Despite the coronavirus pandemic sweeping its way across the world, the NFL’s free agency period went on as planned, going from March 18th to April 17th. Some players received franchise tags, some re-signed to long term deals, some got cut, and some got traded. A month has passed, and the market is still filled with talented players capable of producing at a high level.
Here are some potential landing spots for the top remaining free agents right now:
After Clowney’s first three seasons in the league were plagued with injuries, the edge rusher found his footing, making three consecutive Pro Bowls from 2016 to 2018. 2019 was a down year for him though, as he failed to live up to the Seattle Seahawks’ expectations.
When healthy, Clowney is an offensive tackle’s worst nightmare come true; quick enough to beat oversetting blockers with an inside move, and strong enough to destroy the pocket with a bull rush. Although the Dallas Cowboys have been struggling to reach a deal with their QB, I could still see them making a move towards Clowney. Losing Robert Quinn was a big blow for them, and the Cowboys are in need of an edge rusher that can replace him. Clowney has shown that he could be that guy when he’s healthy.
The former TE turned OT was arguably the best blindside blocker of the 2010s. However, he is now 38 years old, entering his 17th NFL season. Peters is still a capable player, as his recent workout videos have shown, but the injuries have started to take its toll on him.
The Denver Broncos, after refusing to address their offensive tackle problem in the draft, may want to get their hands on Peters before anyone else does. Even a guy like him, who’s lost a step, is still steps ahead of the man they have at LT right now in Garrett Bolles. At RT, Ja’Wuan James has struggled to stay healthy for them, so it would make sense for them to go after Jason Peters.
Turning 31 years old as of today, Cam Newton has been a rare breed since he entered the league. He’s a QB with TE size and with freakish athleticism. Though he’s struggled to be accurate at times, he can still sling the ball downfield as well as anyone in the game. 2019 was a concern though, as a foot injury caused the Panthers to shut him down for the rest of the season.
The injuries started to pile up for Newton over the past two seasons, but perhaps in 2020, we will see a rejuvenated version of him. Whether or not that happens, one thing we know for certain is that he won’t be back in Carolina.
The circulating rumors about New England going after Cam Newton have died down, as they appear to be committed to Jarrett Stidham. NFL teams don’t appear to be comfortable having him as a starter in 2020, but there are still teams out there that could use a guy like him to serve as a relief backup QB. The team that stands out right now is the New York Jets, who could use a veteran just in case Sam Darnold continues to be inconsistent.
2019 was a breakout season for Logan Ryan, recording career highs in tackles (113), sacks (4.5), forced fumbles (4) and passes defended (18). He also had four interceptions, adding to an already impressive stat sheet. It’s a surprise that Tennessee, according to him, did not make an attempt to bring him back.
The New York Giants are a team that could use some help at the CB position. They added James Bradberry to help strengthen the secondary, pairing him at corner with Deandre Baker, who had his struggles as a rookie last year. A playmaking slot corner such as Logan Ryan could be a difference maker for the Giants, giving them much-needed depth.
The Atlanta Falcons decided to let Devonta Freeman go after playing six seasons with them, picking up Todd Gurley as his replacement. His best years seem to be behind him, but he is still a versatile back, capable of being an asset in both the running game and the passing game. After being injured for most of the 2018 season, Freeman came back to gain over 1,000 yards from scrimmage in 2019, showing that he still has some juice left in him. The Chicago Bears have been a team that keeps getting brought up in relation to Devonta Freeman, and it makes sense. The Bears struggled to run the ball well last year; David Montgomery was the main ball carrier, and they did not have another back capable of splitting carries with him. Tarik Cohen is still there, but he struggled last season, only picking up 213 yards on the ground. Freeman would be an ideal RB for Chicago, removing some of the burden off of Montgomery’s shoulders.