NFL Free Agency: Finding the best fits for the remaining players

    With a number of big names already being signed or moved, Cole Thompson takes a look at some of the remaining NFL players and their best free agency fits.

    Even with the world coming to a near stop with the coronavirus and quarantines, the NFL free agency season is still going strong. Teams have addressed some of their needs, finding players on the open market or by trading away future prospects. Some moves will never seem real, like Tom Brady wearing a Bucs uniform or DeAndre Hopkins leaving Houston for a second-round pick, but there are moves that are well deserved and seem like ideal fits.

    There are still are several players who could bring in a nice overhaul this offseason on the open market. A majority of the big-name players are gone, but certain remain unsigned and could be game-changers to a roster, making them a top priority in the coming days.

    Best 2020 NFL free agency fits 

    EDGE Jadeveon Clowney

    Clowney came in as my sixth-best available player entering free agency. He remains the highest player left unsigned entering the weekend due to a run on lesser-paid edge rushers. A deal should be in the works before the end of next week, right?

    Clowney has the ability to make a pass rush better, even with his minimal sack count. Despite never tallying a double-dight season behind the line of scrimmage, the former first overall pick is at his best defending the run. Since 2017, Clowney has been highly-touted as the league’s top run-stopper off the edge.

    The report is Seattle might be willing to bring back the two-time Pro Bowler on a one-year, $20 million deal, but in my opinion, there are two teams that make a tad more sense. The Indianapolis Colts ranked seventh in run defense and have the cap space to sign a player who meets multiple needs for a defense. The New York Jets were a top unit against the run, allowing an average of 86 rushing yards per game.

    Both teams have over $35 million in cap space to sign the top defender on the market. In the end, Indianapolis is trying to win now and Clowney has stated in the past he wants to go to a winning roster. The Jets are still playing checkers in a now winnable AFC East.

    Fit: Indianapolis Colts 

    QB Jameis Winston

    Well, that ended abruptly for the 30 and 30 wonder. With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signing Brady away from New England, the former top overall pick will be looking for a new home. Winston, who ranked 12th on PFN’s free-agent list, has the potential to turn a team into a contender on offense.

    No matter how you put it, Winston is going to have to begin his second stint as a backup for a roster despite throwing for the league-lead in yards last season. Few teams will be in the market for top dollar quarterbacks and even fewer will have the money to pay for a glorified backup. But then there’s a roster who could be running with a second-year quarterback that may or may not pan out.

    Honestly, doesn’t Gardner “The Mustache” Minshew and Jameis “Turnover” Winston sound like a cheesy but funny buddy cop movie?

    Fit: Jacksonville Jaguars

    WR Robby Anderson

    Even if he’s not viewed as the top target, it’s criminal that Robby Anderson is still a free agent. As the leading man for the Jets since 2018, Anderson has put together a talented, yet perhaps lackluster career with gang green. Since his near 1,000-yard season in 2017, the 26-year-old has posted back-to-back 700-yard seasons with a combined 11 touchdowns.

    His speed, however, should have made him a hot commodity on the open market. In the past two seasons, Anderson averaged 15 yards per catch in the open field. Teams should want to have that type of player to help with any young quarterback working downfield.

    The Las Vegas Raiders have been the pioneers of taking speed over anything else, making Anderson a perfect fit for their offense while addressing another need. The Jets, however, will likely be drafting to protect Sam Darnold early, missing out on a player like CeeDee Lamb or Jerry Jeudy. Darnold needs that vertical presence to improve in his third year. That is why the Jets make the most sense right now for Anderson.

    Fit: New York Jets 

    EDGE Everson Griffen

    It’s the end of an era in Minnesota for the defense. Everson Griffen announced Friday he would be testing the free-agent market, leaving the Vikings after 10 seasons. Since entering the league, the top-caliber pass rusher has tallied six, eight-plus sack seasons donning the purple and gold. Last year, he tallied eight and recorded an interception.

    Perhaps teams will look at Griffen as a veteran looking for a deal just to play. Any team that misses out of one of the top pass rushers should be in the market for the 32-year-old. Despite being interested in Clowney, another team might be willing to offer him a multi-year deal in the coming days.

    Seattle would definitely consider Griffen a cheaper, yet serviceable constellation prize.

    Fit: Seattle Seahawks

    OT Jason Peters

    There’s not many great tackles left on the board. Still, at least you can find consistency on your offensive line with a veteran such as Jason Peters.

    Considering he is 38-years-old, Peters will have a plethora of problems, especially if a team thinks he can be the long-term option at left tackle. Injury concerns will be a factor after he missed three starts in 2019 and nine in 2017. But when looking at the remainder of players on the market, Peters has the ability to shine in the right offense.

    Any team looking to draft an offensive tackle should have Peters on their roster. He’s a veteran tackle with wisdom and knowledge that would help any young pass protector improve during the early stages of their career. He also will serve a stand-in for any young quarterback as they look to improve their careers as well.

    The Chargers have the money to pay Peters while also could be in the market for a young offensive tackle and pocket-passer. This should happen sooner rather than later.

    Fit: Los Angeles Chargers

    RB Devonta Freeman

    Running back markets are a dying area in the NFL. For that reason, Devonta Freeman or Carlos Hyde might be the only two rushers who will garner attention this remaining offseason.

    Freeman is three years removed from his 1,000-yard season where he finished with a career-high 11 touchdowns. Since then, injuries have cost the former lead back 18 games, leading to him limited production. The problem is when healthy, Freeman still struggled last year by only finding the end zone twice on the ground.

    One thing that Freeman has been serviceable at is in the passing game. With over 2,000 receiving yards since entering the league, perhaps a third-down role as a heavy back or pass-catcher would help him regain the confidence. Detroit will need another runner should Kerryon Johnson continue to digress due to injuries.

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