Top NFL Free Agent Tracker 2019 with Best Team Fits Analysis

They say building through the draft is smartest strategy, but free agency shouldn’t be overlooked. This year’s class is defensive heavy outside of Nick Foles and Le’Veon Bell, and some of the games top pass rushers are about to make a ton of money. While many fans get nervous about their team committing big money to a player long term, they will be happy if their team wins a ring. So, I tried to see which free agents’ certain teams should go after and why they would be smart in doing so.

 

Top Free Agents

Nick Foles

Nick Foles

(Update: Signed by Jacksonville Jaguars)
Jacksonville JaguarsNick Foles will face a dilemma that other free agent quarterbacks experience. Does he want the most money possible or the most comfortable situation? So far, Foles has chosen comfort over money as he signed in Kansas City to play under Andy Reid and then choose to back to team that drafted him. Reid drafted Foles when he coached the Eagles and going back to Philadelphia obviously worked out for him as he won a super bowl. But Foles will be a starting quarterback now, and I believe Jacksonville will give him the best chance to get back to the super bowl.

Salary cap wise, they could move on from Malik Jackson or Marcel Dareus and not pay too much in dead money. The Jags could also try to trade Blake Bortles but if they can’t, will probably end up cutting him next year when his contract is easier to move off of. The Jags roster should still be promising even if they have to cut a defensive lineman or two and could be back in the playoffs with some improved quarterback play.

Jacksonville has a better overall roster than other quarterback needy teams like Miami and Washington, and I doubt he signs with the Giants because that would anger many Eagle fans. There were also five quarterbacks drafted in the first-round last year, meaning there’s a slight shortage on teams needing quarterbacks. Teams are always looking to upgrade so getting a quarterback that beat New England in the Super Bowl will be certainly inspire more confidence than one who lost to them in the AFC Championship game the same season.

Le'Veon BellLe’Veon Bell

(Update: Singed by New York Jets)

So far this offseason, many destinations have been predicted for Le’Veon Bell. However, I believe Tampa Bay is an under the radar spot due to them having poor depth at running back. The Bucs were the fourth worst rushing team averaging just 95.2 yards per game last year mostly because they were relying on undrafted free agent Peyton Barber. Barber did run hard, but he didn’t get much help from his offensive line. Bell has great patience and vision so if the Bucs O-Line holds there blocks for just a little bit, then Bell could rip off some big time yards.

The Bucs didn’t get much out of second-round pick Ronald Jones, so landing Bell would allow Jones to be a backup. Hopefully for Jones, he could develop in a similar manner that James Conner did for the Steelers after he backed up Bell. However, the biggest reason I’m projecting Bell to Tampa Bay is the because they play in the NFC South. That division has linebackers Luke Kuechly, Deion Jones, and Demario Davis, who are all high caliber players. So Tampa would be wise to get an elite back to counter the six games a year they play them.

Golden Tate

Golden Tate 

(Update: Signed by New York Giants)

Pittsburgh most likely will trade Antonio Brown, so even though they will lose his high salary they must find a way to replace his massive production. While the Steelers won’t find anyone of “Mr. Big Chest” caliber, I believe signing Golden Tate would be their best option. His presence in the slot will also take pressure off JuJu Smith Schuster and not allow defenses to key in on him. Tate is great on-screen passes and leads the league with 58 broken tackles over the last three seasons, so even though he’s at the dreaded age of 30, he’s still really elusive.

Grady Jarrett

Grady Jarrett

(Update: Franchise Tagged by Atlanta Falcons)

Grady Jarrett was a fifth-round pick, so this will be his first big NFL contract. Because of that, I believe he should go to the highest bidder, which probably would be the Colts if they don’t land DeMarcus Lawrence. The Colts have more cap room than anyone and going after the best pass rusher on the market would be a smart strategy. However, if the Cowboys lose Lawrence, they will need to replace his production on the defensive line. Grady Jarrett would be a great fit in Rod Marinelli’s penetrating one gap scheme because it relies on quickness and athleticism, two things Jarrett excels at. Atlanta Falcons

Unfortunately for Atlanta, they may struggle to resign Jarrett. The Falcons made Matt Ryan the second highest paid quarterback and have some big salaries at other positions. Their defense also seemed to struggle with the loss of Deon Jones, so maybe Atlanta decides to give Jones a big contract and they can’t afford Jarrett. There will be other pass rushers like Jadeveon Clowney, Frank Clark, and Dee Ford that teams could also sign if there looking to improve their pass rush.

Demarcus Lawrence

DeMarcus Lawrence

(Update: Re-Signed by Dallas Cowboys)

This Cowboys could franchise tag him, but DeMarcus Lawrence will be the free agent receiving the most money on the open market if they choose not to. If Lawrence does hit the open market, then I believe he Dallas Cowboysshould strongly consider Indy as his new home. Mostly because they will have more money to spend than any other franchise this offseason and I think Lawrence would be the one free agent GM Chris Ballard tries to sign.
Lawrence has had back to back seasons of dominate play, establishing himself as an elite pass rusher. The Colts proved last year that Andrew Luck and Frank Reich are a great QB coach tandem. So, adding a pass rusher of Lawrence caliber would be a huge boost to a defense that doesn’t have a ton of talent outside of Darius Leonard and Malik Hooker.

I also believe Indianapolis would be an upgrade for Lawrence football wise over Dallas. Many would agree that Luck is a better quarterback than Dak Prescott and Frank Reich showed that he probably won’t be constantly on the hot seat like Jason Garret. However, I think the biggest upgrade for Lawrence will be the AFC South over the NFC East. The Cowboys will be competing with Carson Wentz and the Eagles for the next couple of years, while the Colts look to be the clear front runner in their division as long as Luck could stay healthy. Lawrence would also play against Houston bad O-Line twice a year while Jacksonville has had shaky tackle play for years.
Earl Thomas

Earl Thomas

(Update: Signed by Baltimore Ravens)

Even though Earl Thomas is coming off an injury, teams will still be lining up to sign him. Thomas grew up in Texas went to the University of Texas and has publicly expressed interest in playing for the Cowboys. However, I believe the Los Angeles Rams would be Thomas best fit, and the Rams free safety Lamarcus Joyner is also headed for free agency. Joyner had some productive seasons for the Rams, but Thomas is a future hall of famer with a ton of playoff and super bowl experience. And Even though he’s a little older at 29, he’s still the best safety on the market. He’ll also bring veteran leadership to a team that is potentially losing other key free agents.Baltimore Ravens

When Thomas played with the Seahawks, he was complimented with a great strong safety in Kam Chancellor that benefited from Thomas’s playing as the “centerfielder” role really well. The Rams have a good strong safety themselves in John Johnson III, and he could potentially benefit the same way Chancellor did. The Rams are projected to have about $30 million in cap space which is right around the NFL average, so don’t be surprised if a couple aging veterans want to join the Rams to try and win a ring before retirement.
Trey Flowers

Trey Flowers

(Update: Signed by Detroit Lions)
Trey Flowers is one of the NFL’s most well-rounded edge defenders as he lines up everywhere along the Pats defensive line. He’s equally effective as a pass rusher as he is a run defender bringing great versatility to any D-Line. If Flowers wants to receive his full market value, then Tennessee would probably be his best option as they have many former Patriots and two edge rushers headed for retirement. But if he wants to continue Detroit Lionswinning, staying with Brady and Belichick would be his wisest choice. Unfortunately for New England fans, that could come down to whether Belichick provides Flowers and his agent with a respectable dollar amount. However, I don’t think Belichick could deny Flowers value as he’s led his defense in sacks and quarterback hits for the past three seasons. The Patriots also had their two worst defensive performances of the season in week 2 and 3, and Flowers was sidelined with a concussion in both games. Over the past couple of seasons the Patriots have struggled to find consistent pass rushers, so the New England should resign Flowers due to his familiarity with the system.
Brandon Graham

Brandon Graham

(Update: Re-Signed with Philadelphia Eagles)

Another player the Rams should target is Brandon Graham. He’d replace Ndamukong Suh as a complimentary pass rusher to Aaron Donald on the Rams D-Line. Graham would also be in a situation that’s very similar to thePhiladelphia Eagles one he had in Philadelphia. Where he had Fletcher Cox as a dominant interior rusher that commanded double teams allowing Graham to flourish as offensive lines paid more attention to Cox. The Rams also have a great interior pass rusher in Aaron Donald, meaning Graham could capitalize on all the attention teams pay towards containing Donald. If Graham wants to make it work with the Rams then he might need to take a little less than his market value, but it could be worth a second championship. Graham has also spent his entire football career in either Michigan or Pennsylvania, so a little warmer weather could be a great way to cap off a great career.
Landon Collins

Landon Collins

(Update: Signed by Washington Redskins)
The Giants would be smart to tag Collins, but if they don’t, I believe the Raiders would be a great fit if he does hit the market. He excels in a hybrid safety/linebacker role, and the Raiders aren’t good at either position. They will have over 70 million dollars in cap space so financially it’s definitely doable. But more importantly, he would set the tone for Paul Guenther in the middle of his defense. Washington Redskins

Collins is a very tough and instinctive player that’s been highly touted at every level. He was a five-star recruit in high school, an impact player at Alabama, and in four NFL seasons he’s made three pro bowls. So wherever Collins goes he should make a solid impact, and no defense could use an impact player more than the 2019 Raiders. His presence won’t single handedly make the Raiders an elite defense, but he would be a great piece to start their process.
Ronald Darby

Ronald Darby

(Update Re-Signed with Philadelphia Eagles)

Many are viewing Darby as the top cornerback option, meaning he will receive a fat contract from some cornerback needy team. Philly doesn’t have great depth behind Darby at cornerback, so they should make it a priority to re-sign him. Unfortunately for Darby, he tore his ACL in November but still was able to lead the Eagles with 12 passes defended, despite playing in just nine games. He’s also had success playing under multiple defensive coordinators which shows he’s scheme versatile. In today’s NFL, any team benefits from having another solid corner. So, a team with a ton of cap room like Indianapolis would really benefit from signing Darby to go along with a new pass rusher.

Notable Free Agents Signings

Gerald McCoy – Signed with Carolina Panthers
Ndamukong Suh – Signed with Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5/21/19)
Darqueze Dennard – Signed with Cincinnati Bengals (4/3/19)
C.J Anderson – Signed with Detroit Lions (4/1/19)
Isaiah Crowell – Signed with Oakland Raiders (3/28/19)
Brandon Marshall – Signed with Oakland Raiders (3/28/19)
George Iloka – Signed with Dallas Cowboys (3/24/19)
Jared Cook – Signed with New Orleans Saints (3/21/19)
Darius Philon – Signed with Arizona Cardinals (3/21/19)
Clay Matthews – Signed with Los Angeles Rams (3/19/19)
Bruce Irvin – Signed with Carolina Panthers (3/19/19)
Vontaze Burfict – Signed with Oakland Raiders (3/19/19)
Randall Cobb – Signed with Dallas Cowboys (3/19/19)
Ereck Flowers – Signed with Washington Redskins (3/18/19)
Blake Bortles – Singed with Los Angeles Rams (3/18/19)
Ryan Fitzpatrick – Signed with Miami Dolphins (3/17/19)
Mark Barron – Signed with Pittsburgh Steelers (3/17/19)
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix – Signed with Chicago Bears (3/14/19)
Jordan Matthews – Signed with San Francisco 49ers (3/14/19)
Jason Verrett – Signed with San Francisco 49ers (3/14/19)
Golden Tate – Signed with New York Giants (3/14/19)
Steve McLendon – Signed with New York Jets (3/14/19)
Tavon Austin – Signed with Dallas Cowboys (3/14/19)
Donte Moncrief – Signed with Pittsburgh Steelers (3/13/19)
Adrian Peterson – Signed with Washington Redskins (3/13/19)
Tyrell Williams – Signed with Oakland Raiders (3/13/19)
Jason Myers – Signed with Seattle Seahawks (3/13/19)
Jason McCourty – Signed with New England Patriots (3/13/19)
Pierre Desir – Signed with Indianapolis Colts (3/13/19)
Tyrod Taylor– Signed with Los Angeles Chargers (3/13/19)
Mark Ingram – Signed with Baltimore Ravens (3/13/19)
Earl Thomas – Signed with Baltimore Ravens (3/13/19)
Le’Veon Bell – Signed with New York Jets (3/12/19)
Henry Anderson – Signed with New York Jets (3/12/19)
Cameron Wake – Signed with Tennessee Titans (3/12/19)
Brett Hundley – Signed with Arizona Cardinals (3/12/19)
Cordarrelle Patterson– Signed with Chicago Bears (3/12/19)
Deone Bucannon – Signed with Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3/12/19)
Jamon Brown – Signed with Atlanta Falcons (3/12/19)
James Carpenter – Signed with Atlanta Falcons (3/12/19)
Breshad Perriman – Signed with Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3/12/19)
Matt Paradis – Signed with Carolina Panthers (3/12/19)
Bradley Roby – Signed with Houston Texans (3/12/19)
Antoine Bethea – Signed with New York Giants (3/12/19)
Ty Nsekhe – Signed with Buffalo Bills (3/12/19)
Jordan Hicks – Signed with Arizona Cardinals (3/12/19)
Anthony Barr – Signed with Minnesota Vikings (3/12/19)
John Brown – Signed with Buffalo Bills (3/12/19)
Cole Beasley – Signed with Buffalo Bills (3/12/19)
Latavius Murray – Signed with New Orleans Saints (3/12/19)
Billy Turner – Signed with Green Bay Packers (3/12/19)
Thomas Davis – Signed with Los Angeles Chargers (3/12/19)
Tashaun Gipson – Signed with Houston Texans (3/12/19)
Adrian Amos – Signed with Green Bay Packers (3/12/19)
Preston Smith – Signed with Green Bay Packers (3/12/19)
Za’Darius Smith – Signed with Green Bay Packers (3/12/19)
CJ Mosley – Signed with New York Jets (3/12/19)
Sheldon Richardson – Signed with Cleveland Browns (3/12/19)
Terrell Suggs – Signed with Arizona Cardinals (3/11/19)
Tyrann Mathieu – Signed with Kansas City Chiefs (3/11/19)
Devin Funchess – Signed with Indianapolis Colts (3/11/19)
Lamarcus Joyner – Signed with Oakland Raiders (3/11/19)
Ja’Wuan James – Signed with Denver Broncos (3/11/19)
Nick Foles – Signed with Jacksonville Jaguars (3/11/19)
Landon Collins – Signed with Washington Redskins (3/11/19)
Trey Flowers – Signed with Detroit Lions (3/11/19)
Kenny Vaccaro – Signed with Tennessee Titans (3/11/19)
Jesse James – Signed with Detroit Lions (3/11/19)
Frank Gore – Signed with Buffalo Bills (3/11/19)
Jamison Crowder – Signed with New York Jets (3/11/19)
Bobby Hart – Signed with Cincinnati Bengals (3/11/19)
Justin Coleman – Signed with Detroit Lions (3/11/19)
Kevin Johnson – Signed with Buffalo Bills (3/11/19)
Kwon Alexander – Signed with San Francisco 49ers (3/11/19)
Trent Brown – Signed with Oakland Raiders (3/11/19)
Spencer Pulley – Signed with New York Giants (3/11/19)
Danny Amendola – Signed with Detroit Lions (3/11/19)
Dante Fowler Jr. – Re-signed with Los Angeles Rams (3/11/19)
Johnathan Hankins – Signed with Oakland Raiders (3/11/19)
Carlos Hyde – Signed with Kansas City Chiefs (3/9/19)
Dwayne Allen – Signed with Miami Dolphins (3/11/19)
Eric Weddle – Signed with Los Angeles Rams (3/10/19)

  
West coast resident with east coast roots, I am a junior at Chapman University. Passionate about football and basketball at all levels, I'll give you a unique and creative take on the game.

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