NFL Offseason Dominoes
One signing or trade could send aftershocks pulsating through the NFL. Let's lay out scenarios of what could happen if eight of the league's most prominent players leave for new homes this offseason.
By Bill Barnwell
It's hard to imagine Brady leaving the Patriots ... but it sure is fun. If he hits the market in March, how could it shake up the league?
Trying to link up with the NFL's best non-Patriots defense and win one more Super Bowl, Brady signs what really amounts to a one-year, $35 million deal with voidable years attached. Allen Robinson, weeping after six years of catching passes from Blake Bortles and Mitchell Trubisky, hands Brady his No. 12 jersey at the G.O.A.T.'s unveiling.
To free up cap room, the Bears need to move on from their former first-round pick, who has $13.2 million in unguaranteed salary left on the final year of his rookie deal. A Giants team desperate for pass-rushing help sends a late-round pick to the Bears for Floyd, whose sack total has dropped each season since a seven-sack campaign in 2016.
Looking for an option with both short- and long-term potential, the Patriots go for the highest-upside passer left in the market by sending a pick to Carolina for the 2015 MVP. The 30-year-old passes a physical before the trade, but both sides agree that Newton should play out the final year of his deal before considering an extension.
With Carolina coach Matt Rhule looking for a quarterback who protects the football and offers some mobility if the Panthers want to use RPOs, he goes after a former Heisman Trophy winner in Mariota. This deal locks in Mariota as either a low-end starter or a high-end backup to compete with 2019 third-round pick Will Grier.
After years of waiting for his opportunity, Bridgewater finally finds a long-term fit in Indianapolis, where the Colts are looking for an upgrade on Jacoby Brissett. Bridgewater's deal really amounts to a two-year commitment, but the beloved former Vikings, Jets and Saints quarterback is the Week 1 starter for the Colts.
With the Trubisky era coming to a close in Chicago, the Bears decline his fifth-year option and free up much-needed cap space by trading him and a seventh-round pick to the Dolphins for a cheaper backup in Rosen, who joins his third team in three years. Miami passes on a quarterback in the 2020 draft and evaluates Trubisky behind Ryan Fitzpatrick.
In desperate need of both a reliable quarterback and a marquee player to sell tickets in their new stadium, the Chargers find both in one fell swoop by inking the greatest player in NFL history. Brady's deal crucially includes three guaranteed years, meaning that L.A. is committing to Brady's long-discussed plan to play until he's 45.
With Rivers parting ways with the Chargers, the three teams in the Sunshine State are able to try to sign Rivers at a discount. The Jaguars have to add voidable years to the end of the deal and make another big move to make the money work, but Rivers will start in 2020 and mentor Gardner Minshew.
To get out of the $20.6 million guaranteed owed to Foles over the next two years, the Jaguars ship their deposed starter to Indy. To get the Colts to eat the money, though, Jacksonville has to send the 20th overall selection it received from the Rams in the Jalen Ramsey trade -- similar to the Brock Osweiler deal in 2017 -- although Indy ships the 110th pick back to the Jags.
With plenty of cap room and draft assets left, general manager Chris Ballard decides to add Indy's quarterback of the future, too. The Colts package the 13th, 20th and 44th selections and send them to the Lions for the third overall pick and a fifth-rounder to draft the Alabama star, who will spend most of 2020 recovering from his hip injury behind Nick Foles and Jacoby Brissett.
When the Saints hand Hill the second-round tender in restricted free agency, it opens up the possibility of the 29-year-old going elsewhere. The uniquely gifted Hill finds another unique coach in Jon Gruden, who sees the jack-of-all-trades as a supplement to Derek Carr. Since Las Vegas doesn't have a second-round pick in 2020, it sends two third-round picks to the Seahawks to get the second-rounder.
With Brady leaving, the Patriots go after a quarterback whose comfort in the pocket, accuracy and smarts all might remind Bill Belichick of his now-departed passer. After going 5-0 while temporarily replacing Drew Brees, Bridgewater now has to replace another Hall of Famer. The Saints have to head into the draft for a backup.
What's the ultimate revenge on Josh McDaniels for leaving the Colts at the altar? I don't seriously think they would be signing Brady merely to exact some revenge on their rivals, but it couldn't hurt. Indianapolis has a sound offensive line, a strong long-term plan and the cap space to make Brady the league's first $40 million-per-year quarterback.
With rumors that the Lions are considering moving on from their longtime starter, the Patriots aren't likely to find a better option than the 2009 No. 1 overall pick. They would be acquiring the 31-year-old Stafford on a manageable three-year, $51.3 million deal. Detroit would eat a record $32 million in dead money on its cap, but it can take Tua Tagovailoa with the No. 3 pick in April.
After years of the Philip Rivers roller coaster, the Chargers opt for a smoother ride by handing their starting job over to Bridgewater. The contract is really a one-year deal, but it's a clear path to a starting job on a would-be playoff contender. New Orleans fans can even thank Teddy when the Chargers come to town in 2020.
If the Dolphins don't want any of the passers in this year's class, they could decide to spread their assets around. They drop down from pick No. 5 to No. 9 here, with the Jags moving ahead of the Chargers and Panthers to take the former Oregon star. The Jaguars also send their 2021 first-round pick, which could end up as one of the top selections in next year's draft.
The other part of that trade sees Foles momentarily head to Miami, where the Dolphins restructure his deal and eat a significant portion, with the Jags sending along a fourth-round pick to sweeten the deal. Foles takes a pay cut in 2021 and 2022, and Philly then trades a fourth-round pick to reunite with its legendary backup.
After the Bengals draft Joe Burrow with the first pick and cut their longtime starting quarterback Dalton, the Saints pounce on him as a replacement for Bridgewater. With Dalton looking at backup jobs around the league, the opportunity to join a Super Bowl contender behind Drew Brees is the best opportunity available.
All options are on the table for the former MVP. With one year left on his deal, the retooling Panthers could keep him, trade him or cut him.
With Philip Rivers entering free agency, the Chargers are left with Tyrod Taylor and Easton Stick on their depth chart. Adding Newton is a rare chance to acquire a 30-year-old former MVP in what could be the middle of his career, and the Chargers can install a roughly similar scheme for all three of their quarterbacks. Newton is signed through only the 2020 season.
While the Panthers might want to give Will Grier a legitimate chance to prove himself in 2020, here's a way for them to add another threat to what will likely be a run-first offense under new coach Matt Rhule. Acquiring Hill hurts a divisional rival -- though the Saints would net a second-round pick if the restricted free agent Hill is tendered as expected -- and sets up all kinds of trick plays with Christian McCaffrey.
In desperate need of cap space, Jacksonville makes a deal with the Dolphins to rid itself of the $20.5 million remaining on Foles' deal. Miami, which paid $5 million for a fourth-round pick as part of the Ryan Tannehill deal, grabs its fourth first-round pick by moving up from No. 39 to No. 20 as part of the deal.
In need of veteran competition for Gardner Minshew, the Jaguars reunite a once-successful pairing by linking up Dalton with Jay Gruden, his former offensive coordinator in Cincinnati. Dalton joins the Jags on a three-year, $48 million deal that is really a one-year, $7 million pact with options.
After being deemed unplayable by a Dolphins team that was actively trying to lose, Rosen's stock can't be much lower. New England has a history of trying to buy low on high draft picks after ugly starts to their careers, and it can send the 182nd pick to Miami to evaluate Rosen behind Tom Brady, who signs a new deal with the Pats.
The Eagles couldn't have anticipated Carson Wentz would suffer a concussion in the wild-card round, but the fact that he missed each of his two prior playoff runs via injury means backup quarterback is more of a priority in Philly than most other places. Mariota gives the Eagles a mobile, high-floor No. 2 option.
While Miami plans to bring back the 37-year-old Fitzpatrick for 2020, he's a stopgap, not a long-term solution. Newton might not end up as the answer, but he's the sort of flier with massive upside the Dolphins should take while they wait to find its quarterback of the future. They add the 68th pick in the draft to get the trade over the line.
Carolina doesn't particularly need Fitzpatrick -- the third-round pick in the Newton deal is the asset -- so the team restructures his deal to eat $1.5 million and then sends the remaining $6.5 million to the Eagles, who install the Fitzchise as the backup to Carson Wentz.
If Detroit needs to be blown away by a Stafford trade, the Raiders and Jon Gruden are the most likely team to pony up the draft capital. Gruden has moved on from virtually every other player he inherited and would covet Stafford's arm and marketability in Las Vegas. The Lions could use the third overall pick on a quarterback and add more valuable draft capital.
With the Raiders no longer needing Carr's services, he gets released with a small dead-cap charge. He can then stay in the Los Angeles area by taking over as the new starter for the Chargers. This deal has no guaranteed money after 2020, freeing the Chargers to pursue a more exciting option next offseason if Carr struggles.
Nothing would make Saints fans happier this offseason than bringing back Bridgewater. While the 30% rule prevents the Saints from giving him a small 2020 salary with a significant raise to start in 2021, a one-year deal brings the former Louisville star back into the fold for one more season with Sean Payton & Co.
Hill was a talented college quarterback, and teams are more open-minded about quarterbacks than they have been in decades, but let's be realistic: It's tough to imagine him having the same impact elsewhere. The Saints re-sign the restricted free agent to a three-year, $15 million deal.
If the Raiders want a star for their new city, they can just hold on to their two first-round picks and trade a later pick to get their guy. Newton has box-office appeal, and his upside is literally as league MVP. Jon Gruden might prefer that upside in 2020 to another season with Derek Carr. Vegas also has two third-round picks.
The Titans made a move last year to add an unexciting veteran backup for their starter and landed on Ryan Tannehill, who had a career season. While they re-sign Tannehill, his injury history should lead general manager Jon Robinson to sign another veteran backup, with Carr, who gets cut by Las Vegas, fitting the bill.
With Carolina looking for a starter to replace Newton, Bridgewater emerges as the superior option to passers like Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston. The Panthers pay Bridgewater $35 million in Year 1 as part of this deal, but there's no guaranteed money afterward, allowing them to pursue a prospect in the 2021 draft if it doesn't work out.
With Philip Rivers "permanently" entering free agency, the Chargers decide to target a Floridian of their own to take over as their new starter. Winston's mix of brilliant moments and inconceivably bad interceptions is reminiscent of Rivers, but the 26-year-old has some time to improve. In theory.
I was more enthused about the idea of Mariota joining Chicago when former Oregon coach Mark Helfrich was on staff as offensive coordinator, but Mariota's mobility and ability to avoid takeaways still make him a high-end backup. He's just good enough to sign without threatening Mitchell Trubisky.
Flacco joining his former rivals seems strange -- and it's unclear whether he will return from a season-ending neck injury -- but the Steelers just saw their season go up in flames thanks to subpar backup quarterback work. Ben Roethlisberger should be healthy for 2020, but Flacco would give the Steelers a veteran option.
Rivers has moved out of California and cut ties with the Chargers. Where could the 38-year-old land in 2020?
It warms my heart to see Rivers and Bruce Arians come together for one ride into the sunset. It's a great fit for both player and scheme, as both would throw the ball vertically every play if they could. This deal has minimal guaranteed money after 2020, freeing up the Bucs to pursue another quarterback in 2021 if it doesn't work out.
The Chargers might rightfully feel like they're a consistent quarterback away from the playoffs, and Bridgewater's success filling in for Drew Brees in New Orleans makes him an obvious source of stability. With the Chargers loath to trade away draft picks, signing Bridgewater makes short-term and possibly long-term sense.
The most logical landing place for Taylor is as a backup is Baltimore, given the presence of former Bills offensive coordinator Greg Roman. He would be stuck behind the league MVP in Lamar Jackson, but trading for Taylor would allow Baltimore to run the same exact scheme if Jackson were to get injured in 2020.
One way for the Raiders to mark the end of the Khalil Mack discussion and start their time off in Las Vegas with a bang is to find a new franchise quarterback. They send pick Nos. 12 and 19 plus a 2021 second-round pick to the Lions to draft the Alabama star, who spends 2020 on an injury redshirt behind Derek Carr.
While the Bears are publicly committed to Mitchell Trubisky, they need to bring in a quarterback who can compete for the starting job. Winston's market is totally uncertain; there might not be any team that thinks he's worth starter money, and if not, he might need to settle for a one-year deal and a competition. Trubisky's backup Chase Daniel can return to Kansas City to sit behind Patrick Mahomes.
The current backup behind Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay is undrafted free agent Tim Boyle. Rodgers hasn't missed a game in two years, but the Packers should still consider investing in a more experienced backup for their 37-year-old starter. Flacco can chase a ring with the NFC North champs.
While the location isn't ideal for Rivers, the three Florida teams are much further away from the playoffs than the Colts, who could upgrade on Jacoby Brissett. Rivers played under Colts coach Frank Reich when the two were in San Diego and would get one final shot at competing for a Super Bowl on this year-to-year pact.
Rivers loves throwing to his tight ends, and with Eric Ebron hitting free agency, the Colts add a second tight end to work alongside Jack Doyle for their new quarterback. Hooper's career year likely priced him out of the cap-strapped Falcons' price range. Ebron could end up as the replacement for Jimmy Graham in Green Bay.
With the Vikings and Cousins unable to come to terms on a new contract -- his deal ends after the 2020 season -- both sides agree that a parting of the ways would make sense. The Chargers can negotiate a deal with their new starting quarterback, while the Vikings get to reunite with an old one ...
I'm crying. Are you crying? The Vikings bring back their former first-round pick, who steps back into a starting role. Minnesota, which is in a salary-cap crunch, saves several million dollars by signing Bridgewater to a four-year deal, and it can use the space to keep the likes of Everson Griffen.
While the Bills are happy with Josh Allen's development, you could understand if the coaching staff wanted to see its quarterback of the future take fewer hits in 2020. Allen excels on designed runs, but Hill can take some of those snaps and continue to make an impact without threatening Allen's role as the long-term starter.
After losing both their backup quarterback and their gadget athlete, the Saints try to fill both vacated spots by going after Mariota. This is really a one-year deal with two voidable years tacked on, but Mariota gets a chance to revitalize his career while backing up future Hall of Famer Drew Brees in New Orleans.
Signing Rivers, who played his college ball a couple of hours away at NC State, gives Carolina a veteran who can help get the Panthers back to the postseason quickly. A deal like this would have one year of fully guaranteed money, allowing the Panthers a quick out if the 38-year-old Rivers struggles.
With Rivers gone, Mariota and incumbent Tyrod Taylor create value in the same ways: They're effective runners and avoid turning the ball over, although sacks are an issue for both. Anthony Lynn should be able to install a roughly similar scheme for both Mariota and Taylor, who would compete for the starting job.
Denver is excited about Drew Lock's late-season run, but after false hope with young passers like Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch quickly faded, general manager John Elway should know that five starts isn't proof of much. Bringing in the 6-foot-5 Newton to compete with Lock is a low-risk, high-reward move by the Hall of Famer.
While Miami was expected to draft a quarterback to take over from Ryan Fitzpatrick in the long term, it heads in a different direction and signs the 26-year-old Winston, hoping to tap some level of consistency from the former No. 1 overall pick. Winston's deal includes two guaranteed years, locking him as the starter through the end of 2021.
Despite having one of the league's strongest arms, Flacco has spent the past half-decade in offenses designed around checking down the ball. Here, he gets $12.5 million and a chance to play in a downfield passing attack under Bruce Arians, who isn't done making moves ahead of the 2020 season ...
While there's a chance that the Oregon product would fall to the Buccaneers at No. 14, Tampa isn't taking that risk with the Dolphins, Chargers, and Panthers all in the market from picks 5-8. Herbert's arm strength appeals to Arians, who gets one final shot at developing a franchise passer. The Bucs send pick Nos. 14 and 45 plus a 2020 first-rounder to Detroit to get the No. 3 pick.
The Seahawks can't franchise Clowney, who will hit the market as the top edge rusher available. Only 27 or 28 teams should be interested.
With Clowney looking to play for a winner, New York needs to pay over the odds to persuade the 2014 No. 1 overall pick to solve its edge-rushing problem. Clowney gets a five-year, $125 million deal with $75 million guaranteed over the first three years. It's a record annual salary and three-year guarantee among edge defenders.
The Jaguars once drafted Fowler with the third overall pick to serve as the "Leo" pass-rusher in Gus Bradley's scheme. After losing Clowney, Seattle can acquire Fowler to play that same role for Pete Carroll's defense. Signing Fowler also takes him away from the division-rival Rams, who could also lose free agent Michael Brockers this offseason.
Dupree was inconsistent for most of his time in Pittsburgh, but he matched his sack total from 2017 and 2018 combined by racking up 11.5 sacks in 2019. There's obvious risk in paying him, but the Panthers are thin on the edge after Brian Burns and can add a 26-year-old from owner David Tepper's former organization.
With Miami looking to start fielding a competitive team, it should focus on adding players who are both valuable now and who could still be valuable in 2022. The 27-year-old Pierce is a run-stuffing nose tackle who should immediately help the league's 27th-ranked rush-defense DVOA.
Suh seems destined to move around the league on one-year contracts. The Patriots need to address their offense, but with guys such as Danny Shelton and Kyle Van Noy hitting free agency, Bill Belichick might need to adapt. Suh's rare athleticism and ability to stay on the field has to appeal to the legendary coach.
Reader isn't a household name, but like Pierce, he's a valuable interior lineman for a team looking to improve its run defense. Signing him away from the Texans should help improve an inconsistent Broncos run defense and give Vic Fangio the closest thing he'll have to Akiem Hicks in Denver.
Las Vegas invested a fourth overall pick on Clelin Ferrell and got an impressive rookie season from Maxx Crosby, but adding Clowney would end the discussion over the Khalil Mack decision and give the Raiders a superstar defender for their new digs. You can never have too many good edge rushers.
Seattle sends the 59th pick and the compensatory pick it will receive for Earl Thomas signing with the Ravens to Thomas' new team. The franchise-tagged Judon signs an extension and takes over Clowney's role as the Seahawks' primary pass-rusher, although the organization obviously still holds out hope for 2019 first-rounder L.J. Collier.
JPP was quietly impressive during his two-year stint in Tampa, racking up 21 sacks and 36 knockdowns in 26 games. A reunion with the Giants would make sense for both sides. While it seems like the two-time Pro Bowler has been around forever, he turned only 31 on New Year's Day.
Armstead is another former first-round pick who broke out in 2019. While he had already proved himself to be a useful defender against the run, he topped the nine career sacks he racked up between 2015 and 2018 with 10 in 2019. The Dolphins just need talent, and Armstead could be massively valuable if he keeps up this level of disruption.
One defensive lineman shouldn't be enough for the Dolphins. Signing away Shelton from the Patriots gives Miami one of the best two-down run-stoppers in football and a player to line up next to Christian Wilkins in the years to come.
The Cowboys can move on from Tyrone Crawford with just $1.1 million in dead money, which would open up a spot in the lineup for an interior penetrator like Jones. If the Chiefs don't want to re-sign Jones, they would probably be looking at a second-round pick from the Cowboys as the focal point of the return. The Eagles could pursue Crawford as defensive tackle depth.
After years of being hindered by the Joe Flacco deal, Baltimore finally celebrates its freedom from tyranny by going after one of the rarest things you'll ever see: a healthy superstar edge rusher in his prime in unrestricted free agency. Clowney takes a slight discount to play for a Super Bowl contender.
Rumors have already suggested the Ravens are shopping Judon, who will be an unrestricted free agent. As the Chiefs did with Dee Ford, Baltimore could franchise-tag Judon before trading him. The Jets desperately need a pass-rusher across from Jordan Jenkins; they send pick Nos. 48 and 138 to add Judon, who had 33 quarterback hits this past season.
To replace Clowney, the Seahawks go after Quinn, who led the league in pass rush win rate for the second consecutive season. Quinn receives interest from teams like the Patriots and Saints, but the Seahawks can offer more money and a second guaranteed season.
Beasley's hot finish to the season -- he had 6.5 sacks and two forced fumbles over the second half -- made him millions. The Falcons have already said they won't be bringing him back, so Dallas can offer a one-year deal with a chance to get back in free agency after a potential big 2020 season.
The Jets aren't the only New York team longing for edge-rushing help; the Giants need building blocks up front, and in addition to re-signing Leonard Williams, they add the 25-year-old Fowler after an 11.5-sack season in Los Angeles. If this seems like a lot for a guy with one effective season as a starter, well, go look at the Giants' depth chart.
Sean McDermott has brought in plenty of his favorites from Carolina and just hired former Panthers defensive coordinator Eric Washington as defensive line coach. Addison has been wildly underrated for years -- he's 11th in the league in sacks since 2016 -- and would step in for Shaq Lawson in Buffalo's defensive line rotation.
If Green persuades Cincy to let him leave, he'll have a robust market. You've seen him with Andy Dalton; now, imagine him with ...
While San Francisco would likely be interested in bringing back Emmanuel Sanders, Green is a clear step above Sanders and would be an ideal primary receiver in Kyle Shanahan's offense. Injuries are becoming a concern for the 31-year-old Green, who didn't play a snap this past season, but this is a chance to add a transformational receiver.
With Quincy Enunwa's future uncertain after suffering his second neck injury in three years, the Jets could add a replacement for the 27-year-old by signing Sanders. The SMU product played well after returning from a torn Achilles and enjoyed his time under Jets coach Adam Gase when both were in Denver.
Aaron Rodgers also needs a second receiver behind Davante Adams; after a mostly successful free-agent spree from Brian Gutekunst in 2019, the Packers' general manager could try to put his team over the top by adding a downfield threat in Anderson, who had 18 touchdowns in his past three seasons in New York. Rodgers ranked third in deep attempts but 25th in deep completion percentage in 2019.
With Julian Edelman, N'Keal Harry and Mohamed Sanu signed for 2020, the Pats really need to add a tight end (and add some cheap speed with someone like Seth Roberts). They need a tight end more than a wide receiver, so signing Hooper makes sense, especially if New England prefers Hooper's ability to stay on the field to Hunter Henry's superior blocking.
Let's be real: The Niners probably owe the Patriots a favor after the Jimmy Garoppolo trade. Pettis has gotten buried on the depth chart, but New England could use the 2018 second-round pick as a Julian Edelman understudy and punt returner.
Agholor's best season as a pro came in 2017, when the Eagles moved their first-round pick into the slot and he responded with 768 yards and eight touchdowns. Frank Reich was the Philly offensive coordinator that season, and a one-year deal for Agholor to rebuild his value in Indy could make sense for both sides.
If Indianapolis wants to improve its passing game but can't land on a better quarterback than Jacoby Brissett, bringing in Green could kick-start Frank Reich's offense. Green and T.Y. Hilton both have injury concerns, but this would be one of the best one-two wide receiver punches in the league.
The Cardinals have Christian Kirk and Larry Fitzgerald under contract, and it's too early to give up on second-rounder Andy Isabella, but they desperately need somebody who can win on the outside and run past defensive backs. That's Anderson to a T, and he would offer Kyler Murray a much-needed vertical threat.
New York was supposed to get Sam Darnold some weapons in the 2019 offseason. The Jets still need to get Darnold weapons in 2020. Signing Watkins would give them a more physically impactful option. While he has disappeared at times in Kansas City, Watkins' numbers would likely improve as the No. 1 target in New York.
The Chiefs and Eagles organizations are intertwined, and while Kansas City doesn't lack receivers, it could lose two regulars with Sammy Watkins released in this scenario and Demarcus Robinson hitting free agency. Mecole Hardman will pick up some of the slack in 2020, but Agholor would give the Chiefs another weapon out of the slot and come cheap at $4.5 million.
With Graham disappointing during his two seasons in Green Bay, he's an obvious candidate for release. He has the record contract for a tight end at $10 million per season, but Austin Hooper (among others) will likely top that mark this offseason. Hooper would get five years from the Packers, while Atlanta could very well sign Graham on a much smaller one-year deal.
While nobody outside of George Kittle is ever going to be able to replace Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots got a league-low 37 catches from their tight ends in 2019. Ebron isn't close to the caliber of blocker that Gronk was, but he's a receiving threat who can make spectacular catches and run past linebackers in the play-action game.
The Raiders tried to get a No. 1 receiver last offseason when they traded for Antonio Brown. That didn't work out. Trading for Green is their second chance, with Las Vegas moving down from No. 19 to No. 33 in exchange for the longtime Cincinnati star and a swap of fourth-rounders. An extension follows shortly. The Raiders still have the No. 12 pick to help their defense.
Perriman's hot finish to the season -- 25 catches for 506 yards and five touchdowns over the final five games -- attracted some attention. He's probably too expensive to be Tampa's third wideout, but his downfield ability could serve him well as the second wideout behind T.Y. Hilton in Indianapolis.
The Ravens have built their passing offense around the speed of guys like Marquise Brown and Miles Boykin, but Sanders would give them another option as an intermediate receiver who can still get upfield and make big plays. He's also a good blocker, which is essential when a team runs as much as the Ravens plan on running in 2020. Sanders, who turns 33 in March, might not have a huge market.
Everybody knows the deal here. When Henry's healthy, he's a red zone weapon and a threat after the catch. He just isn't healthy often, having missed 23 games in four seasons. New Browns coach Kevin Stefanski's Vikings offense targeted tight ends just over 24% of the time last season, the ninth-highest rate in the league. The Browns were 28th in the same category.
The Browns appeared to sour on Njoku and barely played the former first-rounder after he returned from a wrist injury. Just about everyone who was making decisions for Cleveland in 2018 is gone, but if Njoku is following them out of town, the Patriots make sense as a landing spot for a number of reasons.
While Julian Edelman is still an effective slot receiver, adding depth in the way of Amendola gives the Patriots more options with spread attacks and a backup if Edelman goes down injured or gets suspended. Amendola's upside is limited by his own injury history, but a deal in the $3 million range makes sense for both parties.
Williams has sworn he'll never play for Washington again. After sitting out all of 2019, where would the franchise left tackle fit in 2020?
Washington can't realistically expect to net the 10th overall selection for its disgruntled left tackle, but Cleveland's second-round pick at No. 41 would be a reasonable return. The Browns desperately need to upgrade on Greg Robinson at left tackle and would likely sign the 31-year-old Williams to an extension.
Peters wants to continue his career, but the Eagles are likely going to move on with 2019 first-rounder Andre Dillard as their starting left tackle. There aren't many other viable tackles on the market, so with Anthony Castonzo potentially retiring, the Colts could go for a short-term option by importing the 16-year veteran.
Tennessee's decision to decline Conklin's fifth-year option is Miami's gain. If the Dolphins do plan on drafting Tua Tagovailoa, they'll want to invest more at right tackle, since that will be the left-handed Alabama star's blind side. Conklin is the highest-upside option available at the position, and he'll still come in handy for right-handed throwers.
Peat played left tackle during his time at Stanford before moving to guard with the Saints, so the Dolphins could give the two-time Pro Bowler a shot at the most important position on the line. Peat has struggled at times, but his floor is still as an above-average guard for a team that needs linemen everywhere.
Any time a Patriots player leaves the nest, the first places to look are the various New England outposts around the NFL. With Graham Glasgow a free agent, the Lions could sign another former Patriots player by adding Thuney. The 27-year-old is an underrated contributor, but the Patriots already paid fellow guard Shaq Mason, so they might not pony up for Thuney.
Osemele is a couple of years removed from his All-Pro form, and his brief stint with the Jets was a fiasco when the team tried to prevent him from undergoing shoulder surgery, but the 30-year-old should be ready for 2020. Osemele's run-blocking would make him a great fit at left guard for Matt Rhule in Carolina.
It might seem a little weird for the Dolphins to go after a veteran, but Williams is still only 31 and should have years of good-to-great play at left tackle ahead, if he stays healthy. Giving Williams an extension would protect both Ryan Fitzpatrick and whoever follows and fill a huge hole along the Miami offensive line.
Leary wasn't able to make his mark in Denver thanks to injuries, with a torn Achilles and a series of concussions limiting him to 29 games over three seasons. Denver should decline his option. While the Browns need to upgrade at tackle, Leary could fill in at right guard under offensive line guru Bill Callahan, who coached Leary in Dallas.
If free agent Anthony Castonzo retires, Indy could either address left tackle in the draft or fill the void in March. Glenn feuded with the Bengals organization in October and will cede his spot on the blind side to 2019 first-round pick Jonah Williams. With more buyers than sellers in the left tackle market, Glenn will have some trade value.
Humphries just finished his first full healthy season as a pro, but the Jets are desperate for offensive line help. The former first-rounder has played just 43 games during his five years in the desert, and he could be one of the top veteran options available in free agency. New York left tackle Kelvin Beachum is also a free agent, so the Jets have a hole to fill.
After the Ryan Kalil experiment went disastrously, Adam Gase will be looking for a new center this offseason. Garland has earned a long-term deal from some team after he impressed for the 49ers, where he has ably replaced the injured Weston Richburg.
While the Browns fired many of the former Packers in their front office, they could still opt to upgrade at right tackle by shelling out for Bulaga, who has spent his entire career in Green Bay. The move would lead the Browns to cut Chris Hubbard, who has disappointed in Cleveland after leaving the Steelers in 2018.
It's too early for the Pats to give up on 2018 first-rounder Isaiah Wynn, but he has missed 24 games over his first two seasons with a torn Achilles and turf toe. They can't wait, with Tom Brady to make a decision, and trading for Williams would give them a franchise left tackle. Wynn could kick inside to left guard to replace Joe Thuney, who could leave in free agency.
If Williams leaves, Washington would probably look for a veteran replacement to protect Dwayne Haskins. It is likely to re-sign guard Brandon Scherff, and the former college left tackle could kick over to the blind side, but I wonder if they would do the same thing instead with Peat, who might be a better fit to make the switch.
In need of help at guard after Kyle Long retired and missing several picks in April's draft, the Bears could look again toward free agency to build support around Mitchell Trubisky. The 28-year-old Spain impressed as a run-blocker for the Bills this past season and has likely done enough to earn a multiyear deal.
Ifedi has been frustrating during his time in Seattle -- he commits too many penalties -- but teams are going to like the former first-rounder's athleticism and what he does as a run-blocker. General manager Dave Gettleman will want to address right tackle after failing to find a solution the past two offseasons.
Gang Green's recent big-ticket free-agent signings have mostly been disasters, but under new general manager Joe Douglas, they probably need to go back into the market for at least one significant offensive lineman. With no great left tackles available, signing the best right tackle on the board makes sense, but he'll be expensive.
The Broncos need to upgrade on Garett Bolles at left tackle, and Thomas is the first offensive tackle off the board in Mel Kiper's 2020 Mock Draft 1.0. Trading up for the Georgia product would cost them their second-rounder (No. 46) and the third-rounder they got from the 49ers (Nos. 91 or 92) for Emmanuel Sanders.
Gordon held out for a new contract and didn't get it. Now that he's a free agent, will any team pony up to pay the 26-year-old running back?
If Bruce Arians tries to bring in Philip Rivers to play quarterback, the second-year coach might consider adding Rivers' former teammate to play alongside him in the backfield, too. Gordon would be an upgrade on Ronald Jones and the sort of receiving back Arians hasn't had since David Johnson's breakout year in 2016.
With the restricted free agent Ekeler likely to be tendered at the second-round level, the Patriots wouldn't be able to sign the Chargers back, since they don't have a second-round pick. Trading for Ekeler would allow the Pats to get more creative in terms of compensation and use the wildly efficient back as a slot receiver on a regular basis.
The veteran running back was reportedly negotiating with the Chargers in August before agreeing to terms with the Chiefs, and while McCoy ended up winning a Super Bowl in Kansas City, it was as a healthy scratch. Going to the Chargers would give him a chance at a starting job, which he probably wouldn't get elsewhere.
The Patriots can free up $2.9 million by cutting Burkhead, who played 23% of the offensive snaps in 2019 and hasn't been able to consistently stay healthy. The Lions have struggled to keep Kerryon Johnson on the field in both of his first two seasons, and Burkhead would enter the Lions' lineup as a change-of-pace back and special-teamer.
Atlanta needs to get cheaper at running back, and Freeman should still attract interest around the league as the better half of a timeshare. He's a great fit in Houston, where he would take the early-down carries and goal-line reps and cede the other snaps to Duke Johnson.
With Washington rebuilding under Ron Rivera, I'm not sure this organization is going to be as patient waiting for former second-round pick Derrius Guice, who has played five games in two seasons thanks to injuries. Drake would take over the Christian McCaffrey role in Scott Turner's offense, which is likely to interest fantasy players.
From 2017 to 2019, Ron Rivera built his offense in Carolina around Christian McCaffrey, who could shoulder a heavy workload in both the running and passing game. Gordon isn't exactly that sort of player, but at his best, he has been an effective runner and receiver while shouldering a significant workload. Signing Gordon also takes some pressure off Dwayne Haskins.
Drake isn't quite an exact replacement for Gordon, but the Cardinals improved dramatically on offense after he took over lead back responsibilities from David Johnson. If Drake doesn't see a great multiyear deal on the table, he could take this one-year pact and head back into free agency after a stellar full season.
While Miller once left the Dolphins in free agency, much of the front office that chose to let him go has been turned over. The born-and-raised Miami native might prefer a trip home, especially since he'll have the inside shot at lead-back duties. Miami has more than $100 million of cap space this offseason.
There's no way the Jets will get meaningful value for Bell, whose contract is underwater, but they might be able to dump salary if they attach a draft pick. I'd love to see Bell in Bruce Arians' system, though Tampa would be on the hook for $13.5 million in 2020. The Jets might be able to make this deal without attaching a draft pick if they eat some of his contract.
Without Bell in the fold, the Jets suddenly have a hole at running back. Adam Gase has long struggled to find a running back solution, but Howard is a cheap short-term investment who played under offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains in Chicago.
With Freeman likely to be cut by the Falcons and veteran Frank Gore moving on from Buffalo, the Bills need a back to take some of the reps away from Devin Singletary. Freeman would take over as the goal-line and early-down specialist.
With Bill O'Brien officially taking over as general manager and the Texans firing contract negotiator Chris Olsen, chances are that we're going to see O'Brien wielding his checkbook. Gordon's versatility should make him an effective threat in the screen game and when Deshaun Watson scrambles.
Miller missed all of 2019 with a torn ACL but should be ready for Week 1. The former Texans back was a league-average starter before his injury, so the Chargers could get a relative bargain -- something like $2 million -- in using him as half of a rotation with Austin Ekeler.
Bruce Arians seemed unsure about committing to Ronald Jones during the second half of the season, and fumbles were a concern for the second-year back. Adding the resurgent Drake would give Arians a difference-maker in the passing game, which should help regardless of who ends up playing quarterback in 2020.
The cap-strapped Falcons can free up $3.5 million by releasing Freeman, who hasn't been consistently effective or healthy since signing a big extension in August of 2017. A return to Miami, where Freeman grew up, would make sense given the Dolphins' wafer-thin depth chart at running back.
There's no such thing as too many backs for the Seahawks, who were forced to call Marshawn Lynch out of retirement for the postseason thanks to injuries. With Rashaad Penny and Chris Carson recovering from serious injuries, Howard could fill in between the tackles, particularly early in the season.
McKinnon has missed the past two seasons with knee troubles and will surely be cut by the 49ers. New Browns coach Kevin Stefanski had McKinnon in Minnesota and could give him a shot to compete for the receiving back role with Kareem Hunt, who is a restricted free agent this offseason.
Harris' last contract ended up becoming one of the NFL's biggest bargains. The former Broncos star deserves top dollar this time.
Kansas City's Super Bowl win came with transient cornerbacks. The only Chiefs corner set to come back who played significant snaps is Charvarius Ward. Let's get them a star in Harris, who solidifies the weakest spot on their roster as they try to get back to the big game.
The Super Bowl hero finally gets his multiyear deal after having his Panthers deal rescinded in 2018. Breeland has generally been an above-average cornerback when healthy, and the Dolphins badly need secondary help. Having just turned 28, Breeland should lock down one corner spot for at least a couple of years during the Miami rebuild.
Jones' enormous deal will still require the Dolphins to eat $10.2 million in dead money to move on. He shouldn't have to go far, though; Jones started his career in Miami under defensive wizard Todd Bowles, who is now the coordinator in Tampa. The Bucs could use Jones' range and instincts in either safety spot.
Ryan had an active season in Tennessee; he was the nearest defender in coverage on 99 targets, the fifth-most in football. Trumaine Johnson is almost surely going to be cut by the Jets, and Brian Poole is a free agent, so Ryan could step in as a much-needed starting corner outside or (preferably) in the slot.
Cornerback was a disaster for the Eagles last season, and they have to do something to address the position this offseason. Let's start by bringing back Robinson, who had a career year in the slot for the Eagles in 2017 and then got lost in the shuffle with the Saints.
Likewise, Rhodes was great in 2017 and then hasn't been anywhere near as effective over the past couple of seasons. The Eagles, who don't have a ton of money to spend, would be hoping that a fresh start and an offseason to heal would get the 29-year-old Rhodes looking like his former self. He is likely to be a cap casualty in Minnesota.
Can you name the only cornerback with an average annual salary of $15 million? It's Josh Norman. Jalen Ramsey will likely sign a record-setting deal soon, but Harris might be the next to top that $15 million mark. The Jets desperately need help at cornerback and will clear out Trumaine Johnson's deal this offseason.
The Giants are going young at corner but likely need to add a veteran after cutting Janoris Jenkins in December. Johnson was a disaster with the Jets, but he just turned 30 and was one of the league's best corners with the Rams as recently as 2017.
If the Broncos lose Harris, they'll need to add a cornerback to take his place. Bryce Callahan should be back to play the slot after missing all of 2019 with a foot injury, so Denver will likely look for a corner to play outside. Signing Breeland also steals from the rival Chiefs.
The 2016 first-round pick has had an up-and-down career, mixing impressive seasons in 2016 and 2018 with disappointing campaigns in 2017 and 2019. Apple played his high school football a half hour away from the Linc, and both sides of this deal could benefit from giving him a chance to prove himself in 2020.
Poole quietly rebuilt his career after being cut by the Falcons as one of the few bright spots for the Jets on defense -- or really anywhere -- in 2019. He would take over as the Eagles' slot corner and reunite with former Falcons defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel, now the secondary coach in Philadelphia.
Let's get Jon Gruden's 31st-ranked defense by DVOA a new star. Cornerback has been a mess for the Raiders over the past couple of years, but Jones' size, speed and physicality gives Las Vegas somebody who can compete with the likes of Keenan Allen, Travis Kelce and Courtland Sutton.
A year ago, the Texans signed former Broncos corner Bradley Roby to a one-year deal to try to shore up a thin cornerback group. Now, they'll make a more substantial deal with Harris, who will start alongside Lonnie Johnson and Gareon Conley in 2020. This contract would have two fully guaranteed seasons.
With former Broncos defensive backs coach Joe Woods taking over in Cleveland as defensive coordinator, the Browns might look to add a player in his peak with a Super Bowl ring to help serve as a leader on that side of the ball. Roby, a first-round pick in 2014, would beef up a corner position that includes Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams.
Norman has been a below-average player since signing a record-setting deal with Washington. He could retire, but I wonder if the Bills would give him a chance. Sean McDermott was the Panthers' defensive coordinator when Norman broke out in 2015, and the deal likely wouldn't have much guaranteed money.
Mike Zimmer will need to rebuild at cornerback with Xavier Rhodes a likely cap casualty and Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander hitting free agency. The Vikings will likely address corner in the draft, but taking a low-cost flier on Johnson after two disastrous years with the Jets is the sort of thing Zimmer should consider.
Jones' size should attract interest from teams who run variants of the Pete Carroll Cover 3 Buzz scheme. The Jags still do under Todd Wash and could use a cornerback to replace Jalen Ramsey on the outside across from A.J. Bouye, although this would be a tough squeeze given their cap situation.
Talib and Richard Sherman? It's rare to see a team start two cornerbacks on the wrong side of 30, but talent means more than age. Talib was good when he got on the field for the Rams the past two seasons, but he played only 11 total regular-season games in L.A. before a salary dump trade to Miami. He's still good enough to get an opportunity to play.