touchdowns on 89 throws. This is probably the Lions’ best move of the offseason so far.
Eli Apple (24) — Signed 1-year deal with CAR
Trae Waynes (27) — Signed 3-year, $42 million deal with CIN
Waynes will replace Dre Kirkpatrick as the Bengals’ latest overpaid left corner, although Waynes is a one-for-one upgrade on his predecessor. Despite 4.31 speed and a press-man skill set, Waynes was a frustratingly inconsistent 3 1/2-year starter in Minnesota. PFF charged Waynes with allowing a 70.2% completion rate, five touchdown passes, and a 105.6 passer rating when targeted in 2019. Nevertheless, Waynes should represent a passable No. 2 corner. The Bengals need William Jackson to regain his No. 1 form.
Kendall Fuller (25) — Signed 4-year, $40 million deal with WAS
Drafted by Washington, then sent to Kansas City in the Alex Smith deal, Fuller rejoins the Redskins as the NFL’s highest-paid slot corner. Fuller also dabbled at safety late in the Chiefs’ Super Bowl run. Fuller’s intention was clearly to sign with the highest bidder, entirely understandable in a short-shelf-life business after Fuller spent the last four years underpaid.
Nickell Robey-Coleman (28) — Signed 1-year deal with PHI
Ronald Darby (26) — Signed 1-year, $4 million deal with WAS
Mackensie Alexander (26) — Signed 1-year, $4 million deal with CIN
Yet another savvy pickup by Cincinnati — it admittedly feels strange to say — Alexander is more than worthy of a cheap, one-year flyer to assume Darqueze Dennard‘s old slot corner spot. Over the past two seasons, Alexander held opponents to an anemic 6.43 yards per attempt and just two touchdowns on 124 targets. PFF credited Alexander with zero missed tackles in 2019. If everyone stays healthy and plays to their potential, William Jackson, Trae Waynes, and Alexander have a chance to form a top-15 cornerback group.
Kevin Johnson (27) — Signed 1-year, $3.5 million deal with CLE
Aqib Talib (34)
Darqueze Dennard (28)
Brian Poole (27) — Re-signed 1-year, $5 million deal with NYJ
Jettisoned by Atlanta following a rough 2018 campaign, Poole reemerged as one of the NFL’s very best slot corners in his first season with the Jets. Among 59 qualified slot defenders, Poole’s 72.1 passer rating when targeted ranked ninth lowest in the league. If he continues playing at such a high level in 2020, Jets GM Joe Douglas should seriously consider locking up Poole on a multi-year extension.
Johnathan Joseph (35) — Signed 1-year deal with TEN
Daryl Worley (25) — Signed 1-year deal with DAL
Pierre Desir (29) — Signed 1-year, $3.75 million deal with NYJ
Ross Cockrell (28)
Vernon Hargreaves (24) — Re-signed 1-year deal with HOU
Hargreaves has gotten consistently torched since entering the league, and between the Bucs and Texans last season conceded a 72.1% completion rate, 9.11 yards per target, and 5:1 TD-to-INT ratio on throws into his coverage. The former first-rounder should have to compete for a roster spot in Houston.
Jalen Mills (26) — Re-signed 1-year, $4 million deal with PHI
Per ESPN’s Josina Anderson, Mills will be converting from cornerback to safety, which wound up foreshadowing longtime Eagles SS Malcolm Jenkins‘ release. Mills began last season on reserve/PUP due to a foot injury and never got right, surrendering an average of 8.7 yards when targeted. Mills’ speed deficiency may be easier masked when he doesn’t have to cover on islands.
Rashaan Melvin (30) — Signed 1-year, $2.25 million deal with JAX
Bashaud Breeland (28) — Re-signed 1-year, $4.5 million deal with KC
Anthony Brown (26) — Re-signed 3-year, $15.5 million deal with DAL
Stretched at outside corner but potential ridden in the slot, Brown should get a chance to reclaim his first-team slot job from Jourdan Lewis in training camp. Lewis was one of the Cowboys’ biggest defensive liabilities over their last five games, at which point Brown was on injured reserve with a torn triceps.
P.J. Williams (26) — Re-signed 1-year, $2 million deal with NO
Xavier Rhodes (29) — Signed 1-year, $5 million deal with IND
Prince Amukamara (30) — Signed 1-year deal with LVR
T.J. Carrie (29) — Signed 1-year deal with IND
Josh Norman (32) — Signed 1-year, $6 million deal with BUF
Norman looked entirely washed late in his Redskins career, but he has familiarity with Bills coach Sean McDermott from Carolina, and McDermott runs a zone-heavy defensive scheme that suits Norman’s skill set. He’s worth a cheap flyer as competition for Levi Wallace across from Tre’Davious White.
Brandon Carr (33)
Dre Kirkpatrick (30)
LeShaun Sims (26) — Signed 1-year deal with CIN
Javien Elliott (26)
Artie Burns (24) — Signed 1-year deal with CHI
Tramon Williams (37)
Maurice Canady (25) — Signed 1-year, $1.25 million deal with DAL
Trumaine Johnson (30)
Tramaine Brock (31)
Jamar Taylor (29)
Morris Claiborne (30)
Aaron Colvin (28) — Re-signed 1-year deal with WAS
Nevin Lawson (29) – Re-signed 1-year, $1.89 million deal with OAK
Marqui Christian (25)
Briean Boddy-Calhoun (27)
De’Vante Bausby (27) — Re-signed 1-year, $825,000 deal with DEN
Sherrick McManis (32)
Brandon Williams (27)
B.W. Webb (30)
Jason Verrett (28) — Re-signed 1-year deal with SF
C.J. Goodwin (30) — Signed 1-year, $1 million deal with DAL
Neiko Thorpe (30) — Re-signed 1-year deal with SEA
Darryl Roberts (29) — Signed 1-year deal with DET
Blidi Wreh-Wilson (30) — Re-signed 1-year, $1.187 million deal with ATL
Chris Milton (28)
Ryan Smith (26) — Re-signed 1-year deal with TB
Phillip Gaines (29) — Re-signed 1-year, $1.052 million deal with HOU
Torry McTyer (25) — Signed 1-year deal with CIN
Dontae Johnson (29) — Re-signed 1-year deal with SF
Johnson Bademosi (29) — Re-signed 1-year deal with NO
Marcus Sherels (32)
Antonio Hamilton (27) — Signed 1-year deal with KC
Tony McRae (26) — Signed 1-year, $1.5 million deal with DET
Anthony Harris (28) — Franchise Tagged by MIN
The Vikings tagging Harris was a bit surprising but not undeserved, and made possible by their pre-free agency releases of Linval Joseph and Everson Griffen, as well as Kirk Cousins‘ savings-driven extension. Undrafted out of Virginia in 2015, Harris has developed into one of the NFL’s most complete safeties. He doesn’t miss tackles, he shines in pass coverage, and he’s an on-ball playmaker with nine interceptions over the past two years. The franchise tag for safeties is valued at $11.441 million. Reports later surfaced that the Vikings are willing to trade Harris.
Justin Simmons (26) — Franchise Tagged by DEN
Simmons’ game reached new heights in Vic Fangio‘s first year as head coach, tallying career highs in pass breakups (15) and interceptions (4) and earning PFF’s No. 1 overall safety grade among 92 qualifiers. He also ranked No. 1 in pass coverage. Simmons allowed an anemic 32.1 passer rating when targeted. The Broncos and Simmons are expected to use the tag as a steppingstone toward a long-term deal.
Devin McCourty (32) — Re-signed 2-year, $23 million deal with NE
Drafted by the Patriots in 2010, McCourty has spent his entire career with New England, earning three Super Bowl rings. He’s missed just five games in his ten-year career and made four Pro Bowls. Last season, McCourty earned PFF’s No. 4 overall pass-coverage grade among 92 qualified safeties as the center-field component of the NFL’s top secondary.
Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix (27) — Signed 1-year, $4 million deal with DAL
Vonn Bell (25) — Signed 3-year, $18 million deal with CIN
Damarious Randall (27) — Signed 1-year, $3.25 million deal with LVR
Jimmie Ward (28) — Re-signed 3-year, $28.5 million deal with SF
Much maligned by 49ers fans due to constant injuries his first five years in the league, Ward broke out in a major way during a mostly-healthy 2019 campaign for the NFC champs. Although his box-score stats don’t stand out out, Ward emerged as a high-end center-field coverage safety and missed only three tackles all year. Also experienced at slot corner, Ward will be coming at a bargain rate on this deal if his positive injury fortune continues.
Malcolm Jenkins (32) — Signed 4-year, $32 million deal with NO
The Saints drafted Jenkins out of Ohio State in the 2009 first round, then let him leave for Philadelphia five years later. It’s a move Sean Payton has openly admitted he long regretted. Despite advanced age, Jenkins is coming off another rock-solid season versus both the run and pass. He’s an immediate upgrade on free agent S Vonn Bell.
Tre Boston (27) — Re-signed 3-year, $18 million deal with CAR
The Panthers rewarded Boston after he started all 16 games last season, tallying three picks and grading out as PFF’s No. 5 pass-coverage safety among 92 qualifiers. Boston offers stability to an otherwise severely in-flux Carolina defense.
Karl Joseph (26) — Signed 1-year, $2.5 million deal with CLE
Tony Jefferson (28)
Rodney McLeod (29) — Re-signed 2-year, $8.65 million deal with PHI
McLeod returned from a knee-injury-ruined 2018 campaign to start all 16 games in 2019, forcing four takeaways and causing six pass breakups. As usual, McLeod was a plus contributor in pass coverage but missed way too many tackles. Originally signed to a five-year, $35 million contract in 2017, McLeod essentially took a pay cut to stay in Philly, where he will remain the Eagles’ first-team center-field safety.
Will Parks (25) — Signed 1-year deal with PHI
Adrian Phillips (28) — Signed 2-year, $6 million deal with NE
Tavon Wilson (30)
Jayron Kearse (26) — Signed 1-year, $2.75 million deal with DET
Kearse brings to Detroit strong safety and special teams utility and even has experience covering the slot.
Tashaun Gipson (29) — Signed 1-year deal with CHI
Andrew Adams (27) — Re-signed 1-year, $1.01 million deal with TB
Eric Reid (28)
Jeff Heath (28) — Signed 2-year, $6 million deal with LVR
Heath started in Dallas secondary in each of the last three years, demonstrating limited playmaking ability but rarely embarrassing himself in coverage. He would be a low-end starter but high-end No. 3 safety in Las Vegas.
D.J. Swearinger (29) — Re-signed 1-year, $1.1 million deal with NO
Darian Thompson (26) — Re-signed 2-year, $2.8 million deal with DAL
Michael Thomas (31)
Clayton Geathers (27)
Jahleel Addae (30)
Andrew Sendejo (32) — Re-signed 1-year, $2.25 million deal with CLE
Reshad Jones (34)
Juston Burris (26) — Signed 2-year, $8 million deal with CAR
Burris is a talented, young, low-cost, sleeper-type defensive back with experience at both safety positions and corner. He should get a major opportunity for playing time with the rebuilding Panthers.
Darian Stewart (31)
Eric Murray (26) — Signed 3-year, $18 million deal with HOU
Jack of many trades but master of none, Murray is experienced at safety and slot corner and will contribute on special teams.
Antoine Bethea (35)
Johnathan Cyprien (29)
Morgan Burnett (31)
Sean Davis (26) — Signed 1-year, $5 million deal with WAS
Kurt Coleman (31)
Eric Berry (31)
Curtis Riley (27)
Cody Davis (30) — Signed 1-year, $1.5 million deal with NE
Walt Aikens (28)
Kemal Ishmael (28)
Ibraheim Campbell (27) — Signed 1-year deal with TEN
Clayton Fejedelem (26) — Signed 3-year, $8.55 million deal with MIA
Ex-Bengal Fejedelem will play special teams and function as a third or fourth safety in Miami.
Kavon Frazier (25)
Akeem King (27)
Rontez Miles (31)
Nate Ebner (30) — Signed 1-year, $2 million deal with NYG
Jordan Lucas (26) — Signed 1-year, $1 million deal with CHI
Jaylen Watkins (27) — Signed 2-year, $3 million deal with HOU
Sharrod Neasman (28) — Re-signed 1-year deal with ATL
Brynden Trawick (30)
J.J. Wilcox (29)
Anthony Levine (33) — Re-signed 1-year deal with BAL
Deon Bush (26) — Re-signed 1-year, $1.4 million deal with CHI
DeAndre Houston-Carson (27) — Re-signed 1-year deal with CHI
Jordan Richards (27)
Chris Banjo (30) — Re-signed 1-year deal with ARZ
Colin Jones (32)
Greg Zuerlein (32) — Signed 3-year, $7.5 million deal with DAL
Dan Bailey (32) — Re-signed 3-year, $10 million deal with MIN
Mason Crosby (35) — Re-signed 3-year, $12.9 million deal with GB
Ka’imi Fairbairn (26) — Re-signed 4-year, $17.65 million deal with HOU
Ryan Succop (33)
Stephen Gostkowski (36)
Kai Forbath (32) — Re-signed 1-year deal with DAL
Nick Folk (35)
Adam Vinatieri (47)
Matt Bosher (32)
Britton Colquitt (35) — Re-signed 3-year, $9 million deal with MIN
Sam Martin (30) — Signed 3-year, $7.05 million deal with DEN
Lac Edwards (27)
Ryan Allen (30) — Re-signed 1-year deal with ATL
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
Saints QB Taysom Hill (29) — First-Round Tender
Steelers OT Matt Feiler (27) — Second-Round Tender
Chargers RB Austin Ekeler (24) — Re-signed 4-year, $24.5 million deal with LAC
Patriots DT Adam Butler (26) — Second-Round Tender
Ravens C Matt Skura (27) — Original-Pick Tender
Steelers CB Mike Hilton (26) — Second-Round Tender
Vikings LB Eric Wilson (25) — Second-Round Tender
Browns RB Kareem Hunt (24) — Second-Round Tender
49ers RB Matt Breida (25) — Second-Round Tender
Chargers CB Michael Davis (25) — Second-Round Tender
Seahawks WR David Moore (25) — Original-Pick Tender
Jaguars WR Keelan Cole (26) — Second-Round Tender
Cardinals OT Justin Murray (27) — Re-signed 1-year deal with ARZ
Broncos OT Elijah Wilkinson (25) — Second-Round Tender
Raiders OT David Sharpe (24) — Original-Pick Tender
Seahawks TE Jacob Hollister (26) — Second-Round Tender
Cowboys TE Blake Jarwin (25) — Re-signed 4-year, $24.25 million deal with DAL
This deal is an indication the Cowboys view Jarwin as a realistic successor to Jason Witten. Jarwin lacks Witten’s blocking prowess but flashed playmaking ability by ranking No. 7 among 39 qualified tight ends in 2019 yards per route run and No. 6 among 35 qualifiers in yards per target. Jarwin is a sleeper to take a big step forward and join the TE1 ranks in 2020 fantasy football.
Bears DL Roy Robertson-Harris (26) — Second-Round Tender
Vikings FB C.J. Ham (26) — Re-signed 4-year, $12.25 million deal with MIN
Broncos DE Mike Purcell (28) — Second-Round Tender
Raiders LB Nicholas Morrow (24) — Second-Round Tender
Steelers OT Zach Banner (26) — Re-signed 1-year, $1.75 million deal with PIT
Cardinals K Zane Gonzalez (24) — Second-Round Tender
Dolphins P Matt Haack (25) — Original-Pick Tender
Seahawks C Joey Hunt (26) — Original-Pick Tender
Giants K Aldrick Rosas (25) — Second-Round Tender
Falcons RB Brian Hill (24) — Original-Pick Tender
Bengals NT Josh Tupou (25) — Original-Pick Tender
Bengals OG Alex Redmond (25) — Original-Pick Tender
Cowboys QB Cooper Rush (26) — Original-Pick Tender
Bengals S Brandon Wilson (25) — Original-Pick Tender
Raiders QB Nathan Peterman (25) — Original-Pick Tender
49ers WR Kendrick Bourne (24) — Second-Round Tender
Seahawks DE Branden Jackson (27) — Original-Pick Tender
Patriots OG Jermaine Eluemunor (25) — Original-Pick Tender
Texans LB Dylan Cole (25) — Original-Pick Tender
Dolphins LB Vince Biegel (26) — Original-Pick Tender
Dolphins S Adrian Colbert (26) — Re-signed 1-year, $1.775 million deal with MIA
Bengals TE Cethan Carter (26) — Second-Round Tender
Notable NFL Trades
Hayden Hurst to Atlanta
The Falcons acquired Hurst and a fourth-round pick from the Ravens in exchange for second- and fifth-round picks. A spare part behind Mark Andrews and Nick Boyle in Baltimore, Hurst will be expected to beat out Jaeden Graham for Atlanta’s primary tight end job, replacing free agent departure Austin Hooper. It’s an almost best-case scenario for Hurst’s fantasy value; he’ll transition from a reserve role on the NFL’s run-heaviest team to pass-first Atlanta. A first-round pick in 2018 — drafted by the Ravens ahead of Lamar Jackson — Hurst made the most of his limited 2019 opportunities by ranking No. 10 among 39 qualified tight ends in yards per route run and catching 30-of-37 targets (77%) for 349 yards and two scores. Plenty talented and now in a favorable fantasy environment, Hurst has a real chance to vault into this year’s top-12 fantasy tight ends.
DeAndre Hopkins to Arizona
Texans coach/GM Bill O’Brien‘s latest ill-advised maneuver sent Hopkins and a fourth-round pick to the Cardinals in exchange for David Johnson, a second-round pick this year, and fourth-rounder in 2021. The biggest winner here is Kyler Murray, who stands to benefit immensely from Hopkins occupying the perimeter routes that were inefficiently run by Damiere Byrd and KeeSean Johnson last year. In Arizona’s three-receiver sets, Hopkins figures to bookend Christian Kirk with Larry Fitzgerald in the slot. As for Hopkins, this will be the highest-risk fantasy season of his career. He’s a wide receiver changing teams, his bond with Deshaun Watson in Houston was unbreakable, and he drew 150-plus targets in five straight years. And Hopkins’ ADP seems unlikely to fall further than the second round.
David Johnson to Houston
A debilitating back injury was partly to blame for Johnson’s career-worst 2019 campaign, but there were additional reasons to believe his best days are far behind him. His tackle-breaking ability evaporated, and Johnson’s tendency to tiptoe and run without any hint of confidence were alarming before he was benched for Kenyan Drake. In Houston, Johnson’s primary competition for playing time will be Duke Johnson, a far more efficient back at this stage of their careers. Undoubtedly, the Texans would have been much better off keeping DeAndre Hopkins, affordably re-signing Carlos Hyde, and letting someone else take Johnson off the Cardinals’ hands. I’m thinking we’ll view David Johnson as a risky RB3 pick in 2020 fantasy drafts.
DeForest Buckner to Indianapolis
After the season, Colts GM Chris Ballard attributed his team’s disappointing 2019 pass rush to lacking a penetrating force at three-technique defensive tackle. So Ballard secured one of the best in exchange for the No. 13 overall pick, which was sent to San Francisco. Since Indianapolis also doled out a contract paying Buckner $84 million over four years, Buckner comes at an extremely high cost in terms of draft and financial compensation. The Colts did enter the 2020 offseason with the second most cap space in football, and Buckner immediately makes their defensive front exponentially more dangerous. Also a high-character individual, Buckner was a team captain in San Francisco and voted the team’s 2019 MVP.
Calais Campbell to Baltimore
Taking Campbell off the rebuilding Jaguars’ hands in exchange for a fifth-round pick had to be one of the easiest moves made by the Ravens’ organization in years. A five-time Pro Bowler and 2019’s Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, Campbell was acquired with the pick the Ravens got last year for K Kaare Vedvik, who is no longer in the league. Campbell earned last season’s No. 1 grade from PFF among 25 qualified 3-4 defensive ends.
Stefon Diggs to Buffalo
In yet another Monday blockbuster, the Vikings sent disgruntled Diggs and a 2020 seventh-round pick to Buffalo in exchange for a first-round pick, a fifth-round pick, a sixth-round pick, and a 2021 fourth-round pick, further highlighting Houston’s embarrassing DeAndre Hopkins compensation. Josh Allen is the obvious beneficiary, now armed with Diggs’ elite route quickness, separation skills, and ball-tracking ability opposite speedster John Brown with Cole Beasley in the slot. The Bills’ organization is cognizant of Allen’s erratic passing tendencies and has determined surrounding him with as much talent as possible gives the team its best chance to compensate for and camouflage those limitations. As for Diggs’ fantasy value, he will have to deal with the changing-teams wideout concern in a deeper pass-catcher corps than Minnesota’s on top of less efficient quarterback play. With Diggs out of the way, Adam Thielen is looking like a target vacuum in Minnesota.
Andy Janovich to Cleveland
The Browns acquired Janovich from the Broncos in exchange for a 2021 seventh-round pick. Janovich plays fullback and obviously lacks individual fantasy value, but he’s been one of the league’s top pure lead blockers for the last three years. Janovich’s acquisition reinforces the physical mindset new coach Kevin Stefanski intends to instill in Cleveland. The Browns project as a run-committed team that utilizes fullbacks, two tight ends, and one- and two-receiver sets more than the vast majority of teams.
Jurrell Casey to Denver
This move allows Tennessee to get 2019 first-round pick Jeffery Simmons more playing time but is a steal for the Broncos, which surrendered only the No. 237 overall pick. Casey is under contract reasonably through 2022, just 30 years old, and still playing at a high enough level that Denver can confidently marker him in as an every-down interior presence on Vic Fangio‘s defensive front. Trading extremely low-probability day-three draft picks for proven veterans remains one of the NFL’s greatest market inefficiencies. The Broncos did so here for Casey, much as the Ravens did for Calais Campbell.
Nick Foles to Chicago
The Jaguars coaxed a fourth-round pick out of Chicago for taking Foles’ four-year, $88 million contract off Jacksonville’s books. Close to Matt Nagy from their time together in Kansas City and new Bears QBs coach John DeFilippo from Philadelphia, Foles is a sensible on-paper fit considering past connections likely to come in especially handy this year due to the coronavirus’ impact on offseason scheduling and potential training camp delays. Foles’ strong historical rapport with Alshon Jeffery may bode positively for Allen Robinson, essentially a rich man’s version of Alshon. Although Bears management may try to push Mitchell Trubisky remaining Chicago’s favorite to start, his leash should be extremely short in that scenario, and Foles getting the Week 1 nod should surprise no one. In Jacksonville, Gardner Minshew becomes clear-cut quarterback of the near team. The Jags are up to 12 draft picks and will likely be selecting another in the early rounds next month.
Darius Slay to Philadelphia
Acquired from Detroit for 2020 third- and fifth-round picks, Slay helps shore up a longtime weakness in Philly. The sides also consummated a three-year, $50 million contract immediately upon completion of Thursday’s trade. Slay has extensive experience traveling with No. 1 receivers, is still on the right side of 30, and was charged last season with just a 58.3% completion rate and 86.9 passer rating allowed despite battling a hamstring injury for over half the year and facing a hellish schedule of enemy wideouts. The Eagles’ secondary rebuild should not stop here, however. Their No. 2 cornerback slot remains entirely unsettled, and strong safety is up for grabs following Malcolm Jenkins‘ release.
Kyle Allen to Washington
Carolina picked up a fifth-round pick in this trade. Allen has familiarity with new Redskins coach Ron Rivera and OC Scott Turner from Carolina and will help with offensive installation behind Dwayne Haskins. Allen should not pose an immediate threat to Haskins’ starting job; after an even rookie year, the Skins must give Haskins a full year in the new system to find out whether he’s their quarterback of the future. (We can be pretty confident Allen is not.)
Brandin Cooks to Houston
In the latest pilfering of Texans GM/coach Bill O’Brien, the Rams pawned off Cooks and a fourth-round pick in the year twenty-twenty-two in exchange for this year’s 57th overall selection. The trade leaves Houston with just three choices inside the 2020 draft’s top-170 picks. In Cooks, the Texans are getting a once-promising wideout whose career has been stalled by persistent injuries and a stark downturn in production. Cooks has managed 680 yards and four touchdowns over his last 16 regular season games — clearing 75 receiving yards just once during that span — and suffered five documented concussions in six NFL seasons. The Texans’ top-four wideouts are now Cooks, Will Fuller, Kenny Stills, and Randall Cobb. Beleaguered slot WR Keke Coutee further plummets into the deepest depths of O’Brien’s doghouse and could easily be traded for pennies on the dollar during the draft.
In Los Angeles, Josh Reynolds, Tyler Higbee, and Gerald Everett are the trade’s primary beneficiaries. Reynolds has operated as a full-time player when Cooks missed time in the past, while Cooks’ removal from the offense hints at increased 12-personnel looks featuring Higbee and Everett on the field together. Coach Sean McVay recently spoke publicly of his intentions to increase Everett’s usage, and this move clears up opportunity for McVay to make good on that plan. While Higbee’s Dynasty and Best-Ball costs have already stretched toward exorbitance, Reynolds and Everett’s individual fantasy stocks are clearly on the up and up.
Rob Gronkowski to Tampa Bay