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There's still plenty of 2020 season left to be played, but we're over halfway through this year's NFL schedule, and already a handful of teams have essentially turned the page to 2021 (hello, Jets), with plenty of others assuredly preparing for an offseason unlike any other following pandemic-affected salary caps potentially leading to less spending.

With that in mind, why not take a sneak peek at the 2021 free agent class, which will officially hit the market on March 17?

Here's a rundown of some of the top players set to be available at each position:


  1. Dak Prescott (Cowboys)
  2. Jacoby Brissett (Colts)
  3. Cam Newton (Patriots)
  4. Philip Rivers (Colts)
  5. Mitchell Trubisky (Bears)

Others: Andy Dalton (Cowboys), Jameis Winston (Saints), Ryan Fitzpatrick (Dolphins), Tyrod Taylor (Chargers)

The crown jewel lies atop this list, and while odds are the Dallas Cowboys will pony up the dough after seeing their team shuffle through emergency options this year, it's not out of the realm of possibility Prescott could try to drive his price even more on the market. Trubisky would be an intriguing bet and/or project for a team with another option under center.

Running back

  1. Aaron Jones (Packers)
  2. Chris Carson (Seahawks)
  3. Kenyan Drake (Cardinals)
  4. James Conner (Steelers)
  5. Todd Gurley (Falcons)

Others: Leonard Fournette (Buccaneers), James White (Patriots), Tevin Coleman (49ers), Mike Davis (Panthers)

The problem with this bunch, as is often the case with running backs, tends to be injuries. How much do you dole out for a premium play-maker like Jones, Carson or Conner knowing they're likely to miss several games a year based on their injury history? It's more likely than not most of the top dogs will end up back with their own teams.

Wide receiver

  1. Allen Robinson (Bears)
  2. Chris Godwin (Buccaneers)
  3. JuJu Smith-Schuster (Steelers)
  4. Kenny Golladay (Lions)
  5. Will Fuller (Texans)

Others: T.Y. Hilton (Colts), A.J. Green (Bengals), Sammy Watkins (Chiefs), Marvin Jones (Lions)

If you want to add a receiver, this is the offseason to do so. Godwin will probably be back with the Bucs, and JuJu wants to stay in Pittsburgh, but that still leaves something like a dozen starting-caliber options. Anyone who pays Robinson is getting a reliable WR1, and both Golladay and Fuller are probably worth more than you think because of the upside.

Tight end

  1. Hunter Henry (Chargers)
  2. Jonnu Smith (Titans)
  3. Robert Tonyan (Packers)
  4. Rob Gronkowski (Buccaneers)
  5. Gerald Everett (Rams)

Others: Jared Cook (Saints), Mo Alie-Cox (Colts), Richard Rodgers (Eagles), Greg Olsen (Seahawks)

Not an especially great market for tight ends, although when is it ever? Smith and Tonyan seem pretty likely to stick with their current clubs, but someone like Everett, who's an on-again, off-again second fiddle to Tyler Higbee, could be a nice upside play.

Offensive line

  1. Brandon Scherff (Washington)
  2. Joe Thuney (Patriots)
  3. Trent Williams (49ers)
  4. Alex Mack (Falcons)
  5. Alejandro Villanueva (Steelers)

Others: Taylor Moton (Panthers), Mike Pouncey (Chargers), David Andrews (Patriots), Corey Linsley (Packers)

The biggest gamble with aging blockers is similar to that with running backs: Is the injury risk worth the price tag? O-linemen are hard to find and/or develop, so maybe it doesn't matter as much. Both Scherff and Thuney would be premier plug-and-play starters.

Defensive tackle

  1. Leonard Williams (Giants)
  2. Dalvin Tomlinson (Giants)
  3. Sheldon Rankins (Saints)
  4. Ndamukong Suh (Buccaneers)
  5. Shelby Harris (Broncos)

Others: DaQuan Jones (Titans), Johnathan Hankins (Raiders), Corey Peters (Cardinals), Lawrence Guy (Patriots)

Williams has a bigger name, but Tomlinson might be the class of the position when you factor in upside. Otherwise, you're picking from mostly mid-tier veteran options and, honestly, might be better suited addressing the spot in the draft.

Edge rusher

  1. Bud Dupree (Steelers)
  2. Shaquil Barrett (Buccaneers)
  3. Matt Judon (Ravens)
  4. Yannick Ngakoue (Ravens)
  5. Ryan Kerrigan (Washington)

Others: Jadeveon Clowney (Titans), Melvin Ingram (Chargers), Everson Griffen (Lions), Justin Houston (Colts)

It's not nearly as plentiful as the wide receiver position, but it's close. Pass rushers tend to age well, and here you've got a blend of up-and-comers (Dupree, Barrett, Judon) and grizzled vets (Kerrigan, Clowney, Ingram). This group should command a huge amount of combined money, and understandably so.


  1. Lavonte David (Buccaneers)
  2. Eric Wilson (Vikings)
  3. K.J. Wright (Seahawks)
  4. B.J. Goodson (Browns)
  5. Neville Hewitt (Jets)

Others: Nate Gerry (Eagles), Avery Williamson (Steelers), Jayon Brown (Titans), Damien Wilson (Chiefs)

Unless you're a contender in dire need of an impact starter and you have the cash for David, or unless you're willing to bet on Wilson's continued emergence, this is a group worth staying away from. Lots of replacement-level veterans who don't offer a ton of juice.


  1. Patrick Peterson (Cardinals)
  2. Quinton Dunbar (Seahawks)
  3. William Jackson (Bengals)
  4. Richard Sherman (49ers)
  5. Logan Ryan (Giants)

Others: D.J. Hayden (Jaguars), Jason McCourty (Patriots), Kevin Johnson (Browns), Mike Hilton (Steelers)

Don't be fooled by the allure of Peterson's big name atop the list. While he can and should draw attention as a short-term No. 1, the rest of the cornerback group is generally underwhelming. Dunbar would be a decent pickup, but there's a reason guys like Sherman and Ryan have hit free agency multiple times in recent years.


  1. Justin Simmons (Broncos)
  2. Anthony Harris (Vikings)
  3. Jaquiski Tartt (49ers)
  4. Marcus Maye (Jets)
  5. Duron Harmon (Lions)

Others: Jalen Mills (Eagles), Daniel Sorensen (Chiefs), Keanu Neal (Falcons), Karl Joseph (Browns)

Simmons would've been a big trade chip for Denver at the deadline, had the team been more proactive about shopping him. Harris, meanwhile, probably won't command a long-term deal but should make for a solid plug-in wherever he lands.

Special teams

  1. Matt Prater (Lions)
  2. Zane Gonzalez (Cardinals)
  3. Stephen Gostkowski (Titans)
  4. Kevin Huber (Bengals)
  5. Andy Lee (Cardinals)

Others: Dustin Hopkins (Washington), Cairo Santos (Bears), Nick Folk (Patriots), Cody Parkey (Browns)

Kickers and punters, as we know, can be pretty streaky and, thus, replaceable. But the options are fairly promising here, with Prater, Gonzalez and Gostkowski all offering top-10 potential/resumes.