The traditional free agent market in the NFL will officially open at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, but starting Monday, many unofficial deals will be unveiled. This year, the offers may be less lucrative than in the past due to the context of the pandemic, which has affected the league’s revenues and thus brought a more modest salary cap than in previous years, to 182.5 million . Great potential catches are available, but it will be necessary to see how reserved the teams will be. The newspaper offers you today an overview of the offensive side, while the defensive component will be discussed tomorrow.
It is great, the mystery of Winston! Since the start of his career, this has been the classic case of “all or nothing”. Touchdowns and yards per ton, but with shovel turnovers. The Saints and head coach Sean Payton seem to want to bet on him to take over from Drew Brees who has still not confirmed he is retiring. If anyone can act as a guide, it’s Payton. The attack on the Saints would become completely different.
- Dolphins | 38 years old
The veteran will continue to carry his bundle around. Retirement doesn’t interest him and he feels he showed enough things with the Dolphins last year to get an opportunity to prove his worth as a starter elsewhere. Fitzpatrick is recognized as an excellent teammate. It can serve as a temporary solution while a young person is fully developed or provide good insurance in the event of injury. But at this point in his career, he’s no longer a savior.
Trubisky wouldn’t even be among the names to watch if he hadn’t experienced an unexpected comeback in the second half of the season last fall, when he regained control of the Bears’ offense after being relegated. to the bench. This is the story of this quarterback’s career to date. Short moments of glory, long moments of agony. The fact remains that he is only 26 years old, that he is a good athlete and that a pilot somewhere will be convinced that he can survive him.
- Washington | 36 years
Smith made a miraculous comeback last season after sustaining a horrific leg injury that later resulted in complications and required 17 surgeries. On the court, he guided Washington to a record of five wins and one loss when he was a starter, even though his stats were ordinary. Smith can be the perfect mentor to a young quarterback and get an opportunity to fight for a starting position.
He is clearly the most interesting running back on the market. With two consecutive seasons of over 1,000 rushing yards, he also caught 96 passes in those two productive seasons. The Packers are interested in keeping him on board, but rumor has it that Jones would turn down their $ 9million-per-season offer. Many are already seeing it in Miami. In the current context, huge offers will probably not rain.
- Buccaneers | 26 years
After getting off to a good start in Jacksonville, Fournette slowed down and made no friends in the organization. Released before last season, he shared the backfield with Ronald Jones in Tampa Bay. He played a key role in the playoffs by being very productive. Now, can « Playoff Lenny » be this solid for a whole season? The Buccaneers have big files to deal with and he is likely to pack up.
- Seahawks | 26 years
Carson is a running back who still has a lot of mileage to give. The problem with him is that he struggles to stay healthy. He missed four games last season, two in 2018 and 12 in 2017. When he’s on the pitch, however, he’s very productive, both on the ground and through aerial play. The team that will bet on him will need to make sure they have other solid options in the backfield.
- Cardinals | 27 years old
Drake has done pretty well since being traded to Arizona, without actually establishing himself as a dominant forward. He’s 27 years old, but the tires show little wear after years of very modest use with the Dolphins. With the Cardinals last season, his 955 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns were a welcome contribution.
Since his heyday with the Steelers, Bell has been slowly dying with the Jets and Chiefs. In Kansas City, he was used very little and it makes you wonder if the end has come for him. It’s hard to believe that a running back who was so dominant and dangerous just two years ago has become an ulterior motive. Someone should still take a chance to revive it. At a modest price, why not?
- Receiver | Lions | 27 years old
Clearly, Golladay’s injury-plagued last season cannot be trusted. The year before, he had exploded with 1,190 yards and 11 touchdowns. At 6’4 « , Golladay is a monster and will become a formidable weapon for his new team. It’s hard to see why the Lions chose to let go of a receiver who is so good at contested catches. He is a player capable of making a difference.
- Receiver | Steelers | 24 years
Smith-Schuster is only 24 years old and has already shown great productivity. However, since Antonio Brown left Pittsburgh, whoever was seen as his young successor has never been the same. Is he a solid number two who performs mostly indoors or can he develop as a true number one offering a prime target on the outside? This is the debate that the teams will have to decide.
- Receiver | Texans | 26 years
Speed kills, it is well known! And in terms of speed, not a receiver among those available is more threatening than Will Fuller. With 879 yards and eight touchdowns in 11 games before his suspension for using prohibited products, the Texans wide receiver was having his best career moments in 2020. He’s been plagued by injuries too often in the past and it remains a concern.
- Receiver | Chiefs | 27 years old
The obvious problem with Watkins is that he constantly deals with sores left and right. A very explosive receiver, he is not often enough in uniform to be considered a safe bet. Too bad, because in health, it can cause damage. Except he hasn’t gained more than 700 yards since 2015, mainly because he’s missed at least six games in three of the past five seasons.
- Tight end | Chargers | 26 years
Henry is expected to be the tight end who will get the most attention in the market. Although he struggled with injuries during his young career, he is lively and wants to be a weapon of choice in the midfield. He may not have had the career he hoped for so far, but there is still plenty of room for development, and he is the most complete player available in his position.
- Tight end | Buccaneers | 31 years
Technically, « Gronk » is a free agent. In reality, you just have to wait and see under what contractual terms the Buccaneers will bring him back on board. He’s been saying for a few years now that Tom Brady will be his one and only quarterback in the NFL and, after another Super Bowl together, he certainly hasn’t changed his mind. Barring a miracle, it will be Tampa, if not retirement.
- Tight end | Titans | 25 years
With the Titans, Smith was most noted for his prowess after the catch. It is his trademark to break tackles to turn a mundane game into a long win. He has carved out a place for himself in the attack on the Titans, which could try to hold him back. Several teams that have a good leeway under the salary cap will be watching him.
- Blocker | 49ers | 32 years old
Williams is not getting any younger, but he returned to the game last season with the 49ers and shone like he did before the contract war he was previously stuck in in Washington. He has shown that he can still give exceptional performance and clearly wants to be the best tackle available. He will get a huge contract.
- Guard | Patriots | 28 years
Since joining the Patriots in 2016, Thuney has not only been steadfast in not missing a game, but he’s never stopped improving. Having become one of the most reliable guards on the circuit, he will hit the jackpot. However, some Patriots offensive linemen in the past have had less glorious times when exiled elsewhere. This will be an element to consider.
- Center | Packers | 29 years
Linsley is by far the best center available, a rock at the heart of the Packers’ offensive line since 2014. He is effective in both passing and running situations and he will win the moon too. Advanced stats site Pro Football Focus ranked Linsley as the best center on the tour, nothing less, in 2020.
- Blocker | Chiefs | 30 years
The Chiefs caused a stir this week by releasing their two starting blockers, Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz in quick succession. Both are expected to attract interest, but rumors are sending Schwartz into retirement. As for Fisher, he never quite lived up to expectations for a first overall pick in the draft, but has been generally strong. However, he is recovering from a tear in his Achilles tendon suffered late in the season.
Other players will not necessarily collect the biggest contracts, but remain interesting options. Here are a few.
The Quebec tight end was left out during the playoffs and the Buccaneers have huge issues to settle among their free agents. In Tampa or elsewhere, teams are always looking for a blocker of his caliber.
Zeitler is a guard who still plays at a very respectable level and who, at 31, can still give a few good seasons. Is a homecoming with the Bengals in the cards?
After three rather disappointing seasons, the Titans wide receiver has had a good time in 2020 with 984 yards, 65 receptions and five touchdowns. He can establish himself as a reliable number two receiver.
In a limited role with the Rams, the tight end still caught 41 passes for 417 yards last season. He is athletic and a team will offer him to take more place as a starter.
The receiver has been low-key in his first three years, but is coming off the most productive season of his career with over 1,000 yards from the line of scrimmage. With a creative offensive coordinator, he can be explosive.
After seasons punctuated with more lows than highs in Philadelphia, Agholor has emerged as a real threat in the Raiders’ aerial attack. His average of 18.7 yards per reception impressed.