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2019 Top 25 Free Agency list.

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  • 2019 Top 25 Free Agency list.

    Top 25 NFL free agents of 2019: Defenders dominate rankings

    Gregg Rosenthal

    The most interesting expected free agent this offseason isn't on the list below. Nick Foles has a mutual option in his contract that makes it exceedingly likely he will be set free by the Eagles, especially after they declared Monday that Carson Wentz is their quarterback and will remain their quarterback.

    Foles would top a group of available quarterbacks, including Teddy Bridgewater, that is likely to grow as teams begin to prune their salary cap before the March spending spree. That's something to keep in mind when looking at my way-too-early list of the top 25 free agents in 2019. A lot of names will be added to the market because of cuts, and plenty of high-profile players (like Jadeveon Clowney) are unlikely to ever make it to free agency, because their current teams will use the franchise tag to keep them or strike a long-term deal.

    That makes this initial list fun to consider, albeit a work in progress. It's a free-agent crop that is heavy on pass rushers and safeties while light on offensive linemen, wide receivers and cornerbacks. Chris Wesseling and I will publish our complete Top 101 Free Agents list in February. In the meantime, feel free to irrationally believe your team is going to sign all the players below and solve all of their problems.

    Published: Jan. 16, 2019 at 12:47 p.m.
    Updated: Jan. 17, 2019 at 01:07 p.m.

    1 DeMarcus Lawrence DE Cowboys

    Don't worry about his sack number dropping to 10.5. Lawrence backed up his breakout 2017 (14.5 sacks) with another season as a top-five pass rusher, solidifying his place as one of the league's best players.

    2 Le'Veon Bell RB Steelers

    This ranking isn't a prediction of how much guaranteed money Bell will earn. It's a reflection of his status as one of the transcendent players this century at his position -- and the fact that he's still just 26 years old.


    3 Jadeveon Clowney OLB Texans

    Using the franchise tag to retain Clowney makes too much sense for Houston, even if Clowney won't be thrilled about it.

    4 Grady Jarrett DT Falcons

    A 25-year-old game-wrecker from the interior who has improved every year. There's little chance the Falcons will let Jarrett get away.


    5 Trey Flowers DE Patriots

    While Flowers isn't a prototypical pure pass rusher from the outside, he can do everything well from a variety of positions, the perfect Swiss Army Knife for a modern defense. And he's already been the most disruptive presence on a Super Bowl championship team.


    6 Earl Thomas S Seahawks

    Thomas would be even higher on this list if not for two of his previous three seasons being marred by injury. He has maintained his high level of play as a potential future Hall of Famer and isn't yet 30 years old.


    7 Dee Ford OLB Chiefs

    At a position where speed kills, Ford's first step is among the best in football. The Chiefs might use the franchise tag on him to make sure his monster breakout season can be repeated.


    8 Frank Clark DE Seahawks

    In many years, Clark would be the best pass rusher available. He isn't as complete a player as the guys above, but 32 sacks and 66 QB hits over the last three years speaks for itself.


    9 Landon Collins S Giants

    Collins received some Defensive Player of the Year consideration in 2016, but his hard-hitting style has made less of an impact lately. And his 2018 campaign ended after Week 13, when he hit IR and underwent shoulder surgery.


    10 C.J. Mosley LB Ravens

    Inside linebackers don't get paid in free agency, although Mosley could be an exception. A four-time Pro Bowler, Mosley is known for his smarts and his leadership.


    11 Anthony Barr LB Vikings

    The skill set and splash plays didn't always add up to excellent overall production, although his contract year went well. It's a bit of a concern that a great defensive coach like Mike Zimmer didn't consistently get more out of him.

    12 Sheldon Richardson DT Vikings

    Richardson started out his season like a man on fire before settling into another campaign that made his employers probably want just a little bit more. He's been stuck on the "prove-it contract" cycle for years.


    13 Ronald Darby CB Eagles

    A torn ACL will hurt Darby's value, but he's still the class of a soft cornerback crop of free agents.


    14 Tyrann Mathieu S Texans

    It's unclear why safeties like Honey Badger didn't get paid well last offseason. There's an even better crop of free agents at the position this time around.


    15 Lamarcus Joyner S Rams

    The Rams valued Joyner enough to use the franchise tag on him last year. There just aren't enough tough, versatile safeties who can cover slot receivers around.

    16 Teddy Bridgewater QB Saints

    Teddy's underwhelming Week 17 start was more about a rag-tag backup Saints offensive line that didn't protect Bridgewater than it was about anything else. He showed enough in the 2018 preseason to compete for a starting job somewhere.


    17 Preston Smith LB Redskins

    If everyone thinks Smith is underrated, is he still underrated? Pro Football Focus' No. 8-ranked 3-4 outside linebacker in 2018 should get the contract of someone rated quite highly.


    18 Ndamukong Suh DT Rams

    If he plays another game or two like the one he did in the Divisional Round, Suh's price tag could skyrocket.


    19 K.J. Wright LB Seahawks

    Instinctive as a run-stopper and excellent in coverage, Wright looked good late in the season after missing 11 games with a lingering knee injury.


    20 Za'Darius Smith OLB Ravens

    PFF credited Smith with 10 sacks, 17 QB hits and 33 hurries in the regular season, which is monster production for someone with 690 snaps. He plays with laudable fury.


    21 Ezekiel Ansah DE Lions

    One of the toughest players to evaluate in free agency. The Lions spent hefty franchise-tag money on a guy with just 662 snaps combined over the last two years.


    22 Daryl Williams OT Panthers

    Good tackles are so hard to find in free agency that Williams, a second-team All Pro in 2017, should still inspire plenty of interest despite missing nearly all of this season with a knee injury.


    23 Ha Ha Clinton-Dix S Redskins

    The Packers' opinion of Clinton-Dix and his so-so time in Washington after being traded there by Green Bay this season might have him pegged as just an above-average starting safety, but that should be worth something on the open market.

    24 Brandon Graham DE Eagles

    This ranking may look disrespectful for a player of Graham's caliber, but the track record of betting on soon-to-be 31-year-old pass rushers in free agency is rough.


    25 Matt Paradis C Broncos

    He's consistently been one of the highest-graded centers in football since the Broncos selected him in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. He missed the last seven games of 2018 with a broken right fibula.

    Notable omissions (in alphabetical order):

    Kwon Alexander, LB, Buccaneers
    Randall Cobb, WR, Packers
    Tevin Coleman, RB, Falcons
    Stephen Gostkowski, K, Patriots
    Jordan Hicks, LB, Eagles
    Mark Ingram, RB, Saints
    Kareem Jackson, CB, Texans
    Ja'Wuan James, OT, Dolphins
    Eric Reid, S, Panthers
    Bradley Roby, CB, Broncos
    Rodger Saffold, OG, Rams
    Terrell Suggs, OLB, Ravens
    Golden Tate, WR, Eagles
    Last edited by Saddletramp; 01-17-2019, 01:09 PM.
    [URL=http://s93.photobucket.com/user/Saddletramp69/media/asdf.jpg.html][/URL
    Adopted player Lindsey

  • #2
    I would be looking to spend some money at safety, cornerback, and linebacker, and focusing the early rounds of the draft on offense. I like LaMarcus Joyner at safety, Bryce Callaghan at cornerback, and Jordan Hicks at inside linebacker. All 3 guys give you versatility in coverage, are all under 28 years old, and money wise, I don't see any recent history to suggest that signing a safety or slot cornerback would be a huge cap blowout.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by johnlimburg View Post
      I would be looking to spend some money at safety, cornerback, and linebacker, and focusing the early rounds of the draft on offense. I like LaMarcus Joyner at safety, Bryce Callaghan at cornerback, and Jordan Hicks at inside linebacker. All 3 guys give you versatility in coverage, are all under 28 years old, and money wise, I don't see any recent history to suggest that signing a safety or slot cornerback would be a huge cap blowout.
      What offensive players are you wanting to target in the early rounds? Even with the 3 signings you mentioned, id still want to draft a cb, ilb, olb, dt. Some of that depends on what happens and who we keep. Qb and o line are high on my list as well. My draft wants still havent changed that much but im not too familiar with how fangio/scangrello run things and who would fit.

      Id still love this draft:
      1)greedy williams cb
      2)dexter lawrence dt (i doubt hes still there)
      3)rypien qb
      4)hakeem butler wr

      Oline
      Lb

      Plus FA
      Glen Haven Fire

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by armedequation View Post
        What offensive players are you wanting to target in the early rounds? Even with the 3 signings you mentioned, id still want to draft a cb, ilb, olb, dt. Some of that depends on what happens and who we keep. Qb and o line are high on my list as well. My draft wants still havent changed that much but im not too familiar with how fangio/scangrello run things and who would fit.

        Id still love this draft:
        1)greedy williams cb
        2)dexter lawrence dt (i doubt hes still there)
        3)rypien qb
        4)hakeem butler wr

        Oline
        Lb

        Plus FA
        I am a big fan of Cody Ford, he looks like a late first round tackle who could start from day 1, and be an upgrade immediately. I like T.J Hockenson, he is a tight end who can do it all, and I see him being one of the safest prospects in the draft, all around solid. Michael Dieter is a guard from Wisconsin who is very well rounded and rock solid in everything he does, I believe he could start day 1 also.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by johnlimburg View Post
          I would be looking to spend some money at safety, cornerback, and linebacker, and focusing the early rounds of the draft on offense. I like LaMarcus Joyner at safety, Bryce Callaghan at cornerback, and Jordan Hicks at inside linebacker. All 3 guys give you versatility in coverage, are all under 28 years old, and money wise, I don't see any recent history to suggest that signing a safety or slot cornerback would be a huge cap blowout.
          I tend to agree that we should look for D in FA, and be more O minded in the draft....however a bit of both would be fine too. All depends on the overall plan. But on D, if I had my way, I'd go get Mosley to seal up the middle, and also consider a DBack, possibly a Dliner. I think we should definitely look at QB in the draft, as well as an Oliner.

          Some may not agree, but if we could even consider landing AB, I'm open for discussion. Imagine a team with a bright new, shiny QB, a really nice group of O weapons (though we really should find a productive TE), an upgrade on the Oline, a stud ILB and a couple of other alterations on D....and LOOK OUT!!!!!

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by CanDB View Post
            I tend to agree that we should look for D in FA, and be more O minded in the draft....however a bit of both would be fine too. All depends on the overall plan. But on D, if I had my way, I'd go get Mosley to seal up the middle, and also consider a DBack, possibly a Dliner. I think we should definitely look at QB in the draft, as well as an Oliner.

            Some may not agree, but if we could even consider landing AB, I'm open for discussion. Imagine a team with a bright new, shiny QB, a really nice group of O weapons (though we really should find a productive TE), an upgrade on the Oline, a stud ILB and a couple of other alterations on D....and LOOK OUT!!!!!
            It looks like Mosley will be locked up by the Ravens. Reports are saying that they are working on an extension and both sides want to get it done, I think he is off the table. I do 100% disagree on Brown though. Not only is he a diva who can't handle the attention that Juju received this pastseason, the compensation would be too much for me. Adding players with large contracts, while giving up high draft picks at the same time rarely ends in a happy marriage. Plus, after hearing what his former teammate Ryan Clark had to say about him, I do not want him here, especially with a young quarterback he would pressure into feeding him the ball, no thanks.

            Comment


            • #7
              There's certainly some intriguing FA's out there, once DEN makes some cap moves, there's no reason why they cant land 3 key players.

              Lot of money comes off the books after next year, so they can backload a couple contracts if need be.

              Safety is a big posiiton of need, good group with Joyner, Thomas, Amos, Collins, Mathieu, Dix. But that also depends what the coaching staff thinks of the current safeties, in Cravens, Parks, Simmons and Thomas, i'm assuming Stewart is a cap casualty.

              I hope Elway looks for a linebacker in free agency, not sure we have anyone on the current roster who can play in Fangio's system right now. Jordan Hicks, Barr, Kwon Alexander, Mosely (although i suspect Bal locks him up), KJ Wright, Buccanon.

              Denver is at 44 mil under now, with some cap saving moves, there's no reason why they cant sign a S/CB/LB, three biggest needs on defense, then maybe a depth piece on the DL and draft one as well.

              OL wise, Denver has been linked to Juwaun James in the past, just 26 years old, would fit great at RT. Ramon Foster played for Munchak last 5 years, and shouldnt break the bank at G if Denver lets Paradis walk. There should be no excuse why Elway doesnt add some key players, money isnt the issue especially with lots of money coming off the books.

              Comment


              • #8
                Mosley would be a great addition. But him and Baltimore will probably come to an agreement. A couple good cornerbacks would be a good idea me thunks....
                [URL=http://s93.photobucket.com/user/Saddletramp69/media/asdf.jpg.html][/URL
                Adopted player Lindsey

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hey, if Baltimore signs Mosley, good on them! Wise choice. Love to have an ILB of that level here.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by CanDB View Post
                    Hey, if Baltimore signs Mosley, good on them! Wise choice. Love to have an ILB of that level here.
                    It would a good thing... And can't blame Baltimore for working a deal with him.
                    [URL=http://s93.photobucket.com/user/Saddletramp69/media/asdf.jpg.html][/URL
                    Adopted player Lindsey

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Shaq Barrett didn't even make honorable mention. Would have thought he'd have more value than Roby. Maybe he will not hear good offers and stay on the cheap.
                      2016 GM for the Buffalo Bills.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ERoyal248 View Post
                        There's certainly some intriguing FA's out there, once DEN makes some cap moves, there's no reason why they cant land 3 key players.

                        Lot of money comes off the books after next year, so they can backload a couple contracts if need be.

                        Safety is a big posiiton of need, good group with Joyner, Thomas, Amos, Collins, Mathieu, Dix. But that also depends what the coaching staff thinks of the current safeties, in Cravens, Parks, Simmons and Thomas, i'm assuming Stewart is a cap casualty.

                        I hope Elway looks for a linebacker in free agency, not sure we have anyone on the current roster who can play in Fangio's system right now. Jordan Hicks, Barr, Kwon Alexander, Mosely (although i suspect Bal locks him up), KJ Wright, Buccanon.

                        Denver is at 44 mil under now, with some cap saving moves, there's no reason why they cant sign a S/CB/LB, three biggest needs on defense, then maybe a depth piece on the DL and draft one as well.

                        OL wise, Denver has been linked to Juwaun James in the past, just 26 years old, would fit great at RT. Ramon Foster played for Munchak last 5 years, and shouldnt break the bank at G if Denver lets Paradis walk. There should be no excuse why Elway doesnt add some key players, money isnt the issue especially with lots of money coming off the books.
                        True Denver does have money finally, but there are still lots of teams with lots of money who will throw stupid money at free agents to try and win the offseason. Signing 3 of the top free agents may not end up being economically viable, and really you need to be careful on who you spend it on. Too many teams end up paying free agents big money for what they did for their last team, not what they will ever get from them.

                        Also back loading will be tough because players and agents want upfront money because the contracts aren't guaranteed. The more you try and backload it the more you're going to have to guarantee.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by conannilsen View Post
                          Shaq Barrett didn't even make honorable mention. Would have thought he'd have more value than Roby. Maybe he will not hear good offers and stay on the cheap.

                          In 4 seasons he's accounted for 151 total tackles and 14 sacks. And he's never really been much of a starter in the league. I think Denver fans are higher on him than anyone else because we've seen him for 4 years. But he's probably more of a diamond in the rough guy than a top free agent available.

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                          • #14
                            Give me;
                            Juwaun James
                            Ramon Foster
                            K.J. Wright
                            Navarro Bowman
                            Bryce Callahan
                            Adrian Amos

                            That would be an outstanding FA class.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Butler By'Note View Post
                              In 4 seasons he's accounted for 151 total tackles and 14 sacks. And he's never really been much of a starter in the league. I think Denver fans are higher on him than anyone else because we've seen him for 4 years. But he's probably more of a diamond in the rough guy than a top free agent available.
                              And he grades well in all areas. As long as Shaq was the backup I was never worried about Ray or Miller going down. I really do hope we find a way to keep him around.
                              2016 GM for the Buffalo Bills.

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