NFL Free Agency 2020: The 10 teams with the most salary cap space left and the biggest needs for each
These teams have enough salary cap space to make some moves on the free agent or trade market
The first week of NFL free agency has officially come and gone, with all 32 teams providing plenty of transactions for football fans to keep them occupied during the coronavirus pandemic (get the latest on the coronavirus pandemic at CBS News). Some of the franchises with plenty of salary cap space used all their resources to their advantage and spent big on the available free agents.
As the dust clears, there are still teams with plenty of salary cap space left to make a move during the second wave of free agency. Some of these teams can afford to stand pat and improve their roster through the draft or make a splashy addition via trade (Yannick Ngakoue anyone?), but others can use the cap space to take a risk on a good veteran with a high-end, one-year deal.
These are the teams with the most salary cap space available (per Over The Cap) and the positions they could fill.
1. Cleveland Browns: $46,998,765
Team needs: Left tackle, linebacker
The Browns had an excellent first week of free agency, with Austin Hooper and Jack Conklin as their splash signings. With the most salary cap space in the league, they still have some work to do in order to shore up the offensive line.
Many of the top offensive tackles are off the board, but Jason Peters is still available. The Browns won't have to pay much to get Peters, who could be a nice get for a year if the 38-year-old tackle can stay healthy.
There isn't much left on the linebacker market, as Alec Ogletree is the best linebacker left. Perhaps Cleveland addresses the loss of Joe Schobert and Christian Kirksey in the draft (the Browns did sign B.J. Goodson to a one-year deal).
2. New York Jets: $36,482,121
Team needs: Edge rusher, wide receiver
The Jets have taken care of their offensive line in free agency, as general manager Joe Douglas has revamped the unit. Douglas can make his impact on the other side of the ball with plenty of cap space to make a run at Jadeveon Clowney if he so chooses. The Jets have also expressed interest in Vinny Curry, while Everson Griffen, Ezekiel Ansah, Cameron Wake and Michael Bennett remain more cost efficient options. New York can afford to wait the pass rusher market out.
Signing Breshad Perriman filled the Robby Anderson void, but the Jets still need more help at wide receiver. With most of the pass catchers gone and a loaded draft class, New York may be smart to sit this one out.
3. Washington Redskins: $36,360,954
Team needs: Offensive tackle, tight end, cornerback
The Redskins have the No. 2 pick in the draft, but who knows the direction they'll go with that selection? Chase Young will be the best player on the board and a difference-making pass rusher for Washington. With that No. 2 pick, the Redskins may also select their next franchise quarterback, even though Washington drafted Dwayne Haskins last year.
The Redskins can still find a stop gap at left tackle since it's unlikely Trent Williams will return. Peters is the top option, but Cordy Glenn, Kelvin Beachum and Greg Robinson are also on the board.
There isn't much available at tight end, although Delanie Walker could be a "low-risk, high-reward" signing.
4. Houston Texans: $34,905,279
Team needs: Wide receiver, defensive tackle
The Texans wouldn't have to address the wide receiver position if they didn't trade DeAndre Hopkins. They'll look to "upgrade" their wide receiver situation in the draft as the free agent market has very few players that can make an impact. Houston did sign Randall Cobb, but Marcus Johnson is an intriguing veteran option.
The Texans could use an upgrade at nose tackle while improving the depth at that position, killing two birds with one stone. Damon Harrison would be much-needed upgrade there.
5. Detroit Lions: $31,576,749
Team needs: Defensive end, outside linebacker
The Lions addressed offensive tackle in free agency with Halapoulivaati Vaitai, but need to fill another big need at defensive end. Fortunately there are plenty of veteran pass rushers for the Lions to pursue (they even have enough cap space to make a run at Clowney). A veteran option like Griffen (who is familiar with the NFC North) would be ideal for the Lions, allowing them to draft and develop a younger edge rusher.
Nigel Bradham is the most intriguing outside linebacker option, although the Lions could have Markus Golden as an extra pass rusher while rotating with other linebackers in coverage. Terrell Suggs started 13 games at 37, but he's more of a depth signing at this point.
6. Philadelphia Eagles: $30,806,021
Team needs: Wide receiver, cornerback, defensive end
The Eagles passed on a weak wide receiver class highlighted by Robby Anderson and Breshad Perriman, putting all their eggs in the draft basket (bold move considering they currently sit at No. 21). Demarcus Robinson is a cheap option that could appease them, providing much needed speed on the outside and in the slot.
Philadelphia acquired Darius Slay in a trade, but adding another cornerback wouldn't hurt. The Eagles did sign Nickell Robey-Coleman to play the slot, but Logan Ryan is still on the board and Xavier Rhodes could be a bargain for a year.
Yannick Ngakoue has dropped hints he may want to be traded to the Eagles, which would give Philadelphia the premier pass rusher it covets. If the Eagles trade for Ngakoue, a massive extension is in order.
7. Indianapolis Colts: $27,898,488
Team needs: Wide receiver, defensive tackle
The Colts do have T.Y. Hilton and Zach Pascal (who they re-signed) as starters, but they could use a starting wideout in the slot along with more depth on the second team. They'll be another team that will be intrigued by a deep wide receiver class. Perhaps a reunion with Marcus Johnson is in order or the Colts take a flyer on Demarcus Robinson.
Finding a three-technique defensive tackle can be difficult. Shelby Harris would be an intriguing fit for Indianapolis.
8. Miami Dolphins: $26,636,722
Team needs: Offensive tackle, guard
The Dolphins have spent on the offensive line in free agency with Ereck Flowers and Ted Karras. They still need to do more to protect Ryan Fitzpatrick or whatever quarterback they draft. Adding a veteran tackle like Jason Peters or Cordy Glenn will help their offensive line situation.
Ronald Leary and Richie Incognito are the best options at guard. Miami has already had a full dose of the Incognito experience, so he's not an option. Having five picks in the first two rounds could cause the Dolphins to pass on the remaining free agents.
9. Tennessee Titans: $26,347,818
Team needs: Defensive lineman, tight end
The Titans don't have many "needs" as they are pretty balanced on both sides of the ball. Wouldn't hurt for Tennessee to add some depth on the defensive interior. Ndaumkong Suh would have been an intriguing option with DaQuan Jones in the middle, but Suh re-upped with Tampa Bay. A healthy Timmy Jernigan would be an excellent signing for Tennessee, and he wouldn't cost much.
There isn't much available at tight end to back up Jonnu Smith. Tennessee could bring back Delanie Walker, though the draft may be where the Titans address the tight end situation.
10. Los Angeles Chargers: $23,665,388
Team needs: Quarterback, offensive tackle
The Chargers have the money to upgrade at quarterback, even though they reportedly plan on giving Tyrod Taylor a chance to start. Cam Newton and Jameis Winston are ripe for the picking and the Chargers should seriously consider signing one of them, even if they plan to draft a signal caller come April.
The Chargers signed Bryan Bulaga and still need help at the tackle position. Perhaps they take a shot at Peters and move Bulaga back to right tackle or they could pursue Marshall Newhouse or Marcus Gilbert.
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