Top 100 NFL Free Agents of 2021 | 41-60
41. C David Andrews
David Andrews has been a consistently great center in the NFL. He fortunately recovered from a scary blood clot issue in his lungs in 2019. He played at a high level in New England in 2020 despite virtually no offseason and a totally new quarterback behind him.
Andrews only allowed 10 pressures this season, but he did miss three games with a hand injury mid-season. It’s tough to say what Andrews’ value will be on the open market, but top-tier centers don’t pop up often in free agency.
42. WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
The curious case of Smith-Schuster. Seemingly since Antonio Brown left, JuJu’s production (at least unrelated to TikToks) has seen a decline. Additionally, he’s still stuck as a primary slot receiver. His yards per route run is drastically low at 1.39. However, he was seventh among all WRs in true catch percentage, and he is still only 24 years old.
How will teams balance the on-field production and off-field antics?
43. EDGE Matt Judon
Matt Judon posted 32 pressures and 6 sacks in 2020 in Don Martindale’s blitz-heavy scheme. Judon was franchise-tagged last season, but the 28-year-old will have to compete for that with the aforementioned Yannick Ngakoue this year.
It’s likely Judon departs in free agency, providing a good edge rusher in free agency. Judon can be a defensive-front-changing edge rusher, much like Za’Darius Smith is for Green Bay.
44. OT Daryl Williams – Re-signed with the Buffalo Bills on a three-year contract.
Daryl Williams was named to the second-team All-Pro in 2017 but fell off in Carolina. As a result, he signed with Buffalo in free agency, initially thought of as depth.
However, Williams’ play returned to form in Buffalo this season, locking up the right tackle position and playing at a high level. He’s back on the free agent market but far more likely to earn more money this time around than he did last year. Williams is still only 28, so he has plenty of tread left in the league.
45. WR T.Y. Hilton
T.Y. Hilton has seemingly faded down post-Andrew Luck, but he is still a reliable intermediate-to-deep target. Hilton has only 6 drops the last two seasons, and 66 of his last 101 receptions have gone for first downs.
While I doubt he leaves Indianapolis, teams with a young quarterback looking for a vet presence will be on the hunt for T.Y.’s services.
46. CB Troy Hill
Troy Hill didn’t have quite the 2020 season as he enjoyed in 2019, but he was still an effective corner. He was asked to play more in the slot this past season while Darious Williams took up the boundary corner mantle opposite Jalen Ramsey.
Hill isn’t going to be a corner that can take away an opposing WR1, but as a CB2 opposite of an elite option, Hill can be a valuable addition to any secondary.
47. OT Russell Okung
Age is just a number to Russell Okung, who still plays at an above-average level despite being 32 years old. Okung has only played 13 games the last two seasons due to medical concerns, but he’s still a quality tackle when he’s on the field.
In a loaded tackle offseason, Okung’s contract might come at a bargain for the team that signs him.
48. CB Brian Poole
Brian Poole is an interesting litmus to see how the NFL values pure nickel corners. Poole only conceded 257 yards in coverage while allowing only 6.6 yards per target and was seventh in QBR allowed when targeted. However, he’s had a few injuries in the past and is only 5’9″. Furthermore, he will be 29 next season.
Regardless, his play has spoken for itself, and he’s one of the game’s best nickels.
49. CB Desmond King
Desmond King has been one of the best nickels in the NFL for years now, but he dropped off in play in 2020. The Titans got him for mere pennies from the Chargers, and his play was still below his previous seasons.
There’s a question of why the Chargers would let him go for cheap if he is such an effective coverage corner. However, if 2020 proves to be a fluke in an otherwise stellar career, a team will pick up an elite slot defender.
50. EDGE Olivier Vernon
Vernon’s free agency value is tough to gauge. He was outstanding this season for the Browns, but he suffered a torn Achilles in January.
The veteran proved to still be a highly effective pass rusher with 8 high-quality sacks, but at 30 years old and coming off an Achilles injury, his value for 2021 dipped tremendously. That is why he ranks lower on this list than his play warrants.
51. DT Poona Ford
Poona Ford has evolved into one of the game’s best run stuffers, and he took a step forward as a pass rusher in 2020 with a career-high 14 pressures and 2 sacks. His quickness and intelligence stood out as he dominated from various alignments up front for a banged-up Seattle defensive line.
Seattle likely doesn’t let him leave, but teams might want to bank on his upside and throw more money at him than Seattle might be willing to.
52. DT Dalvin Tomlinson
Dalvin Tomlinson is the stereotypical “great run defender” who is a below-average pass rusher. Yet, what a run defender he is. Tomlinson posted career-highs in tackles for loss this season and tied a career-high with 3.5 sacks.
He dominates interior gaps and controls rushing lanes, making him incredibly valuable, despite the nose tackle’s role seemingly dipping in value.
53. TE Jonnu Smith
Jonnu Smith is an interesting evaluation at tight end in this free agency cycle. On the field, he’s a YAC monster. Smith was behind only George Kittle last season in YAC per reception among all tight ends. This is further evidenced by his dramatically low Average Depth of Target of just 5.5 yards.
However, he’s never broken 500 yards receiving, and this was his first season with more than 3 receiving touchdowns. Perhaps a more friendly system will help him unlock that production and turn him into a valuable weapon.
54. CB K’Waun Williams
Another excellent nickel corner on this list, Williams is coming off of a strong finish to 2020. He missed eight games last season due to injury, but Williams has been a highly effective cover corner. Williams has only allowed a single touchdown in the last two seasons while posting 6 passes defended and 2 interceptions.
For a team looking to add a valuable nickel piece, Williams might be had at a good price.
55. S Kareem Jackson
Kareem Jackson is in the same boat with Von Miller in that his free agency is determined by a club option this year. However, Kareem Jackson, free agent or not, is still a quality safety at 33 years old.
He allowed only 2 touchdowns last season and 5.8 yards per target in coverage. Contenders who are wanting to add that next piece to complete their secondary would be wise to check in on Jackson if the Broncos decline his option.
56. OT Alejandro Villanueva
Villanueva fits the bill as the stereotype of “solid” play at offensive tackle. He’s not elite, and he’s not below-average. Villanueva is an above-average run blocker and slightly above-average pass protector.
While he’s 33 years old and not quite an easy athlete, the former US Army Ranger is still a valuable asset to most NFL franchises. Villanueva could be a quality starter for a team needing a bandage at left tackle next season.
57. EDGE Melvin Ingram
Much like the aforementioned Jadeveon Clowney, the sack totals don’t tell the full story of how disruptive Ingram was this season. Ingram was credited with 12 pressures in seven games this season as well as 2 passes defended. He didn’t record a single sack, but he was still effective rushing the passer in 2020 before his injury.
Ingram will be 32 years old and will be coming off of an injury, which might mean a bargain value for a team looking to add a great veteran presence to their pass rush.
58. DT Adam Butler
Adam Butler is another valuable but overlooked member of the New England defense. Butler drew a double-team in almost 70% of reps in 2020. He is an underrated interior pass rusher at nose tackle, with 15 pressures and 4 sacks this season. Butler controls run lanes and has a great combination of quickness and power to disrupt offensive lines.
New England has plenty of cap space to bring him back, but Butler would be a valuable commodity on any team.
59. DT Shelby Harris
Shelby Harris is one of the more underrated defensive linemen in the league the last couple of seasons. Harris has been an excellent run defender throughout his career and has put good reps together rushing the passer.
He missed five games last season, but he leads all defensive linemen in passes defended since 2019 — an astounding stat.
60. EDGE Trey Hendrickson
Hendrickson has succeeded as a rotational player in the past. Yet, he really hit his stride this past season. Hendrickson finished 2020 with 13.5 sacks and 33 pressures in just 15 games. That’s remarkable production for a player who only played roughly 53% of the snaps on defense for New Orleans.
However, his sack total was inflated and doesn’t tell the full story of how he is as a pass rusher. Hendrickson’s past numbers haven’t resembled those 2020 numbers, but for a 26-year-old who did that in his fourth year as a pro, there’s some upside to be had.