Top 100 NFL Free Agents of 2021 | 61-80
61. EDGE Denico Autry
A former undrafted free agent of the Raiders, Autry signed with the Colts in 2018 and quickly saw an uptick in production. Playing a mixture of roles along the Colts’ defensive line, Autry proved to be a disruptive pass rusher, finishing third on the team in sacks and pressures this season.
While Autry has been banged up, he’s still proven to be an effective player up front. That is something teams will take note of.
62. CB Quinton Dunbar
Dunbar regressed some in 2020 but was dealing with a knee injury that shut him down for the final half of the season. Dunbar’s 2019 was excellent with Washington, which is what teams will be banking on.
Dunbar has 40 pass deflections over his career with 10 interceptions. In addition, he is still only 28 years old, and he could fetch a nice contract as a team’s CB2 in free agency.
63. QB Cam Newton – Re-signed by the New England Patriots on a one-year deal worth $5.1 million in base value
Cam Newton is a case many will be paying close attention to. Obviously, New England’s situation wasn’t ideal this season, and no offseason didn’t help. By virtually every passing metric, Cam struggled in 2020.
Yet, on film, Cam was a great deep ball thrower who wasn’t given enough opportunities to throw deep (nor could he, given New England’s lack of a deep threat). His physical gifts have always masked his accuracy, but for how long with his injuries? I’d imagine a reunion with Ron Rivera is in the cards, but how much money would a team be willing to give Cam?
64. CB Xavier Rhodes
“Rhodes Closed” enjoyed a career revival in Indianapolis this season. He allowed just a 51.9% completion percentage when targeted, good for 11th among all cornerbacks. Rhodes posted 12 pass deflections this season with 2 interceptions.
He isn’t physically going to be a lockdown corner on opposing WR1s anymore, but Rhodes is an excellent veteran CB2 target for a zone-heavy team.
65. WR Nelson Agholor
Agholor’s career has been marred by inconsistency, but he evolved into one of the better deep threats in the league last year with the Raiders. Agholor was second among all receivers with 18.7 yards per reception and sixth with an Average Targeted Air Yards of 15.
He still struggles with drops, but he improved in true catch rate from 2019 to 2020. Was his improvement a result of leaving Carson Wentz or an aberration? Either way, a team looking for an explosive field stretcher will likely put Agholor high on their list this offseason.
66. EDGE Leonard Floyd
Floyd enjoyed a career breakout year operating next to Aaron Donald. The former first-round pick posted a career-high in sacks, pressures, and tackles for loss.
Detractors point out that Floyd was rarely double-teamed and didn’t post a high pass-rush win rate this season. Nevertheless, it’s hard to dispute Floyd played his best football in 2020.
67. TE Robert Tonyan
The Robert Tonyan breakout was not envisioned by many coming into the season.
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Tonyan was a wide receiver in college who converted over to tight end in Green Bay and emerged this season with 11 touchdowns. Tonyan was second in average separation yards among all tight ends and wide receivers this season and had the highest true catch percentage in the league.
68. WR Rashard Higgins
Higgins was fantastic for the Browns in 2020 and has repeatedly demonstrated excellent chemistry with QB Baker Mayfield. This season, Higgins was 23rd among WRs in true catch percentage (minimum 50 targets) and was eighth in yards per reception.
Furthermore, 26 of his 37 receptions went for first downs. It’s tough to project the Browns letting him walk given his relationship with Baker. Still, Higgins looks to be an excellent complementary WR2 for a team looking for a target that wins in the intermediate areas.
69. CB Bashaud Breeland
Breeland’s a polarizing cornerback, seemingly different from game to game. However, as a whole, his 2020 season was one to take note of. Breeland allowed a QBR of just 78.3 this season, good for 19th among all CBs, and only allowed a 50% completion percentage when targeted.
Breeland is still just 29 years old and could be a good starter for most teams in the corner market.
70. WR Antonio Brown
Ranking Brown this low just a few years ago would have seen the pitchforks come out. Certainly, Brown proved he was still an effective wide receiver with Tampa this season, but he also had Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Gronk with a lot of attention on them.
Given his age, the injuries, and the off-field antics, Brown’s market isn’t quite what it used to be. Still, Brown can be a fantastic weapon in the NFL on the right team.
71. TE Gerald Everett
Everett has been a solid, athletic “move” tight end for the Rams for the last four years behind Tyler Higbee. He’s been oft-forgotten among all the talent the Rams have had. Everett had 7 drops this season, but improved his YAC per reception and caught 24 first downs on 41 receptions.
Everett is only 26 years old, and the tight end position has such a barren outlook that a team will pursue Everett to be a reliable option over the middle.
72. WR Marvin Jones
Marvin Jones is a solid, reliable deep target who has played significant snaps outside and in the slot. He still looks like he has plenty of juice left for the game, forming a rapport with Matthew Stafford in Detroit.
Jones posted a Targeted Air Yards per Target of 12.9 and had a 66.09% true catch percentage. Could he be Los Angeles-bound?
73. CB Mackensie Alexander
Mackensie Alexander is another valuable nickel corner on this list of the top NFL free agents in 2021. Alexander has had a few solid seasons now as a primary slot corner and consistently produces at an above-average rate.
He allowed a QBR of 82.3 this season while posting 6 passes defended and an interception. More importantly, Alexander has only allowed 2 touchdowns in coverage the last three seasons. While he doesn’t draw a ton of attention, his play would be invaluable to a contender looking for that nickel piece.
74. LB Jayon Brown
An undersized coverage linebacker, Jayon Brown has posted back-to-back seasons of 8 passes defended with the Titans. Unfortunately, Brown suffered an elbow injury, knocking him out of most of the latter half of Tennessee’s season.
He’s not the best run defender with a missed tackle percentage of 8.4%, which dropped him on this list of the top NFL free agents in 2021. However, teams will value his coverage ability with more nickel and dime personnel being used league-wide.
75. DT Kawann Short
The Panthers recently released Kawann Short, so I decided to include him on this list of the top NFL free agents in 2021. Short was one of the best defensive tackles in the game just a few short years ago, but injuries have diminished his play in the last two seasons.
A disruptive interior lineman who stuffs the run just as well as he gets after the quarterback, Short could be a good reclamation project for a team willing to gamble on the interior.
76. CB Chidobe Awuzie
Chidobe Awuzie is remarkably solid and has been for years. He isn’t the elite athlete that one would want in a potential CB1, but Awuzie was at his best playing the CB2 with Byron Jones in Dallas.
His 2019 season was a career year (playing opposite Jones), with 14 passes defended, 3 touchdowns allowed, and an 89.1 QBR allowed when targeted. He was hurt this season, which diminishes his value some, but Awuzie can be an effective CB2 next to a star corner in the right scheme.
77. CB Patrick Peterson
Peterson’s play has dipped some in recent years, making him another potential reclamation project on this list of the top NFL free agents in 2021. He just hasn’t seemed to click in Vance Joseph’s scheme.
Peterson has missed only six games in his remarkable 10-year career, and they all came from a suspension for PEDs in 2019. He’s been one of the game’s best corners for the last decade. Yet, it’s tough to project what his play will look like in the future, given his struggles in 2020.
78. OG Kelechi Osemele
Osemele has been a dominant guard in his time in the league. However, he’s only played in eight combined games the last two seasons. While he’s been an absolute bulldozer when healthy, his age and recent injury bug make him a risky investment.
If he’s healthy, though, Osemele is a plug-and-play guard that will boost any offensive line he’s on. He’s one of the best offensive linemen on this list of the top NFL free agents in 2021.
79. WR Breshad Perriman
Perriman has had a bit of a career resurgence lately. Nevertheless, he was laid out to dry in the Adam Gase-led Jets offense. Still, Perriman ranked fifth in both yards per reception and Average Targeted Air Yards (15.9) last season.
Perriman is still an effective deep threat. However, his struggles as a catcher were evident again in 2020, with a catch rate of just 50%. Perriman is one of the best weapons on this list of the top NFL free agents in 2021.
80. CB A.J. Bouye
A.J. Bouye is a bit of a reclamation project at corner right now, and he’ll be coming off of a PED suspension this season. His play with Jacksonville wasn’t what it was in Houston, and he dealt with a shoulder injury this past season in Denver.
Bouye is a great man-to-man cover corner when he’s healthy and on the field. However, it’s tough to say what he’ll look like next season. Still, Bouye could be a valuable investment for a competitor looking to shore up their secondary.