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2021 NFL Free Agency: The best of what’s left heading into the new league year

The free agent frenzy began at the beginning of the week, but there are still plenty of players available for teams with a shopping list.

Pittsburgh Steelers v New York Giants Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The NFL’s new-league year started on Wednesday after two days of legal tampering and some free agents stayed put, while a majority went to New England and other locales. Some teams are waiting for the prices to drop in the second week as players go on clearance. The reduced salary cap of only $182.5 million has made this free agent period even more interesting, There are still plenty of teams looking to fill holes while many players are sitting by their phones waiting for a phone to ring like me two weeks before before the prom after I asked 31 girls out and awaited their replies. Here is a list of the best of the remaining free agents. I expect guys like JuJu Smith-Schuster, Chris Carson and Mitch Trubisky may have better luck than I did in 1988.

Of course, moves happen fast. These are subject to change.


There are no A-Listers left on the board. Most of the remaining quarterbacks would probably be added to a team as a backup plan should their starter fall to injury.

NFL: Washington Football Team at San Francisco 49ers Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Mitchell Trubisky - Chicago Bears

Alex Smith - Washington Football Team (pictured)

C.J. Beathard - San Francisco 49ers

Colt McCoy - New York Giants

Chase Daniel - Detroit Lions

Running Back

Besides Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams and Marlon Mack, there has been very little movement as far as running backs go. If a team wants to add a running back, there’s plenty of quality rushers still available. Expect a run soon.

Wild Card Round - Los Angeles Rams v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Chris Carson - Seattle Seahawks (pictured)

Mike Davis - Carolina Panthers

Le’Veon Bell - Kansas City Chiefs

Kenyan Drake - Arizona Cardinals

Leonard Fournette - Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Wide Receiver

Allen Robinson and Chris Godwin were both franchised by the Bears and Bucs respectively. While Corey Davis, Curtis Samuel, John Brown and Marvin Jones all hooked-on with receiver needy teams... even bigger names with bigger salary expectations are out there.

Detroit Lions v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

JuJu Smith-Schuster - Pittsburgh Steelers

Kenny Golladay - Detroit Lions (pictured)

Will Fuller IV - Houston Texans

Antonio Brown - Tampa Bay Buccaneers

T. Y. Hilton - Indianapolis Colts

Tight End

Robert Tonyan tendered by the Pack, Gronk stays with Brady in Tampa and Belichick double-dipped on Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith. Indeed, the best of the free agent tight end market was snapped up pretty quickly. Some starter-quality players are still out there, but they aren’t top tier.

Carolina Panthers v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Kyle Rudolph - Minnesota Vikings (pictured)

Trey Burton - Indianapolis Colts

Dan Arnold - Arizona Cardinals

Jared Cook - New Orleans Saints

Jordan Reed - San Francisco 49ers

Offensive Tackle

Of the 12 offense of tackles that signed deals in free agency, only two switched teams. Most of the available OTs are over the age of 30.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Tennessee Titans Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Alejandro Villanueva - Pittsburgh Steelers (pictured)

Mitchell Schwartz - Kansas City Chiefs

Rick Wagner - Green Bay Packers

Riley Reiff - Minnesota Vikings

Russell Okung - Carolina Panthers


Joe Thuney, Kevin Zeitler, Matt Feiler Brandon Scherff and Jon Feliciano were top of the free agent list and all have signed deals for 2021. Decent options remain for those looking for interior offensive linemen.

Green Bay Packers v”u2020Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Lane Taylor - Green Bay Packers (pictured)

Trai Turner - Los Angeles Chargers

Mike Iupati - Seattle Seahawks

Jermaine Eluemunor - New England

John Miller - Carolina Panthers


Corey Linsley signed a huge deal to go to the Chargers. The former Packer was top on the list of a not very deep class.

AFC Championship - Tennessee Titans v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

David Andrews - New England Patriots (pictured)

Ethan Pocic - Seattle Seahawks

Austin Reiter - Kansas City Chiefs

Austin Blythe - Los Angeles Rams

Ben Garland - San Francisco 49ers

Edge Rusher/Defensive End

Shaq Barret stayed in Tampa, J.J. Watt landed in Arizona and Trey Hendrickson replaced Carl Lawson, who left Cincinnati for the Jets. The best that remain are 30-somethings, but still could be good finds for their future franchise.

Cleveland Browns v New York Jets Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images

Carlos Dunlap - Seattle Seahawks

Aldon Smith - Dallas Cowboys

Olivier Vernon - Cleveland Browns (pictured)

Kerry Hyder - San Francisco 49ers

Everson Griffen - Detroit Lions

Defensive Tackle

Leonard Williams broke the bank to stay with the New York Football Giants for three more seasons, but plenty of bargains are out there for the choosing.

Carolina Panthers v Detroit Lions Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Kawann Short - Carolina Panthers (pictured)

Sheldon Rankins - New Orleans Saints

Ndamukong Suh - Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Abry Jones - Jacksonville Jaguars

DaQuan Jones - Tennessee Titans

Edge Rusher/Outside Linebacker

With the draft class at the position not overly potent, most of of the top OLBs found big money elsewhere right away making the remaining quality players more marketable.

Minnesota Vikings v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Rob Leiter via Getty Images

Jadeveon Clowney - Tennessee Titans

Melvin Ingram - Los Angeles Chargers (pictured)

Jordan Jenkins - New York Jets

Kyler Fackrell - New York Giants

Ryan Kerrigan - Washington Football Team

Inside Linebacker

Teams looking for help in the middle of their defense will have slim pickings after six of the top seven originally available signing contracts. Most of these free agents were retained by their team, with only one hooking on with a new team.

New England Patriots v Miami Dolphins Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

K.J. Wright - Seattle Seahawks

Eric Wilson - Minnesota Vikings

B.J. Goodson - Cleveland Browns

Avery Williamson - Pittsburgh Steelers

Elandon Roberts - Miami Dolphins (pictured)


A ton of corners are off the board, but a few good options remain. Adorre’ Jackson just became available and tops the list with Casey Heyward and Brian Poole available as well.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Tennessee Titans Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Adorre’ Jackson - Tennessee Titans (pictured)

Brian Poole - New York Jets

Casey Heyward - Los Angeles Chargers

Troy Hill - Los Angeles Rams

K’Waun Williams - San Francisco 49ers


Even though the top four safeties are signed, sealed and delivered... many remain. A run could start soon.

Detroit Lions v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Desmond King - Tennessee Titans

Kareem Jackson - Denver Broncos

Keanu Neal - Atlanta Falcons (pictured)

Malik Hooker - Indianapolis Colts

Anthony Harris - Minnesota Vikings


Although kickers usually take a while to go off the board, 5 of the 11 free agents have new contracts.

New England Patriots v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

Stephen Gostkowski - Tennesse Titans

Nick Folk- New England Patriots (pictured)

Randy Bullock - Cincinnati Bengals

Zane Gonzalez - Arizona Cardinals

Cody Parkey - Cleveland Browns


Plenty of legs are still available.

Seattle Seahawks v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images

Cameron Johnston (RFA) - Phladelphia Eagles (pictured)

Jordan Berry - Pittsburgh Steelers

Kevin Huber - Cincinnati Bengals

Thomas Morstead - New Orleans Saints