Remaining NFL Free Agents/Trade Targets
Yoo, what’s up Whole Niners? Free agency has been wild so far, but it’s nowhere near over. Ya boy Kells is here to give you my opinions on remaining free agent targets, possible trade targets, and other details.
I might be in unpopular territory here, but I definitely believe Winston is a good QB. With repaired eye-sight and surgery on his knee, I believe Winston will enjoy a great season with a reduced tendency to turn over the ball. Now, who else could instill ball security into Winston better than Bill Belichick? With a hole at QB (when was the last time we said that?) the Patriots could easily give Winston a prove-it deal to see if he really is the real thing.
This could be a good move for Jarrett Stidham as well. If rumors are true, the Patriots see him as a potential franchise QB. Sitting him behind Winston for a year will teach him exactly what to do and not to do. If the Pats don’t view Stidham this way, then Winston can take over as the franchise or serve as the bridge for whichever QB they end up drafting.
Pass rushers have recently gotten massive contracts. Robert Quinn got $14M a year from the Bears, Arik Amstead got $17M from the 49ers, and DeForest Buckner got $21M from the Colts. Clowney, therefore, is poised to net a huge contract in the next few days. Clowney has been a premium pass rusher for most of his time in the league and will now be paid like it. The Seahawks have been hesitating to pay Clowney such big money as they can use the money for other needs. The former #1 overall pick could easily put a team with ample cap space over the hump.
Enter the Buffalo Bills, who just made a blockbuster trade for Stefon Diggs. The Bills are an extremely well-rounded team with no real holes, but one thing they could use is an elite pass rusher. The Bills and Clowney are a perfect match. Clowney gets his money and a great opportunity. The Bills get an elite pass rusher that will not only get his, but open up holes for others. A dynamic duo of Ed Oliver and Clowney could also be a force to reckon with for years to come.
Yannick and the Jaguars have been on thin ice for a while now. Contract talks have stalled for a long time, and Yannick has publicly stated he no longer wants to be on the Jaguars. Yannick wants premium pass rusher money, and by the way the market has formed over these past two days, that could be from $17-$21M. There are probably only a few teams who could provide the assets to trade for him + the money to re-sign him.
The main teams could be the Eagles, Jets, and the Dolphins. The Eagles will probably elect to bolster just about every other spot on the team, and Yannick probably won’t want to sign with the Jets.
That leaves the Dolphins, who are perfect for the disgruntled pass-rusher. He fits the Dolphins rebuild at only 24, and the Dolphins lack an above-average pass rusher. For all their spending in free agency so far, they’ve only spent around $7M on one pass rusher (Emmanuel Ogbah). Ngakoue should be their next priority to acquire and lock down for the future. They have an abundance of picks to trade and nothing to stop them from getting who they want. I think the 26th pick or an early second should get the job done. Combine all of that with a defensive minded head coach and an aggressive GM. I’d be surprised if Yannick Ngakoue doesn’t become a Dolphin.
The do-it-all leader of the Eagles secondary was released Tuesday morning, instantly making him one of the top free agents still available. My colleague Dylan is going to love this one, as I believe a reunion could be in the works. The Saints have been relatively quiet so far during this free agency period, and this is their chance to make a big splash. I believe the Saints have a need at safety, and Jenkins would obviously be a great way to fill that need. His do-it-all play would also help the Saints in many other ways on the field. Jenkins is also known around the league as a leader, so bringing his leadership and veteran experience into a young Saints secondary would prove vital.
Chris Harris Jr.
Chris Harris is out to prove he’s still an elite CB, as he’s been wildly underrated the majority of his career. Most rumors have linked Harris to the Jets, Raiders, or Cowboys. The Cowboys are cheap, and the Jets are…. the Jets. That leaves the Raiders, who I believe are a great fit for Harris. He can mentor that younger secondary and be able to play whatever position he wants. They’ll also pay him the money he wants, and he’ll be able to dominate like usual.
Cam Newton is out of Carolina. He is currently on the trade market, but I believe he will ultimately be released. I think his potential suitor will end up being the top team snubbed by Brady, aka the Chargers. The Chargers could use Newton as a bridge QB so they can compete for a championship while they groom an upcoming QB (Herbert? Rosen?). If Newton can return to near-form, then the offense of Newton-Allen-Williams-Ekeler-Henry is extremely dynamic and could become one of the more electrifying offenses in recent league memory.
Logan Ryan will probably be a cheaper but still great alternative to Chris Harris. Ryan was a pretty nice corner for the Titans, and will probably be a pretty nice corner for another team. With 3yrs for $30M deals going around the league, I could see a team like the Eagles or the Cowboys picking him up with a similar deal to help reinforce their secondaries.
Slay is easily the top corner that could possibly be available. The problem will be swindling the Lions + being able to pay him. With potential suitors using up cap space, assets, and filling the CB need already (Dolphins and Bills come to mind), his market may not be as active as it should be. This should lead to Slay re-upping with the Lions for the big $$$ for years to come. That could create a lock-down secondary with potential draft pick Jeffrey Okudah.
The up-and-coming WR has been in contract talks with the Jets for a while now, and I do believe they will eventually get somewhere. With the Jets getting new offensive linemen, they can’t afford to lose Sam Darnold’s top target while they have an opportunity. While the draft class is stacked at WR, it would be better to pair Robby and a young WR than to replace Robby with a new WR. If they can’t get a deal done, then I certainly expect the Eagles to swoop in and sign Robby to a multi-year deal to become Carson Wentz’s top target.
The veteran WR came to the 49ers midseason and provided a big boost to their receiving corps, off of a torn Achilles. His experience and leadership is something many teams will value during this offseason. A dream situation would be with the young Steeler WR corps, but it seems that Sanders doesn’t want to return. Instead, helping a young Dwayne Haskins and mentor rising star Terry McLaurin in D.C. might be a more favorable opportunity for both sides. The Redskins haven’t done much in free agency yet, so they could make a nice splash in obtaining Sanders.
Todd Gurley III
The Rams believe it’s time to move on, as they’ve recently put Gurley on the trade block. It will be extremely hard to move his contract. However, there is one team that is now contending that would love his services. Tom Brady loves his do-it-all running backs, and so does Bruce Arians. Gurley would be a perfect fit for Brady as he is elite at all levels. Whether he is healthy is another issue, but it is a risk the Buccaneers may need to take to make their offense more comfortable for Brady. Gurley or Melvin Gordon could be in TB’s sights.