NFL free agency 2020: Seven best remaining free agents who will prove to be excellent value signings
These second-wave free agents will exceed expectations in 2020
Free agency has slowed to a crawl. The first wave and the initial flurry of transactions are long gone. Except for the unprecedented quarterback market, which remains flooded with options, much of the intrigue is over. But that doesn't mean there aren't still moves to be made. That doesn't mean there are still not interesting options at multiple positions that could make a difference for an NFL team in 2020. That doesn't mean there aren't still some pieces available who could impact a season. There is far more value to be found at this stage in the process. And in many cases, less competition for their services and market factors working in favor of teams, and not against them.
There are seven remaining free agent options that continue to catch my eye and, in some cases, there are players yet to be signed who undoubtedly will out-perform fellow free agents who got exceedingly more money in the early hours of free agency last week. Happens every year. Free agency is a most inexact science even if it's not quite like the draft in that regard. Here are some of the free agents who I'm expecting to exceed expectations given how the market has played out to this point:
Recent MVP. Still young. Body should be fresh after taking almost no hits in 2019 and sitting out much of 2018 as well. I'm not super concerned about his foot. The shoulder is healed. He is a touchdown machine and as motivated as any player in the NFL. And you're telling me maybe I can get him for one year and $15M after no one would trade for him with just $19M remaining on his previous deal with Carolina. This guy has been winning football games his entire life and he isn't done by a long shot.
Now I am supposed to believe he isn't even an NFL starter? Not even one of the best 32 quarterbacks? Yeah, the interceptions are an issue, but they are also a huge issue for Philip Rivers, who is 10 years older, and he still got $25M. What am I missing here? The Raiders would rather have Marcus Mariota than him? Really? He's going to have to sign a one-year, $7M deal to be a back-up option after leading the NFL in yardage and throwing 30 picks? Even with the abundance of QB options and with a bunch of QBs about to be selected in the draft, I didn't anticipate it being this bleak for him. Someone could end up getting a steal that saves their season.
Yes, he is getting older. And yeah he got hurt last year. But he has been tremendously durable, was still creating pressure and moving quarterbacks around with the Titans last year before suffering a season-ending injury and pass rush is always in demand. He is as respected as they come and a physical specimen who stays in tremendous shape. As a situational rusher on a pitch count, you could do way worse than Wake. And if you need even more than that out of him, I think it's there. His motor always runs hot and deserves to end his career with a winner. If the Patriots were not in their retooling phase he'd be a natural fit there.
For years this guy was a premier defensive tackle able to collapse the pocket. He commanded significant attention from the opposing offensive line. He was a beast. Then he got banged up and the Packers moved on, and then he was stalled by injuries again last year after signing a hefty one-year deal with the Lions. I wouldn't give up on him just yet. He could be a great value play for a contending team in need of a rotational guy up front and, as with Wake, might prove to be more than that as well. If the Ravens' deal with Michael Brockers falls apart, I'd make a call to Daniels.
He keeps putting up big seasons even as he approaches age 30. Last year was a key part for the Titans, defending 18 passes, nearly picking up five sacks and picking off four passes. He can play. Proved it in New England and in Tennessee. Maybe you can get him on a short-term deal at this point. I'd certainly be trying if I needed help in the secondary, like the Broncos and Colts.
He was a consistent producer throughout his entire career with the Broncos. He was a guy teams were asking about at the trade deadline the last few years. He may be slowing down some, but is a heady player who works hard and has a nose for the backfield. Even if in a more limited role, he has something to give.
No longer a perennial All Pro, but still a quality pass protector when healthy … That hasn't been the case (Peters' health) nearly as much as you would like in recent years, but I'd be willing to gamble on him on a one-year deal rather than trade a second-round pick and have to give Trent Williams a huge new deal via trade. A true warrior for a long time who could be huge for a team looking for help bringing along a developmental tackle for the long haul.
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