With the 2022 NFL Draft in the history books, free agency business is about to pick up. The New Orleans Saints have already struck a deal with former All-Pro safety Tyrann Mathieu, and the post-draft wave of free agency is off to the races.
Several notable names have waited for their opportunities in free agency over the past two months. Some of those delays were strategic. Agents and players wanted to see what teams did in the draft, while front offices wanted to wait for the draft to play out before committing money to veterans.
Pro Football Network has compiled a list of the top 10 intriguing free agents and their most ideal landing spots.
Best landing spots for top remaining NFL free agents
EDGE Jadeveon Clowney
Ideal Landing Spot: Cleveland Browns
Jadeveon Clowney is the best player left in free agency, and it’s about time that he stopped his nomad mission in the NFL. The best place for Clowney is where he played last year: Cleveland.
Clowney is coming off a 9-sack campaign, and that’s largely due to his work with Myles Garrett on the opposite EDGE. Clowney might be cool with the mercenary reputation he’s earned over the past few years, but it’s finally time to settle down.
CB Kevin King
Ideal Landing Spot: Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles failed to draft a defensive back this past weekend, so they still have some notable holes on the back end. Kevin King, a former second-round pick, remains on the market and could fill the void at outside cornerback or safety. While he spent his entire career in Green Bay on the boundaries, King was a safety during his first two college seasons.
At 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, King could make sense as a free safety opposite veteran Anthony Harris. The Eagles tend to prefer safeties with cornerback backgrounds, and King fits the bill in that regard. King played under Jerry Gray in Green Bay, and Gray has a long-term relationship with Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon.
WR Jarvis Landry
Ideal Landing Spot: Baltimore Ravens
After trading away former first-round pick Marquise Brown to the Arizona Cardinals, the Ravens stayed put at wideout in the draft. While Brown was right to want out of the Ravens’ run-heavy offense, QB Lamar Jackson still needs reliable weapons. The Ravens focus mostly on multiple tight end looks, but Jarvis Landry could be an appealing veteran option in the slot.
The Ravens had an excellent draft weekend, but restocking the shelves at wideout should be a priority before training camp. Landry could be another reliable weapon over the middle for Jackson.
WR Keelan Cole
Ideal Landing Spot: Chicago Bears
NFL Twitter is singlehandedly trying to will a playmaker to Chicago for second-year QB Justin Fields. With little to show in the wideout room, the Bears would be wise to go after a cost-effective option with upside. Cole is a deep threat who can make plays down the field for Fields.
Keelan Cole had an underwhelming season with the Jets last year, but he can still be an effective playmaker in the right offense. Fields needs help, and Cole can be a cheap asset for the young QB.
TE Rob Gronkowski
Ideal Landing Spot: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Like Clowney, Rob Gronkowski’s best option is his incumbent home. Tom Brady is back, Byron Leftwich is still in charge of the offense, and Tampa Bay is still beautiful year-round. Gronkowski has pretty much everything he wants with the Buccaneers.
This isn’t as much thoughtful analysis as it is reaching a foregone conclusion.
TE Eric Ebron
Ideal Landing Spot: Los Angeles Chargers
With Jared Cook still on the market, the Chargers could use a youthful-ish upgrade after the draft. The Chargers signed a couple of undrafted rookies at the position, but a proven playmaker could do wonders for Justin Herbert.
Eric Ebron has seemingly been humbled after spending the last few years as a journeyman. He could be a go-to weapon in the Chargers’ offense.
OT Duane Brown
Ideal Landing Spot: Los Angeles Rams
It looks like Seattle is out of the picture after its first-round selection of Charles Cross. Now, Duane Brown needs to look for work elsewhere, and the Super Bowl champions have the right vibe.
Sean McVay has pushed back against ageism at left tackle for several years, and now he can replace Andrew Whitworth with another elderly option in Brown, who can still play at a high level.
OT Eric Fisher
Ideal Landing Spot: Seattle Seahawks
While Seattle is probably out on Brown, the Seahawks could be looking for an experienced swing tackle at this point to compete with their young pups. Eric Fisher is on the downswing of his career, but he could still provide some proven depth for a young team.
Fisher is running out of options, so competing for a starting gig in the NFC West seems like his best chance.
C JC Tretter
Ideal Landing Spot: Dallas Cowboys
No matter how the Cowboys feel about Tyler Biadasz, Dallas could use some depth on the interior offensive line. JC Tretter is a proven starter who can push Biadasz in training camp and potentially compete for playing time.
Tretter isn’t a world-beater, but his presence on the Cowboys’ line could provide a boost, even if he’s just a swing backup.
DE Trey Flowers
Ideal Landing Spot: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers are seemingly moving on from Jason Pierre-Paul, so adding another veteran pass rusher could help them in their quest to sustain a strong front. Trey Flowers could be used as a rotation player in the Bucs’ front seven, and he probably won’t command much money on a short-term pact.
If the Bucs are gearing up for another run, Flowers makes sense as a short-term addition.