News & Analysis

2020 NFL Free Agency: Examining the NFL's recently released players

As NFL free agency unfolds, many players will be released around the NFL. Here’s a look at the recently released players and where they stand at this point in their respective careers.

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CB Prince Amukamara

After bouncing around multiple teams, Amukamara found a three-year home with the Chicago Bears and rewarded them with the 24th-best coverage grade among cornerbacks during that time. Amukamara may not have become the true lockdown cornerback the Giants envisioned when he was drafted in the first round in 2011, but he’s been among the most consistent coverage players in the league, earning overall grades between 66.3 and 81.0 in every full season of his career. There’s still plenty for Amukamara to offer a team in need of outside cornerback help, and he’s one of the top options available in a thin free agent cornerback market. 

Prince Amukamara: PFF Coverage grade and rank by year
Season  Coverage grade  Rank
2011 59.5 N/A
2012 71.1 36/114
2013 65.8 58/118
2014 66.4 44/124
2015 70.0 32/125
2016 63.8 58/125
2017 71.5 48/125
2018 77.1 17/125
2019 70.5 33/127

TE Delanie Walker

Walker has played only 232 snaps over the last two years, but he finished with a PFF grade of at least 74.0 in every season from 2014 to 2017. Walker has always been a solid run blocker, but he became one of the league's best receiving weapons at tight end in recent years. He's worth a look to see if he can re-capture a year or two of his prime.

DI Linval Joseph

Joseph was once one of the best all-around nose tackles in the league, but he's coming off his worst PFF grade (69.5) since 2011. He's only totaled 18 pressures in each of the last two seasons despite rushing 347 times last year and 363 times in 2018, and that low pressure rate will limit his future opportunities. Still, Joseph could play a role as a one-down run-stopper, though that part of his game has also regressed last year, as his 66.3 run-defense grade in 2019 was his worst since 2012.

OT Cordy Glenn

The Cincinnati Bengals took a shot on Glenn in 2018, trading down nine spots in the first round to secure what they hoped would be their left tackle of the near future. Instead, they got just over 1,000 snaps out of Glenn, who never got back to his previous form when he was one of the game's best tackles. His best five seasons came from 2012 to 2016 with the Buffalo Bills, but he's never had a PFF pass-blocking grade below 70.0 in his career and is worth a look as a flier at a valuable position.

Cordy Glenn: PFF pass-blocking grade and rank by year
Season  Pass-block grade Rank
2012 71.5 32/80
2013 82.0 13/80
2014 84.9 12/87
2015 87.7 4/81
2016 86.0 8/84
2017 73.5 34/86
2018 71.3 46/83
2019 76.9 23/88

OT Rick Wagner

Wagner has had a solid career, grading at 70.0 plus in all but two years. Unfortunately, last season’s 59.0 overall grade was the worst of his career as he struggled in pass protection and the run game. He has graded better as a pass blocker than as a run blocker throughout his career, though last season was a career low in both departments. Overall, Wagner ranks as the No. 39 tackle over the last three years, so he’s a capable starter and a viable option for teams with a need at right tackle.

WR Taylor Gabriel

A very good complementary receiver, Gabriel has had two extremely productive seasons, first in 2016 with the Atlanta Falcons and then in 2018 with the Chicago Bears. Despite his 5-foot-8 frame, Gabriel has worked mostly on the outside, and he was more of a downfield target with the Bears. We saw Gabriel average 7.8 yards after the catch per reception with the Falcons in 2016, and he averaged 6.6 in 2017, so his best role may be as an after-the-catch threat as a third or fourth option in the passing attack.

CB Xavier Rhodes

The last two years have not been kind to Rhodes, who dropped off from “viable starter” to one of the league’s worst at the cornerback position. Last season was particularly ugly, as he allowed over 83% of passes to be completed into his coverage while allowing a passer rating of 131.1 when targeted, fifth-worst in the NFL, including the playoffs. Rhodes is only a couple of years removed from being one of the league’s better outside cornerbacks, but expectations must be realistic given his recent struggles.

LB Thomas Davis Sr.

One of the best linebackers in the league just a few years ago, Davis is not the same player he once was, especially in coverage. Last year was Davis’ first outside of Carolina; his 55.7 coverage grade was the worst mark of his career, and his 19 missed tackles were the most he’s had since 2013. Davis can still contribute as a veteran presence on the defense, though he is not the same three-down presence we saw a few years ago. He could add value in more of a blitzing role, as he was among the league’s best as a high-volume blitzer from 2013-17.

DI Brandon Mebane

Mebane has had two excellent peaks in his career, starting in 2013 with the Seattle Seahawks and again in 2016 on only 340 snaps with the Los Angeles Chargers. He’s been an average player outside of those two years, and the last three seasons have not been great. Mebane brings little as a pass-rusher, and his best bet is adding value as an early-down run-stuffer, though he’s coming off two of his three worst seasons against the run and looks like a backup at this stage of his career.

LB Alec Ogletree

Playing over 850 snaps in all but one year of his career, Ogletree has been durable and he’s played plenty of football, but he’s always been recognized more on reputation than production. His best overall grade came in 2016 when he graded at a pedestrian 63.3 overall, and the last three seasons have seen him grade in the 50s. Ogletree misses far too many tackles, and he’s struggled in coverage outside of a few flash plays throughout the years. If there’s a way to use him, Ogletree has shown well as a blitzer, and he could contribute in a limited role in sub-packages, but he’s generally struggled as an every-down player both against the run and as a pass-rusher. 

TE David Morgan

Morgan came into the league as one of the better run-blocking tight ends in his draft class in 2016, and we only really saw what he was capable of when he graded at 85.5 overall across 431 snaps in 2017. He had the No. 2 run-blocking grade in the league at 78.5 that year and contributed with 10 catches as a complementary receiving option. Other than that season, though, Morgan has played just 246 snaps during his career, but he still could be a viable blocking tight end in the right system.

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