NFL Free Agency Preview
This year’s list of free agents heading into the 2021 NFL season is truly remarkable. Some players will return to the teams they played for last season and others will be wearing different colors on Sunday.
Free agency is how NFL franchises fill rosters before heading into the draft, so they can take the best player available on draft night. Here are the top 10 soon-to-be free agents for the 2021 off-season, and the best landing spots for them.
1. Dak Prescott, QB, DAL - Prescott is the cream of the crop in this free agent market after an unfortunate injury just five games into 2020. A lot is in the air about Prescott’s future in Dallas.
Prescott was having one of his best seasons ever before going down even with the defense that didn’t give him many chances to win games early in the season. The talent on offense alone should be enough for Jerry Jones to make sure that the Cowboys and Prescott camp agree on a long-term extension.
2. Trent Williams, LT, SF - After so many injuries derailed the San Francisco 49ers roster last season, a lot of the solid play went unnoticed, including that of Trent Williams, which has led him to be discussed as a top tackle in football once again.
Williams has shown elite level play in a bunch of different schemes and under different coaching staffs it will be a shocker for me to see Kyle Shanahan watch Williams leave after getting healthy once again.
3. Leonard Williams, DL, NYG - When the New York Giants traded for Leonard Williams last season, many thought that it was a waste of a draft pick. Williams, a former number six pick in the NFL draft, was being eaten alive on the other side of town with the New York Jets.
Williams was not living up to expectations and frankly was just too mediocre of a player for the Jets to keep paying.
However, Williams had a career year in 2020 with the New York Giants. The former Jet had 13 sacks for Big Blue, and has made his voice clear that he wants to stay on the blue side of New York for good. Expect the Giants to do anything they can to resign Williams.
4. Brandon Scherff, G, WAS - Scherff just had his first all-pro year as a member of the Washington Football Team. Even though he is about to turn 30 years old, Washington needs to make it a priority to resign Scherff.
Antonio Gibson showed a lot of promise this season for the Washington running game, and keeping an all- pro guard like Scherff will let him do his thing. Not to mention, Washington has not found their quarterback yet, and whoever that may be is probably going to be young and will need players in front of him that he can trust to keep him upright.
5. Allen Robinson, WR, CHI - Robinson is coming off one of his best seasons of his career. Robinson may have decided to exit Jacksonville at one point and head to Chicago, but yet again, has not had the quarterback play to see his full potential in a winning environment.
It would come as a complete shock to see Matt Nagy and the Chicago Bears bring back Robinson, who is clearly frustrated. Robinson is going to want to go to a contender, most likely one with supreme quarterback play.
Do not be surprised to see Robinson take less money to go play for a winning team. An underrated fit that I think could benefit both a team in contention and Robinson is the Kansas City Chiefs.
If Andy Reid and the Chiefs front office could find a way to move enough money around to sign Robinson, I’m sure Patrick Mahomes would give them the thumbs up. A trio of Robinson, Travis Kelce, and Tyreek Hill would give the rest of the league fits.
6. Justin Simmons, S, DEN - Justin Simmons has turned into a complete safety during his time in Denver. But, the Broncos have shown too many inconsistencies over the past few years for Simmons to put his faith and trust in John Elway’s team.
After getting a career high five interceptions this season and racking up a total of 96 tackles, Simmons will have ton of offers on the table. A team that I think should really look into Justin Simmons would be the Cleveland Browns.
The Browns need help in the secondary and have enough cap room to give Simmons a deal worth more than Denver.
7. Kenny Golladay, WR, DET - After the trade of Matthew Stafford to Los Angeles, it seems even more unlikely that Kenny Golladay will remain in Detroit. Like Allen Robinson, Golladay has dealt with inconsistencies in the NFC North division for several years now.
Just a few months ago there were actual trade rumors that Golladay would be shipped out to New York to join the Giants. Based on that report alone, I would be shocked to see the Giants not offer Golladay a contract, to give Daniel Jones a big weapon on the outside. Look for Golladay to be possibly in the Meadowlands for next season.
8. Lavonte David, LB, TB - It seems to me as if Bruce Arians told everyone they were returning to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next season after they captured their well-deserved Super Bowl victory. Arians made it clear that he wanted to bring back David to be a part of his defense next season.
No one deserves it more than David after a grueling eight seasons of losing football in Tampa Bay previous to Tom Brady‘s arrival. As Arians said at the Super Bowl press conference “Your a** ain’t going anywhere,” which should be enough alone to write in David as a member of Todd Bowles’ defense once again next season
9. Anthony Harris, S, MIN - The Minnesota Vikings secondary was historically horrible this season besides Anthony Harris. It got so ugly at a point where Head Coach Mike Zimmer was calling out his defense for the lack of effort and talent towards the end of the season.
Harris is one of the best safeties in football. Even though he played on one of the worst defenses in football this season, Harris is still effective in the secondary and was nothing but consistent for Minnesota.
Harrison Smith’s contract is also up and it would be hard for me to see the Vikings letting go a player like Smith, who has been there for an eternity. That probably means that Harris would be on the outs but a team like Ron Rivera’s Washington football team should be in the market for Harris when free agency begins.
10. Chris Godwin, WR, TB - If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Chris Godwin during this playoff run for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it’s been that he is a team-first guy. Whether it was Antonio Brown joining the wide receiver corps, or even last year when the team got rid of Jameis Winston to bring in Tom Brady, Godwin has remained supportive and eager to compete for a title.
Now it is time for Godwin to get paid and he sure deserves it. It is going to be difficult for Tampa Bay to bring everybody back that was a part of their Super Bowl run, but if they are going to leave someone out of that group, I can’t see it being Godwin.
Sam Kirk is a freshman majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact Sam, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Contributors
Freshman / Broadcast Journalism
Sam Kirk is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism at Penn State. He is a writer and podcaster for the CommRadio sports department. He is featured weekly in the fantasy football podcast as well as with the live show Hail Mary. Sam has written articles all across the board that deal with baseball, football and basketball. He is also working for a football media company called Inside the Hashes, writing articles and contributing to their YouTube channel.