News & Analysis

Projecting landing spots for the NFL's top free agents in 2019

By Michael Renner
Feb 15, 2019

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Between now and mid-March, a lot of the players on PFF’s list of the top-50 free agents will have either been franchised or re-signed by their respective franchises. In fact, I wrote an article yesterday about the players who should (and shouldn’t) receive a tag before the new league year. We have seen strange things happen in the past though, and if PFF’s top-25 free agents aren’t headed back to their current teams in 2019, here are our dream homes for each.

Demarcus Lawrence, Indianapolis Colts

The Colts have more money to spend than any other franchise this offseason, meaning they can afford to play a little loose with their pocketbook to add talent. Lawrence certainly qualifies as that with back to back 88-plus overall graded seasons.

Earl Thomas, Green Bay Packers

The league’s best single-high safety goes to a team that played with a middle-of-the-field safety on 61 percent of their snaps a season ago.

Trey Flowers, Tenessee Titans

New England south. With Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan gone, Flowers fills a glaring need on the edge.

Brandon Graham, Los Angeles Rams

Because of his age, Graham will be a notch below the rest of the top edge-rushers price wise. The Rams are in win-now mode and have no need bigger than edge.

Grady Jarrett, Dallas Cowboys

With obviously no more Demarcus Lawrence in this scenario, Dallas needs to replace his production along the defensive line. Jarrett is built to play in Rod Marinelli’s penetrating one-gap defense.

Jadeveon Clowney, Oakland Raiders

The Raiders trade up from number 5 to number 1 in the 2014 NFL draft. If the Raiders do choose to eat into their $70+ million in cap space, it should be for long-term deals.

Landon Collins, Cincinnati Bengals

How does Landon Collins, Linebacker sound? That may even be his best position and would immediately transform Cincinnati’s linebacking corps.

Frank Clark, Cleveland Browns

The Browns need someone to pair with Myles Garrett, and John Dorsey will certainly be one of the GM’s willing to take in Clark’s checkered past.

Dee Ford, Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks desperately missed Cliff Avril’s presence as a speed-rusher this past season. Ford is a similar type of rusher that continually attacks the top of the pocket.

Ronald Darby, New York Jets

They’d have a lot of money locked up at corner, but it would give them one of the best young secondaries in the NFL. With cap space to burn and limited offensive options, defense might have to be addressed first.

Adrian Amos Jr., Houston Texans

Throwing Amos in the mix in Houston would give them two very versatile safeties while Amos has been more sound as a deep safety over his career than Tyrann Mathieu.

Le’Veon Bell, Baltimore Ravens

Bell’s value would be maximized in Baltimore, where they are committed to a run-heavy approach with Lamar Jackson. A Jackson-Bell backfield would spell headaches for opposing DC’s.

Lamarcus Joyner, Oakland Raiders

Marcus Gilchrist is also a free agent, but Joyner would be an upgrade and a long-term solution. It’s also a position that is relatively weak on paper in this year’s draft.  

Ndamukong Suh, Indianapolis Colts

Will Chris Ballard finally splurge on a ‘win now’ sort of move? With a playoff roster and $107 million in cap space, it would almost be irresponsible not to make one or two such plays this offseason.

Matt Paradis, Arizona Cardinals

With as far away as the Cardinals’ roster is at the moment, being major players in free agency doesn’t make a ton of sense. That being said, they need immediate contributors on what was our lowest-graded offensive line from a season ago to simply keep Josh Rosen healthy.

Golden Tate, Indianapolis Colts

Tate is at his best in a quick-timing offense that the Colts switched to last season. He’d give them something the Colts didn’t have last season: a viable number two.

Jordan Hicks, Pittsburgh Steelers

Signing Hicks would at least make it so that every single mock draft won’t have them taking a linebacker in the first round anymore. He’d be a perfect fit for their zone coverages.

Daryl Williams, Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals might not have a great recent track record bringing in tackles coming off knee injuries, but with how big a need it is, they at least have to try. Bobby Hart was the eighth lowest-graded tackle in the NFL last year.

Sheldon Richardson, Buffalo Bills

Star Lotulelei was a hard miss and could even be cut before the season. Richardson has a much stronger track record as a pass-rusher and run defender.

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, San Francisco 49ers

The safety position in San Francisco saw six different players play at least 300 snaps – none of which did so effectively. Clinton-Dix has had at least six combined pass breakups and interceptions each of the past three seasons.

Nick Foles, Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars are built to win now, and Foles is the most proven quarterback available this offseason at doing just that. They’ll have to get creative to fit him under the cap, but it’s not like they have other options.

Ja’Wuan James, Houston Texans

Kendall Lamm and Martinas Rankin combined to give up 64 pressures last season. Any money paid to James will be offset by how much the premiums on Deshaun Watson’s injury insurance will drop.

Shaquil Barrett, San Francisco 49ers

They’ll likely address edge-rusher in the draft as well, but they could realistically use as much help as possible. Barrett would command far less than others on this list while still being a massive upgrade for the 49ers.

Bryce Callahan, Detroit Lions

The slot corner in Detroit was a mess of ineffective play all season long. Callahan was the third highest pure slot corner in the league last year.

Rodger Saffold, Los Angeles Chargers

Guard has been a nightmare for the Chargers the past couple years. Left guard Dan Feeney allowed the most pressures of any guard in the NFL this past season.

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