Top Available Free Agents Offense Edition

Quarterbacks

 

Drew Brees - It's hard to imagine Brees leaving New Orleans based on what he's meant to the franchise and that community. He's a first ballot Hall of Famer and is still a really effective quarterback. Though the Saints werre bounced from the playoffs at home by the Minnesota Vikings on Wild Card Weekend and Brees didn't play well against them, a return still seems possible, as the team has a playoff caliber roster and one of the league's best head coaches in Sean Payton already in place. Retirement always an option for Brees.

Tom Brady - Brady's stats this past season weren't terrible when you consider that the offensive line dealt with injuries to important players throughout the season. The run game was ineffective most of the year and just never could get going. Both the turnover and inexperience at wide receiver and tight end was far from ideal. Brady has won six Super Bowl titles in 20 seasons with the Patriots, and the team doesn't have a good backup plan if he leaves. He'll hit the open market for at least a brief period in March and questions remain about whether his best fit is back in New England or if Brady ready for a fresh start as he heads into his age 43 season.

Dak Prescott - 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. Prescott is coming off the best statistical season of his career and should cash in big time. Dallas has a roster built to compete in the playoffs right now, so it doesn't make sense to let Prescott depart and start over with a new QB. Prescott's contract status was one of the biggest questions of last off season. Despite the contract distractions he paired with new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore to produce his most efficient season as a passer and one of the league's best passing attacks. 

Philip Rivers - 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. I personally believe that Rivers has very little left in the tank at this point in hi career, with that being said. Rivers as a shell of his former self is still an upgrade for several teams in the league and it has been reported that there is interest from Tampa Bay. Look for Rivers to land in a win now situation, where he's capable of attacking the short and intermediate level effectively.

 

Ryan Tannehill - 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. Then earned his first playoff win by going into Gillette Stadium and beating Tom Brady's New England Patriots on Wild Card Weekend. Tannehill's play in 2019 should earn him a ton of money as a free agent, and the Titans would be wise to make a strong effort to bring him back.

 

Jameis Winston - Winston became the first member of the 30-30 club this season when he eclipsed both 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions. Turnovers and accuracy obviously are huge concerns with Winston, but any QB who leads the league with 5,109 passing yards and finishes second in touchdowns with 33 should draw plenty of interest on the free agent market. A team with strong offensive weapons and a good coverage unit may want to see if they can extract a high-end season out of Winston, as he's capable of putting points on the board in the right situation.

Marcus Mariota - We're just five years removed from debating Mariota and Winston at the top of the 2015 draft class, and now both quarterbacks are ready for a reset on the open market. Mariota has shown flashes of solid play throughout his career, but he's taken far too many sacks (sacked on 35.2% of pressured drop backs in 2019, highest in the league). Mariota was benched after Week 6 in a move that turned around the Titans' season. He deserves a fresh start somewhere else and he's talented enough to be a starter again, but it has to be the right situation.  

 

Teddy Bridgewater - Drew Brees' early-season injury gave Bridgewater five starts for the Saints in 2019, and he won all of them, including impressive victories over the Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks. Bridgewater has proven he's a starting-caliber QB again, and he'd be an upgrade at the position for several teams. He's one of the most accurate free agent QBs available with a 65.2 career completion percentage. At the very least, Bridgewater has put himself back in the conversation for a starting job with the understanding that he's likely going to limit the turnover-worthy plays (2.1% 7th lowest in 2019) to go with a low percentage of big-time throws (2.9% ranked 28th), but that skill set could play in a situation with a strong defense and surrounding talent.

 

Runningbacks 

 

Derrick Henry - Henry basically carried the Titans all the way to the AFC Championship Game. He combined for 64 carries, 377 yards and a touchdown while adding 29 yards on the ground and a touchdown pass in wins over the Patriots and Ravens. He was unstoppable and ran through contact constantly. The NFL's leading rusher (1,503 yards) had 100 plus rushing yards in nine of his last 12 games and is due a big raise this off season. He is one of few truly impact players to hit the free agent market position entering the prime of his career.

Melvin Gordon - Gordon is coming off a down year for the Chargers. He got off to a very slow start after holding out for the first four games. He played second fiddle to Austin Ekeler off the bat before eventually working his way into a rhythm. Gordon is undeniably talented and did average 5.1 yards per carry in 2018. He could improve next season if he gets more than the career low 55 targets he got last year. Gordon has shown he can be a big time player with some help around him. 

Jordan Howard - Howard looked great for the Eagles in the first half of the 2019 season and was an excellent short yardage and goal line hammer. However, after he missed six games with a shoulder injury, Miles Sanders overtook him in the rotation. Howard has 30 rushing touchdowns during his four NFL seasons, so a team out there will be willing to give him a chance to work as a starting option. He is limited as far as versatility so look for a team with an established receiving back to add Howard to work in tandem with the other back.

Kenyan Drake - 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 from 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.

Lamar Miller - Miller missed the entire 2019 season after suffering a torn ACL in the preseason.  In 2018, Miller made it to the Pro Bowl for the first time after totaling 973 yards and five touchdowns and logging his best yards per carry total (4.6) since 2014. If he can return to that form, he could be a solid starter again. But there's no guarantee that he'll still have the explosive play making ability that made him such a threat back during his starting days. At 28 coming off a devastating knee injury Miller may be a tough sell for most teams.

 

Kareem Hunt - In terms of pure talent, Hunt has a case to be the second or third best back on this list. However, some off the field concerns knock him down several rungs. He was suspended for eight games after video of him physically assaulting a woman surfaced, and the Kansas City Chiefs cut him as a result. More recently, he had a run in with the police that included an officer confiscating a small amount of marijuana from him. Hunt is young and talented, but some teams may view him as too big of a risk to sign, he will likely have to wait and sign a prove it deal for very little money compared to other free agent runningbacks.

David Johnson - 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. He was highly ineffective last season and has battled injuries the past couple of years. A fresh start is exactly what Johnson needs at this point in his career, however he just didn't look explosive or overly confident last season. Losing the starting job to Kenyan Drake after he was acquired mid season, doesn't look good on his resume either.

Wide Receivers

Amari Cooper - 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. Those marks were set despite a second half dip in production which was largely due to a nagging knee injury. After being traded by the Oakland Raiders to the Dallas Cowboys in 2018 for a first round pick, Cooper immediately built a rapport with QB Dak Prescott. Considering their connection, it's hard to imagine the Cowboys not paying up for their number one receiver. The Cowboys’ passing offense has been one of the league’s best with Cooper on the field, netting 122.0 EPA on his 907 plays compared to just 2.95 EPA on 425 plays without him.

A.J. Green - 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. With plenty to prove as he makes his long awaited return to the gridiron, there's no doubt he'll receive attention from teams in need of receiver help despite the injury concerns. In 2017, his last full season, the seven-time Pro Bowler notched 75 catches for 1,078 yards and eight TDs. Green is worth a look for teams in need of a downfield threat on the outside.

 

Robby Anderson - 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. The upside is definitely there with Anderson, as he's certainly one of the better deep threats in the league. Problem being Anderson has been part of one of the worst groups of play makers in the league during his career, making his value even more uncertain for a team with quality complementary pieces.

 

Emmanuel Sanders - Since returning from a torn ACL, Sanders has been a better player later in his career than he was at the start of it. He has transformed the 49ers’ passing attack since arriving and is one of the savviest route runners in the league. In addition to all of that route running skill, Sanders had just one drop this past season and has some of the most reliable hands in the game. His best seasons likely are behind him as he prepares for his age 33 campaign, but after being traded from the Denver Broncos to the San Francisco 49ers, he proved he has plenty of gas left in the tank. The 10 year veteran admirably bounced back from a torn Achilles to help the Niners en route to Super Bowl 54.

 

Breshad Perriman - 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. Drops were the curse of his play in Baltimore, but he dropped just one pass in 65 targets for the Bucs, and  Winston had a passer rating of 94.7 when throwing his way. Far from a sure fire success going forward, Perriman did at least show teams that his first round talent still exists. He has only been in the league  four seasons, but he's already played on three different teams (Ravens, Browns, Buc's). In 2019 with Tampa, he set career highs in receptions, yards, and touchdowns. Perriman is an intriguing under the radar option for teams looking to add a high upside WR, but his price likely increased after his impressive campaign.

 

Nelson Agholor - It was a rough 2019 season for Agholor, whose issues with dropped passes made him the punchline of a joke that took over the Internet. But Agholor has shown in years past that he can be a valuable part of an offense. He'll likely sign somewhere on a cheap short term prove it deal as he aims for a bounce back campaign. Despite being talented Agholor has never really seemed to be able to put it all together on the football field. In the right situation he should be able to succeed, the majority of his past issues appeared to be focus or concentration related. So essentially coachable issues, that some teams may see as easily correctable

 

Danny Amendola - Former Patriots wide out Danny Amendola is a free agent once again after spending 2019 with Matt Patricia and the Detroit Lions. There, he produced numbers reminiscent of his time in New England. He is nearing the end of a productive career but offers teams a solid slot weapon. He proved he still has quickness and reliable hands last season and that he can be a dependable veteran leader for the right team. If Tom Brady returns to New England a return to Foxboro could always be an outside chance.

Randall Cobb -  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. He was one of Dak Prescott's favorite targets and will garner plenty of attention on the market from teams looking for a reliable slot receiver. It wouldn't be surprising to see him re-sign with Dallas, especially with his former head coach Mike McCarthy replacing Jason Garrett. Cobb offers a very versatile skill set that will appeal to many teams throughout the league. I don't expect Cobb to remain on the market very long as this is somewhat of a thin free agent group at receiver.

 

Devin Funchess - In a season which looked so promising when he initially signed with Indianapolis, catching passes from Andrew Luck on what should be  a playoff contendor. We all know what happened with Luck and Funchess missed all but one game with the Colts in 2019 due to a collarbone injury. Before that, he spent four seasons as one of Cam Newton's primary targets in Carolina, especially in the red zone. In 16 games with the Panthers during the '18 season, Funchess hauled in 63 catches for 840 yards and eight touchdowns. He has the size, skill set, and blocking out ability to be very successful in the red zone for any team that takes a chance on him. 

Phillip Dorsett - Dorsett is set to become one of the Patriots' several key free agents this offseason. In 2019, he often struggled to get on the same page as Tom Brady but did have a career high five TDs in 14 games played. Dorsett also was a free agent last off season before opting to re-up with the Patriots on a one year deal. The former Colts first rounder has speed to burn he will offer a deep threat to any team willing to sign him. He can also be used on special teams as a kick and punt returner with his incredible speed. Despite never really succeeding in Indianapolis Dorsett has showed why he was drafted 29th overall in 2015. 

Tight Ends

Hunter Henry - 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. That versatility is extremely valuable in today’s NFL. The exceptionally talented Arkansas product missed all of 2018 with a torn ACL, then missed four games in '19 with a knee fracture. Assuming he can stay on the field next season, Henry would make an immediate impact for whichever team takes a gamble on him.

Eric Ebron - Ebron's athleticism is unparalleled, unfortunately, his hands are not. Drops have been a consistent issue for Ebron over the course of his career with both the Detroit Lions and Indianapolis Colts. Still, he's an intriguing red zone option as he tallied a ridiculous 13 TDs two years ago. Even with a perceived rejuvenation to his career in 2018, Ebron has enough of a sample size for teams to feel comfortable about his skill set as a solid pass catching threat and below average run blocker. He’s heading into next season at 27 years old with four straight campaigns of decent production and that’s a great resume for an athletic tight end who can work the middle of the field.

 

Austin Hooper - 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 has developed into a solid receiving option, but he’s more of a dependable, complementary piece rather than a mismatch creator. That being said, Hooper is a mid tier run blocker who can take advantage of being surrounded by good play makers on the outside, and he has value as a complementary piece in the passing game.

Tyler Eifert - 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 fact that he remained healthy last season could bode well for him in free agency as the ability and athleticism certainly is there. I personally would really like to see him land in either Green Bay or New Orleans, but if Cincinnati is planning on drafting a quarterback first overall re-signing the veteran tightend makes sense.

 

Greg Olsen - Olsen and the Carolina Panthers have mutually parted ways. Meanwhile the veteran is no longer one of the most dominant tight ends in the game, he showed in 2019 he still has plenty left in the tank. He put up some solid numbers despite playing with a backup quarterback for most of the year. Look for Olsen to sign with a contender as he aims to earn that elusive championship ring. He would be an excellent complimentary receiving option for any team lacking depth among pass catchers, Olsen would be a perfect safety blanket for any young quarterback.

By:@BMartzy