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Top 200 Free Agents in the NFL

With the new league year coming fast, a look at the top unrestricted free agents on offense and defense.

We are less than 10 days away from the start of the new league year and a free-agency period that figures to be stranger than ever. Due to the lower league salary cap, an influx of veteran talent is available, many of whom could be available for surprisingly reasonable rates. These are, as of Tuesday morning, the top 200 unrestricted free agents available.

Note from the co-authors: Our respective initials appear at the end of each write-up we did. And we both agree that Gary had a far heavier hand on the rankings themselves, so be sure to direct all complaints to the appropriate party.

1. Trent Williams, OT (San Francisco): Re-signed by San Francisco
He turns 33 this summer and hasn’t played 16 games in a season since 2013, but upon returning to the field after sitting out all of ’19, Williams was every bit the elite left tackle he’s always been when healthy. Upon acquiring him from Washington the 49ers agreed they wouldn’t use the franchise tag on him, all but ensuring Williams will get to test free agency. With a shortage of quality offensive linemen across the league, he’s too valuable for any team to ignore on the open market. —GG

2. Kenny Golladay, WR (Detroit)
Statistically, your quarterback is better when Golladay is on the field. Physical and well-rounded, Golladay is going to knock a linebacker on his rear end while on chip duty and then, on the next play, make a balletic sideline grab to move the chains. Amid a wide receiver market that may not be as spectacular as we initially imagined, he could be the star. —CO

3. Shaq Barrett, edge (Tampa Bay): Re-signed by Tampa Bay
Chances are, Barrett is not going to want to enter the 2021 season on another franchise tag or one-year deal given how close he is to his age-30 season. After Tampa Bay muscled its way to a Super Bowl win, pass rushing will be at a premium even amid a depressed market. The Buccaneers will have to sign Barrett long-term to make it work. —CO

4. Chris Godwin, WR: Franchise-tagged by Tampa Bay
A dominant big slot who can also line up outside, Godwin brings value as a playmaker at all three levels. As an added bonus, he’s one of the most effective blocking receivers in the league, fulfilling the “Larry Fitzgerald role” in Bruce Arians’s offense better than anyone could have reasonably expected. —GG

5. Leonard Williams, interior DL: Franchise-tagged by N.Y. Giants
It made sense for the Giants to keep Williams, and not just because of the initial draft capital Dave Gettleman sacrificed to nab him during a lost season. Williams has repaid the Giants with 11.5 sacks, a career-low missed-tackle percentage and the highest pressure rate of his career. He fits nicely on a robust defensive line in progress and is rounding into a formidable multi-faceted rusher. —CO

6. Brandon Scherff, G: Franchise-tagged by Washington
The best interior offensive linemen are difference-makers in the run game, and Scherff's blocking should continue to be a focal point of Washington's run-heavy offense. Durability (he’s missed multiple games in each of the past four seasons) is the only real question. —GG

7. Allen Robinson, WR: Franchise-tagged by Chicago
Robinson is a contested-catch specialist who has thrived despite a run of rocky quarterbacks in Jacksonville and, now, Chicago. He won’t create separation, and he had a couple of passes ripped away by defensive backs last season, but he’s a true No. 1 receiver who won’t turn 28 until training camp and should age well over the next few years. —GG

8. Yannick Ngakoue, edge (Baltimore): Signed by Las Vegas
Even after a relatively down year across two franchises, there’s always a robust market for disruptive edge burners. He’ll continue to be targeted in the run game, but he’s an immediate upgrade for a defense’s secondary with the ability to make game-changing plays. Only Khalil Mack has forced more fumbles than Ngakoue (18) over the past five seasons. —GG

9. Justin Simmons, S: Franchise-tagged by Denver
It is interesting how, wherever Vic Fangio lands, he develops a star or pair of stars on a defense that were previously overlooked. This may contribute in some ways to the hesitancy Denver has to pay Simmons long term. Because of the affordable number for safeties, the Broncos tagged him for a second straight year. Only 27, coming off his first (virtual) Pro Bowl nod, there is plenty of bright football ahead for Simmons. —CO

10. William Jackson III, CB (Cincinnati)
A true No. 1 corner—albeit a low-end one—Jackson has proven capable in one-on-one matchups against opponents’ top receivers. At 28, he’s a bit old for a four-year player (he came into the league as a 23-year-old and missed his rookie year), but he’d make for a high-floor acquisition at a reactionary position that’s difficult to fill. —GG

11. Lavonte David, LB (Tampa Bay): Re-signed by Tampa Bay
Part of Todd Bowles’s bullish inside linebacker duo, David plays a position that feels like it’s going the way of the dinosaur—unless you are as good as he is. He can hold his own amid heavy targets in the passing game and doesn’t miss tackles. —CO

12. Joe Thuney, G/C (New England): Signed by Kansas City
It’s fair to give pause anytime an offensive lineman leaves Foxboro—Tom Brady made a lot of average linemen look very good in pass protection. But Thuney’s durability, versatility and solid all-around play are things many NFL offenses have lacked on the interior line. —GG

13. John Johnson, S (L.A. Rams): Signed by Cleveland
A versatile safety with the range to cover a ton of ground in centerfield, Johnson’s skill set remains valuable even in a league that is trending toward more split-safety looks. —GG

14. Marcus Williams, S: Franchise-tagged by New Orleans
A rangy center fielder who has shown improved physicality as a tackler the past few seasons, Williams brings valuable versatility to the back end of the Saints defense. —GG

15. Bud Dupree, edge (Pittsburgh): Signed by Tennessee
A torn ACL last December ended what likely would have been a second straight double digit–sack season. The recovery timeline complicates his market, as does the fact that he benefited playing across from T.J. Watt and in Keith Butler’s blitz-heavy scheme. But Dupree brings a frantic motor and level of overall physicality that makes him an ideal complementary pass-rusher who makes a lot of plays in the backfield. —GG

16. Hunter Henry, TE (L.A. Chargers): Signed by New England
The tight end was formerly the poster child for undervalued NFL assets, but now that George Kittle and Travis Kelce have helped catch us all up on reality, team-friendly deals will be more difficult to come by. Henry is a solid blocker who is just as effective in the slot as he is in-line; a good chess piece for any of the Shanahan-ites hoping to recreate that system elsewhere. —CO

17. Haason Reddick, edge (Arizona): Signed by Carolina
A late bloomer thanks to Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph’s finally unlocking his creativity, Reddick finished the season on a pass-rushing tear, logging five sacks in a game against the Giants (and 12.5 total). With J.J. Watt in the fold as well, Reddick represents the chance to create an amoebic, stunt-y defensive line that will be difficult to slow down. —CO

18. Anthony Harris, S (Minnesota)
Harris was a rock on the back end of Mike Zimmer’s defense the past two seasons—particularly challenging considering the Vikings’ youth movement at cornerback last year. His instincts and overall feel for the necessary improvisations in Zimmer’s split-safety looks will play well in most systems. —GG

19. Curtis Samuel, WR (Carolina)
After being used primarily as a downfield threat in 2018 and ’19, Samuel broke out last season as a catch-and-run threat operating out of the slot. His opportunities were somewhat limited while sharing targets with Robbie Anderson and DJ Moore last year, but he doesn’t turn 25 until training camp and has a chance for a big statistical jump as a high-end No. 2 receiver elsewhere. —GG

20. Carl Lawson, edge (Cincinnati)
His limitations as a run defender will likely relegate him to a rotational role—last year’s 723 snaps were the only time in four seasons he’s topped 500—but Lawson is a difference-maker in the pass rush. He had only 5.5 sacks in 2020, but was second in the NFL in quarterback knockdowns (29.5) according to Stats Inc. —GG

21. Corey Linsley, C (Green Bay): Signed by LA Chargers
His play ranged from solid to excellent over seven seasons in Green Bay, and heading into his age-30 season Linsley still shows enough mobility to be a factor in the screen game and out on the perimeter. Even if you project an upcoming decline, he figures to be a steadying presence for any team looking for an answer at the pivot. —GG

22. Jonnu Smith, TE (Tennessee): Signed by New England
Smith was used mostly as an in-line option with the Titans but could explode in an offense more willing to move him around. Just 26, he is an athletic route runner with post-up catch ability who hits the open field like a running back no one wants to tackle. —CO

23. Trey Hendrickson, edge (New Orleans)
His 2020 production was eye-popping (13.5 sacks, 25 QB hits, 12 tackles for loss) considering he was a rotational player who played only about half of the Saints’ defensive snaps. He has only one season of elite play, but he was solid over his first three NFL seasons; his floor figures to be as a quality No. 2 pass-rusher, with his ceiling being one of the league’s rising stars. —GG

24. Taylor Moton, OT: Franchise-tagged by Carolina
Moton played 100% of Carolina’s snaps last year and established himself as an absolute necessity at the right tackle spot for offensive coordinator Joe Brady. He gave up just three sacks; with cornerstone tackles at a premium, he was a must for the Panthers to retain. —CO

25. Marcus Maye, S: Franchise-tagged by N.Y. Jets
Maye had arguably his best season in 2020 amid a firestorm of bizarre occurrences, high profile departures and coaching changes. In comes Robert Saleh, whose approach to the elevated Cover-3 scheme gleaned from his time in Seattle may be a good fit for Maye. —CO

26. Aldon Smith, edge (Dallas)
Smith’s new lease on life has made him an extraordinarily complete player. His hand-to-hand combat skills in the trenches wrecked several good offensive tackles last year. He was one of the few bright spots on a desolate, punchless Cowboys defense that did him no favors. —CO

27. Matt Judon, edge (Baltimore): Signed by New England
He’s not a classic edge burner, but Judon has been effective and hugely valuable on the edge in Baltimore, where he’s tasked with a number of roles in a Wink Martindale defense heavy on fire-zone blitzes. He might ultimately be more valuable to the Ravens than he is to a different defense running a simpler scheme. —GG

28. Will Fuller, WR (Houston)
We forget how few burners like Fuller also possess the next-level tracking ability to make their presence worthwhile. Despite some injury concerns, Fuller had his best season in 2020 amid an organizational tire fire in Houston. The Texans may not let him leave, but if they do, he can be the deep-threat chess piece for an offense in need of the final piece to the puzzle. —CO

29. Rob Gronkowski, TE (Tampa Bay): Re-signed by Tampa Bay
The weight loss compared with his time in New England didn’t make a big difference in Gronkowski’s speed, but he’s a savvy and physical target in the middle of the field and still a difference-maker in the red zone and as a blocker. However, it seems unlikely anyone will be able to pry him away from Tampa for his age-32 season. —GG

30. Daryl Williams, OT (Buffalo): Re-signed by Buffalo
He had a rough finish to his Carolina career—Williams suffered a knee injury in the 2018 opener and was a shell of himself the next season, playing tackle and guard on both sides of the line. The Bills took a flier on him last season and he re-emerged as one of the better right tackles in football. He turns 29 in August and should warrant a multi-year deal even in a down market. —GG

31. Melvin Ingram, edge (L.A. Chargers)
Ingram hits the market coming off his worst season—battling a knee injury, he failed to record a sack and missed nine games. The first question is whether, at age 32, he can regain his explosiveness. If he does, there are plenty of late-career success stories among NFL edge rushers. —GG

32. Aaron Jones, RB (Green Bay): Re-signed by Green Bay
One of the league’s better outside-zone runners, Jones’s value in the passing game along with his proven ability to finish drives in the red zone—helping make Green Bay one of the league’s most efficient red-zone offenses over the past two seasons—make him a true foundational back. —GG

33. Shaquil Griffin, CB (Seattle): Signed by Jacksonville
Griffin hits the market after posting career lows in yards per completion allowed and opposing passer rating. Often forced to perform on a figurative island as Seattle’s once proud defensive backfield crumbled around him, Griffin will be a strong addition to a team hoping to find value at cornerback should Seattle let him go. —CO

34. Corey Davis, WR (Tennessee): Signed by NY Jets
As we saw with the emergence of A.J. Brown, Davis is at his best when he can find advantageous single-coverage matchups. The Titans loved to run him over the middle, allowing his size and athleticism to hammer slower linebackers and safeties tasked with covering him. While Davis may never live up to his draft slot, he has gotten better and improved his catch rate every season since being in the league. His next team, likely needing a solid No. 2, will find great value here. —CO

35. Richard Sherman, CB (San Francisco)
A calf injury limited him to five games in 2020, and there’s only so much a cornerback with a recent injury entering his age-33 season can get on the open market. However, Sherman’s instincts should allow him to keep aging well, and he brings unquantifiable but very real value to a locker room. —GG

36. Shelby Harris, interior DL (Denver): Re-signed by Denver
Denver hadn’t seen anything like him since Dikembe Mutombo—Harris is the best in the NFL when it comes to batting down passes, due to a combination of long arms and excellent instincts when reading the backfield. Combined with his solid play against the run, he’s a quality three-down lineman even if the pressure numbers don’t stand out. —GG

37. Leonard Floyd, edge (L.A. Rams)
Floyd broke out in Year 5, the kind of performance the Bears once envisioned when they made him a top-10 pick in 2016. However, potential suitors must ask themselves how much of it was a product of lining up alongside Aaron Donald, and playing under Brandon Staley. (Though teams should also take notice that the big-ticket free agent who replaced Floyd for the Bears, Robert Quinn, recorded just two sacks last season—perhaps something in Chicago was the issue.) —GG

38. Quinton Dunbar, CB (Seattle)
His lone year in Seattle was disappointing, as Dunbar struggled through a knee injury and eventually landed on injured reserve. After a run as one of the league’s most underappreciated cover corners in Washington, he’ll be an interesting buy-low candidate entering his age-29 season. —GG

39. Troy Hill, CB (L.A. Rams)
He’s at his best in the slot, though Hill has experience playing outside as well. He’s more effective against smaller, quicker receivers rather than big No. 1s (they were Jalen Ramsey’s assignments for the Rams), but Hill can be a valuable and versatile second cornerback. —GG

40. Matt Milano, LB (Buffalo) (Update: Buffalo re-signed Milano)
Milano, not the ultra-athletic Tremaine Edmunds, emerged as the Bills’ best coverage linebacker over the past three seasons, and Buffalo’s defense as a whole was noticeably better when Milano was in the lineup. He’s a rare quality three-down linebacker available this offseason. —GG