New faces in new places, 2021 NFL free agency is here.
While there’s no Tom Brady to be had this offseason, the total bloodletting of NFL veterans due to NFL’s diminished cap space could land some impact players elsewhere this offseason. So far, we’ve seen Mitchell Schwartz, Eric Fisher, Janoris Jenkins, Kenny Vaccaro, Malcolm Butler and Emmanuel Sanders all hit the market, with more releases expected as teams work out their cap situations heading into Wednesday.
NFL FREE AGENCY 2021: Ranking the top 50 players availableMonday marks the start of the NFL’s “legal tampering” period, meaning over the next three days until the official start of NFL free agency, there will be reported deals struck, but nothing official until Wednesday at 4 p.m., the start of the new league year. Franchise tags have already been placed, with the deadlines last Wednesday; some notable names include Jets safety Marcus Maye, Saints DB Marcus Williams and wide receiver Allen Robinson.Still, a deep free agent class is unfolding: Offensive lineman Joe Thuney, wide receivers Kenny Golladay and JuJu Smith-Schuster and tight ends Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith are all going to make some teams very, very happy this offseason.Sporting News will be tracking all the latest rumored signings, trades and more below as the ball drops on the new league year this week.MORE: SN’s latest mock draft | Big board of top 50 prospectsNFL free agency news, updates on signings and trades(All times Eastern)March 1610:03 a.m.: The Patriots just keep adding, this time bringing in tight end Hunter Henry on a three-year, $37.5 million deal with $25 million guaranteed (per ESPN). 9:41 a.m.: The Broncos are keeping Von Miller around after all: Denver is picking up Miller’s option for 2021, keeping the pass rusher in the Mile High City for another year (per Mike Klis, 9News).March 1511:05 p.m.: Fitzmagic is jumping from the AFC East to the NFC East. The Washington Football Team and Ryan Fitzpatrick agree to a one-year deal. The contract is worth $10 million but could grow to $12 million with incentives (per ESPN).10:50 p.m.: Here are the financials on Dalvin Tomlinson’s contract with the Vikings (per NFL Network): two years for $22 million with $20 million total guaranteed, $16 million fully guaranteed, a $15 million signing bonus and $16 million in the first year.10:15 p.m.: The Bengals replace Carl Lawson with Trey Hendrickson, who is joining Cincinnati on a four-year, $60 million deal (per NFL Network).9 p.m.: With Drew Brees gone, Jameis Winston will look to be the Saints’ starting quarterback in 2021 after signing a one-year deal worth up to $12 million (per The Athletic and ESPN).8:55 p.m.: The Jets follow up their Corey Davis signing by snagging edge rusher Carl Lawson on a three-year, $45 million deal with $30 million guaranteed (per NFL Network).8:45 p.m.: The Titans land a premier pass rusher, signing Bud Dupree to a multi-year deal worth $16.5 million annually (per NFL Network).8:40 p.m.: More protection for Justin Herbert, as the Chargers and offensive lineman Matt Feiler agree to a three-year, $21 million contract (per ESPN).8:30 p.m.: Another Patriots signing. New England brings in defensive lineman Henry Anderson on a two-year, $7 million deal with a maximum value of $11 million (per NFL Network).7:50 p.m.: One of the top wide receivers is off the board. The Jets and Corey Davis reach an agreement on a three-year, $37.5 million contract with $27 million guaranteed (per ESPN).7:30 p.m.: The Titans and Denico Autry agree to a three-year, $21.5 million contract with $9 million guaranteed (per NFL Network).7:10 p.m.: Carlos Hyde is heading to the Jaguars on a two-year, $6 million deal (per NFL Network).6:50 p.m.: The Patriots add another wide receiver, signing Kendrick Bourne to a three-year, $22.5 million deal (per NFL Network).6:45 p.m.: The Broncos are signing cornerback Ronald Darby to a three-year, $30 million contract with $19.5 million fully guaranteed (per NFL Network).6:40 p.m.: Gronk back. Tight end Rob Gronkowski returns to the Buccaneers on a one-year, $10 million deal (per ESPN).6:35 p.m.: Linebacker Leonard Floyd won’t be leaving the Rams. Floyd is re-signing with Los Angeles on a four-year, $64 million deal (per ESPN). 6:30 p.m.: The Patriots’ spending spree continues. Wide receiver Nelson Agholor agrees to a two-year, $26 million contract with New England (per ESPN).6:25 p.m.: The Raiders land one of the top edge rushers on the market, signing Yannick Ngakoue to a two-year, $26 million deal (per ESPN).4:39 p.m.: The Chargers are doing their best to protect Justin Herbert, signing All-Pro center Corey Linsley (per NFL Network). 4:19 p.m.: The Browns are bringing in safety John Johnson on a three-year, $33.75 million contract with $24 million guaranteed (per NFL Network). 4:09 p.m.: One of the top OL prizes of free agency, Joe Thuney has signed with the Chiefs on a five-year, $80 million deal.3:16 p.m.: The Patriots are adding to their pass rush attack, signing Matthew Judon to a four-year, $56 million contract (per NFL Network).3:05 p.m.: New England stays busy, as the Patriots and DB Jalen Mills come to terms on a four-year, $24 million deal (per ESPN).3:04 p.m.: The Jaguars and DT Roy Robertson-Harris agree to a three-year, $24.4 million deal (per NFL Network).2:34 p.m.: Cornerback Jason Verrett and the 49ers are continuing their partnership, with Verrett signing a one-year extension to stay in San Francisco (per Josina Anderson).2:30 p.m.: Someone willingly is joining the Texans, with WR/KR Andre Roberts signing a two-year deal with the team (per NFL Network).1:03 p.m.: The Patriots are making a big addition to their tight end room, signing Jonnu Smith to a four-year, $50 million deal with $31.25 million guaranteed (per ESPN).12:14 p.m.: Pass rusher Romeo Okwara and the Lions are sticking together, agreeing to a three-year, $39 million pact (per NFL Network).12:10 p.m.: The Cardinals announce they are re-signing Markus Golden to a two-year deal.12:09 p.m.: Shaq Barrett says he’s returning to Tampa Bay (per Josina Anderson). His deal includes $36 million guaranteed over four years, $72 million total.7 a.m.: The Ravens signed guard Kevin Zeitler to a three-year, $22.5 million contract (per ESPN).March 1410 p.m.: The 49ers re-signed fullback Kyle Juszczyk to a five-year, $27 million contract (per ESPN).4:30 p.m.: The Packers and Aaron Jones agreed to a four-year, $48 million contract, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Jones was expected to hit the open market as the top free-agent running back available, but will instead return to Green Bay’s backfield with second-year riser A.J. Dillon.
“Aaron would have signed for more in free agency but wanted to stay in Green Bay,” Drew Rosenhaus said about Jones re-signing with the Packers. https://t.co/Dwcz8qs3qO
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 14, 2021NFL free agency rumorsTitans in for a secondary makeoverDate: March 10Source: Ian Rapoport, NFL NetworkIt’s more rough news for NFL veterans, as vet defensive backs Kenny Vaccaro and Malcolm Butler both are hitting free agency, per Rapoport. With the salary cap down roughly $16 million heading into 2021, expect more veteran players with big checks to hit the market.Saints clearing cap space, planning to release notable namesDate: March 10Source: Ian Rapoport, NFL NetworkThe Saints, who are $31 million over the cap, have released a pair of notable names, with linebacker Kwon Alexander and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders both heading towards free agency. Alexander is recovering from an Achilles injury, while Sanders is entering the twilight of his NFL career. Sanders did have over 700 yards receiving in 2020.Allen Robinson gets second franchise tagDate: March 9Source: Adam Schefter, ESPN
Bears placed franchise tag on WR Allen Robinson, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 9, 2021Bears standout wideout Allen Robinson catches the franchise tag for the second consecutive season, abruptly ending any talk of him hitting free agency. The idea of a tag-and-trade could still be in the works, but Chicago figures to want to keep Robinson in a Bears uniform long-term.Kenny Golladay is free agency boundDate: March 9Source: Tom Pelissero, NFL Network
The #Lions don’t plan to tag WR Kenny Golladay, per source.No final decision on whether Detroit may use a tag on someone else, but it appears Golladay is headed to the market.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 9, 2021In something of a surprise, Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay seems to be hitting the market, per Pelissero. Golladay is coming off an injury-shortened 2020 season, but has 1,000-yard seasons in both 2018 and 2019.Bud Dupree may have a new team in 2021Date: March 9Source: Adam Schefter, ESPN
LB Bud Dupree, Pittsburgh’s franchise player last year, has been informed that he will not be franchised again this year, per league source. Dupree is headed to free agency.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 9, 2021Coming off a 8 1/2 sack season, Dupree played out the franchise tag and won’t be getting it again come 2021, per Schefter. Dupree is one of the preeminent pass rushers to hit free agency this year.Chris Godwin gets the tagDate: March 9Source: Adam Schefter, ESPN
Buccaneers informed WR Chris Godwin he is being franchise tagged, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 9, 2021Arguably the best receiver who was scheduled to hit the market in 2021, Buccaneers wideout Chris Godwin will be getting the franchise tag, per Schefter. Godwin is one of the trio of key free agents for the Bucs this offseason, with defenders Shaq Barrett and Lavonte David both hitting the market, as well.Dak Prescott isn’t going anywhereDate: March 8Source: Ian Rapoport, NFL Network
From NFL Now: Amid the waiting on the cap number, there is some positivity surrounding #Cowboys QB Dak Prescott’s potential deal even if it doesn’t get done by Tuesday. pic.twitter.com/cDsjMaLtLd
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 8, 2021Months of Dallas brass telling the world that Dak Prescott will be the Cowboys quarterback in 2021 seems to be closer to reality, with the franchise tag going to be placed on Prescott. The two sides will have until July 15 to get a long-term deal done.Washington considering franchise tag on ScherffDate: March 8Source: Tom Pelissero, NFL Network (NFL Now)Washington is considering placing the franchise tag on guard Brandon Scherff once again, per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. Scherff is scheduled to be one of the top two guards available on the free agent market, alongside Patriots guard Joe Thuney.Lions getting calls for backup QBDate: March 7
Source: Adam Schefter, ESPN
Lions have had trade discussions with other teams regarding their backup QB Chase Daniel, per sources. Daniel has been considered an ideal mentor for young QBs, something he learned from Drew Brees during their time together in New Orleans.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 8, 2021The Lions are receiving calls on backup quarterback Chase Daniel, per reports. Daniel could be considered for a mentorship-type role for a new team. Detroit is waiting to make their trade for QB Jared Goff official.Best NFL free agents by positionHere’s a list of the top NFL free agents still available, as ranked by SN’s Vinnie Iyer:QuarterbacksJameis Winston, SaintsRyan Fitzpatrick, DolphinsMitchell Trubisky, BearsAndy Dalton, CowboysAlex Smith, WashingtonTyrod Taylor, ChargersJacoby Brissett, ColtsRunning backsKenyan Drake, CardinalsChris Carson, SeahawksLeonard Fournette, BuccaneersPhillip Lindsay, BroncosJames Conner, SteelersMike Davis, PanthersJames White, PatriotsLe’Veon Bell, ChiefsTodd Gurley, FalconsTevin Coleman, 49ersDuke Johnson, TexansWide receiversKenny Golladay, LionsJuJu Smith-Schuster, SteelersWill Fuller, TexansCorey Davis, TitansMarvin Jones Jr., LionsCurtis Samuel, PanthersNelson Agholor, RaidersAntonio Brown, BuccaneersT.Y. Hilton, ColtsA.J. Green, BengalsSammy Watkins, ChiefsKeelan Cole, JaguarsAdam Humphries, TitansDanny Amendola, LionsBreshad Perriman, JetsLarry Fitzgerald, CardinalsGolden Tate, GiantsDeSean Jackson, EaglesTight endsHunter Henry, ChargersJonnu Smith, TitansRob Gronkowski, BuccaneersGerald Everett, RamsJared Cook, SaintsKyle Rudolph, VikingsTyler Eifert, JaguarsJosh Hill, SaintsOffensive tacklesTrent Williams, 49ersAlejandro Villanueva, SteelersRussell Okung, PanthersEric Fisher, ChiefsMitchell Schwartz, ChiefsCameron Fleming, GiantsBobby Massie, BearsKelvin Beachum, CardinalsMatt Feiler, SteelersGuardsJoe Thuney, PatriotsLane Taylor, PackersGabe Jackson, RaidersJames Carpenter, FalconsRichie Incognito, RaidersCentersCorey Linsley, PackersDavid Andrews, PatriotsAustin Reiter, ChiefsAlex Mack, FalconsNick Martin, TexansDefensive tacklesShelby Harris, BroncosDalvin Tomlinson, GiantsSheldon Rankins, SaintsNdamukong Suh, BuccaneersTyrone Crawford, CowboysJurrell Casey, BroncosHenry Anderson, JetsEdge rushers Shaquil Barrett, BuccaneersMelvin Ingram, ChargersBud Dupree, SteelersMatthew Judon, RavensYannick Ngakuoe, RavensJadeveon Clowney, TitansCarl Lawson, BengalsLeonard Floyd, RamsTrey Hendrickson, SaintsHaason Reddick, CardinalsJustin Houston, ColtsAldon Smith, CowboysRomeo Okwara, LionsCarlos Dunlap, SeahawksTakk McKinley, FalconsAdrian Clayborn, BrownsLinebackersJayon Brown, TitansDenzel Perryman, ChargersK.J. Wright, SeahawksCornerbacksRichard Sherman, 49ersTroy Hill, RamsWilliam Jackson III, BengalsDesmond King II, TitansMike Hilton, SteelersPatrick Peterson, CardinalsShaquill Griffin, SeahawksQuinton Dunbar, SeahawksXavier Rhodes, ColtsRonald Darby, WashingtonJason Verrett, 49ersMackensie Alexander, BengalsBrian Poole, JetsChidobe Awuzie, CowboysNickell Robey-Coleman, EaglesBreshaud Breeland, ChiefsCameron Sutton, SteelersK’Waun Williams, 49ersGareon Conley, TexansA.J. Bouye, BroncosBuster Skrine, BearsJustin Coleman, LionsSafetiesAnthony Harris, VikingsJohn Johnson III, RamsMalik Hooker, ColtsKeanu Neal, FalconsJaquiski Tartt, 49ersXavier Woods, CowboysRicardo Allen, FalconsTre Boston, PanthersLamarcus Joyner, RaidersKickersZane Gonzalez, CardinalsRyan Succop, BuccaneersMatt Prater, LionsDustin Hopkins, WashingtonStephen Gostkowski, TitansCody Parkey, BrownsRandy Bullock, BengalsNick Folk, PatriotsDan Bailey, VikingsPuntersKevin Huber, BengalsPat O’Donnell, BearsJordan Berry, SteelersAndy Lee, CardinalsMatt Haack, DolphinsThomas Morstead, Saints