2021 NFL Free Agency Outlook: Skilled Positions

-John Turner

As we get close to the end of the season I’d like to take the time and look ahead at the flurry of transactions to come. I often enjoy the off the field chess game almost more than the actual on field product. Previously I wrote about the salary cap situations for all the teams across the league and how many are going to be put in a position to potentially make some roster sacrifices they normally would’nt due to the cap being lowered for the 2021 season. Today I’ll be breaking down the current list of upcoming free agents and their rankings within their position group, as well as speculating on some potential landing spots and the possibility of being retained by their current teams.

We start off with the prized bulls of the league. No doubt the league has shifted their rules to favor and accommodate the quarterback position. While the upcoming draft will be have a plethora of options to choose from, the free agency pool will not be as plentiful. Dak Prescott is the big man on campus and as of now all signs point to him being retained. However anything could happen if we know Jerry Jones at all. He’s likely to command a salary in the neighborhood of around $40 million a year so there’s only a handful of teams that could actually make the offer. Washington, the Jets, the Jaguars, the Colts, and the Patriots would probably round out the list of teams willing to spend the big coin if they indeed felt that Dak is their guy. However as I said, Believe he stays in Dallas. Phillip Rivers may sign on for one last dance in Indianapolis or he could retire, but the liklihood of him packing up and moving to another city with all those children after a single season is probably somewhere between slim and none with slim unavailable.

TeamFree AgentPositionAge2021 GradePosition RankingFA Type
ARIBrett HundleyQB28UFA
ATLMatt SchaubQB40UFA
BALRobert Griffin IIIQB31UFA
BUFMatt BarkleyQB30UFA
CHIMitchell TrubiskyQB2762.036UFA
CINBrandon AllenQB28UFA
DALDak PrescottQB2885.28UFA
DALAndy DaltonQB3369.624UFA
DALGarrett GilbertQB30UFA
DETDavid BloughQB26ERFA
GBTim BoyleQB26RFA
HOUA.J. McCarronQB30UFA
HOUJosh McCownQB42UFA
INDPhilip RiversQB3979.217UFA
INDJacoby BrissettQB2873.7N/AUFA
JACMike GlennonQB3167.528UFA
LACTyrod TaylorQB3259.4N/AUFA
LVNathan PetermanQB27UFA
MIARyan FitzpatrickQB3875.119UFA
MINSean MannionQB29UFA
NECam NewtonQB3270.922UFA
NEBrian HoyerQB35UFA
NOJameis WinstonQB2738.2N/AUFA
NYGColt McCoyQB34UFA
NYJJoe FlaccoQB36UFA
PHINate SudfeldQB27UFA
PITJoshua DobbsQB26UFA
SEAGeno SmithQB30UFA
SFC.J. BeathardQB27UFA
SFNick MullensQB2656.938RFA
SFJosh RosenQB24ERFA
TBRyan GriffinQB31UFA
TBBlaine GabbertQB31UFA
WASDwayne HaskinsQB2448.440UFA
WASKyle AllenQB25ERFA

The running back position doesn’t seem to break the bank as it once did. With more and more teams splitting the backfield and having a by commitee approach I don’t see that trend changing any time soon. Needless to say there’s a lot of talent potentially out there. Gus Edwards has low mileage and is coming off his 3rd straight season of averaging over 5 yards a carry. He’s a restricted free agent so it’s likely he may stick around in Baltimore. Aaron Jones averages 5.5 a carry and has had back to back 1000 yard seasons while catching close to 50 balls in each of those years. Jones is likely to be the back to get the biggest deal this offseason. Then we have James Conner. He’s been steady for the most part in his career but he has missed games in each of his 4 seasons and seems to disappear in some games. With Benny Snell and Anthony McFarland in town, chances are that Conner may be the odd man out.

TeamFree AgentPositionAge2021 GradePosition RankingFA Type
ARIKenyan DrakeRB2760.960UFA
ARIJonathan WardRB23ERFA
ATLTodd GurleyRB2754.869UFA
ATLBrian HillRB2557.966UFA
BALGus EdwardsRB2685.75RFA
BUFTaiwan JonesRB33UFA
BUFT.J. YeldonRB27UFA
CARMike DavisRB2875.022UFA
CARReggie BonnafonRB25ERFA
CARRodney SmithRB25ERFA
CHIArtavis PierceRB25ERFA
CHIRyan NallRB25ERFA
CINSamaje PerineRB2576.719UFA
DENPhillip LindsayRB2769.838RFA
DETAdrian PetersonRB3659.662UFA
GBTyler ErvinRB27UFA
GBJamaal WilliamsRB2673.229UFA
GBAaron JonesRB2679.413UFA
HOUC.J. ProsiseRB27UFA
HOUDontrell HilliardRB26RFA
HOUBuddy HowellRB25RFA
HOUScottie PhillipsRB23ERFA
INDMarlon MackRB25UFA
JACChris ThompsonRB30UFA
JACDare OgunbowaleRB27ERFA
JACNathan CottrellRB25ERFA
KCLe’Veon BellRB2973.925UFA
KCDarrel WilliamsRB2661.059RFA
LACKalen BallageRB25UFA
LARMalcolm BrownRB2857.767UFA
LARRaymond CalaisRB23ERFA
LVDevontae BookerRB2968.743UFA
LVTheo RiddickRB30UFA
MIAMatt BreidaRB26UFA
MIADeAndre WashingtonRB28UFA
MIASalvon AhmedRB2270.536ERFA
MINAmeer AbdullahRB28UFA
MINMike BooneRB26RFA
NEJames WhiteRB2965.547UFA
NERex BurkheadRB3178.218UFA
NEJ.J. TaylorRB23ERFA
NOTy MontgomeryRB28UFA
NODwayne WashingtonRB27UFA
NYGDion LewisRB3054.770UFA
NYGDevonta FreemanRB29UFA
NYGAlfred MorrisRB32UFA
NYGWayne GallmanRB2671.135UFA
NYJFrank GoreRB3860.761UFA
NYJJosh AdamsRB24RFA
PHICorey ClementRB26UFA
PHIBoston ScottRB2668.842RFA
PITTrey EdmundsRB26UFA
PITJames ConnerRB2668.044UFA
SEACarlos HydeRB3067.146UFA
SEAChris CarsonRB2677.317UFA
SFTevin ColemanRB28UFA
SFJerick McKinnonRB2973.726UFA
SFJeff WilsonRB2569.141RFA
SFJaMycal HastyRB24ERFA
SFAustin WalterRB25ERFA
TBLeonard FournetteRB2661.557UFA
TBLeSean McCoyRB33UFA
TBKenjon BarnerRB32UFA
TBT.J. LoganRB26UFA
TENSenorise PerryRB29UFA
TEND’Onta ForemanRB25RFA
WASLamar MillerRB30UFA

The forgotten position sees a couple of its finest possibly hitting the market. Kyle Juszczyk is a throwback player. He boots the running game of any team that still utilizes the position. Michael Burton is another guy I like but the Saints are going to have to work some salary cap magic if they want to keep some of their pending free agents in house.

TeamFree AgentPositionAge2021 GradePosition RankingFA Type
SFKyle JuszczykFB3065.43UFA
KCAnthony ShermanFB32UFA
SEANick BelloreFB32UFA
NOMichael BurtonFB2962.75UFA
CARAlex ArmahFB2757.08UFA
TENAnthony FirkserFB26RFA
GBJohn LovettFB25ERFA
NEJakob JohnsonFB2645.112ERFA
TENKhari BlasingameFB2554.711ERFA

Diva City!!! An expensive free agent wide receiver rarely puts a team over the top. More often than not, the best ones seem to stick around to the team that drafted them for another contract. I’ve never been a huge fan of cutting huge checks for WRs in free agency and prefer to sign them only as depth options. Just seems like better team building to me. However there are a few guys I like. Allen Robinson is likely headed for a payday in the neighborhood of $20 million a year. Depending on what the Texans new general manager Nick Caserio wants to do at the head coaching spot as well as dealing with Deshaun Watson will determine what they do with Will Fuller. Corey Davis hit career highs in yardage and touchdowns this season and is a great option for a team looking for a big bodied possession receiver. I think if Tom Brady stays in Tampa Bay then Antonio Brown returns. Last but not least, I really like Zach Pascal. He’s a restricted free agent so the Colts, who will surely place a tender on him, have the opportunity to match any team’s offer. With T.Y. Hilton also hitting free agency and a possible question mark at QB1, even with a ton of cap space they may choose not to spend it all on skilled guys allowing him to slip through the cracks. I believe his best is yet to come.

TeamFree AgentPositionAge2021 GradePosition RankingFA Type
ARILarry FitzgeraldWR3859.6106UFA
ARITrent SherfieldWR25RFA
ATLLaquon TreadwellWR26UFA
ATLBrandon PowellWR24RFA
ATLChristian BlakeWR2551.3127ERFA
BALWillie SneadWR2871.654UFA
BALChris MooreWR28UFA
BALDez BryantWR32UFA
BALDeAndrew WhiteWR29UFA
BALAntoine WesleyWR23ERFA
BUFAndre RobertsWR33UFA
BUFIsaiah McKenzieWR2671.951UFA
CARCurtis SamuelWR2577.028UFA
CARPharoh CooperWR26UFA
CARKeith KirkwoodWR26RFA
CARBrandon ZylstraWR28RFA
CHIAllen RobinsonWR2888.45UFA
CHICordarrelle PattersonWR30UFA
CHIDwayne HarrisWR33UFA
CHIDeandre CarterWR28RFA
CINA.J. GreenWR3366.376UFA
CINJohn RossWR26UFA
CINAlex EricksonWR28UFA
CINMike ThomasWR27UFA
CLEJojo NatsonWR27UFA
CLERashard HigginsWR2677.427UFA
CLETaywan TaylorWR26UFA
CLEMarvin HallWR2857.4117UFA
CLEKhadarel HodgeWR2670.362RFA
DALNoah BrownWR25UFA
DALMalik TurnerWR25RFA
DALCedrick WilsonWR25ERFA
DENTim PatrickWR2774.545RFA
DENDiontae SpencerWR29ERFA
DETMarvin JonesWR3173.647UFA
DETDanny AmendolaWR3574.942UFA
DETMohamed SanuWR3265.581UFA
DETKenny GolladayWR2781.6N/AUFA
DETJamal AgnewWR26UFA
GBTavon AustinWR31UFA
GBAllen LazardWR2571.753ERFA
GBMalik TaylorWR25ERFA
HOUWill FullerWR2786.210UFA
INDT.Y. HiltonWR3175.935UFA
INDMarcus JohnsonWR27UFA
INDZach PascalWR2662.992RFA
INDDe’Michael HarrisWR23ERFA
INDAshton DulinWR24ERFA
JACKeelan ColeWR2864.487UFA
JACChris ConleyWR2870.163UFA
JACDede WestbrookWR27UFA
KCSammy WatkinsWR2864.487UFA
KCDemarcus RobinsonWR2662.992UFA
KCByron PringleWR27ERFA
LACTyron JohnsonWR25ERFA
LARJosh ReynoldsWR2665.084UFA
LVZay JonesWR2662.992UFA
LVNelson AgholorWR2873.846UFA
MIAMack HollinsWR2758.2111UFA
MIAIsaiah FordWR2561.1101RFA
MINChad BeebeWR2757.4117RFA
NEDamiere ByrdWR2861.4100UFA
NOBennie FowlerWR30UFA
NOJake KumerowWR29RFA
NOLil’jordan HumphreyWR23ERFA
NYGDa’Mari ScottWR26RFA
NYGAustin MackWR24ERFA
NYGC.J. BoardWR27ERFA
NYGDavid SillsWR26ERFA
NYJBreshad PerrimanWR2763.190UFA
NYJVyncint SmithWR25RFA
NYJJeff SmithWR2452.1126ERFA
PHITravis FulghamWR2571.259ERFA
PHIGreg WardWR2658.8107ERFA
PITJuJu Smith-SchusterWR2468.271UFA
PITRay-Ray McCloudWR24RFA
SEAPhillip DorsettWR28UFA
SEAJosh GordonWR30UFA
SEADavid MooreWR2666.079UFA
SFKendrick BourneWR2672.050UFA
SFTrent TaylorWR27UFA
SFRiver CracraftWR26ERFA
TBAntonio BrownWR3385.012UFA
TBChris GodwinWR2576.929UFA
TBJohn FranklinWR26ERFA
TENCorey DavisWR2686.98UFA
TENKalif RaymondWR27UFA
TENCameron BatsonWR2558.1112RFA
TENNick WestbrookWR24ERFA
WASRobert FosterWR27RFA
WASCam SimsWR2562.597ERFA
WASDontrelle InmanWR3261.599UFA

Give or take my favorite position to watch… the tight ends. The position is evolving lately. We’re seeing guys like Taysom Hill and Logan Thomas taking snaps as quarterbacks at times. The Eagles recently signed quarterback Tyree Jackson and changed his position to tight end, something many argued would’ve been good for Tim Tebow. So many have now gone from just blocking, catching, and special teams to gadget players and other more intricle parts of the offense. Moe Ali-Cox is one of my favorite young TEs in football. He checks all the boxes and he’s a good teammate, however he’s an exclusive rights free agent so it’s likely he stays in Indy. Hunter Henry is a solid player that has yet to suit up for an entire season due to injuries. He’d probably make a good fit in New England. Jonnu Smith has been quite productive. He’s everything you want in the position. As with Antonio Brown I believe Rob Gronkowski is tied to a man named Brady.

TeamFree AgentPositionAge2021 GradePosition RankingFA Type
ARIDarrell DanielsTE2659.153UFA
ARIDan ArnoldTE2664.344RFA
ATLLuke StockerTE3348.167UFA
ATLJaeden GrahamTE25ERFA
BALEric TomlinsonTE29UFA
BUFTyler KroftTE2864.335UFA
CARChris ManhertzTE2958.057UFA
CARSeth DevalveTE28UFA
CARColin ThompsonTE27ERFA
CHIDemetrius HarrisTE30UFA
CHIJ.P. HoltzTE28ERFA
CINCethan CarterTE27UFA
CINMason SchreckTE27RFA
CLEStephen CarlsonTE24ERFA
DALBlake BellTE3063.038UFA
DENJake ButtTE26UFA
GBMarcedes LewisTE3767.628UFA
GBRobert Tonyan Jr.TE2767.926RFA
HOUPharaoh BrownTE27ERFA
INDTrey BurtonTE2969.920UFA
INDMo Alie-CoxTE2781.06ERFA
JACJames O’ShaughnessyTE2957.659UFA
JACEric SaubertTE27UFA
JACBen EllefsonTE24ERFA
JACTyler EifertTE3062.241CO
KCRicky Seals-JonesTE26UFA
KCDeon YelderTE26RFA
KCNick KeizerTE2647.368ERFA
LACHunter HenryTE2669.322UFA
LACVirgil GreenTE33UFA
LACStephen AndersonTE28RFA
LACGabe NabersTE23ERFA
LARGerald EverettTE2762.143UFA
LARJohnny MundtTE26RFA
LVJason WittenTE39UFA
LVDerek CarrierTE31UFA
MINJake BargasTE24ERFA
NEJordan ThomasTE25RFA
NOJared CookTE3471.914UFA
NYJDaniel BrownTE29UFA
NYJRoss TravisTE28UFA
PHIRichard RodgersTE2988.62UFA
PHIJoshua PerkinsTE28UFA
PITVance McDonaldTE3145.569CO
SEAGreg OlsenTE3661.346UFA
SEAJacob HollisterTE2758.755UFA
SFJordan ReedTE31UFA
SFRoss DwelleyTE2661.248RFA
TBRob GronkowskiTE3270.418UFA
TBAntony AuclairTE28UFA
TBTanner HudsonTE26ERFA
TENMyCole PruittTE29UFA
TENGeoff SwaimTE2762.241UFA
TENJonnu SmithTE2675.212UFA
WASJeremy SprinkleTE27UFA
WASTemarrick HemingwayTE28RFA
WASMarcus BaughTE26RFA

Next up, we take a look at the big boys. You can’t win without solid line play so we’ll be diving on into the trenches.

More to come from us to you… It’s A Football World, we’re all just passing through.

Photo Credit: Dallas News

2 thoughts on “2021 NFL Free Agency Outlook: Skilled Positions

  • January 15, 2021 at 3:46 am
    Permalink

    Mate, you’re a damn machine! Can’t wait to read all of this Free Agency series. Rock on!

    • January 15, 2021 at 5:50 am
      Permalink

      Thank you! I’m off to bed but we’ll be back at it tomorrow! Cheers!

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