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Thread: Free Agent Rankings

  1. #1

    Free Agent Rankings

    Great piece in the The Athletic:

    Here you go:

    For our next free agency preview, we’ve called on offensive line authority Brandon Thorn. Thorn does a terrific job scouting and analyzing offensive linemen with his Trench Warfare site and newsletter. He was kind enough to offer his opinions on a number of the pending unrestricted free agent offensive linemen. Ages as of Week 1 are in parentheses.

    Tier 1: Empty out the wallet

    These are players who can expect to find deals at the top of the market for their position.

    Trent Williams, LT, San Francisco 49ers (33)

    After missing all of 2019, Williams was traded to the 49ers and played at a high level last season.

    “He’s a special player, just really a blue-chip kind of guy, impact starter, can do it all, doesn’t really have any weaknesses to his game and just has rare traits and abilities,” Thorn said. “I think you can make a strong case he’s the best left tackle in the NFL.”

    Williams is on the wrong side of 30, but left tackles of his caliber are hard to find, and Thorn didn’t see significant signs of decline in Williams’ 2020 film. David Bakhtiari ($23 million per year) is currently the NFL’s top-paid tackle. The floor for a Williams deal could be the contract ($17 million per year) Garett Bolles signed with the Denver Broncos. One important note: As part of Williams’ restructured deal with San Francisco, the 49ers can’t use the franchise tag on him.

    Brandon Scherff, OG, Washington Football Team (29)

    Washington used the franchise tag to keep Scherff last offseason, and he made his fourth Pro Bowl.

    “I didn’t think this was his best year,” Thorn said. “I thought he was still a very good starter. But I thought he was more like an elite starter in previous years. When he’s healthy, he’s one of the five best right guards in football.”

    Scherff missed three games in 2020, five in 2019 and eight in 2018. Thorn said the injury history could be taking a toll on Scherff’s play strength. But given his résumé and the market, there’s a good chance that Scherff becomes the NFL’s highest-paid guard and find a deal in the neighborhood of $15 million per year.

    Corey Linsley, OC, Green Bay Packers (30)

    He’s started 99 games in seven seasons and went from underrated to first-team All-Pro in 2020.

    “He’s just an outstanding zone run blocker,” Thorn said. “He does a tremendous job of reaching the nose tackle or the shade. He’s so good at that. I think outside zone teams are gonna value him very highly just because of what he can do in that scheme. I think that’s really his biggest strength.”

    Thorn added that Linsley holds up well in pass protection also and does a great job of mental processing against blitzes, stunts and line games.

    “He’s really good pre-snap, very smart,” Thorn said. “So he brings that to the offense for pass protection. He’d be a great guy if you had a young quarterback in an outside zone scheme.”

    Linsley will be the top option for teams in the market for a veteran center. Ryan Kelly signed a four-year, $49.65 million deal ($12.4 million per year) with the Colts in September. That could be a good comp for what Linsley commands.

    Nick Martin, OC, Houston Texans (28)

    In a puzzling move, the Texans decided to release Martin. He’s been an above-average center with 62 starts under his belt and has not missed a game in the last three seasons. The Texans signed Martin to a three-year, $33 million extension before the 2019 season. He could be looking at a similar deal now that he’s on the open market. Because Martin was released, he’s free to sign with a new team before the start of the new league year on March 17.

    Taylor Moton, RT, Carolina Panthers (27)

    There’s a lot to like about Moton. He’s never missed a game, has 48 starts under his belt and has performed as an above-average right tackle.

    “I like him as a run blocker more than a pass blocker,” Thorn said.

    Thorn noted that Moton uses a “flash technique” too often in pass protection. That’s when an offensive lineman uses one of his hands to get a defensive lineman to react, but it’s best used as a changeup.

    “His use of hands and technique as a pass protector are probably average, middle of the pack,” Thorn said. “That’s what’s really holding him back. As a run blocker, I think he’s above average and can do a lot there”

    Jack Conklin signed a three-year, $42 million deal with the Browns last offseason. Moton will likely be looking to get a deal in that range.

    Joe Thuney, OG, New England Patriots (28)

    The Patriots surprisingly used the franchise tag on Thuney last offseason. He may not have the same ceiling as some of the other players in this tier, but Thuney projects as one of the safer options, given his age and durability (80 consecutive regular-season starts over five seasons).

    “His understanding of leverage and his use of hands are his two best traits,” Thorn said. “He’s undersized, probably average play strength, but he makes up for it with how well he plays with his leverage and just always being the low man, using his hands to manipulate guys. There’s a lot of variety to what he can do with his hands, so he’s unpredictable from an opponent perspective but consistent with what he does technique-wise.”

    Thuney will likely find a deal near the top of the guard market, which means around $14 million per year.

    Tier 2: Starting-caliber options

    These players who will be expected to fill starting roles wherever they sign.

    Alejandro Villanueva, LT, Pittsburgh Steelers (33)

    There are a couple things working in Villanueva’s favor. One, it’s hard to find competent left tackle play. Two, he hasn’t missed a game in the past six seasons. Villanueva is a two-time Pro Bowler, but given his age and recent performance, it’s likely that whichever team signs him will be getting a declining player.

    “His play strength has always been his Achilles heel, and his ability to anchor,” said Thorn. “So he’s not gonna set the most firm pocket and have the most firm anchor at left tackle, which can be an issue. But if you’re running a quick passing game, a lot of play-action, stuff like that, I think he’s definitely an average to above-average starter. I think he’s pretty good in the run game.”

    Villanueva is a tough player to project. Duane Brown got a three-year, $34.5 million deal a few years ago at the age of 33. That might be the floor for Villanueva. Anthony Castonzo signed a two-year, $33 million deal with the Colts last offseason at the age of 32. That could be Villanueva’s ceiling.

    Cam Robinson, LT, Jacksonville Jaguars (25)

    Originally a second-round pick in 2017, Robinson has started 47 games in four seasons. He missed 14 games in 2018 because of a torn ACL and then two more in 2019 because of an injury to his other knee. Robinson is young and talented, meaning teams could pay up and bank on his upside.

    “With him, it’s all about technique and not being consistent,” Thorn said. “He’s very physical and aggressive in pass protection, and I think that hurts him a lot because he takes a lot of chances with his hands. He tries to really strike guys hard and quickly with two hands. Any guy who strikes with two hands a lot is living a dangerous life at tackle because the margin for error is so small.”

    Thorn thought a glass half-full projection for Robinson could be La’el Collins, a player who took a while to make the leap but eventually got there.

    “He has a lot of talent,” Thorn said. “Whenever it clicks, he looks like an eight-to-12 range left tackle. You see that a lot in his tape. If you watch the second half of 2019, I felt like I saw a lot of that. And early on in 2020, I saw a lot of that too. But the snap-to-snap (performance) later in the year, it just isn’t consistent. So he’s a hard guy to figure out.”

    Left tackles who are in their mid-20s and have starting experience generally get paid. Donovan Smith is making $13.8 million per year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And the Cardinals signed D.J. Humphries for $14.75 million per year last offseason. Robinson should find a deal in that range.

    Daryl Williams, RT, Buffalo Bills (29)

    Williams has started 57 games in six seasons. If we’re going just off of last year, there’s a strong case for him to be in the top tier.

    “Had the best year of his career, I thought,” Thorn said. “This year, some of those concerns that were attached to his name his whole career with the range in pass protection and being a liability against speed guys, I thought he quieted a lot of those concerns.”

    Williams was a free agent last offseason and had to settle for a one-year, $2.25 million deal. How much of a jump will he make this offseason? Halapoulivaati Vaitai’s deal from last offseason ($9 million per year) could be a good comp for Williams.

    David Andrews, OC, New England Patriots (29)

    Andrews has 69 career starts. He missed all of 2019 because of a blood clot issue but returned last year, started 12 games and played well.

    “I think it’s reasonable to expect him to be even better in 2021 after another year away from the health issues that he had, so I’m pretty high on him,” Thorn said. “I think he can be an above-average starter still. I think he’s pretty well-rounded. Not really elite in any area except for mental processing. I think he handles the pre-snap phase, calls and pass protection responsibilities really well. And I think he’s a pretty good run blocker. He’s kind of like a Corey Linsley light in some ways.”

    Connor McGovern signed a three-year, $27 million deal with the New York Jets last offseason. That could be the floor for an Andrews deal.

    Matt Feiler, G/T, Pittsburgh Steelers (29)

    Feiler has 40 career starts since entering the league in 2014. He played left guard last year but was at right tackle the previous two seasons. Thorn said that Feiler’s skill set is better suited to play right tackle.

    “I thought he was really good (in 2019),” Thorn said. “He surprised me with what he was able to do. I would love to see him get another chance at right tackle and see what he could do out there.”

    Thorn said that Feiler’s film at guard from last season was rough. But his experience having played both spots could be appealing. If Feiler is viewed as a middle-tier right tackle, that could mean a contract worth between $7 million and $9 million per year.

    Alex Mack, OC, Atlanta Falcons (35)

    Mack has been remarkably durable with 179 starts in 12 seasons. He missed 11 games in 2014 and two last season. Mack has made all 16 starts 10 times in his career. The six-time Pro Bowler is obviously not the player he was in his prime, but Thorn said that Mack could still fit a zone-blocking team, and he thought it could make sense to pair Mack with a young quarterback.

    “I still think there’s enough there that on like a one-year deal, I’d love to have him because he’s been an All-Pro level player for so long,” Thorn said. “And I still think there’s enough there where he can give you one more year as an average to above-average starter where the mental processing part of it, the competitive toughness part of it, those two things are going to be elite.”

    Russell Okung, LT, Carolina Panthers (32)

    He’s had trouble staying healthy with just 13 starts over the last two seasons. But Thorn said if Okung can stay on the field, he’s a crafty veteran who should be able to make up for declining physical ability as he gets older.

    “He has so many different ways to win as a pass protector and run blocker,” Thorn said. “He has a really good understanding of leverage and just the nuances of the position, getting guys blocked in creative ways with a variety of techniques in his toolbox. He just has so many different things.”

    A team in the market for a veteran left tackle might be able to land Okung on a one-year deal.

    Jon Feliciano, G/C, Buffalo Bills (29)

    Feliciano has started 33 games in six seasons. He has two things going for him. One, Feliciano has started games at left guard, right guard and center. And two, he plays with a mean streak that coaches will find appealing.

    “His competitive toughness is outstanding — just really, really special with the edge and demeanor that he brings to the offensive line,” Thorn said. “So from that perspective he’s near elite. But every other part of the game, especially pass protection, I think he’s below average.”

    Thorn said Feliciano would ideally be an interior swing option, but it seems likely that the Bills — and possibly other teams — will pay him like a starter. The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia thinks Feliciano should find a deal between $5 million and $8 million per year. The Bills view him as a leader, and he’s a favorite of Buffalo’s coaching staff.

    Matt Skura, OC, Baltimore Ravens (28)

    Skura started 51 games in four seasons for the Ravens. He suffered a knee injury in 2019 but returned last season and started 12 games before being benched because of snapping issues.

    Denzelle Good, OG, Las Vegas Raiders (30)

    He’s started 42 games in six seasons and has shown improvement. Thorn said he thought Good was the most underrated guard in the NFL in 2020.

    “If you put him inside at left guard and you run a heavy gap scheme, I think that you can definitely win with him and he can do some incredible things in the run game just in terms of how far back he can drive guys and control, sustain and steer in the run game,” Thorn said. “I think he’s really, really good in that regard.”

    Thorn added that Good won’t fit everywhere. He doesn’t have great feet in pass protection, and he will not be a fit in zone-blocking schemes. Returning to the Raiders could make sense for both sides. The Athletic’s Vic Tafur has Good as the Raiders’ top priority among players set to hit free agency.

    Austin Blythe, OC, Los Angeles Rams (29)

    He was a 16-game starter in 2020 and has 49 career starts in five seasons. Blythe played center last season but has previous experience at right guard. He has missed just one game over the last four seasons.

    “He’s undersized, and play strength is an issue. Anchor is an issue,” Thorn said. “I think those two things aren’t really starter-caliber. Strictly a zone run blocker. You don’t want him in another scheme because of his strength, size. He has a really good understanding of leverage and uses his hands pretty well. Takes a lot of chances because I think he gets overwhelmed a lot, especially at guard. I like him more at center, especially if he’s protected by above-average guards. I think you can win with him. That’s probably a more optimistic opinion on him than most.”

    Blythe might not have a high ceiling but could be appealing to teams that need a starting center and are looking for a relatively low-cost option.

    John Miller, OG, Carolina Panthers (28)

    Miller has started 74 games in six seasons. He signed a one-year, $4 million deal with the Panthers last offseason. According to The Athletic’s Joseph Person, Miller was overmatched occasionally but held up well for the most part in 2020. He could be a relatively low-cost option for a team in need of guard help.

    Germain Ifedi, G/T, Chicago Bears (27)

    Ifedi has experience playing both guard and tackle. He has 76 career starts under his belt and has missed just four games in five seasons.

    “I like him better at guard, probably an average starter,” Thorn said. “But moving him inside has masked his inability to play in a lot of space.”

    Thorn said Ifedi is good in gap run concepts, but you don’t want him isolated against top-level pass rushers. Ifedi was a free agent last offseason and signed a one-year, $1.05 million deal with the Bears. He’ll hope to find a more lucrative deal this time around.
    Last edited by membengal; 03-01-2021 at 01:30 PM.

  2. #2
    and rest of piece....

    Tier 3: Fringe starters/experienced backups

    Rick Wagner, RT, Green Bay Packers (31)

    He’s made 96 career starts and played 59 percent of the snaps last season. The Packers released Wagner last month, so he’s free to sign whenever he wants. Last offseason, Wagner signed a two-year, $11 million deal to be Green Bay’s swing tackle. He has dealt with a knee injury and is reportedly considering retirement.

    Nick Easton, OG, New Orleans Saints (29)

    He’s made 32 starts in four seasons, including nine last year. Easton played 52 percent of the snaps in 2020 and 38 percent in 2019. He’s missed 10 games over the past two seasons due to injuries, including multiple concussions. Easton will look to compete for playing time somewhere. Because he was released by the Saints, he’s free to sign with a new team before the start of the new league year on March 17.

    Mike Remmers, OT, Kansas City Chiefs (32)

    Remmers has started 88 games in nine seasons. He was put in a tough spot having to play left tackle in the Super Bowl after Eric Fisher suffered an injury. Remmers could get looks as a starting right tackle or be an option for teams in need of an experienced swing tackle.

    Jason Peters, OT, Philadelphia Eagles (39)

    The nine-time Pro Bowler struggled last season. He missed eight games and is clearly on his last legs. Considered a great teammate and leader, Peters will look to land a one-year deal somewhere if he doesn’t retire.

    Cameron Fleming, OT, New York Giants (29)

    He had been mostly a backup in his first six seasons, starting 26 total games. Last year, after Nate Solder opted out, Fleming was forced to be a 16-game starter at right tackle for the first time. It’s unlikely that teams will view him in that role going forward. Fleming signed a one-year, $4 million deal last offseason. He could be looking at a similar deal with a team in need of a swing tackle.

    Ted Karras, OC, Miami Dolphins (28)

    Karras has 36 career starts in five seasons. He was a 15-game starter with the New England Patriots in 2019 and then signed with the Dolphins as a free agent on a one-year, $3 million deal. Karras started 16 games last season. His market is unlikely to have changed much, and Karras might have to compete for playing time wherever he lands.

    Cameron Erving, G/T/C, Dallas Cowboys (29)

    He signed a one-year, $2.5 million deal with the Cowboys last offseason but dealt with injury issues and started five games. Erving has 47 career starts and has played tackle, guard and center. That versatility will make him an attractive backup option.

    Joe Haeg, G/T, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (28)

    He’s started 38 games in five seasons. Haeg signed with the Bucs last year on a one-year, $2.3 million deal.

    Lane Taylor, OG, Green Bay Packers (31)

    He has 50 career starts and has played well when healthy. The problem for Taylor is he’s been crushed by injuries and has appeared in only three games over the last two seasons. Taylor tore his ACL in Week 1 of the 2020 season. He could be looking at a one-year deal.

    Kelechi Osemele, OG, Kansas City Chiefs (32)

    He’s been healthy for just eight games over the past two seasons, but Osemele performed well in five starts for the Chiefs in 2020. He signed there on a one-year, $1.2 million contract and could be looking at a similar deal coming off of a knee injury.

    Demar Dotson, OT, Denver Broncos (35)

    He signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal with the Broncos last offseason and started eight games at right tackle. Dotson will likely look for another one-year deal somewhere if he wants to keep playing.

    Jermaine Eluemunor, OT, New England Patriots (26)

    He has 11 career starts. Eluemunor saw his most extensive playing time last season, starting eight games and lining up at both left and right tackle. He will look to compete for playing time somewhere, and if nothing else should find a job as a swing tackle.

    Kelvin Beachum, OT, Arizona Cardinals (32)

    He’s made 115 starts during an impressive nine-year career. Beachum was without a team last offseason until the Cardinals signed him in July to a one-year, $1.2 million deal. He played every offensive snap for Arizona, but Beachum’s days as a starting left tackle might be nearing an end.

    “He’s a guy who comes out there and attacks, and if he lands his punches, he can really lock guys up quickly, but it’s just so up and down with him,” Thorn said. “Ideally he’s a guy you have as your sixth offensive lineman. That’s how I see him. He’s a below-average starter.”

    Senio Kelemete, OG, Houston Texans (31)

    He’s made 42 career starts, including five last season. The Texans released Kelemete in February, meaning he can sign with a new team at any time and doesn’t have to wait for the start of the new league year. Kelemete will look to compete for playing time somewhere.

    D.J. Fluker, G/T, Baltimore Ravens (30)

    The Ravens signed him for depth last offseason, but Fluker ended up having to start eight games at right tackle. He’s better suited to play guard, and Fluker’s skill set is scheme-specific.

    “He can start for you in a gap scheme,” Thorn said. “But there’s not a lot of systems out there that run pure gap scheme or vast majority gap scheme, so it limits the places he can go. But if he’s in the right situation, I think you can get an above-average run blocker and maybe a below-average to average pass protector. There’s a lot of guys like that who start in the league who probably don’t have his ability to create movement in the run game.”

    Quinton Spain, OG, Cincinnati Bengals (30)

    He has 74 career starts but has been on three different teams in the last four seasons. The Buffalo Bills released Spain in October. He caught on with the Bengals and started eight games. Spain will likely look to compete for playing time somewhere.

    Austin Reiter, OC, Kansas City Chiefs (29)

    He’s started 33 games in five seasons, including 12 last year.

    “He has above-average athletic ability. That’s his redeeming trait as a starter,” Thorn said.

    A zone-blocking team could see Reiter as a relatively inexpensive starting option, but it’s also possible that he has to compete for playing time or settle for a backup role.

    Zach Banner, OT, Pittsburgh Steelers (27)

    He won the starting right tackle job going into last season but then tore his ACL in Week 1. Banner could look to sign a one-year deal, earn playing time and then cash in next offseason.

    Dan Feeney, G/C, Los Angeles Chargers (27)

    He has 57 career starts. Feeney is young and durable (has not missed a game in the last three seasons). He played left guard from 2017 to 2019 but started at center last season. He has not performed particularly well, but Feeney’s experience playing multiple positions could be attractive to some teams.

    Elijah Wilkinson, G/T, Denver Broncos (26)

    He has 26 career starts and has played both guard and tackle. Wilkinson spent part of last season on injured reserve with a shin injury but started seven games at right tackle.

    James Hurst, G/T, New Orleans Saints (29)

    He’s made 49 starts in seven seasons. Hurst signed a one-year, $1.05 million deal with the Saints last year and started five games. He has experience playing both guard and tackle.

    Ethan Pocic, OC, Seattle Seahawks (26)

    He has 30 career starts and has played every interior offensive line position. Last year marked Pocic’s most extensive playing time as he started 14 games at center.

    “In a heavy zone run scheme, he’s a guy I’d like to get into camp and see how he looks,” Thorn said.

    Pocic (6-foot-6) does not have a traditional center’s build. Thorn said that can lead to leverage issues with guys going around him or through him in pass protection. But his athleticism and versatility could be appealing to zone-blocking teams.

    Joe Looney, OC, Dallas Cowboys (31)

    Looney has started 42 games in nine seasons, including 12 at center last year. He will likely be viewed as a depth option but could compete somewhere for a starting spot.

    Sam Tevi, OT, Los Angeles Chargers (26)

    Tevi has 44 career starts in four seasons but has struggled. He played right tackle in 2018 and 2019 before moving over to left tackle in 2020. He’ll most likely land somewhere as a depth option.

    J.R. Sweezy, OG, Arizona Cardinals (32)

    Sweezy has 104 career starts since entering the league in 2012. He has been on three different teams in the last four seasons but started 10 games last season.

    Tier 4: Backups/competing for roster spots

    Forrest Lamp, OG, Los Angeles Chargers (27)
    Brian Winters, OG, Buffalo Bills (30)
    Michael Schofield, G/T, Carolina Panthers (30)
    Pat Elflein, G/C, New York Jets (27)
    Le’Raven Clark, OT, Indianapolis Colts (28)
    Ty Sambrailo, OT, Tennessee Titans (29)
    Ben Garland, OC, San Francisco 49ers (33)
    Dakota Dozier, OG, Minnesota Vikings (30)
    Oday Aboushi, OG, Detroit Lions (30)
    Chris Reed, OG, Carolina Panthers (29)
    Tom Compton, OG, San Francisco 49ers (32)
    Tyler Shatley, G/C, Jacksonville Jaguars (30)
    Alex Redmond, OG, Cincinnati Bengals (26)
    Sam Young, OT, Las Vegas Raiders (34)
    Josh Andrews, G/C, New York Jets (30)
    Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, Seattle Seahawks (29)
    Roderick Johnson, OT, Houston Texans (25)
    Ryan Groy, G/C, Los Angeles Chargers (30)
    Daniel Kilgore, OC, Kansas City Chiefs (33)
    Hroniss Grasu, OC, San Francisco 49ers (30)
    Brent Qvale, OT, Houston Texans (30)
    Chaz Green, OT, Indianapolis Colts (29)
    Stefen Wisniewski, G/C, Kansas City Chiefs (32)
    David Sharpe, OT, Washington Football Team (25)
    James Ferentz, OC, New England Patriots (32)
    Brett Jones, OC, Minnesota Vikings (30)
    Rashod Hill, OT, Minnesota Vikings (29)
    Kendall Lamm, OT, Cleveland Browns (29)
    Josh Wells, OT, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (30)
    Jerald Hawkins, OT, Pittsburgh Steelers (27)
    Jason Spriggs, OT, Chicago Bears (27)
    Jared Veldheer, OT, Indianapolis Colts/Green Bay Packers (34)
    Max Garcia, OC, Arizona Cardinals (29)
    Ty Nsekhe, OT, Buffalo Bills (35)
    Julie’n Davenport, OT, Miami Dolphins (26)
    Marshall Newhouse, G/T, Tennessee Titans (32)
    Joey Hunt, OC, Indianapolis Colts (27)
    Tyler Larsen, OC, Carolina Panthers (30)
    John Wetzel, OT, Atlanta Falcons (30)
    Spencer Pulley, OC, New York Giants (28)
    Justin McCray, G/C, Atlanta Falcons (29)
    Tony Bergstrom, OC, San Francisco 49ers (35)
    Marcus Martin, G/C, New England Patriots (27)
    Last edited by membengal; 03-01-2021 at 01:34 PM.

  3. #3
    And that list is why I think Chase or Pitts is in play at 5. They get two impact FA o-lineman, and it opens things up. My dream remains Thuney and Darryl Williams. Totally doable.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by membengal View Post
    And that list is why I think Chase or Pitts is in play at 5. They get two impact FA o-lineman, and it opens things up. My dream remains Thuney and Darryl Williams. Totally doable.
    Thuney and Williams or Havenstein would be awesome. Especially if they could still get a C/G type guy for 3-4M that can add depth in the interior and compete with Price, Hopkins and XSF. But I’d be fine with Thuney and one of those RTs.

  5. #5
    NFL free agency DL/Edge rankings: Leonard Williams, Shaq Barrett headline group

    By Sheil Kapadia 1h ago 4

    Editor’s note: Sixth in an eight-part series
    Today’s tiers focus on defensive linemen and edge defenders who are pending unrestricted free agents. Ages as of Week 1 are in parentheses.
    Tier 1: Empty out the wallet

    These are players who can expect to find deals at or near the top of the market for their position. That means roughly in the range of $16 million to $21 million per season.
    Leonard Williams, DL, New York Giants (27)
    Williams got hit with the franchise tag last offseason and proceeded to turn in a career year with 11.5 sacks (seventh league-wide) and 30 quarterback hits (third). Teams could view him as a player who is finally playing to his potential and entering his prime. Williams’ stock is higher than it would have been last offseason.
    The floor for Williams is probably the deal Kenny Clark signed (four years, $70 million) in August. And it would be no surprise to see Williams find an offer in the neighborhood of DeForest Buckner’s four-year, $84 million deal with the Indianapolis Colts. The Giants also have the option of using the franchise tag on him a second time, which would mean paying Williams roughly $19.3 million on a one-year deal for 2021.
    Shaquil Barrett, Edge, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (28)
    He was dominant during the Bucs’ Super Bowl run with four sacks and eight quarterback hits in Tampa’s last two games. Barrett was a monster in 2019 (19.5 sacks, 37 QB hits and six forced fumbles), and the Bucs used the franchise tag to retain him. His regular-season numbers (eight sacks, 16 QB hits) weren’t as impressive in 2020, but he made his mark in the playoffs. Barrett will likely be looking to cash in on a deal that could be in the neighborhood of $20 million per year.
    Yannick Ngakoue, Edge, Baltimore Ravens (26)
    He has had eight sacks or more in each of his first five seasons and has missed just two games in his career. That production and durability should get Ngakoue paid, especially given how young he is. Having said that, Ngakoue was not an impact player in 2020. Over the last five years though, his 45.5 sacks rank 12th, and his 95 QB hits rank tied for 14th. Arik Armstead signed with the 49ers for $17 million per year last offseason. That could be a good comp for what Ngakoue is seeking.
    Matt Judon, Edge, Baltimore Ravens (29)
    The Ravens used the franchise tag on Judon last offseason. He produced just six sacks, but his 21 QB hits were tied for 11th most. Judon hit the quarterback on 8.5 percent of his pass-rush opportunities, which ranked third behind only T.J. Watt and Joey Bosa. He would best fit a 3-4 scheme where he’s asked to do a little bit of everything. For 4-3 teams looking for an every-down defensive end, Judon is probably not a fit. Using the franchise tag again on Judon would cost north of $20 million. That seems like an unlikely option. Like Ngakoue, Judon should be able to find a deal in the $17 million per year range.
    Bud Dupree, Edge, Pittsburgh Steelers (28)
    His skill set is similar to Judon’s. Dupree’s best asset is he can do a little bit of everything. He tore his ACL in December, but given how common it is for players to return to full strength after that injury, Dupree should still find a deal near the top of the market. He had eight sacks and 15 quarterback hits in 11 games before the injury. In 2019, Dupree had 11.5 sacks and 17 quarterback hits. Given his age, production and versatility, it would be no surprise to see Dupree land a lucrative long-term deal for a 3-4 team in need of an outside linebacker.
    Tier 2: Just a notch below

    These are players who are likely to find deals in the neighborhood of $10 million to $15 million per season.
    Leonard Floyd, Edge, Los Angeles Rams (29)
    The Bears released Floyd, and the Rams signed him to a one-year, $10 million deal last offseason. Floyd finished ninth with 10.5 sacks and tied for 19th with 19 QB hits. He played 90 percent of the snaps and has not missed a game in the past three years. Last year, Dante Fowler left the Rams and signed a three-year, $45 million deal in free agency. Floyd’s new contract could be similar.
    Carl Lawson, Edge, Cincinnati Bengals (26)
    He’s another player who made the most out of his contract year. Lawson had just 5.5 sacks, but his 32 QB hits ranked second to only T.J. Watt. Some teams may view Lawson more as a rotational pass rusher than an every-down player, but he played a career-high 68 percent of the defensive snaps in 2020 and has been consistently productive. Lawson’s 83 QB hits over the past four seasons are tied for 11th league-wide.
    Haason Reddick, Edge, Arizona Cardinals (27)
    His background is different from the other players on this list in that Reddick has been both an edge rusher and an off-ball linebacker. He had a big second half last season and finished with 12.5 sacks, which was tied for fourth league-wide. Reddick finished second behind only Myles Garrett in Brandon Thorn’s sack score rankings. Reddick’s role in Arizona changed about 400 times in four seasons, but he has shown serious pass-rushing chops. He’s a hybrid-type player who could be really fun with the right defensive coordinator. The concern with Reddick is that he had just 7.5 sacks in his first three seasons.
    Trey Hendrickson, Edge, New Orleans Saints (26)
    He’s a tricky player to project. Hendrickson finished second league-wide with 13.5 sacks and tied for eighth with 25 quarterback hits. But according to Brandon Thorn’s True Sack Rate, just three of Hendrickson’s sacks were high quality. In other words, he benefited from coverage sacks and clean-up sacks where teammates produced the initial pressure. Hendrickson had never played more than 38 percent of the defensive snaps in a season prior to 2020, when he was on the field 53 percent of the time. Teams will have to weigh his 2020 production against previous years to determine whether Hendrickson is a one-year wonder or an ascending player. He had 6.5 sacks and 18 QB hits during his first three seasons.
    Dalvin Tomlinson, DT, New York Giants (27)
    He’s started 64 games in four seasons and has been a steady presence on the Giants’ defensive line. Tomlinson has seven sacks and 19 quarterback hits over the past two seasons. He’ll be a nice option for teams in the market for a run-stopping defensive tackle, and some may view Tomlinson as a player with pass-rushing upside. D.J. Reader got a four-year $53 million deal from the Cincinnati Bengals last offseason. That could be the ceiling for a potential Tomlinson contract.
    Justin Houston, Edge, Indianapolis Colts (32)
    He’s on the wrong side of 30, but Houston continues to produce. He was eighth among edge defenders in pass-rush win rate and had eight sacks to go along with 12 QB hits. Houston signed a two-year, $23 million contract with the Colts in 2019. He could find something similar on the open market this time around.
    Jadeveon Clowney, Edge, Tennessee Titans (28)
    He was searching for a big payday last offseason but didn’t find it and had to settle for a one-year, $13 million deal with the Titans. Now Clowney’s stock is likely to be even lower. He failed to notch a single sack in eight games and then underwent season-ending knee surgery. Clowney might have a hard time finding the deal he’s looking for once again this offseason.
    Melvin Ingram, Edge, Los Angeles Chargers (32)
    It was a tough contract year for Ingram. He appeared in seven games before heading to injured reserve with a knee injury. Ingram has had a very good career, but he finished 2020 with no sacks and four QB hits. If healthy, Ingram is a disruptive player and a versatile pass rusher capable of lining up in different spots. His market will likely come down to whether teams are confident he can bounce back from the injury.
    Tier 3: Starters/key rotational options

    These are players who can be expected to either start or rotate in and play a high percentage of snaps.
    Romeo Okwara, Edge, Detroit Lions (26)
    He could be a nice sleeper option for teams that aren’t looking to spend at the top of the market. Okwara made the most of his contract year, finishing 10th with 10 sacks and tied for 22nd with 18 QB hits. Okwara ranked fifth in sack score, as seven of his sacks were labeled high quality. However, teams will have to balance that production with Okwara’s first four seasons, when he totaled 10 sacks in 51 games. He’s one of the trickier players to project on this list, but given Okwara’s age, there’s reason to think he could be an ascending player.
    Ndamukong Suh, DT, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (34)
    He played well in 2020, producing six sacks and 19 quarterback hits. Suh has not missed a game in nine seasons. Last offseason, Suh signed a one-year, $8 million deal to return to Tampa. A similar deal again could make sense for both sides.
    Larry Ogunjobi, DT, Cleveland Browns (27)
    He started 47 games in four seasons and produced 14.5 sacks and 37 quarterback hits. Ogunjobi should find a starting DT job somewhere.
    Denico Autry, Edge, Indianapolis Colts (31)
    He joined the Colts in 2018 and started 38 games in three seasons. Autry had 7.5 sacks and 10 quarterback hits last season. He might not have huge upside but can be a solid, dependable starter.
    Everson Griffen, Edge, Dallas Cowboys/Detroit Lions (33)
    Griffen signed a one-year, $6 million deal with the Cowboys last offseason and then was traded to the Lions. He’s likely to see a reduced role going forward but still produced as a rotational rusher with six sacks and 14 QB hits.
    Ryan Kerrigan, Edge, Washington Football Team (33)
    The four-time Pro Bowler got phased out last season, playing just 38 percent of the snaps. But he still produced 5.5 sacks. Kerrigan will likely look to catch on somewhere as a rotational pass rusher, although it’s possible he could find a starting job.
    Markus Golden, Edge, New York Giants/Arizona Cardinals (30)
    Coming off a 10-sack season, he didn’t find the market he was looking for last offseason and had to settle for a one-year, $4.1 million deal. The Giants traded Golden to the Cardinals during the season. He was again productive as a pass rusher with 4.5 sacks and 20 quarterback hits.
    Deatrich Wise, DL, New England Patriots (27)
    He’s started 18 games in four seasons and has 14 career sacks to go along with 56 quarterback hits. Considering his age and production, Wise could get an opportunity to be a full-time starter somewhere.
    Dawuane Smoot, Edge, Jacksonville Jaguars (26)
    He didn’t receive much attention in Jacksonville, but Smoot had 5.5 sacks and 17 quarterback hits last season.
    Adam Butler, DL, New England Patriots (27)
    He started 12 games in four seasons with the Patriots and totaled 15 sacks with 22 quarterback hits. Butler has never played more than 47 percent of the snaps in a single season. A team could look at him as a player deserving of more playing time or as a quality rotational defensive lineman.
    Tyus Bowser, Edge, Baltimore Ravens (26)
    He played a career-high 51 percent of the snaps last season and is a versatile edge defender. Bowser had just two sacks but produced 14 quarterback hits. The Ravens could consider bringing him back and expanding his role if they lose Judon and Ngakoue.
    Jordan Jenkins, Edge, New York Jets (27)
    He’s started 62 games in five seasons and has 22.5 sacks and 46 QB hits. Jenkins could be an option for 3-4 teams that need an outside linebacker with a versatile skill set.
    Davon Godchaux, DT, Miami Dolphins (26)
    Originally a fifth-round pick in 2017, Godchaux started 42 games in four seasons. He was limited to five starts last season because of an injury. Godchaux could be an option for teams in need of a nose tackle against the run.
    Kerry Hyder, Edge, San Francisco 49ers (30)
    He was a great value signing for the 49ers last offseason (one year, $1.5 million). Hyder had 8.5 sacks and 18 quarterback hits. In 2016 and 2020, Hyder combined for 16.5 sacks and 37 quarterback hits. In his other five seasons, he’s produced two sacks and six quarterback hits.
    Samson Ebukam, Edge, Los Angeles Rams (26)
    He started 35 games as an outside linebacker in the Rams’ 3-4. Ebukam has 14 career sacks and 28 QB hits.
    Kyler Fackrell, Edge, New York Giants (29)
    He signed a one-year, $4.6 million deal with the Giants last offseason. Fackrell had four sacks and 10 QB hits. He started nine games and played 55 percent of the snaps. He could be looking at a similar deal this offseason.
    Morgan Fox, DT, Los Angeles Rams (27)
    He started six games in four seasons, but Fox was productive in a rotational role last season, producing six sacks and nine QB hits.
    DaQuan Jones, DT, Tennessee Titans (29)
    He’s started 93 games in seven seasons. Jones has produced just three sacks over the last three seasons but will be an option for teams looking for a veteran run-defending interior lineman.
    Johnathan Hankins, DT, Las Vegas Raiders (29)
    He’s started 102 games during his eight-year career, including 46 over the past three seasons with the Raiders. Hankins hasn’t shown much pass-rushing juice (2.5 sacks over the past three seasons) but has held up well against the run.
    Lawrence Guy, DL, New England Patriots (31)
    He started 60 of 64 possible games over the past four seasons for the Patriots. Guy has never had more than 4.5 sacks in a season but has been a solid, dependable interior defensive lineman.
    Tanoh Kpassagnon, Edge, Kansas City Chiefs (27)
    He started 24 games in four seasons and has seven career sacks to go along with 18 quarterback hits. Kpassagnon is likely looking at a rotational role.
    Derek Wolfe, DT, Baltimore Ravens (31)
    He’s started 116 games in nine seasons. Wolfe was a free agent last offseason and signed a one-year, $3 million deal with the Ravens. He could be looking at something similar this time around.
    Shelby Harris, DT, Denver Broncos (30)
    He was a free agent last offseason and returned to Denver on a one-year, $3.25 million deal. Harris had 2.5 sacks and 11 quarterback hits. He does an excellent job of getting his hands on the football with 16 deflected passes over the past two seasons. He’ll be an option for teams in the market for interior pass rush.
    Roy Robertson-Harris, DL, Chicago Bears (28)
    He missed eight games last season because of a shoulder injury but has flashed as an interior pass rusher with 7.5 sacks and 30 QB hits in four seasons.
    Bruce Irvin, Edge, Seattle Seahawks (33)
    He suffered a torn ACL last season and was limited to two games, but Irvin had 8.5 sacks in 2019. He’s probably looking at a one-year deal somewhere.
    Benson Mayowa, Edge, Seattle Seahawks (30)
    He signed a one-year, $3.05 million deal with the Seahawks last offseason and had six sacks to go along with nine quarterback hits. Mayowa should find a home as a rotational edge rusher.
    Pernell McPhee, Edge, Baltimore Ravens (32)
    He played 43 percent of the Ravens’ defensive snaps last year, starting 13 games and producing three sacks with 15 quarterback hits.
    Takkarist McKinley, Atlanta Falcons (25)
    It’s tough to know what his future holds. McKinley appeared in four games last season and dealt with injuries before the Falcons cut him. He’ll look to resurrect his career.
    Tyson Alualu, DT, Pittsburgh Steelers (34)
    He has 109 career starts, including 10 last season. Alualu should find a home as an early-down, run-stuffing interior lineman.
    D.J. Jones, DT, San Francisco 49ers (26)
    He has 29 starts in four seasons, including 14 last year. Jones is mostly a run-stuffing defensive tackle, but he did have three sacks last year.
    Corey Peters, DT, Arizona Cardinals (33)
    A knee injury limited Peters to nine games last season. But he has 121 career starts and should be able to compete for playing time if he’s healthy.
    Sheldon Rankins, DT, New Orleans Saints (27)
    He played 40 percent of the snaps last season and had 1.5 sacks with nine QB hits. Rankins will likely be viewed as a rotational defensive tackle.
    Mike Daniels, DT, Cincinnati Bengals (31)
    He joined the Bengals on a one-year, $1.45 million deal last season and started 11 games. Daniels could be looking to find a similar deal this offseason.
    Olivier Vernon, Edge, Cleveland Browns (30)
    He got hit with an injury at the worst possible time, rupturing his Achilles tendon right before the playoffs. Vernon had been playing well with nine sacks and 16 quarterback hits. But that injury requires intense rehab, and it’s unclear when he will be able to return.
    Maliek Collins, DT, Las Vegas Raiders (26)
    He signed a one-year, $6 million deal with the Raiders last offseason and had zero sacks with one QB hit in 12 games. Collins had been more productive in his first four seasons with the Dallas Cowboys. He has 66 career starts.
    Aldon Smith, Edge, Dallas Cowboys (32)
    He returned to the NFL after a four-year hiatus and started all 16 games, producing five sacks and 14 quarterback hits.
    Trent Murphy, Edge, Buffalo Bills (30)
    He was a healthy scratch for eight games last season, but Murphy should catch on somewhere as part of an edge rotation.
    Tier 4: Depth/competing for roster spots

  6. #6
    These players will likely be vying for depth spots, and some will be competing for roster spots.

    • Solomon Thomas, DT, San Francisco 49ers (26)
    • Branden Jackson, DT, Seattle Seahawks (28)
    • Damon Harrison, DT, Seattle Seahawks (32)
    • Vic Beasley, Edge, Las Vegas Raiders (29)
    • Mario Edwards Jr., DL, Chicago Bears (27)
    • Damion Square, DT, Los Angeles Chargers (32)
    • Jabaal Sheard, DE, New York Giants (32)
    • Jihad Ward, DL, Baltimore Ravens (27)
    • Alex Okafor, Edge, Kansas City Chiefs (30)
    • Charles Harris, Edge, Atlanta Falcons (26)
    • Vinny Curry, DE, Philadelphia Eagles (33)
    • Brennan Scarlett, Edge, Houston Texans (28)
    • Mike Pennel, DT, Kansas City Chiefs (30)
    • Austin Johnson, DT, New York Giants (27)
    • Barkevious Mingo, Edge, Chicago Bears (30)
    • Al-Quadin Muhammad, Edge, Indianapolis Colts (26)
    • Rakeem Nunez-Roches, DT, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (28)
    • Angelo Blackson, DT, Arizona Cardinals (28)
    • Justin Ellis, DT, Baltimore Ravens (30)
    • Jack Crawford, DL, Tennessee Titans (33)
    • DeMarcus Walker, DL, Denver Broncos (27)
    • Tarell Basham, Edge, New York Jets (27)
    • Tyrone Crawford, DL, Dallas Cowboys (31)
    • Jeremiah Attaochu, Edge, Denver Broncos (28)
    • John Simon, Edge, New England Patriots (30)
    • Shilique Calhoun, DL, New England Patriots (29)
    • Brent Urban, DL, Chicago Bears (30)
    • Steve McLendon, DT, New York Jets/Tampa Bay Buccaneers (35)
    • Margus Hunt, DT, New Orleans Saints (34)
    • Jaleel Johnson, DT, Minnesota Vikings (27)
    • Steven Means, Edge, Atlanta Falcons (31)
    • Christian Covington, DT, Cincinnati Bengals (27)
    • Adam Gotsis, DT, Jacksonville Jaguars (29)
    • Carlos Watkins, DT, Houston Texans (27)
    • Dion Jordan, DE, San Francisco 49ers (31)
    • Isaiah Irving, Edge, Arizona Cardinals (27)
    • Xavier Williams, DT, Cincinnati Bengals (29)
    • Jordan Willis, DL, San Francisco 49ers (26)
    • John Jenkins, DT, Chicago Bears (32)
    • Vincent Taylor, DT, Cleveland Browns (27)
    • Trevon Coley, DT, Arizona Cardinals (27)
    • Eli Ankou, DT, Dallas Cowboys (27)
    • Damontre Moore, Edge, Seattle Seahawks (29)
    • Sylvester Williams, DT, Denver Broncos (32)
    • Domata Peko, DT, Arizona Cardinals (36)
    • Anthony Chickillo, Edge, Denver Broncos (28)
    • Chris Wormley, DL, Pittsburgh Steelers (27)
    • Abry Jones, DT, Jacksonville Jaguars (30)
    • Cassius Marsh, Edge, Pittsburgh Steelers (29)
    • Caraun Reid, DT, Jacksonville Jaguars (29)
    • Montravius Adams, DT, Green Bay Packers (26)
    • Hassan Ridgeway, DT, Philadelphia Eagles (26)
    • Aaron Lynch, DE, Jacksonville Jaguars (28)
    • Derek Rivers, Edge, Los Angeles Rams (27)
    • Chris Smith, DE, Las Vegas Raiders (29)
    • Jonathan Bullard, DL, Seattle Seahawks (27)
    • Taco Charlton, DL, Kansas City Chiefs (26)
    • Josh Mauro, DE, Arizona Cardinals (30)
    • Daniel McCullers, DT, Chicago Bears (29)
    • Daniel Ross, DT, Las Vegas Raiders (28)
    • Brandon Copeland, Edge, New England Patriots (30)
    • Woodrow Hamilton, DL, Carolina Panthers (29)
    • Billy Winn, DT, Green Bay Packers (32)
    • Jayrone Elliott, Edge, Pittsburgh Steelers (30)
    • Ezekiel Ansah, DL, San Francisco 49ers (32)
    • Ronald Blair, DE, San Francisco 49ers (28)
    • Carl Davis, DT, New England Patriots (29)

  7. #7
    Good looking out, 1181.

  8. #8
    I think this is a pretty thorough tracking I made

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Bengalbro View Post
    I think this is a pretty thorough tracking I made
    Put it in the cuts thread, maybe, too, MW, as you update it?

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by membengal View Post
    Put it in the cuts thread, maybe, too, MW, as you update it?
    Great idea.


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