Before free agency officially begins, TGH will be giving you our picks for the top free agents at every position in 2020. Keep in mind, these are our opinions for the top players and will not list every free agent. As of writing, all of the players listed are currently still un-signed.
Next up in the series are the top linebackers ahead of the 2020 season.
Littleton is a Pro Bowl linebacker with Super Bowl experience, as he helped the Los Angeles Rams reach Super Bowl 53.
He is the definition of rangey with six interceptions and 315 combined tackles since he entered the league in 2016. Also on his resume are three forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries. He was a half of a sack short of his career high in 2019, collecting 3.5 on the season.
The Rams missed the playoffs the year after losing the Super Bowl, mostly due to the regression on both sides of the football. Littleton, however, did not have much of a drop off in terms of production. It was not his best year, but he did enough to earn himself a payday in the offseason.
Los Angeles has a lot of money to shell out, even after signing Todd Gurley and Jared Goff to huge deals. They have to figure out what to do with their top corner in Jalen Ramsey, most importantly. Signing a player like Littleton may not even be on their radar, regardless of his production and talent.
So many teams need a linebacker like Littleton. He has both the ability to sack the quarterback, turn the ball over and tackle well. Many people may come calling for his services in 2020.
Kyle Van Noy
Van Noy started his career in Detroit, before being traded to the New England Patriots in 2016. Shockingly, the Lions sent Van Noy and a seventh rounder to New England for only a sixth round pick. Since arriving there, he has become a key to the Patriots’ defense.
This is even more significant now that New England had the best defense in the entire NFL in 2019. Van Noy was a big part of the middle of that unit. He missed one game, but collected 56 combined tackles and seven tackles for loss.
In 2019 he set a new career high in sacks with 6.5 on the year. He also tallied a new career high in quarterback hits with 14 on the season. Although he has never been selected to the Pro Bowl, he is still an anchor for that excellent defense, and the Patriots should want him back.
Being that he has two Super Bowl victories already, and he was not drafted by New England, Van Noy may be seeking a new team. A team searching for a new mike linebacker to build around may pay him plenty of money to turn a defense around.
Jamie Collins, Sr.
Another Super Bowl-winning New England Patriots linebacker is a free agent in 2020. Jamie Collins, Sr. who has played for New England twice is hitting the market.
After playing for the Patriots for the first three seasons of his career (making the Pro Bowl in 2015), he signed with the Cleveland Browns in 2016, before being released and picked back up by New England.
His 2019 campaign saw his career high in interceptions (3), sacks (7.0) and touchdowns (1). He had his best year in almost every area apart from tackles. Considering the Patriots are in flux, as has been said in other articles in the series, and the Pats have another linebacker hitting free agency, a choice has to be made on their part.
Either Van Noy or Collins would be a fine choice to keep, if they cannot keep both. But that defense was so incredibly dominant it is worth mentioning that either or both free agents could be willing to take a discount to continue that level of play. If not, he has proven himself since being released by the Browns and a team may be willing to give him a payday.
Featured Image courtesy of Kelvin Kuo/Associated Press
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