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Who’re the highest beneficiaries from NFL free company to date?

Who are the top beneficiaries from NFL free agency so far?


The primary two weeks of free company have seen every staff — save for the Buccaneers, who had been keen on their 2020 squad — make modifications that may have an effect on their 2021 beginning lineups. Whereas the free-agent signings generated headlines, listed here are some key holdovers who stand to profit from groups’ offseason choices.

 

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports activities

Okay.J. Wright stays unsigned, so a fourth contract settlement between him and the Seahawks shouldn’t be dominated out. Regardless, Brooks’ position will develop considerably. And with Bobby Wagner’s top-market wage on Seattle’s books at linebacker, it might make sense for the staff to depend on a rookie wage alongside its defensive anchor. The most recent of Seattle’s stunning first-round picks, Brooks battled accidents early however got here on down the stretch. His development coincided with the Seahawks’ defensive enchancment. Wagner might have a brand new sidekick quickly.

 

Quintez Cephus

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports activities

In letting Marvin Jones be a part of the Jaguars and opting in opposition to franchise-tagging Kenny Golladay, the Lions are rebooting at receiver. Whereas Tyrell Williams and Breshad Perriman signed with Detroit, their ceilings are pretty well-established. The brand new Lions regime will need to consider Cephus, who performed sparingly (two begins, 35% snap charge) as a rookie. With five-year Lion Jones and four-year cog Golladay gone, the fifth-round pick of Wisconsin can have freer rein to showcase his abilities within the staff’s first post-Matthew Stafford offense.

 

Marcus Davenport

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports activities

After Jadeveon Clowney selected the Titans over an aggressive Saints pitch, Trey Hendrickson thrived in a contract yr. Hendrickson usurped Davenport and recorded 13.5 sacks. Hendrickson is now a Bengal, leaving Davenport one other likelihood. The Saints traded their 2019 first-round decide to maneuver again into the ’18 first-round for Davenport, however the defensive finish has been a main starter in only one season. Professional Soccer Focus has slotted the previous mid-major freak as a top-20 D-end in every of the previous two seasons. If Davenport can crank out stats reverse Cam Jordan in 2021, he shall be poised to land a profitable second contract.

 

A.J. Dillon

Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin by way of Imagn Content material Companies, LLC

In not tagging Aaron Jones, the Packers got here near a radically reshaped backfield. Even with Jones re-signing to remain on as their starter, Dillon will grow to be his complementary again. The 2020 second-round decide confirmed within the snow in opposition to the Titans he provides a distinct form of ability set in comparison with the since-departed Jamaal Williams. The thunder-and-lightning cliche will apply for the 2021 Packers backfield, with Dillon (5.3 yards per carry in restricted time as a rookie) looming as one of many league’s most attention-grabbing off-the-bench weapons.

 

Kevin Dotson

Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports activities

The decreased wage cap hit the Steelers arduous. A number of longtime starters are out of the image. Pittsburgh’s once-veteran-laden offensive line is all the way down to David DeCastro and a set of unproven abilities. Matt Feiler‘s departure for Los Angeles will transfer Dotson to a first-string guard position reverse DeCastro. A fourth-round decide final yr, Dotson crammed in for 4 begins as a rookie. Professional Soccer Focus graded the ex-Louisiana Rajin’ Cajun as a top-30 guard. Granted, that judgment got here on restricted work. However the Steelers might want to depend on a number of new O-line starters on low cost contracts subsequent season. Dotson shall be one.

 

Chase Edmonds

Michael Chow/The Republic by way of Imagn Content material Companies, LLC

The Cardinals shall be a staff to look at on the operating again place within the draft, however Kliff Kingsbury mentioned he could be advantageous with Edmonds taking part in the lead position subsequent season. After backing up David Johnson and Kenyan Drake, Edmonds will exit March as Arizona’s clear No. 1 ball provider (amongst those that take handoffs; Kyler Murray is excellent). Edmonds averaged 4.6 yards per carry final season and delivered his greatest outlet work, catching 53 passes and totaling 4 receiving TDs. If the Playing cards don’t overinvest at this replaceable place within the draft, Edmonds is on observe for a giant contract yr.

 

Bryan Edwards

Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports activities

Jon Gruden‘s affinity for veterans clouds the receiver place, with the Raiders czar greenlighting the signings of John Brown and Willie Snead. Edwards is an even bigger goal than every, however Brown might stand in his method for snaps on the skin in 2021. Nonetheless, Nelson Agholor’s exit opens the door for Edwards to indicate he could be a starter. The 6-foot-3 South Carolina product provides a dimension the remainder of the Raiders’ wideouts lack, and he fared nicely through the staff’s coaching camp final yr. The Derek Carr-piloted passing assault might use some measurement exterior of Darren Waller.

 

Anthony Firkser

Andrew Nelles / Tennessean.com by way of Imagn Content material Companies, LLC

The Titans handed on an affordable franchise tag for Jonnu Smith, elevating Firkser into place because the staff’s prime tight finish. The UDFA out of Harvard doesn’t have Smith’s expertise, and the Titans might dedicate at the very least mid-round draft capital to this place. However Firkser will play an even bigger position for the 2021 staff, after having participated in 32% of Tennessee’s offensive snaps final season. Firkser eclipsed his earlier career-high marks by 20 catches and 162 yards (39 for 387) and is positioned to take an even bigger step ahead in an offense that additionally misplaced Corey Davis.

 

Kristian Fulton

Andrew Nelles/ Tennessean.com by way of Imagn Content material Companies, LLC

Going into their 2020 coaching camp, the Titans rostered Malcolm Butler, Adoree’ Jackson, and 15-year veteran Johnathan Joseph. Tennessee has since minimize all three. Though Janoris Jenkins is on observe to play a stopgap position, he shall be 33 this yr. The Titans will want Fulton, a 2020 second-round decide, to be a starter subsequent season. A knee harm restricted Fulton to 6 video games final season, and he entered the NFL in a quite tough yr for rookies to assimilate. With 2020 first-rounder Isaiah Wilson a historic bust, the Titans want Fulton to return by means of to salvage final yr’s draft class.

 

Randy Gregory

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports activities

Though the NFL has suspended Gregory 4 instances, the 2015 second-round decide stays with the Cowboys. Regardless of Gregory’s unreliability, the Cowboys seem ready to let him grow to be a first-time starter. The Cowboys are not believed to be planning a second Aldon Smith contract, and regardless of the staff hiring a brand new defensive coordinator in Dan Quinn, Gregory seems to have the within observe to start out reverse DeMarcus Lawrence. Gregory, 28, has began one recreation as a professional. He notched 3.5 sacks, three pressured fumbles and 12 QB hits in 10 video games final season. A traditionally odd second act could also be coming.

 

Mecole Hardman

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports activities

Sammy Watkins’ contract proved onerous, given his persistent harm hassle, however the Chiefs lack a possession receiver. There’s the tantalizing prospect of the staff deploying one of many quickest receiving tandems in NFL historical past on a full-time foundation. A uncooked prospect in 2019, Hardman has not proven sufficient consistency. He has performed 45% of Kansas Metropolis’s offensive snaps in every of his two seasons and, barring a commerce for a WR2, must be anticipated to see extra time now that Watkins is Baltimore-bound. A 3rd-year breakout from Tyreek Hill‘s sidekick would unlock one other dimension inside this elite move offense.

 

Alex Highsmith

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports activities

Their receiver-development acumen generates extra publicity, however the Steelers have achieved nicely to seek out succesful edge rushers. The staff has discovered supplementary sack artists to staff with All-Professionals James Harrison and T.J. Watt, with LaMarr Woodley, Jason Worilds, and Bud Dupree producing for prolonged stretches. The Steelers have massive wants elsewhere; they want Highsmith to grow to be the most recent sidekick rush man. The third-round decide recorded 15 sacks as a senior at Charlotte and flashed after Dupree’s late-season harm. With Dupree now in Tennessee, Highsmith shall be ticketed to start out reverse Watt subsequent season.

 

B.J. Hill

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports activities

Overshadowed by Washington’s menacing defensive position, the Giants put collectively a powerful group final season. Whereas Dalvin Tomlinson is now a Viking, the staff has a gifted participant to advertise into the beginning lineup. Professional Soccer Focus has graded Hill as an upper-echelon defensive lineman for the previous two seasons; the previous second-round decide has excelled in opposition to the run. The Giants have signed nostril deal with Danny Shelton, however Hill stands to see extra time alongside Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence on a protection depending on its inside linemen. 

 

Jalen Hurts

James Lang-USA TODAY Sports activities

The Eagles’ choices to signal Joe Flacco and commerce down from No. 6 to No. 12 make it quite clear that they’ll give the keys to Hurts. The previous Heisman finalist was inconsistent as a rookie, however he’s believed to have proprietor Jeffrey Lurie’s help after the staff’s Carson Wentz state of affairs quickly devolved. The twin-threat quarterback should be taught a brand new system, and he has one of many league’s worst pass-catching cadres. Hurts figures to have one yr to show himself, as a result of if Wentz stays wholesome in Indianapolis, the Eagles can have three 2022 first-round picks.

 

Andre James

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports activities

One of many largest winners this offseason, James is the favourite to interchange Rodney Hudson at middle in Las Vegas. The Raiders traded away their most constant participant — a three-time Professional Bowler and O-line anchor — to the Cardinals and gave James a three-year, $12.5 million extension. Kolton Miller’s teammate at UCLA, James has all of 116 offensive snaps as a professional. However the Raiders, regardless of signing ex-Texans middle Nick Martin, have provided regular reward for the previous undrafted snapper. James’ rise shall be an attention-grabbing transition to watch, with the Raiders having made massive modifications up entrance.

 

Dre'Mont Jones

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports activities

When confronted with the prospect of a number of defensive position losses in free company final yr, the Broncos traded for Jurrell Casey and re-signed Shelby Harris. Each began in Week 1. However Casey’s season-ending harm led him out of Denver. This yr, the Broncos gave Harris a long-term deal however left the opposite defensive finish spot alone. This offers Jones, Casey’s main 2020 fill-in, the inexperienced gentle to be a full-time starter for the primary time. The ex-third-round decide posted 6.5 sacks final season and has progressed in Vic Fangio’s protection. With Von Miller again, Jones ought to have frequent disruption alternatives subsequent season.

 

Kamal Martin

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports activities

With Christian Kirksey a cap casualty forward of free company, Martin seems to be like one other Day 3 draft selection primed to start out as a Packers off-ball linebacker. Albeit in an injury-plagued season capped at 190 defensive performs, Martin confirmed promise after impressing at coaching camp as a rookie. The Packers didn’t deal with this place in free company and have drafted one off-ball ‘backer sooner than Spherical 4 up to now 14 years. This places Martin in line to comply with in Jake Ryan and Blake Martinez’s footsteps as Day 3 draftees-turned-Packers linebacker regulars.

 

Uchenna Nwosu

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports activities

With Brandon Staley‘s protection the brand new actuality in Costa Mesa, Calif., Nwosu could also be set for a seminal season. The Chargers are anticipated to say goodbye to nine-year edge rusher Melvin Ingram, leaving part-timer Nwosu set to staff with Joey Bosa on the sting in Staley’s 3-4 protection. A smaller edge participant, Nwosu profiles as a greater match as an outdoor ‘backer. He has by no means topped a 37% snap charge in his three professional seasons, however with Bosa signed to a defender-record $27 million-per-year deal, the Bolts can’t spend a lot to interchange Ingram. It must be on Nwosu — a former second-round decide — to grab the job.

 

Bobby Okereke

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports activities

Nonetheless recognized greatest for being the topic of Pat McAfee’s showstopping draft-pick reveal , Okereke has an incredible likelihood to grow to be a three-down linebacker in his third season. The previous third-round decide has began ceaselessly (16 video games in two seasons), however the Colts primarily used Anthony Walker alongside Darius Leonard in sub-packages. Walker signed with the Browns, leaving Okereke set for a task growth. Okereke rated as a top-10 linebacker, per Professional Soccer Focus, as a rookie. The 2021 season shall be pivotal for the Stanford alum’s NFL trajectory.

 

20 of 25

Laviska Shenault

Laviska Shenault

Kareem Elgazzar by way of Imagn Content material Companies, LLC

Shenault led the 2020 Jaguars in receptions, with 58, and did so regardless of taking part in simply 56% of the staff’s offensive snaps. The Jags’ receiving corps not contains Keelan Cole, Dede Westbrook, or Chris Conley. Whereas Marvin Jones will be a part of Shenault in north Florida, the 2020 second-round decide is in line for a serious alternative in City Meyer’s offense. Shenault entered the NFL after an injury-plagued remaining season at Colorado, however after avoiding notable accidents as a rookie, the 227-pound goal must be in a greater place to face out in yr two. He might be the aerial centerpiece for Trevor Lawrence.

 

Irv Smith Jr.

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In 2019, the Vikings made the sudden transfer of drafting a good finish within the second spherical after which signing their longtime incumbent to a high-end extension. Two years later, the Vikings minimize Kyle Rudolph to open the door broad for Smith to grow to be Kirk Cousins’ No. 3 choice. The Alabama product performed 50% of Minnesota’s offensive snaps final season and scored 5 touchdowns. The second-generation NFLer continues to be simply 22. He’ll provide an elusiveness improve on Rudolph, offering extra pace over the center to enrich Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson.

 

Cameron Sutton

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports activities

After letting longtime slot cornerback Mike Hilton defect to the Bengals after which reducing Steven Nelson, the Steelers might want to make one other transfer at nook. However they did lengthen Sutton, an auxiliary contributor over the previous 4 seasons. Sutton’s snap charge climbed from 25% in 2019 to 53% in 2020. He’ll doubtless be near a full-time participant subsequent season, alongside growing old Professional Bowler Joe Haden. A six-game starter in 2020, Sutton pressured three fumbles; PFF gave the ex-third-rounder a top-30 grade. He shall be counted on to assist the Steelers stay a top-tier protection.

 

Auden Tate

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports activities

Final season, the Bengals rostered two former first-round picks and two ex-second-rounders at receiver. Former top-10 choices A.J. Inexperienced and John Ross are actually gone, with the cornerstone wideout now in Arizona and the current bust in New York. This leaves the door open for Tate, a 6-foot-5 ex-Spherical 7 decide, to hitch Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins. The Bengals’ draft place (No. 5 general) might immediate them to overload at this place by deciding on Joe Burrow school teammate Ja’Marr Chase. However Tate performed a key position in 2019 (575 yards). He could be in place to reclaim it if Cincinnati doesn’t draft a wideout in Spherical 1.

 

Adam Trautman

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports activities

Jared Prepare dinner and longtime No. 2 tight finish Josh Hill are gone. The participant the Saints traded 4 picks for final yr has a easy path to being the No. 1 tight finish in New Orleans’ preliminary post-Drew Brees offense. After catching 15 passes in a developmental rookie season, Trautman ought to see an incredible workload improve. Sean Payton clearly noticed one thing within the 6-foot-5 Dayton prospect, who led his Division I-FCS staff in receiving (916 yards) in 2019. With the Saints once more missing a confirmed No. 2 wideout, there could also be strain on Trautman to supply shortly.

 

Jeff Wilson

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports activities

The 49ers’ payroll not contains Jerick McKinnon and Tevin Coleman’s salaries. As a substitute, San Francisco’s backfield homes two low-level veteran contracts. The 49ers have Raheem Mostert tentatively set to be their starter, however the speedster noticed accidents wreck his 2020 season. The staff re-signed Wilson to a one-year, $2 million deal; he ought to push Mostert and at worst be a frequent off-the-bench cog. The previous UDFA averaged a career-best 4.8 yards per carry final yr — highlighted by his 183-yard dousing of the Cardinals — and won’t want accidents to create a major position for him subsequent season.



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