While the NFL postseason ended on February 3 with the New England Patriots capturing the Lombardi trophy, the NFL offseason is about to kick into full swing. Wednesday, March 13 is the official start of NFL free agency, and thus begins the start of teams spending stupid amounts of money in an effort to improve before next season. So, before free agency begins, here is a complete breakdown of everything that is happening in the 2019 edition of the NFL’s Silly season.
Top Free Agents
The 2019 free agency class was shaping up to be one of the most talented classes in years, especially at the pass rusher position. Alas, the franchise tag came and went with superstars such as Jadeveon Clowney, Demarcus Lawrence, Frank Clark, and Dee Ford all tagged, which took a ton of top-end talent off the free agent board. Still, there are some game changers in this class, and expect teams to be eager to break the bank for these stars.
- Le’veon Bell, RB, age 27
The two-time all pro and three-time pro bowl running back missed all of last season as he held out after the Steelers franchised him. The good is that Bell was able to get his legs fresh and healthy and potentially may be able to extend his career longer due to less wear and tear. The bad is that he missed a full season and may not be the player he was two years ago. He’s still an elite talent in the middle of his prime, so expect someone to be enamored with his skill set and spend big for the all-world talent.
- Landon Collins, S, age 25
Collins reaching the market is one of the more head-scratching moves of the off-season. The former all pro, and three-time pro bowl safety is one of the top players at his position in the game, and after just turning 25 two months ago, he is entering his prime and should be a top player at his position for at least half a decade.
- Trey Flowers, DE, age 26
Flowers does not have the name value or the accolades of a Bell or Collins, but he is without a doubt one of the better pass rushers in the league. His is as consistent as they come with 7, 6.5, and 7.5 sacks the past three seasons. He is the top pass rusher available on the market, and that, coupled with his solid ability to stop the run, should get him a nice payday. Teams can always use competent pass rushing.
- Trent Brown, T, age 26
Brown is a solid player who can play either left or right tackle. He showed this past year with the Patriots that he can be a steady left tackle – one of the most valuable positions on any team. It’s hard to find competent tackle play in the draft or free agency, so expect a lot of teams to be in on Brown.
- Teddy Bridgewater, QB, age 26
With Nick Foles heading to Jacksonville, Bridgewater becomes the top free agent QB on the market. It is rare for a potential starting QB to reach free agency and even rarer for one to do so entering their prime. Of course, Bridgewater is only here because of a devastating knee injury he suffered a few years ago with the Vikings. He did show in brief appearances with the Saints last year that he looks to have healed from that injury and may be able to become the competent starting QB he looked like he was going to be during his pro bowl season in Minnesota back in 2015.
Best bang for your Buck
Finding deals in Free Agency is a must for cap-strapped teams, but with the history of free agent busts, it’s a strategy many money-conscious GMs are taking. Here are three players who can provide great value for your team without mucking up your cap space.
- Bryce Callahan, CB, age 27
Teams are running more nickel-and-dime defenses than ever before. This has led to an increase in the value of the slot CB position. Callahan is one of the best slot corners in the game, but he goes unnoticed playing in a star-studded Bears defense. Teams are still hesitant to spend big on non-boundary corners, so I expect a team to find a way to get a good deal done with Callahan, and whoever does so should receive great value.
- John Brown, WR, age 29
Brown is no superstar, but he is an elite deep threat for any offense. A year ago in Baltimore he averaged 17 yards per catch. Due to his age and the fact he is not a complete receiver, he is not going to cost much, but whoever gets him will add a new dimension to their passing attack.