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NFL Free Agent Predictions after the NFL Draft

Days after the NFL Draft teams are likely to roll into training camp with the rosters they have. But due to the large amount of talent still available, now more than ever teams can now still address major needs on their roster they did not address or early in the draft or at all in free agency. There likely won’t be another wave of free agents getting scooped up however talent like this should get picked off by teams who still have major needs still on their roster between now and early in the regular season.

Eli Apple is still on the market after contract negotiations broke down with the Las Vegas Raiders

22. Eli Apple CB

The former 10th overall pick was well on his way to his third team after agreeing to a one-year $6 million deal with the Las Vegas Raiders, until the deal was broken off after some disagreements between both Apple and team on terms in the contract. After the Raiders drafted another Ohio State Buckeye cornerback in the first round, the Raiders are likely out of the running for Apple’s services. Apple’s most likely destination is his last destination New Orleans. The Saints wanted to add to their secondary early in the draft and did not. Re-signing Apple will at least bring the depth at cornerback where it was last year.

Prediction: Apples signs a veteran minimum deal to stay with the New Orleans Saints.

21. Matt Moore QB

Last season the Kansas City Chiefs dragged Matt Moore out of retirement after back up quarterback Chad Henne got hurt. Once Patrick Mahomes got hurt Week 7, Moore won one of his two starts last season, but threw for over 200 yards in both starts with four touchdowns and zero picks when he was in for Mahomes. Moore’s experience around the league makes him a very valuable back up. Teams with very young inexperienced backups or no backup quarterbacks should try to bring Moore into camp to be their number two.

Prediction: Moore signs a one year $2.5 million deal with the Seattle Seahawks

20. Kelvin Beachem LT

Kelvin Beachem has been the New York Jets starting tackle since 2017. After retooling their offensive line and drafting  Mekhi Becton in the first round, the New York Jets have no need for him anymore. Beachem has always been a starting-caliber left tackle, but the type of starter that you want to replace with a high draft pick as soon as possible. There are a few teams around the league who still have a void at left tackle. Beachem can land with a team who needs an upgrade at left tackle. Cam Robinson hasn’t played great during his tenure in Jacksonville and could use a push or a push out of the way by Beachem because Jacksonville wants Gardner Minshew to be in the best situation to win.

Prediction: Beachem signs a one year $1 million deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars

19. Prince Amukamara CB

The former first-round pick has had a solid career in the NFL so far. He has been a starter for three different teams and a valuable second cornerback option. Amukamara tied career highs with three interceptions and two forced fumbles this past year. However, was released due to salary cap troubles in Chicago. After the draft, one of the biggest storylines was the fact that Chiefs’ starting cornerback Bashaud Breeland had gotten arrested and on top of that is going to be suspended four games on the season already before this incident. The Chiefs needed more help in the secondary, but are going to need more if Breeland is suspended any more. Amukamara also has experience playing under Chiefs’ defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo playing for him with the Giants in 2015.

Prediction: Amukamara signs a one-year $1.7 million deal with the Kansas City Chiefs 

18. Cordy Glenn LT

Two seasons ago the Buffalo Bills traded Cordy Glenn and their first-round pick (21) to the Cincinnati Bengals to move up to their first-round pick (12) and put themselves in position to draft Josh Allen. Glenn filled the Bengals’ biggest need at the time left tackle. After drafting Jonah Williams in the first round the next season the Bengals wanted to move Glenn to guard, but a season-ending injury to Williams moved Glenn back to left tackle. Glenn is still an above-average option at left tackle that could be signed for a premium. A contender could commit to Glenn at left tackle to complete their offensive line for a year until they draft one next season.

Prediction: Glenn signs a $2 million deal with the Denver Broncos

Could Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman reunite in the 49ers backfield in 2020? (Photo by: si.com)

17. Devonta Freeman RB

If it wasn’t for Todd Gurley, Devonta Freeman would be the player people would talk about when it comes to hesitation to extending a running back. Coming off of two 1,500+ scrimmage yard seasons and a Super Bowl appearance, the Falcons gave Freeman a five-year extension. After that Freeman missed 18 games over the course of the next three seasons, had only nine touchdowns and never cracked 1,000 yards rushing or 1,200 scrimmage yards during that span. It was obvious Freeman was going to be a cap causality.

If Freeman is brought into a backfield it must be as a member of a committee or with a coach who knows how to get the most out of Freeman. He won’t likely be the back he was before his extension, but could be a valuable weapon in the right situation. A situation that makes sense is the 49ers who love to collect running backs and just traded away Matt Breida. Head coach Kyle Shanahan was Freeman’s offensive coordinator during his best season as a pro.

Prediction: Freeman signs a veteran minimum deal with the San Fransisco 49ers

16. Joe Flacco QB

Former Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco was getting stale in Baltimore, after selecting and committing to first-round pick Lamar Jackson the Ravens traded him to the Broncos where he would eventually be the bridge to rookie Drew Lock. Lock spent a majority of the year on IR which meant Flacco would start a majority of the year. Flacco threw for over 1,800 yards, six touchdowns and five interceptions in his eight starts before getting put on IR with a neck injury. Denver released Flacco due to a failed physical which could be true, but likely Denver was trying to get off of Flacco’s large contract with Lock in place to be the team’s starter. Last year he showed to be a solid game manager and could be a good back up for a team who lacks experience behind their starter. The Philadelphia Eagles would’ve been a prime location for Flacco’s services, but after drafting Jalen Hurts, the Eagles will not be needing his services.

Prediction: Flacco signs a one-year $1.1 million deal with the Tennessee Titans

15. Mike Daniels DL

One of the biggest shockers of the preseason was when the Green Bay Packers let go of Mike Daniels. Daniels was one of the best run defenders in the league until this past season. After being let go by Green Bay, Daniels signed with the Detroit Lions where he was involved in a rotation at defensive tackle with A’Shawn Robinson and Damon Harrison. Daniels had a lackluster season, but could still be a starter along the defensive line in the NFL. After the draft, there are few teams who need a starter along the defensive line but there are still some teams who could use Daniels services. The Tennessee Titans traded away star defensive lineman Jurrell Casey to dump his salary and waited till the fifth round to draft a potential replacement.

Prediction: Daniels signs a one-year $3 million deal with the Tennessee Titans

14. Eric Reid S

Eric Reid has had a rollercoaster of a career. Reid was a Pro Bowler in his rookie season of 2013 and was looked at to have a bright future in the NFL. However Reid never really made the jump to the next level and stayed a slightly above average player. After being one of the leaders in Colin Kaepernick’s protests against the league, Reid was held out of work, once he hit free agency, for longer than expected. It took a few weeks for the Panthers to eventually give Reid a shot. Once Reid became a starter for the Panthers, they decided to lock him up long term. However, once the Matt Rhule regime took over Reid was let go. Reid can still be a starting safety in this league where there are still a few teams out there who can bring in Reid at a reduced price and immediately make him their starter.

Prediction: Reid signs a one-year $2.2 million deal with the Chicago Bears

13. Darqueze Dennard CB

Darqueze Dennard is the second cornerback on this list to have a contract fall through with a new team. The Jacksonville Jaguars were going to ink Dennard to a three-year, $13.5 million deal, but negotiations fell through and Jacksonville signed Rashaan Melvin and drafted CJ Henderson ninth overall. Dennard plays predominantly in the slot, but could be used as a number two corner in the right situation. After the draft, there could be a team in need of a younger veteran corner who they can take a chance on and if Dennard plays well , he could be extended with the team long term.

Prediction: Dennard signs a one-year $3 million Deal with the Carolina Panthers

12. Frank Gore RB

The NFL Iron Man at the running back position, Frank Gore has had partial starting role one three teams in three years now. Gore is 36 years old but does not want to stop now. Last season Gore had his career-low in yards with 599, but held it down until Devin Singletary was healthy.

Gore will likely be looking for a backup or complementary role if he was to land with a team. The Jacksonville Jaguars need a running back behind Leonard Fournette who is on the trade block, The Pittsburgh Steelers need a running back that can stay healthy, and Doug Pederson likes to have a stable of running backs at his disposal and is lacking a compliment to Miles Sanders besides Boston Scott who was solid but not great last season. Perhaps the Frank Gore signing that never happened in Philadelphia in 2015 could actually happen in 2020.

Prediction: Gore signs a one-year $3 million deal with the Philadelphia Eagles

Delanie Walker is still a valuable receiving tight end for a team in need

11. Delaine Walker TE

Delaine Walker was been one of the most underrated tight ends in the NFL since joining the Tennessee Titans. The three-time Pro Bowler has all the receiving records for tight ends in Titans’ history. After missing 24 games in the past two years the Titans decided to move on from Walker. In today’s NFL it is hard to find a good receiving tight end, especially after a lackluster draft for the position. Walker could get signed midway through camp to a team who wants a veteran to groom a younger player who might not be ready to make the leap.

Green Bay Packers’ head coach Matt Lafleur seems to be rebuilding the Packers in the image of the team that he had in Tennessee. Walker was a large part of Lafleur’s offense and after letting go of Jimmy Graham are in need of a receiving tight end to complement or start over Jace Sternberger. It has been reported already that third-round pick Josiah Deguara will be used like a full-back rather than a tight end.

Prediction: Walker signs a one-year $2.3 million deal with the Green Bay Packers

10. Tony Jefferson S

Before tearing his ACL, Tony Jefferson was considered one of the best strong safeties in the NFL. He would still be on Baltimore’s roster if it wasn’t for the play of Chuck Clark and how must cheaper it is to have Clark. Jefferson is likely a free agent due to the fact that doctors have not been able to check up on him and his progress from the ACL tear. Many teams have filled their void at safety during the draft. But once camp starts or teams are able to check on Jefferson’s health, someone will sign Jefferson to be a starter for them at safety.

Prediction: Jefferson signs a one-year, $3 million deal with the Indianapolis Colts

9. Clay Matthews EDGE

After 10 years in Green Bay, the Packers kicked Matthews to the curb and gave his number 52 away to rookie first-round pick Rashan Gary. Matthews decided to sign with Los Angeles Rams over the Baltimore Ravens who offered him more money, because he thought they would give him a better chance to win another Super Bowl (he was extremely wrong).

Despite missing three games with a broken jaw, Matthews finished the year with eight sacks and was one of the better players along the Rams defensive front. Due to his high price tag and age, the Rams cut him after one season because they are trying to rebuild their roster. Matthews can still be a force of the edge and has the versatility to play some inside linebacker as well. Maybe a team that has kicked the tires on Matthews before should be a potential landing spot for him in 2020.

Prediction: Matthews signs a one-year, $4 million deal with the Baltimore Ravens

8. Markus Golden EDGE

The New York Giants have placed a UFA tender on Markus Golden. This means that Golden is allowed to negotiate with other NFL teams until July 22, at that point the Giants retain his rights for just over $5 million. On a one year prove it deal Golden racked up 10 sacks for the Giants bottom-tier defense. The new coaching staff brought in Kyler Fackrell to replace Golden. But with Golden still on the market and the Giants still lacking stability at the edge rusher position, the Giants could hope to bring Golden back to rotate with Fackrell, Oshane Ximines and Lorenzo Carter. Any of the teams that are in on the Jadeveon Clowney sweepstakes could view Golden as a fallback option or possibly a safety net if they fear they are out of the running for Clowney before he signs.

Prediction: Golden signs a one-year, $5.2 million deal with the New York Jets

7. Damon “Snacks” Harrison DL

At age 31 Damon Harrison could consider retirement. The former undrafted free agent exceeded expectations by becoming one of the best interior defensive linemen in the league. He is still considered one of the better defensive tackles in the league and could likely find work for 2020 if he truly seeks it. The Dallas Cowboys considered signing Harrison before signing Dontari Poe. But there is another contender in the NFC that has a slight need at defensive tackle that could solidify their defensive line and their defense by bringing in Harrison to start.

Prediction Harrison signs a one-year, $3.5 million Deal with the Seattle Seahawks.

(Foxboro, MA 122416) Stephen Gostkowski was been one of the leagues elite kickers for some time now and could make a case to be a potential Hall of Famer. Staff photo Chris Christo

6. Stephen Gostkowski K

Pat McAfee would be proud to see a kicker in the top 10 of this free-agent list, especially one of the caliber of Stephen Gostkowski. At 36 years old, Gostkowski is far from done, especially with another former Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri looking for a team at age 47. Gostkowski is considered one of the league’s top kickers, though he naturally regressed as PATs got pushed back, but what kicker not named Justin Tucker didn’t regress?

Gostkowski was released after missing 12 games this season due to injury. The Patriots made it by with a rotation of subpar veterans kicking for them this season and then drafted a kicker in the fifth round. Teams will likely wait untill training camp to evaluate their kicker position, but Gostkowski should be on a team’s roster a the latest by week 2 of the regular season.

Prediction: Gostkowski signs a one-year, $2 million deal with the Tennessee Titans

5. Logan Ryan CB

Logan Ryan was one of the leaders for Mike Vrabel’s defense last year. The former Patriot actually caught Tom Brady’s last pass and returned in for a touchdown officially ending Brady’s time with the Patriots and advancing the Titans to the next round of the playoffs. Logan and the Tennessee Titans had hit a roadblock during negotiations when the team surprised Ryan by offering him less than the $10 Million he made last season.

After drafting Kristian Fulton in the second round and signing veteran Jonathan Joseph the Titans will likely not be negotiating with Ryan anymore. A team that has rumored to want to bring in Ryan is the New York Jets. The Jets resigned Brian Poole, signed Pierre Desir, and drafted Bryce Hall in the fourth round to go with Blessuan Austin who played well last year. But Ryan can be the team’s number one cornerback in the short term until Austin or (a healthy Bryce) Hall takes over that position,

Prediction: Ryan signs a one-year, $8 million Deal with the New York Jets

Jason Peters has had a remarkable career that shouldn’t end here after the Eagles moved on from his services. (Courtesy of YONG KIM / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)

4. Jason Peters LT

Jason Peters is arguably the best left tackle in the history of the Philadelphia Eagles. Peters is a nine-time Pro Bowler and six-time All-Pro. The former undrafted free agent tight end/ blocking tackle will be in Canton wearing a gold jacket before it is all said and done. But after drafting Andre Dillard in the first round last season the writing was on the wall that Peters’ time with the Eagles was running out. There are two contenders in the AFC West that still need a starting left tackle the Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Chargers. The Chargers are the leader to land the top tackle on the market Peters, because the Broncos might wait untill Garrett Boles and Elijah Wilkinson battle it out in camp before bringing in a better veteran option.

Prediction Peters signs a one-year, $10 million Deal with the Los Angeles Chargers

3. Everson Griffen EDGE

There is a case for Everson Griffen to be the biggest name to have been cut for salary reasons this offseason. The four-time Pro Bowler was going to have a hefty price tag, more than his eight sack season last year would have rewarded. It is surprising to see a player like Griffen still on the market. Especially since there was not a lot of every down starting defensive ends in this year’s draft. The Cleveland Browns and Seattle Seahawks could attempt sign Griffen, but his likely destination in 2020 could be where he’s played since 2010. Neither the Vikings or Griffen have ruled out a Griffen return for a reasonable price.

Prediction: Griffen signs a one-year $4 million Deal with the Minnesota Vikings

Cam Newton
Cam Newton believes he can make a comeback and return to becoming an NFL starting quarterback in 2020                                                                                                                Courtesy of Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

2. Cam Newton QB

After Jameis Winston signed with the New Orleans Saints, arguably the biggest loser of the NFL offseason has been Cam Newton. To no fault of his own, the Panthers left Newton in charge of arranging a trade and then released Newton after signing Teddy Bridgewater and seemingly every team’s quarterback situation was resolved. Before the draft, there were plenty of options where Cam could have ended up.

The Chargers looked like a home for Cam, but they insisted on drafting a quarterback in the first round to compete with Tyrod Taylor. The Jaguars seem confident with Gardner Minshew, so confident that Leonard Fournette landed on the trade block right after he commented that the Jags should bring in Newton to compete with Minshew next season. There has been a lot of speculation around the Patriots trying to sign the former MVP, but it doesn’t make any sense with the roster they have and Newton’s personality would not go well with the Patriot way. Newton could either land as a backup or wait until injury strikes a starter early in the preseason or regular season.

Right now the Denver Broncos could try to bring in Cam as a backup, but he will likely try to sign with a team where he might get a shot to be the team’s starter. The Pittsburgh Steelers back up quarterbacks showed last season that they are not the future of the team after Ben Roethlisberger’s injury. There is also no confirmation that Big Ben is completely healthy. Rumors came out that the Steelers offered Winston a better deal than New Orleans as well. Newton might not be the future of the Steelers, but he could be a valuable back up to Big Ben and potential bridge quarterback until they figure out their future.

Prediction: Newton signs a one-year, $2 million deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers

1. Jadeveon Clowney EDGE

Arguably the biggest non-quarterback to hit the open market is still on the market. Jadeveon Clowney was expecting to be making more than $18 million per year on a new contract this offseason. However, Clowney has not been offered the contract that he expected, due to the fact that he has not produced great numbers in his career. The former first overall pick has not had more than 9.5 sacks in a single season and only had three this past year. Clowney was supposed to be the last piece the Seahawks needed to complete the rebuild of their defense and just wasn’t it.

When Clowney chooses a team he should pick a team who plays a 3-4 defense because he is much better rushing off the edge as a linebacker than a 4-3 defensive end. The Jets, Titans and Browns are the rumored teams left trying to sign Clowney. The Seahawks seem to be off the table after signing Bruce Irvin and drafting Darrell Taylor to go with last year’s first-rounder L.J. Collier. Seahawks’ defensive tackle Jarran Reed also took back his old number 90, which Clowney had last year with the team.

After the draft, there is only one team left who can afford Clowney, plays a 3-4 defense, and will be contending in 2020. Even though they signed Vic Beasley to go with Harold Landry the Tennessee Titans are still looking for more help off the edge.

Prediction: Clowney signs a one-year, $17 million deal with the Tennessee Titans

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