Ideal Free Agent Landing Spots
In this article I decided to have a little fun, I wanted to try and place all the most fantasy relevant free agents in the most optimal situation. For the sake of this article salary cap will be somewhat ignored, since it essentially can be circumvented by crafty general managers anyways.
Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints - It's hard to imagine Brees leaving New Orleans based on what he's meant to the franchise and that community. Brees is still deciding whether he wants to play in 2020. If he returns, it seems like almost a formality that he would re up with the Saints. He has unfinished business after struggling in the playoffs vs. Minnesota, and has led the NFL in completion rate in three straight years with the help of Michael Thomas.
Tom Brady, Los Angeles Chargers - They have some receiving weapons and a full arsenal of draft picks to go along with a much improved offensive line. The odds would seem high that the Patriots will bring back Brady, but what if he decides on something new? As the Chargers move into their new stadium, they have an opening at quarterback and an underrated roster that's one year removed from 12-4. Going into the offseason, the Chargers offensive weapons are also superior to the Patriots, led by Keenan Allen.
Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys - In my opinion the Cowboys should pay Prescott to be in Dallas for a very long time. He's an excellent quarterback who has yet to hit his prime. The talk of Prescott's contract in Dallas has been going for well over a year, and there seems almost no way the team and player won't find common ground eventually. Prescott is 40-24 as a starter during the regular season and is now set to adjust somewhat under head coach Mike McCarthy.
Philip Rivers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Rivers has been with the Chargers since the team drafted him in 2004, but after a disappointing 2019 season, they have decided to part ways. Rivers has moved his family to Florida this off season, and his relationship with the Chargers is over. The Bucs are likely to move on from Jameis Winston due to his never ending interception issues. Rivers hasn't exactly been brilliant in that department either, throwing 20 picks last year, but Bruce Arians has always been willing to trust veteran quarterbacks, as he did with Carson Palmer in Arizona.
Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans - Tannehill was named the Titans' starting QB prior to Week 7 and from there all he did was lead Tennessee to the playoffs with a 7-3 record over its last 10 games. Tannehill made some key throws during the playoffs despite limited usage. It would be a shock if the Titans allowed Tannehill to walk now that he's just getting comfortable in that offense.
Jameis Winston, Indianapolis Colts - Winston might have a fight for a starting job in 2020, much the way Ryan Tannehill did last season, after throwing 30 interceptions in Tampa Bay last season. The former number one overall draft choice has a world of arm talent but has had only one winning season over his five year career, despite being surrounded by ample offensive weapons. The Colts seem unconvinced that Jacoby Brissett is their future just yet, so Winston could be nice competition.
Marcus Mariota, Chicago Bears - Wow, what a difference a year can make, as just over twelve months ago Ryan Tannehill was signed as "Marcus Mariota insurance" and that proved to be a very wise move. As we all know the NFL is a copycat league and I fully anticipate a team with a mediocre quarterback that the organization is somewhat unsure of long term to bring Mariota in. I expect a short term prove it contract with an opportunity to earn the starting job from a struggling starting quarterback such as Mitch Trubisky.
Teddy Bridgewater, Pittsburgh Steelers - It's unlikely that Bridgewater would stick around New Orleans again as a backup if Brees returns. Plus for some unknown reason Taysom Hill all of a sudden thinks he is a starting quality quarterback wanting to stay and start in New Orleans. Bridgewater proved he could win as a starter again when he got his shot last season, with the Saints going a perfect 5-0. At this point it is unclear what Big Ben has left in the tank as the sun is rapidly setting on the 2004 quarterback class, I think weather due to performance or injury concerns there would be an opportunity for Bridgewater to start soon for the Steelers.
Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans - Henry basically carried the Titans all the way to the AFC Championship Game, he single handily made the Titans a force to be reckoned with. Henry led the NFL in rushing last season and could be set for a record breaking running back contract. That's a tall order for a back who is rarely used as a receiver, but Henry is unlike any other in the league at his position with his combination of size and speed. It's difficult to see the Titans letting the centerpiece of their offense get away.
Melvin Gordon, Houston Texans - The only NFL caliber runningback under contract for the Texans next season is Duke Johnson and he is slated to make 4.1 million dollars. The Texans have a very talented roster on both sides of the ball, with an addition or two to the offensive line via free agency and the draft. Coupled with the addition of an extremely versatile and explosive back like Melvin Gordon this Houston offense could really take it to another level. Gordon is superior to any runningback the Texans used last year behind a shotty O-line and plodder Carlos Hyde still managed to eclipse the 1000 rushing yard mark.
Kenyan Drake, Arizona Cardinals - Drake rapidly ascended following his departure from the hapless Dolphins, as most players do. He essentially replaced David Johnson as the starter in the final month of the season and never looked back. With only 600 total touches in his NFL career to date, Drake's relatively fresh legs could make him a strong running back and his dynamic receiving ability should make him a top target at the position. He is an intriguing free agent where in the right situation he can be a 300 plus touch bell cow back. The Cardinals spent draft capital to acquire Drake mid-season then handed him the reigns to the backfield I fully anticipate him to be back in Arizona and to be a very effective three down back.
Kareem Hunt, Los Angeles Chargers - In terms of pure talent, Hunt has a case to be the second or third best back on this list. Melvin Gordon is not returning to the Chargers so they will need a bigger back to go along with complimentary piece Austin Ekeler. If he can stay out of trouble he has a chance to return to prominence as one of the top tier runningbacks in the NFL. But he along with many others on this list will most likley be given a one or two year prove it contract, I think he could slide directly into Melvin Gordon's role for a fraction of the price.
*David Johnson*, Atlanta Falcons - Despite technically not being a free agent at this moment it has been highly speculated that Cardinals runningback David Johnson is going to be released any day now. A fresh start is exactly what Johnson needs at this point in his career, and with rumblings of Devonta Freeman possibly being released the Falcons will be searching for a lead back. I think this would be an excellent opportunity for Johnson to showcase his three down skill set for a new team with a quality offense.
Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys - Cooper is without a doubt the premier wide out in this free agent class. The 25 year old just happened to set career highs in both yards and TD's in a contract year. There's been no reason to believe the Cowboys wouldn't bring back their number one wide out despite some inconsistent play in his first full season with the team. Cooper deserves credit for fighting through multiple reported injuries to put up 1,189 yards and eight touchdowns in his fourth Pro Bowl appearance last season, and Dallas has the cap space to make something work.
A.J. Green, Los Vegas Raiders - Green's talent is undeniable, but the longtime Cincinnati Bengal missed half of the 2018 season and all of 2019 with injuries to his toe and ankle. While he’ll be 32 years old on opening day of the 2020 season, Green’s consistent track record of production makes him an intriguing off season possibility for many passing attacks. That's not a great trend as he heads toward free agency, but the upside is presumably still there. The Raiders were lacking weapons last year after the Antonio Brown debacle, and Green is one of the few wide outs available who has potential as a number one wide out for talented quarterback Derek Carr.
Robby Anderson, Green Bay Packers - One player who could benefit greatly from a change of scenery is Robby Anderson, who has spent the last four seasons playing in a dysfunctional Jets offense. And one talented quarterback who could seriously use some receiving weapons to assist the offense would be Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. Anderson is everything that Green Bay hoped Geronimo Allison, and Marquez Valdez-Scantling would be. He offers an incredible size speed combination and would almost certainly draw opposing teams number two cornerback opposite of Pro Bowl receiver Davante Adams.
Emmanuel Sanders, New England Patriots - If Tom Brady remains a Patriot for another season I would love to see Sanders end up in New England. Sanders' stay in San Fran ended in disappointment. He could certainly return, but there should be a market for him around the league. Bill Belichick has never met a proven veteran player he didn't like, and Sanders was still productive last season with 869 yards in 17 games. He wouldn't be the long term answer to New England's receiver woes, but he could certainly help, playing opposite first rounder N'Keal Harry.
Breshad Perriman, New Orleans Saints - A big bodied receiver with elite speed, Perriman stepped up when the Bucs had an injury crisis at wide receiver and made a lot of big plays for quarterback Jameis Winston. That combined with his first round draft pedigree should land him a hefty payday. The Saints desperately need a big physical receiver to take some of the heat off Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara who catch the vast majority of passes from Drew Brees. I think with the Saints coaching staff and existing offensive weapons Perriman would be a very nice fit in New Orleans.
Randall Cobb, Philadelphia Eagles - After spending the first eight years of his NFL career in Green Bay, Cobb didn't miss a beat in his first season with the Dallas Cowboys. In the right role and offense Cobb can still be a very effective player for any team that signs him. Paired up with Carson Wentz as a slot weapon and return man I feel Cobb would thrive playing in Nelson Agholor's former role. His versatility makes him very useful in a variety of ways as he is somewhat a jack of all trades in an offense.
Hunter Henry, Green Bay Packers - The Packers whiffed on Jimmy Graham, but they need to try again given their closing window with Aaron Rodgers under center. Since entering the league in 2016, there have been two constants in Henry’s career, injuries and production. When healthy, he’s one of the best receiving tight ends in the game, any team looking for his services is going to get a mismatch weapon who can win in-line, in the slot or on the outside. He has a chance to be a market setter at tight end, and Green Bay has a need to surround Aaron Rodgers with weapons.
Eric Ebron, Jacksonville Jaguars - Ebron is a big athletic tightend with the ability to make any team better in the red zone. Jacksonville seems to have found their quarterback of the future in Gardner Minshew and have exceptional offensive weapons in Leonard Fournette and D.J. Chark. The one thing they were truly lacking on offense last year was an impact tightend who can make a difference in the passing game.
Austin Hooper, Washington Redskins - With the flashier tight ends getting most of the attention don't sleep on Hooper. He's shown improvement in each of his four NFL seasons with the Atlanta Falcons and there's no reason to believe he can't continue that trend if he can stay healthy. Hooper had more than 70 receptions in consecutive seasons and made 41 first downs in 2019. He hasn't been an exemplary red zone target, but he could be the reliable receiver the Redskins could use for sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins.
Tyler Eifert, Arizona Cardinals - It has been well documented that injuries have been a major issue throughout Eifert's career, but he was surprisingly healthy throughout the 2019 campaign. His talent or toughness have never been in question as he has simply has a rash of bad luck injuries seemingly year after year. The Cardinals only have blocking tightend Maxx Williams and unknown commodity Darrell Daniels under contract for 2020. So adding a reliable veteran pass catching tightend to join offensive rookie of the year Kyler Murray seems like a no brainer.