With most of the big names off the board, who are best remaining NFL free agents?
Including the legal tampering period, Sunday is Day 7 of NFL free agency for 2019. Most of the biggest names are spoken for, but subsequent waves of signings can still yield some difference makers. As it were, some recognizable names are available heading into the second week of free agency.
So who are the top remaining NFL free agents?
1. OLB Justin Houston
Rather than keep him, and retain a cap hit just north of $21 million, the Kansas City Chiefs cut Houston prior to the start of free agency. He has missed some time to injury over the last few seasons, but the four-time Pro Bowler has had back-to-back seasons with at least nine sacks and Pro Football Focus gave him an 89.1 pass rush grade in 2018 as he graded out No. 14 overall among edge defenders.
The market has been remarkably quiet for the 30-year old, who seems to have plenty left in the tank. That could change quickly though.
Best Fits: Indianapolis Colts, New York Jets, Green Bay Packers, Oakland Raiders, Atlanta Falcons
2. DT Ndamukong Suh
After being cut by the Miami Dolphins last offseason, Suh landed with the Los Angeles Rams on a one-year deal. While some would say he didn’t have a great season, he had 4.5 sacks and 19 quarterback hits along with 59 total tackles during the regular season with an uptick in his performance during the playoffs. At nearly 32 years old, he was also practically an every down player (87.9 percent of the Rams’ defensive snaps, according to Football Outsiders).
It may come down to what he’s asking for, but Suh is a sure upgrade to any interior defensive line as a pass rusher and run defender.
Best Fits: Los Angeles Chargers, Dallas Cowboys, Indianapolis Colts
3. TE Jared Cook
After being a perpetual underachiever, Cook set career-highs with 68 receptions for 896 yards and six touchdowns for the Oakland Raiders last year. Being one of the only good options for Derek Carr helped drive that production, but an athletic tight end such as he is should have a measure of success anywhere.
There is risk of last year standing as a contract drive and a career year, which probably explains why he’s still available. But Cook can absolutely remain a productive player, with nice upside in the right situation.
Best Fits: New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers, New York Jets
4. DE Ezekiel Ansah
A ongoing shoulder problem limited Ansah to seven games last season, and he has four or fewer sacks in two of the last three seasons. In 2017 (12 sacks in 14 games) and 2015 (14.5 sacks in 16 games), the former Lions’ first-round pick showed what he’s capable of doing when healthy and fully engaged.
Ansah has shown he’s not just a pass rusher too, with above average grades against the run in four of his six NFL seasons from Pro Football Focus. If he didn’t carry durability questions, the BYU product would have surely commanded a nice multi-year deal in the first few days of free agency in either of the last two years.
After playing on the franchise tag in 2018, Ansah may be left to settle for a one-year deal now. But the premium placed on pass rushers, and a lack of supply, sets him up for a contract he’ll be happy with.
Best Fits: New Orleans Saints, Buffalo Bills, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Oakland Raiders
5. WR Randall Cobb
It feels like forever since Cobb had a 90-catch, 1,200-yard, double-digit touchdown season, and in football years it was (2014, 91 receptions for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns). Injuries have sapped that upside since, and he only played nine games last year due to hamstring and concussion issues. That said, he’s not yet 29 years old.
The Packers rewarded Cobb with a big contract after his breakout season, and did not receive anywhere near that production. But this time around, he could be a nice bargain on the open market.
Best Fits: New England Patriots, Minnesota Vikings, Indianapolis Colts, New York Jets