This list names players who I believe could move teams in free agency. It precludes some big names such as Tom Brady and Dak Prescott, so their emissions indicate that I think it’s likely they remain with their clubs. This list also gives some reasoning about why the new destination could be a nice fit for the player, gives precedence for contract value compared to previous contracts at the player’s position, as well as naming other teams who could be in the hunt for the player.
QB Philip Rivers – Colts (two years, $24 million).
Indy could be the best fit football-wise, as a major reason they missed the playoffs last season was because of Andrew Luck’s retirement, so the Colts might value Rivers highly as they could see him as an upgrade over incumbent QB Jacoby Brissett. The Colts’ current offensive co-ordinator worked with Rivers in LAC, so he could fit right in, and the Colts might think of themselves as a win-now team with the amount of cheap talent they have along the offensive line.
The Colts have a whopping $86 mil in cap space. They’ll likely use some of it to re-sign players like Anthony Castonzo, Jabaal Sheard (even though I think he might leave for New England, read below!), Devin Funchess and even Eric Ebron (despite the team having a falling out after he placed himself on IR without consulting the team, and GM Chris Ballard has said “we’ll probably move on”), but that’s still plenty of space to use on Rivers.
I have listed the Jets as a possible destination as they have $50 mil in cap space and might consider making a playoff run that the 22 year old Sam Darnold might not promise them. While there has been a change in GMs since Maccagnan signed LeVeon Bell and CJ Mosley to big deals as marquee players in their primes, having a placeholder QB like RIvers might make sense to capitalise on the expenditure on marquee players.
Similar deal: Ryan Fitzpatrick, 2 years and $11 mil at age 36, to either backup or start over whatever young QB the Phins picked up in the draft (which ended up being Josh Rosen).
Other teams: Jets.
RB Melvin Gordon – Dolphins (three years, $24 million).
The Phins have the cap space to outbid everyone else, with $89 mil in space if no roster changes are made (per OverTheCap). The market might not be overly strong for Gordon anyway, as he held out for four games last season and had 1.3 yards per rush less than his ‘18-’19 campaign, despite a similar number of carries.
But this is a high upside play for the Dolphins, as Gordon will be just 27 once the season rolls around and was top 10 in both rushing yards and receiving yards for running backs per game for three straight years from 2016. The Chargers letting Gordon go would indicate they want to prioritise re-signing Austin Ekeler, who didn’t hold out for them, is younger (aged 24), and played well – he was second to Christian McCaffrey in receiving yards for Rbs with 60 yards per game, and threw in 4.2 yards per rush, which was top 30 among RBs as well.
Similar deal: Mark Ingram, 3 years and $15 mil.
Other teams: Steelers, Jaguars
RB Chris Thompson – Buffalo Bills (three years, $18 million).
Wash are loaded at running back with Derrius Guice, Bryce Love and Adrian Peterson in the fold, so I think they would let Thompson walk if the Bills came in with an offer like this. The Bills have a young big play back in Devin Singletary who led the league in both 20+ yard rush rate and fumble rate for running backs last season, and Frank Gore and TJ Yeldon are free agents. They might like to add a proven pass catching back in Thompson to help mentor Singletary, and could even be used as a slot receiver, as the Bills could use Josh Allen in empty sets to spread the defense out and give him space to run.
Similar deal: Latavius Murray, 4 years and $14 mil to help spell Alvin Kamara.
Possible competing teams: most teams.
DE Dante Fowler – Giants (three years, $18 million).
The Rams are cash strapped (just $14 million in cap space at time of writing) and might want to keep linebacker Cory Littleton over Fowler as the Rams pass rush is already solid with Aaron Donald, Samson Ebukam, Clay Matthews and potential young contributors in edge rusher Jachai Polite (if he can behave himself) and defensive tackle Greg Gaines. The Giants will hope to get Chase Young in the draft but the Redskins are ahead of them in draft order, and barring a big move, Young will be gone. Either way, Fowler is an upgrade over Lorenzo Carter and fellow free agent Markus Golden – the former of which can play off-ball in a 4-3 scheme if the need arises, the latter of whom can spot start anyway if they re-sign.
Similar deal: Cameron Wake, 3 years and $23 million, after getting 6 sacks in 14 games the season prior, but with an expected decline at age 37.
Other teams: Raiders, Phins, Jets.
CB AJ Bouye – Eagles (two years, $14 million).
Every team could use Bouye, a Pro-Bowl caliber cornerback in his prime. But the Eagles might need him more than anyone, as they had to play eight different defensive backs due to injuries to starters Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills, Rasul Douglas and Avante Maddox.
The team finished middle of the pack statistically as far as receiving yards and TDs given up, but if the Eagles want to capitalise on their dominant but ageing offensive and defensive lines, they might want to use some of their $40 mil in cap space on a quality corner like Bouye.
This could be a high upside play for Bouye to join a team who won the championship in 2017, with not too much roster change, that managed to make the playoffs with a losing record, indicating a weak division.
$7 mil a year for a former Pro-Bowler in his prime age-wise is a below market rate, and the Eagles would hope his talent can help them get back to the promised land.
Similar deal: Darryl Roberts, re-signed with Jets for three years and $18 million, at age 28.
Other teams: most teams.
CB Jimmy Smith – Giants (two years, $14 million).
Smith is 32 but can still produce – he played in 405 snaps on a Baltimore team that gave up the sixth fewest passing yards in the league last season. The Ravens already have corners rostered on in Marlon Humphrey, Marcus Peters, Tavon Young and Brandon Carr, so I think Smith might feel he can get more playing time somewhere else. He could head up the road and play for the Giants, who took Deandre Baker and Julian Love as defensive backs early in the draft last season, but could use extra depth and mentorship, particularly after they released veteran cornerback Janoris Jenkins.
Similar deal: Jason McCourty with the Pats, two years, $11 million at age 32.
Other teams: Titans, Panthers
DT Derek Wolfe – Titans (three years, $12 million).
I think Wolfe, having had a taste for a Super Bowl ring, will look to join a winning team, as Denver has an 18-30 record over the last three seasons. Tennessee already has a quality interior defensive rotation with Jurrell Casey, Jonathon Simmons and DaQuan Jones, but I think Wolfe will be ok with that, as he can make bank and take pass rushing snaps in the latter stages of his career. Denver might go into rebuilding stage and prefer bringing back younger defensive tackles Adam Gotsis and Shelby Harris. The Titans have not been shy to pay long-term deals to players past the age of 30, as they have gave 37 year old Cameron Wake a three year, $21 million deal last offseason.
Similar deal: Mike Daniels, who got 1 year and $9 mil from the Lions.
Other teams: Ravens, Falcons.
S Adrian Phillips – Dallas Cowboys (three years, $12 million).
The Cowboys need safety help regardless of whether they bring Jeff Heath back. Phillips started for the Chargers when they had a top 10 defence in 2018 as far as yards allowed. The Chargers drafted Nasir Adderley in his position early on last season, and Kyzir White could take some of his snaps too, as will All-Pro Derwin James. Phillips is coming off a broken arm, but still notched 268 snaps last season, with 36 tackles and a TFL. Unfortunately for Phillips, the safety market is saturated with players like DJ Swearinger, Tre Boston, Karl Joseph and potentially Eric Berry, so he might not command the lucrative deal that Gipson got.
Similar deal: Tashaun Gipson in 2019, 3 years and $22 mil after starting on AFC Divisional champion Jags.
Other teams: most teams.
QB Taysom Hill – Miami Dolphins (two years, $10 million).
Hill has made it known he thinks he can be a franchise QB, and while his lack of sample size in throwing the ball, as well as his age (30), will limit the market on him, the Dolphins are in the position to take a flier on him. They already have: Josh Rosen, the former 11th overall pick in 2018; 37 year old Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is owed another $8 million in the 2020-2021 season; and the Phins own three first round draft picks in the 2020 draft, which they could use on a QB. This means that Miami can lure Hill with the potential for a starting job with substantial money, while still having solid fall back options. I don’t think the Saints will outbid them as I think they’ll prioritise a younger and more proven QB in Teddy Bridgewater, and they’ll be committing a fair chunk of cap ro re-sign Drew Brees. I also think they might take a QB in the first few rounds of the draft to give Teddy some competition beyond Brees.
Similar deals: Teddy Bridgewater, 1 year, $7.5 mil by the Saints. Like Hill, Teddy was considered a bit of a wild card, having started in just 1 game since his knee injury in 2016. FYI: I think the Saints re-sign Teddy.
Other teams: nil.
DE Ronald Blair – Miami Dolphins (two years, $10 million).
At age just 27 and providing 200 snaps and 3 sacks for an elite defense, Blair is an up and coming edge defender who might look for a payday and snap count that the Niners cannot provide, as they have $13 mil in cap space and might look to re-sign a bigger (literally) contributor in Arik Armstead at Blair’s position. The Dolphins don’t have anyone (!!) rostered on as an edge defender, and while they have 14 picks in the draft to potentially take a quality young pass rusher like AJ Epenesa or Yetur Gross-Matos, they can still promise Blair more snaps than the Niners can, and with $88 million in cap space, they can give him more money.
Similar deal: Romeo Okwara, 2 years and $6.8 mil from the Lions, after getting 7.5 sacks in 716 snaps as a 24 year old the season prior.
Other teams: nil.
WR Paul Richardson – Eagles (two years, $10 million).
Just Like Bouye, Richardson was cut from his former team and could find a home in Philly that sorely needs him. The Eagles had a good receiving corps on paper last season but were crippled by injuries. Richardson is a flier just like 2019 signee DeSean Jackson but is five years younger, and could be deemed more reliable than Eagles free agent Nelson Agholar, who had a drop rate per target of 5.8% last season compared to Richardson’s 4.8%.
Similar deal: Randall Cobb at age 29, 1 year and $5 mil from the Cowboys.
Other teams: nil.
RB Matt Breida – Chargers (two years, $10 million).
With Tevin Coleman and Raheem Mostert rostered on and former feature back Jerick McKinnon probably returning from injury, Breida might be the man left out in San Fran if he wants to command a decent salary. Breida will provide a discount over Melvin Gordon for LAC and can replace his ability to run between the tackles somewhat, giving a nice change of pace to a good pass catching back in Austin Ekeler.
Similar deal: Tevin Coleman, 2 years and $10 mil from the Niners after being a rotational back for the Falcons.
Other teams: Bucs.
DT Marcell Dareus – Colts (two years, $10 million).
The Colts need help on the defensive interior, with just three defensive tackles rostered on currently, the most notable of which being Margus Hunt. The Colts are an attractive free agent destination, as they have an abundance of cap space and draft picks (including Washington’s second round pick from the Montez Sweat trade in the 2019 draft), and have a high ceiling due to their young roster, and stud receiver TY Hilton possibly being back to full health.
Similar deal: Margus Hunt in 2019, 2 years, $9 mil at age 32.
Other teams: Packers, Raiders.
S Karl Joseph – Cleveland Browns (two years, $10 million).
The Raiders drafted strong safety Jonathan Abram in the first round last season, and plays in the same role Joseph is suited to. I think the Raiders might move on from Joseph, and the Browns will snap him up, as incumbent Morgan Burnett is 31 and missed eight games last season. The Browns have been disappointing but I think Joseph will enjoy playing for a talented defence, particularly with Myles Garrett returning from suspension.
Similar deal: HaHa Clinton-Dix,1 year, $3.5 mil deal with Chicago after being traded from Packers to Washington midseason.
Possible competing teams: Phins, Bucs.
DT Dontari Poe (potential cut by Panthers, would save them $9.8 mil in 2020) – Cincinnati Bengals (via trade, could give up 6th round pick for him).
The only other defensive tackles on this list who I believe are available in free agency are Derek Wolfe and Marcell Dareus, neither of whom would be likely to sign with the struggling Bengals. That might leave Cinci in a position where they want to add talent to their defensive tackle rotation, but can’t get a proven starter. That’s where a trade for Poe would come in. The Panthers would save $9.8 mil in trading or cutting Poe, and getting a 6th rounder as compensation would be a bonus. Andrew Billings is also an option for the Bengals to re-sign, but he hasn’t shown the level of production Poe has, and adding both could be a nice defensive interior rotation anyway. The Bengals have plenty of cap space even if they keep a marquee free agent of theirs in AJ Green, so I think they could stomach taking on Poe’s contract.
Similar deal: Miami traded defensive lineman Robert Quinn, on a $10 million a year salary, to Dallas for a 2020 sixth round pick.
Possible competing teams: Colts.
WR Nelson Agholar – Los Angeles Rams (two years, eight million).
I think Agholar might be sick of his ill-treatment from Philly fans over his production and look for a fresh start. The Rams continue to use three receiver stes most of the time and might look to gain insurance in case Brandin Cooks or Cooper Kupp go down, which has happened in the past. Agholar still has room to grow at age 26, and could command Moncrief type money having had a multiple 700 yards-plus seasons when fully healthy.
Similar deal: Donte Moncrief, 2 years, $9 mil at age 26 after a 48 catch, 668 yard season.
Possible competing teams: Ravens.
OLB Vic Beasley – Ravens (two years, six million).
The Falcons have come out and said they won’t re-sign Vic Beasley in free agency. I think the Ravens might snap him up, as he suits their scheme as a pass rushing outside linebacker. They need help at the position as they might lose Matt Judon in free agency, and Jaylon Ferguson (2.5 sacks on 500 snaps) seemingly didn’t contribute enough to replace Zadarius Smith last season. Beasley’s stock is low and he is considered by some to have underperformed after being the 8th overall pick and a declining sack count after his sophomore season, but he still managed 8 sacks last season, and is just 27 years old.
Similar deal: Mario Edwards, 2 years, $5 mil with Saints at age 25.
Other teams: Miami
OLB Anthony Chickillo – Colts (two years, six million).
The Steelers have $6 million in cap space at the time of writing despite being a non-playoff team. They have defensive MVP candidate TJ Watt on one edge, and potentially Bud Dupree on the other, if they can re-sign or franchise tag him in free agency. Chickillo could be the odd man out, as the team would save $5 million by cutting him. If he becomes available, the Colts might like to add him – he has versatility in rushing the passer and covering, and they might lose Jabaal Sheard in free agency.
Similar deal: Markus Golden,1 year and $3.7 mil with the Giants.
Other teams: Ravens
RB Corey Clement – New York Giants (two years, six million).
The Eagles ran with Miles Sanders, Jordan Howard and Boston Scott last season, as Clement was placed on IR in Week 2 with a shoulder injury, which should have healed by the time of writing. I think the Eagles would prefer to re-sign Howard, who provides a bell-cow style – he had 2.4 yards after contact, 16th in the league last season, which contrasts nicely with Sander’s make-people-miss style. Clement is a championship contributor and might be an upgrade over Saquon Barkley’s backups in Wayne Gallman and Jon Hilliman last season. Clement provides a similar profile to Barkley anyway with his pass catching ability at his size (5’10”, 220 pounds, 25 targets for 192 yards in 2018, against 68 rushes and 259 yards the same season), which would make play calling easier if Barkley is out of the game. New York aint too far from Philly anyway!
Similar deal: Mike Davis, 2 years and $6 mil to be a part of teh Seahawks running back rotation.
Possible competing teams: Bucs, Jags.
DE Jabaal Sheard – Patriots (two years, six million).
Sheard played two of his prime years in New England, and having earnt $41 million in his career, might look to return there to go ring chasing. The Pats have done ok after losing Trey Flowers in free agency in 2019, but could stand to add another edge rusher alongside John Simon and the versatile pieces of Kyle van Noy (who they will look to re-sign) and Dont’a Hightower. Sheard is 31 and might not garner many offers of a starting job, so a rotational role with New England could suffice. The Pats are closer to contending than the Colts with their already elite defence.
Similar deal: Adrian Clayborn, 1 year, $2 mil at age 31, returning to his old team.
Possible competing teams: most teams.
ILB Tahir Whitehead – Patriots (two years, six million)
Whitehead is a cut candidate for Las Vegas, and he might suit what the Pats like in a linebacker – he’s over 240 pounds, which fits the size of other linebackers like Donta Hightower and Kyle Van Noy, who have versatility. Incumbent Elandon Roberts and off-ball linebacker has been used as a fullback, so adding WHitehead, who has had four consecutive 100+ tackle seasons, could be a wise move.
Similar deal: Zach Brown with the Eagles, one year, $3 million after being cut by Washington.
Other teams: Chiefs, Broncos.
QB Case Keenum – Detroit Lions (one year, five million).
I don’t think Keenum wants to play second fiddle to Dwayne Haskins, especially with Alex Smith potentially playing again in Washington. The Lions didn’t win a game after Matt Stafford got hurt, so they might look to give insurance in case that ahppens again, and Keenum has been a solid starter-caliber player since his remarkable playoff run with the Vikings in 2017. I don’t see any other team paying Keenum as much nor tempting him with a starting opportunity for less money.
Similar deal: Blake Bortles in 2019, with 1 year and $1 mil from Rams, while getting paid $5.5 mil by Jags after being cut.
Other teams: Packers, Bucs.
S DJ Swearinger – San Fran 49ers (two years, four million).
The Niners have a solid safety rotation in Jimmy Ward and Jaquiski Tartt. Nonetheless the Niners could always use an elite talent in Swearinger. The knock against Swearinger is that he hates losing so much that he’s been booted off a couple of teams in the past for making critical comments about front office personnel. The Niners shouldn’t see a big drop-off from last year’s Super Bowl team, with key pieces like George Kittle and Jimmy G in their primes, so I think Swearinger will be attracted by that potential for playoff success. Ward can play slot corner and Tartt can play in the box as a sub linebacker on passing downs, so Swearinger might be able to see plenty of snaps anyway.
Similar deal: Morgan Burnett, two years, $7.5 million.
Other teams: Cowboys, Saints, Falcons, Bucs.
DT Damon Harrison – Saints (two years, four million).
The Saints have done well to add pieces here and there to address perceived weaknesses – Demario Davis and Kiko Alonso were good veteran pickups at linebacker, and Jared Cook was a quality tight end for them last season as well. Adding Harrison to help plug the middle while shiftier guys like David Onyemata (who they might re-sign as a quality young defensive tackle), Cam Jordan and possibly Marcus Davenport to get after the QB. Harrison ha sbeen an elite run stuffer in his prime, but age 31, a decline might be expected (which undoubtedly le=d to him being cut by the Lions, although his hefty salary would’ve contributed to that also). He still managed a 50 tackle, 3 TFL and 2 sack season last year, so I’d add him for cheap here to help in the defensive rotation.
Similar deal: Steve McClendon, one year, $3 mil with Jets, got a one year, $3 million extension the season after.
Other teams: most teams.
ILB DeVondre Campbell – Saints (one year, three million).
The Falcons have just $4 mil in cap space, and if they do manage to get more by restructuring contracts or releasing players, they might prioritise re-signing tight end Austin Hooper over Campbell. Campbell is 26 years old and provides versatility at the linebacker spot, where he can drop into coverage as well as rush the passer. The Saints have Demario Davis, Alex Anzalone and Kiki Alonso rostered on at linebacker, and they could re-sign Manti Te’o, but Campbell adds youth to that group.
Similar deal: Deone Buchanon, 1 year and $2.5 mil with the Bucs, who is also know for his coverage abilities at linebacker.
Other teams: Raiders, Jags.
WR Taylor Gabriel – Cowboys (one year, three million).
The Cowboys need some receiver help to take some attention off of Amari Cooper (who they’ll hope to re-sign), and Gabriel has the big play ability to stretch the defence and provide some gadget plays as well, which Mike McCarthy liked to do with prime Randall Cobb. He won’t cost too much due to his injury history (missed seven games last season, has had two reported concussions in NFL) but it’s a high upside play as he’s still just 29 and can be a big play target (he had 12.2 yards gained per reception, which was top 60 for receivers last season).
Similar deal: Randall Cobb, 1 year, $5 million with Cowboys as a 29 year old.
Other teams: most teams.
T Demar Dotson – Kansas City (one year, three million).
Dotson has been an above average right tackle for many years, but at age 34 he might struggle to command a large contract or starting role. Having played for the Bucs for 10 years and never making the playoffs, backing up Eric Fisher (who has missed eight games over the last season) and Mitchell Schwartz for the championship winning Chiefs might be an attractive option.
Similar deal: Jared Veldheer, 1 year and $3.5 mil at age 32.
Other options: most teams.
ILB Sean Lee – CHiefs (one year, three million).
Fellow free-agent and incumbent Chief Darron Lee didn’t play much after being acquired from the Jets last offseason (160 snaps), so they might look to upgrade at the linebacker spot, and provide extra depth behind the likes of Reggie Ragland and Anthony Hitchens. They might be able to add Sean Lee for a cheap price, as Lee has played his entire career in Dallas, but has had a winning percentage of around .500 during that time. The Chiefs are more proven contenders so they could be a more attractive option. Lee could sign a similar deal with the Chiefs Super Bowl rival, the Niners.
Similar deal: Zach Brown (age 29), 1 year and $1.4 mil to provide depth to the Eagles, after being cut by the Redskins midseason.
Other teams: most teams.
RB LeSean McCoy – Tampa Bay Bucs (one year, three million).
McCoy barely played for KC, who seemingly want to prioritise the younger backs in Damien Williams and Darwin Thompson. The Bucs need running back help, and getting a legendary back in McCoy might help early round pick Ronald Jones in his development.
Similar deal: Frank Gore in 2019, 1 year, $2 mil deal with bills at age 36.
Other teams: Cowboys, Dolphins, Jets,
CB Prince Amukumara – Niners (one year, three million).
The Niners will love some DB depth, as starter Akhello Withrspoon missed eight games last season. Amukumara has been a key cog on some talented defences, such as the 2018 Bears, but was released by the Bears, as he’s aged 30 and saved the cash-strapped Bears $9 million in cap space. If the Niners or Chiefs can add bick time veterans like Amukumara, Dotson and/or Sean Lee, that is proof in itself that winning attracts!
Similar deal: Morris Claiborne,1 year, $2 million with Chiefs.
Other teams: most teams.
S Eric Berry – Seahawks (one year, two million).
Remember this guy? He was an All-Pro but has been injury riddled. The Seahawks like Tedric Thompson and Bradley McDougald, but Berry could provide insurance for them and potentially be a game-breaker if he is at full strength, at age just 31, Berry could have a similar career trajectory as legendary safety Earl Thomas, who still produced at age 30 last season with a similar pedigree (and leg injury!). The Seahawks gave Ezekiel Ansah a one year prove-it deal last offseason, and Sheldon Richardson one the year before that, so the front office is willing to give talented players whose stock is low another opportunity.
Similar deal: Tre Boston, 1 year and $3 mil with Panthers.
Other teams: Cowboys, Lions, Colts.
TE Jordan Reed – Pats (one year, one million).
Reed is a good player when available – he had a monster season in 2015-’16 with Washington when he had 952 yards receiving and 11 touchdowns in 14 games. He’s had multiple concussions and leg injuries, but he’s still just 29 and wants to keep playing after being cut by Washington, partly due to financial reasons. The Pats need a tight end to help replace Rob Gronkowski and bringing in a high-upside player like Reed for cheap could be a wise move.
Similar deal: Tyler Eifert, one year, $2.2 million guaranteed, with $3.8 mil in incentives after missing a lot of snaps due to injury.
Other teams: Titans, Saints.
QB Brett Hundley – Kansas City Chiefs (one year, one million).
Hundley brings a similar skillset to Pat Mahomes as far as extending plays with his legs – in the nine games he started in place of an injured Aaron Rodgers in 2017-18, Hundley rushed for 270 yards, or 7.5 yards per carry. If Mahomes goes down like he did for a few games last season, a similarly styled player as far as extending plays with his legs might be a better option that a pure pocket passer like incumbent (free agent) Matt Moore, but it might be wise to have three QBs on the roster anyway – look at the Jets QB situation last season! Darnold and Siemien went down, so Luke Falk was thrown into the fire. The Chiefs are obviously bigger contenders than Hundley’s former team in the Cardinals, so I think Hundley might move.
Similar deal: Brett Hundley, 1 year, $1.8 mil with Cards as a projected backup behind Josh Rosen or a draftee.
Possible competing teams: Cowboys.
WR Antonio Brown – Steelers (one year, $800k).
The latest on AB is that the Steelers GM has publicly said he is not currently open to bringing Brown back on the team after a remarkable fall from grace, including recent sexual assault allegations. As the season winds on, I think some teams might be open to at least giving him a prove-it deal, and the Steelers are most familiar with him. He’s still just 31 and has been a relatively recent All-Pro. Steelers GM Kevin Colbert said “they have no business interest (with AB) at this time.” That doesn’t preclude them from bringing back their franchise stalwart from 2010 to 2018.
Similar deal: Josh Gordon, claimed off waiver in 2019 for $800k after failing multiple drug tests and barely playing for New England.
Other teams: Packers, Niners, Panthers.