The NFL has announced next season’s salary cap will be $182.5 million—an 8 percent decline from this season. COVID had a significant impact on both team and league revenue. As a result, teams will need to restructure and release players to meet the reduced cap, and next week, teams will be allowed to contact free agents. Here are the top 10 NFL free agents:
- Anthony Harris
Harris is a do-it-all safety. The Vikings weren’t as strong this year as they were in years past, Harris included, but the physical defender still recorded 104 tackles. At 29, Harris still has quality years left In him and, as one of the top safeties in the league, is a game-changer for whatever team signs him.
- JuJu Smith-Schuster
The former Pittsburgh Steeler has massive upside. The Steelers maintained a deek-and-dunk offense this year, but JuJu still managed to put up 831 yards and 9 TDs on 97 catches. Though he may not be a true number one receiver, JuJu is one of the best number two receivers in the league – as we saw during his time lining up alongside Antonio Brown.
- Hunter Henry
Before Henry tore his ACL, he was one of the best tight ends in the league. Now, a couple of years removed, Henry is still just 26 years old. Playing with a rookie quarterback hindered his statistical growth in 2020. However, Henry has incredible upside and is an instant starter wherever he ends up.
- Joe Thuney
Thuney was one of the few bright spots on a poor New England team this year. A large but agile force on the left side of the line of scrimmage, Thuney has the potential to change the makeup of an offensive line. Look for him to sign with a run-heavy team, as he has struggled a bit in pass protection.
- Yannick Ngakoue
Ngakoue starred on the Jaguars but spent 2020 in Minnesota and Baltimore. There, his production dipped a bit but remained well above the league average. A steady home will provide Ngakoue with the ability to dive deep into his bag of tricks to torment offensive lines.
- Bud Dupree
The running-mate of NFL DPOY snub TJ Watt, Dupree had an incredible season in Pittsburgh before tearing his ACL. He established himself as one of the best edge rushers in the NFL and earned a payday that Pittsburgh could not provide. An athletic freak, Dupree is a quarterback pressure machine destined to rack up the sacks.
- Aaron Jones
Jones nearly reached the 1,500 scrimmage yard mark this season with Green Bay. His second straight huge year puts Jones in line for a big paycheck. As one of the NFL’s top backs, Jones will be at the top of many team charts.
- Shaquil Barrett
In 2019, Barrett led the league in sacks. He continued to bother quarterbacks all season long, including Patrick Mahomes in the Super Bowl. Simply put, he is too expensive for the Buccaneers to keep. Barrett is not only among the best edge rushers in the league, but also among the best players in the league. No matter where Barrett goes, he will be battling for the league lead in sacks once again next season.
- Kenny Golladay
Golladay often gets overlooked in the conversation of the NFL’s best wide receivers, partially due to his injuries and playing on a controversy-plagued Detroit team. Golladay, however, enters free agency at 27 years old and is a formidable number one option. Pair him up with another one of the league’s best, and you might have the best receiving tandem in the league.
- Trent Williams
Even though Williams is 32 years old, he is still one the best tackles in the NFL. Allowing only one sack this season on an injury-plagued San Francisco squad leaves little to the imagination when it comes to discussing Williams’ skillset. The best free-agent available this offseason, Williams will sign the longest deal he can with his increasing age.