Elite Defenders lead the list of best free agents available


With news of former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles committing to signing with the Jacksonville Jaguars when contracts can be negotiated next week, it seems that NFL free agency has unofficially begun.  If there is a theme to the 2019 free agency class, it’s defense. Many of the marquee names available this offseason are premier defenders.

Most notably, it seems that several of the top ten available free agents are pass rushers.  Considering the explosion in passing numbers and the ever growing importance of pushing the ball down the field through the air,  pass rushing will continue to grow into even more of a premium across the NFL.

While the list will continue to grow as offseason cuts start to trickle in and many of the players listed may not even make it to free agency before they are re-signed by their current team, here is the list of the top ten free agents currently available.

Bell will test the open market | photo credit: AP.

Le’Veon Bell:

With a year out of football (and avoiding all of the physical repercussions that comes with), Bell should be ready to pick up where he left off two years ago.  While he will command top dollar, whichever franchise picks up the check will be getting one of the most complete backs in football since Ladainian Tomlinson. WHile it seems he’s been around in the league for a long time, at 26 years old, he still has plenty left in the tank.

Landon Collins:

Collins is coming off a down year in New York. A Defensive Player of the Year candidate in 2016 the hard-hitting safety has so far failed to back that up with another season of high calibre football. Still only 25, Collins has the ability to regain his monster form from three seasons ago. However he will need to be better in coverage than his last year with the Giants. His name and upside should be enough to land him a big deal.

Grady Jarrett:

One of the more unheralded names on the list, Jarrett is a master of creating interior pressure.  His ability to bring pressure up the middle not only allows him to get sacks (14 in the past two years) but gives opposing quarterbacks nowhere to go when it comes to dealing with outside pressure from traditional pass rushers.  Jarrett will instantly upgrade your defensive line.

Earl Thomas:

If Thomas were not coming off of a broken leg, he would probably place higher on this list.  Thomas was the cornerstone of the vaunted “Legion of Boom” secondary in Seattle where he served as a wonderfully instinctive playmaker.  His cerebral defensive approach analyzed opposing quarterbacks and made plays on the ball using his elite range and instincts.

Clowney (right) has been dominant for the last two years | photo credit: AP.

Jadeveon Clowney:

Clowney is an athletic marvel who, along with J.J Watt, formed one of the most ferocious pass rushes in the league.   While often injured early in his career, Clowney has had back to back 15 game seasons with nine or more sacks. Coming off of his rookie contract, he should see plenty of suitors in free agency if the Texans decide not to franchise him. While the Texans have tagged one of their prized assets, the former first overall pick is not expected to sign it any time soon. It could be a long offseason.

Dee Ford:

With one of the best first steps in football, Ford racked up 13 sacks for an often maligned Chiefs.  He is the textbook definition of a speed rusher who uses his quickness to wreak havoc on opposing offenses. To go with his 13 sacks, Ford had 11 turnover creating pressures last season. Ford has been tagged, but the Chiefs are open to trading the pass-rusher as they switch to a 4-3 defense under Steve Spagnuolo.

C.J. Mosley:

Mosley is a tackling machine. The Alabama alum has logged the most tackles for the Baltimore Ravens in baco to back seasons. A linebacker who’s logged four Pro Bowl appearances, Mosley will have his pick of suitors, although Baltimore remain confident they can bring back their former first round pick. Mosley has only missed three games since entering the league in 2014 an although his sack production has not been as good the past two years, he remains a top five inside linebacker in the league.

Anthony Barr:

Barr has made the Pro Bowl in four of his first five NFL seasons, that tells you all you need to know about the outside linebacker. The UCLA product created 23 quarterback pressures on 103 rushes, a 22% rate, which was enough for fifth in the league among linebackers. A ferocious tackler with great closing speed, Barr is set to land a huge contract, in Minnesota or elsewhere.

Trey Flowers:

If there was ever a question of the value of a player like Trey Flowers, look no further than Super Bowl LIII.  Flowers capped a brilliant playoff run with a dominating finale against the highflying Rams offense. Flowers is a talented pass rusher whose motor never stops running and has a true talent for rushing the quarterback, as evident by his 65 total pressures on the QB the past two years.

Teddy Bridgewater:

Bridgewater helms an underwhelming free agent QB class but Bridgewater should be a valuable addition to whichever team picks him up.  He is still only 26 years old and once again looks healthy after his devastating knee injury from a few years ago. In his last full season as a starter for Minnesota, Bridgewater was a Pro Bowler and led the Vikings to a division crown.  He would be a wonderful addition to a team looking for proven commodity at Quarterback that looks to be in good hands everywhere else like the Giants or a team with an unproven starter like the Cardinals.



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based in Frederick, MD, USA. Multi-sport correspondent for Prost International and Prost Amerika focusing mainly on Soccer/Football and American Football

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