Predicting Where the Top 2021 NFL Free Agents Will Land
The NFL offseason could be the most entertaining we've ever seen.
And with plenty of game-changing talent on the market, including a superstar quarterback in Dak Prescott, plenty of teams could transform their roster overnight.
But where will the top free agents land? We did our best to guess who will sign where.
Dak Prescott is coming off of a gruesome Teddy Bridgewater/Joe Theismann-like injury that forced the free agent to miss the final 11 games of the Cowboys' season. Prescott is reportedly recovering well and the Cowboys have already said they intend to bring Prescott back.
If the Cowboys can't sign Prescott to the mega-deal that he's been looking for, expect Dallas to use the franchise tag on the quarterback. But that would immediately signal that it's probably Dak's final year in Big D.
Landing Spot: Dallas Cowboys
Aaron Jones has been the most underrated running back in the NFL since he entered the league in 2017. Jones has rushed for 3,364 yards and averaged 5.2 yards per carry in his career along with 43 career touchdowns. Unfortunately for the Packers, they have some cap issues and it appears they won’t be able to pay Jones what he wants.
Green Bay drafted running back A.J. Dillon last year in anticipation of Jones’ likely departure. Running backs are too risky to overpay and some teams who have done so go on to immediately regret their decision.
With plenty of holes to fill, the Packers don't seem likely to pay Jones upwards of $14 million per year. But a team like the Jets, who will be running the Kyle Shanahan/Matt LaFleur offense, have a big need at running back and plenty of money to spend.
Landing Spot: New York Jets
The 2021 free agency class has plenty of elite talent at the wide receiver position but Allen Robinson is our second-best receiver available. Despite being part of the Chicago Bears’ ugly pass offense for the past three seasons, Robinson has shown that he is one of the best receivers in the league. Imagine how good he would be if he didn’t waste his career in Jacksonville and Chicago?
Robinson is likely to go to a team looking to compete for a Super Bowl next season. He made it clear that is what he wants next in his career. A team like the Baltimore Ravens could really use a top-tier receiver.
Landing Spot: Baltimore Ravens
Chris Godwin just won a Super Bowl and now he is the best free-agent wide receiver available. Needless to say, Godwin is having the best two-three month stretch of his life now that he is a champion and is about to get paid like one. The question is, will Tampa bring him back as they look to repeat?
And the answer is simply no.
Franchises don't let soon-to-be 25-year-olds with No. 1 receiver talent walk. Expect the Bucs to use the franchise tag on Godwin if they cannot come to terms on an extension.
Landing Spot:: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
No matter how good a quarterback is, a strong offensive line is necessary for an offense to be successful in the NFL. This free agency has a handful of elite offensive lineman on the market but Trent Williams certainly headlines that group.
Despite taking a year off, Williams came back in 2020 and looked as good as ever. The 49ers have a lot of free agents to deal with, but Williams appears to be their top priority.
Williams has mentioned that he'd like to re-sign with the Niners, but it'll be interesting to see how San Francisco values the 33-year-old left tackle.
Landing Spot: San Francisco 49ers
Kenny Golladay exploded onto the NFL scene in his second season when he caught 70 passes for 1,063 yards. He followed that up with another 1,000-yard season. However, injuries have limited him to 47 games in four seasons and just five games last season.
If a team can look past Golladay’s injuries, he can be one of the biggest weapons available in free agency. At 6-foot-4, Golladay has the build of a big receiver with 4.5 speed. There are a number of free agent wide receivers out there but for a team that can’t land Robinson, Golladay is a great backup plan for a smaller price tag. That is, if the Lions don't franchise tag their No. 1 pass catcher.
Landing Spot: Miami Dolphins
The Pittsburgh Steelers find themselves in an unenviable position in terms of salary cap. As a result, players like JuJu Smith-Schuster are likely on their way out as Pittsburgh looks to trim some fat and avoid handing out big contracts.
Smith-Schuster was at his best when he was playing second fiddle to Antonio Brown. As No. 1 receiver for the Steelers, he was less impressive. Smith-Schuster should be more of a WR2, where he can be at his best. However, a team is likely to make him a WR1, which may be a bad move.
It appears the Las Vegas Raiders are the most interested at this time.
Landing Spot: Las Vegas Raiders
Will the New York Giants tag Leonard Williams again this season? Possibly. However, that might not be the best move for them financially. The Giants need to address other positions, particularly their offensive line. Dropping big money on Williams is something the Giants shouldn’t be doing right now.
Instead, the G-Men should save some greenbacks and bring back Dalvin Tomlinson and use their savings to fill some much-needed holes on the roster. Having said that, the Giants will probably hand Williams a huge contract extension.
Landing Spot: New York Giants
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