The Best Remaining Available NFL Free Agents for the 2020 Season
There are still impact players to be had in advance of the 2020 NFL season
If all goes as hoped in the ever-tumultuous landscape that is the year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NFL hopes to start their 2020 season just mere months from now. In addition to the different ways that teams must train and prepare under new expectations and restrictions, there is still a scramble underway to carefully compose each roster in any ways that might provide improvement or an edge. Although most of the major free agents signed earlier in the year, there are still quality players remaining on the open market, including these potential difference makers.
Jadeveon Clowney, Defensive End: The 2014 first-overall draft choice was once linked to possible $100 million-plus contracts but the suddenness of COVID and concerns about a player with his checkered past with injuries a pile of money have left him sitting unsigned. Rumors have connected him with a number of teams this offseason, but there has been nothing reported that seems particularly imminent. He has 32 sacks and three Pro-Bowl nods in his six seasons yet appears to have another level or two he hasn’t tapped into yet with his talent. Some team will take a chance on him, but for how much and how long is still very much up in the air.
Logan Ryan, Defensive Back: Ryan offers versatility and experience to anyone seeking an upgrade in their defensive backfield. He isn’t elite at either cornerback or safety but is more than capable starting at either position. He has 17 interceptions and 11 sacks in seven seasons, and perhaps even more impressive, played in 15 playoff games. Still just 29, he is a real playmaker, as evidenced by his game-ending interception of Tom Brady in last year’s playoffs to help his Tennessee Titans end the New England Patriots’ legendary quarterback’s incredible two-decade run with the team.
Everson Griffen, Defensive End: The pass rusher lasted until the fourth round of the 2010 draft following his college days at USC. It then took him until his fifth NFL season to a starter. His slow burn was well worth the wait, as he spent the first decade of his career with the Minnesota Vikings before becoming a free agent this offseason. Now 32, he has 74.5 sacks and four Pro Bowl berths to his name; including eight sacks and his last Pro Bowl team in 2019. He may be in the waning years of his career but should still be able to provide some oomph to any team needing help getting after the quarterback.
Devonta Freeman, Running Back: Despite two 1,000-yard rushing seasons in his first six years in the NFL, Freeman is best deployed as a dual-threat back. He has accumulated 3,972 rushing yards,257 receptions and 43 total touchdowns thus far in his career. The asking price for an established back of his pedigree may have scared off some teams earlier. While he might not break the bank, the 28-year-old should still have suitors who are attracted to what he can provide an offense. He is versatile enough to fit into just about any offense, so his eventual landing spot could be just about anywhere.
Eric Reid, Safety: Reid has been a sold starter during the first seven years of his career, piling up 519 total tackles, 11 interceptions and six sacks. He has also drawn headlines for his vocal opposition to racism and police violence, including kneeling during the National Anthem. Given his track record of solid play, it’s hard not to wonder if his public advocacy has contributed to him being without a job at the moment. He’s still just 28, so as long as he hasn’t been blackballed, some team is going to luck out by nabbing a solid starting safety, which is something that you don’t see every day this late in the offseason.