Written by Chris Kubala
The NFL continues their offseason as they move forward to getting the season underway in September. There are still some relatively big names on the market that could draw interest from teams, depending on their price tag and whether a team looking to bolster the position is willing to hand over the kind of money that works for both parties. We’ll take a look at some of the top remaining guys out there and where they could potentially end up if they end up finding a new team this season.
QB Cam Newton: We’ve talked a lot about Newton previously and how injury issues pretty much sealed his fate in Carolina. The Panthers picked up Teddy Bridgewater to take over at quarterback and that put Newton in a tough spot. He still wants to be a starting quarterback but there’s no real openings for a #1 option at this stage. Newton likely has to be a backup for right now if he hopes to extend his career. There’s been a lack of suitors for Newton, either based on his contract demands or concerns about his injury woes. If he doesn’t find a suitable situation, he could sit out the rest of the season. Should he do that, will anyone take a flier on him next year?
RB Devonta Freeman: Freeman was the feature back in Atlanta for the last several years but an injury-plagued 2018 slowed him down. He ran the ball 184 times for just 656 yards and two scores last season in 14 games though he did grab 59 passes for 410 yards plus four scores. Once the Falcons decided to bring Todd Gurley in on a one-year deal, Freeman was deemed expendable. The 28-year-old drew heavy interest from Seattle, who offered him a one-year deal worth up to $4 million, but he turned it down. The Jets and Eagles are reportedly kicking the tires on him though one has to wonder how he’d fit on the Jets with Le’Veon Bell and Frank Gore alongside rookie Lamical Perine.
RB LeSean McCoy: McCoy turns 32 in July and faded into oblivion down the stretch in his lone season with the Chiefs. He finished the year with 101 carries for 465 yards plus four scores while grabbing 28 passes for 181 yards and a score. McCoy lost time to Damien Williams in the second half of the season and barely saw the field in the postseason. He didn’t even touch the ball in the playoffs as Kansas City won their first Super Bowl in half a century. Last month, McCoy said he wanted to play two more years and has made overtures about returning to the Eagles. Philadelphia is looking at him as a potential veteran option to go along with Miles Sanders in a crowded running back room.
RB Carlos Hyde: Hyde was a relative non-factor in 2018 with the Browns and Jaguars as he ran for just 571 yards with a 3.3-yard per carry average. He was on the market before last season when Lamar Miller went down with a torn ACL that ended his season. As a result, the Texans traded for him shortly before the regular season began and he contributed. Hyde ran the ball 245 times for 1,070 yards and six scores as the lead back in the system. After Houston acquired David Johnson from Arizona, Hyde became a non-factor in Houston. He’s another guy that Seattle and Philadelphia are interested in at the moment.
DE Jadeveon Clowney: Clowney is a former first overall pick in the draft and was a contributor for the Texans’ defense. He racked up 29 sacks in five years with Houston with 18.5 of those coming in his final two seasons with the team. After being traded to Seattle, he struggled with injury issues and didn’t put up numbers anywhere close to what he had in Houston. Clowney finished the year with 31 tackles, seven tackles for loss, three sacks, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, one interception and two defensive touchdowns. He was seeking big money on the market but hasn’t gotten it. He’s in a similar situation as Newton at this stage where he might end up needing a one-year deal in order to prove he can rebound in order to make big money in 2021. Seattle is his best option, though Tennessee or Philadelphia could kick the tires on him.
CB Logan Ryan: Ryan had success with Tennessee last season and his pick-six to seal the wild card round win over Tom Brady and the Patriots will be a lasting memory for Titans fans. He was targeted 103 times, allowing 68 receptions and giving up a QB rating of 88.7 last year. One issue he had was missed tackles: he had 11, accounting for an 8.9 percent miss rate. Ryan did log 113 tackles, 4.5 sacks, four tackles for loss, 18 pass defenses, four interceptions and four forced fumbles. Since Ryan announced he wasn’t returning to Tennessee, several teams have been linked but no one has signed him. The Jets were the most recent team to essentially drop out of the race as Ryan is seeking an eight-figure payday. Perhaps the Giants or Dolphins will take a shot at him.
G Larry Warford: Warford was an important contributor to the Saints over the last few seasons. He was let go after the Saints drafted Cesar Ruiz in the opening round of the draft and the team couldn’t find a trade partner willing to take on his salary. Warford still has plenty in the tank at 28 and he can be an effective force in the middle of the offensive line. He’d be a great fit for the Bengals, who could use some help on the line. One team that seems to be out is the Jets, who aren’t willing to pay him the $7 million a year that he’s asking right now.
DT Damon Harrison: Harrison is a force in the middle of the defensive line from his defensive tackle position. Snacks had a down year last year but that could be said for the entire Lions defense, which completely fell apart after the first month of the year. He finished the year with 49 tackles, two sacks, three tackles for loss and three pass defenses. After being released, Harrison could still be an impact player in a couple spots. The Titans could use another defensive tackle after dealing Jurrell Casey, or he could always return to the Giants, where he played before.
There are some other names out there but it’s going to be interesting to see if any of these guys draw some interest with the month of May starting to slip away.