2021 Free Agents - Offense Edition
By: Keith Sheeran
Aaron jones / nflanalysis.net
With the defensive free agents covered in my previous article, let’s now move onto the offense and talk about some of the top free agents. The 2020 NFL season is coming to a close soon, and it’s never too early to start looking at the top available free agents for 2021. Some big names will be looking for either a big contract extension on their current team or a big-money move to new surroundings. Let’s take a look at some of the big names who could be on the move in 2021.
Dak Prescott had an unfortunate 2020 season. He played on a franchise tag trying to earn that big money contract but got a season-ending injury in Week 5. Before his injury, Prescott was a top five quarterback in the league and showed why he deserved a big contract extension. The Cowboys would be fools not to tie him down to a long-term deal as this would give the team an excellent foundation on offense moving forward.
Potential Landing Spots: Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers
The 2020 season did not go well for Cam Newton. Newton only had 8 touchdowns through the air and had 10 interceptions. He did, however, have 12 rushing touchdowns, but this wasn’t enough to get the New England Patriots to the postseason. Newton will most likely be on the
move in 2021, but I don’t think he earned the right to be a starting quarterback. If Bill Belichick can’t get the best out of Cam Newton, then it will be a long shot for any other coach to try to get Newton back to his old Super Bowl contending ways.
Potential Landing Spots: Philadelphia Eagles (if Carson Wentz is traded), Cincinnati Bengals, Chicago Bears
Some other free agent Quarterbacks
Aaron Jones has been great since entering the NFL. He has helped turn the Green Bay Packers offense into one of the best offenses in the league. He has great rushing ability and can also catch the ball out of the backfield, making him a much bigger threat to defenses. The Packers
would be not be smart to let him go unless they planned to re-sign Jamaal Williams instead, but this wouldn’t be a smart move either, in my opinion. Jones finished as a top five running back in the regular season and could end up in the top three if the Packers go deeper into the playoffs. The Packers should be re-signing Jones at all costs.
Potential Landing Spots: Green Bay Packers, New York Jets, Miami Dolphins
Chris Carson had an up and down season for the Seattle Seahawks. Carson finished as running back 27, which is not great for a lead running back. Since becoming the Seahawks lead running back in 2017, he has struggled to complete a full season due to several different injuries. The
Seahawks are not known for paying big contracts to running backs, so I will be surprised if he sticks around in Seattle. The Seahawks will have a new offensive coach in 2021, so that could play a part in whether Carson stays or goes.
Potential Landing Spots: Seattle Seahawks, Buffalo Bills, New York Jets
Some other free agent Running Backs
Allen Robinson has been great since coming into the league, even though he has had to play with some terrible quarterbacks. Robinson finished as a top 10 wide receiver in 2020 and helped the Chicago Bears make the playoffs. The Bears had a mix of Mitch Trubisky and Nick Foles under
center in 2020, both of whom played average at best when in the team. This makes Robinson's top 10 wide receiver finish even more impressive, in my opinion. The Bears will most likely be looking to upgrade their quarterback position, making it difficult for them to offer Robinson a big contract. There are also rumors that Robinson is done in Chicago, so for me, it’s hard to see him being back in Chicago for the 2021 season.
Potential Landing Spots: Miami Dolphins, Jacksonville Jaguars, Baltimore Ravens
The 2020 season has been up and down for Chris Godwin. Godwin has had to deal with some injuries, but he fought through them and played in most of the regular-season games. Godwin ended the regular season as wide receiver 36, which is not great for a player of his talent. He did help the Tampa Bay Buccaneers make the playoffs, and also make the Super Bowl. Godwin would be a big loss for the Buccaneers offense if they decide not to re-sign him. He would have several teams looking to sign him, and he could be a wide receiver one on another team.
Potential Landing Spots: Tamp Bay Buccaneers, New England Patriots, Detroit Lions
Some other free agent Wide Receivers
Robert Tonyan had a breakout season in 2020. He quickly became one of Aaron Rodgers favorite targets in the RedZone as he ended up with 11 touchdowns in the regular season. Tonyan was a surprise breakout candidate this year as everyone thought that Chase Sternburger would be the lead tight end in 2020. Tonyan’s contract runs out at the end of the season, and I would expect he’s shown enough to warrant a new deal. If not, he should have some suitors lining up for his signature.
Potential Landing Spots: Green Bay Packers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Cincinnati Bengals
Jonnu Smith can be a top tier tight end if he can get enough targets thrown his way. Smith does all his work after the catch and is like a wide receiver playing tight end. The Tennessee Titans’ run-heavy offense does not suit Smith’s play style, so I imagine he will be on the move in 2021. Smith should have several teams looking for his signature, and with a pass-heavy offense, Smith could be a top tight end in no time.
Potential Landing Spots: Jacksonville Jaguars, New England Patriots, New York Jets
Some other free agent Tight Ends
The Pittsburgh Steelers have several free agents heading into the 2021 season, and one of them is long-time offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva. Villanueva has spent the last 6 seasons with the Steelers and has been a solid player. His ability as a good run-blocker is one of his main assets. The Steelers will have many comings and goings this offseason, so it will be interesting to see where Villanueva ends up. All NFL teams need a good offensive tackle like Villanueva, so he should have some teams looking to acquire his services.
Potential Landing Spots: Los Angeles Chargers, Philadelphia Eagles, Cincinnati Bengals
Trent Williams is one of the league’s best offensive tackles and has been a dominant force since coming into the league in 2010. The last couple of years haven’t gone to plan for Williams as he missed all of the 2019 season due to injury and was on and off the COVID-19 list in 2020 before being put on the injured reserve due to an elbow injury. Williams is still a top tackle, and it should be a priority for the San Francisco 49ers to re-sign him in the offseason.
Potential Landing Spots: San Francisco 49ers, Indianapolis Colts, Cincinnati Bengals
Some other free agent Tackles
Joe Thuney has been an ever-present in the New England Patriots offense since being drafted in 2016. He had a nice transition from college to the NFL but found the early going difficult when it came to power players. He has improved every season and has become quite a good pass blocker. It looks like he has the ability to fit all types of schemes, so if he was to move on from New England, he should be well equipped to fit into any team.
Potential Landing Spots: New England Patriots, Cincinnati Bengals, Arizona Cardinals
Brandon Scherff is one of the best offensive linemen in the game at the moment and is a free agent in 2021. He’s powerful and quick, which allows him to dominate, particularly in the run game. He is one of the best guards in the league and one that Washington would be keen to keep. Washington has got some good running backs and wide receivers. If they can manage to keep Scherff and add a quality quarterback, they should have a solid offense going forward. There aren’t too many guards as good as Scherff, so he would have plenty of teams lining up for his signature if Washington did decide to let him go.
Potential Landing Spots: Washington Football Team, Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Rams
Some other free agent Guards
Corey Linsley is the best free-agent center on the market in 2021. Since coming into the league in 2014, Linsley has been one of the best centers. Linsley is excellent in pass protection and is just as good in run-blocking. The Green Bay Packers probably won’t have the cap room to give Linsley an extension, so I would imagine he will be on the move in 2021. There should be some teams looking to sign Linsley as his veteran experience would be good for any team, but especially a team with a young quarterback.
Potential Landing Spots: Los Angeles Chargers, Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions
The Atlanta Falcons have several key free agents to address in the offseason, and one big one is center Alex Mack. Mack has been an ever-present in the team since joining the Falcons in 2016. Since being drafted in 2009, Mack has made six Pro Bowl appearances, making him one of the league’s top centers for more than a decade. Arthur Smith has been named as the new head coach of the Falcons, so it will probably be up to him on whether Mack will be back in Atlanta in 2021.
Potential Landing Spots: Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles Chargers
Some other free agent Centers