March 22nd update: As of the Monday morning following the official kick off of the free agency period, there are just 11 players who have yet to sign deals remaining from our list of top-50 available free agents. Ranking highest on our list are three defensive playmakers, Malcolm Butler, Melvin Ingram and Richard Sherman.
March 16th update: As the first 24 hours of the legal tampering period wraps up, 22 of our top-50 NFL free agents agreed to terms on a new deal or received a RFA tender that is likely to keep them with their previous team. Top free agents available today include OT Trent Williams and WRs Kenny Golladay and Will Fuller. Notably, the wide receiver market was slow in general for day one, so there are still plenty of moves left to make.
The legal tampering period officially begins Monday, March 15th, which means that NFL teams can officially start to contact and negotiate impending free agents. As the new league year becomes official on March 17th, those deals can be signed.
The NFL officially announced the 2021 salary cap will sit at $182.5 million, a drop from last year’s total of $198.2 million. With that, we have to wonder if we’ll see the typical excitement of free agency given the decreased budget. Maybe we see more short term deals that get a player back on the market when the cap increases post-pandemic.
There’s a ton of talent on both sides of the ball, with some bigger than expected names getting a chance to hit the market. The franchise tag prevents the biggest of names, but this year there are some exceptions. Notably, the 49ers agreed to not use the franchise tag on offensive tackle Trent Williams when they acquired him last year. In Detroit, the Lions rebuild has them letting Kenny Golladay walk as an unrestricted free agent. On the other side of the ball, you have the likes of Shaq Barrett and Richard Sherman among the notable defensive names hitting the market. Rumors have circulated, too, that there’s a potential for Von Miller to hit the open market, as the Broncos could see a potential savings of $18 million if he is released.
Here is a countdown of our top-50 available free agents heading into the 2021 league year.
2021 Free Agency Rankings, top-50
|1||Trent Williams||OT||49ers||Resigned with 49ers –Six-years, $138 million|
|2||Will Fuller||WR||Texans||Signed with Dolphins — One-year, $10.625 million deal|
|3||Shaquil Barrett||LB||Bucs||Resigned with Bucs — Four-year contract, worth up to $72 million|
|4||Kenny Golladay||WR||Lions||Signed with Giants — Four-year, $72 million deal|
|5||Corey Linsley||C||Packers||Signed with Chargers — Contract details pending|
|6||Darious Williams||CB||Rams||Rams applied first-round RFA tender|
|7||Joe Thuney||G||Patriots||Signed with Chiefs — Five-year, $80 million deal|
|8||Bud Dupree||LB||Steelers||Signed with Titans — $16.5 million per year, multi-year deal|
|9||William Jackson||CB||Bengals||Signed with Washington — Three-year, $42 million deal|
|10||Anthony Harris||S||Vikings||Signed with Eagles — One-year, $5 million deal|
|11||JuJu Smith-Schuster||WR||Steelers||Resigned with Steelers — One-year, $8 million deal|
|12||Hunter Henry||TE||Chargers||Signed with Patriots — Three-year, $37.5 million contract|
|13||Aaron Jones||RB||Packers||Resigned with Packers — Four-year, $48 million deal|
|14||Desmond King||CB||Titans||Signed with Texans — One-year, $3.5 million deal|
|15||Carl Lawson||DE||Bengals||Signed with Jets — Three-year, $45 million deal|
|16||Trey Hendrickson||DE||Saints||Signed with Bengals — Four-year, $60 million deal|
|20||John Johnson||S||Rams||Signed with Browns — Three-year deal, contract details pending|
|21||Jonnu Smith||TE||Titans||Signed with Patriots — Four-year, $50 million|
|22||Romeo Okwara||DE||Lions||Resigned with Lions — Three-year, $39 million|
|24||Shaquill Griffin||CB||Seahawks||Signed with Jaguars — Contract details pending|
|26||Jason Verrett||CB||49ers||Resigned with 49ers — One-year, $5.5 million worth $6.5 million including Pro Bowl incentive|
|27||Yannick Ngakoue||DE||Ravens||Signed with Raiders — Two-year, $26 million deal|
|28||Mike Hilton||CB||Steelers||Signing with Bengals — Contract details TBA|
|29||Jameis Winston||QB||Saints||Resigned with Saints — One-year deal with base value of $5.5 million|
|30||Shelby Harris||DE||Broncos||Resigned with Broncos — Three-year, $27 million deal|
|31||Leonard Floyd||LB||Rams||Resigned with Rams — Four-year, $64 million deal|
|33||Corey Davis||WR||Titans||Signed with Jets — Three-year, $37.5 million deal with $27 million guaranteed|
|35||Ryan Fitzpatrick||QB||Dolphins||Signed with Washington — One-year, $10 million deal with max value of $12 million|
|36||Chris Carson||RB||Seahawks||Resigned with Seahawks — Three-year deal worth up to $24.625 million — Voids to two years|
|37||Dalvin Tomlinson||NT||Giants||Signed with Vikings — Two-year, $22 million deal|
|38||Troy Hill||CB||Rams||Signed with Browns Two-year, $9 million deal|
|39||Jayon Brown||LB||Titans||Resigned with Titans — One-year deal worth up to $5.25 million|
|40||Andy Dalton||QB||Cowboys||Signed with Bears — One-year, $10 million deal|
|41||Kevin Zeitler||G||Giants||Signed with Ravens — Three-year, $22 million deal|
|42||Rob Gronkowski||TE||Bucs||Resigned with Bucs — One-year deal, worth up to $10 million|
|43||Matt Judon||LB||Ravens||Signed with Patriots — Four-year, $56 million deal with $32 million guaranteed|
|44||Haason Reddick||LB||Cardinals||Signed with Panthers — One-year deal worth up to $8 million|
|45||David Andrews||C||Patriots||Resigned with Patriots — Max Value of four-years $19 million plus $2 million incentives|
|50||John Brown||WR||Bills||Signed with Raiders — One-year, $3.75 million|