2021 Free Agent Fits: Hill, Gronkowski, Jones, Harris, Okung

     

We’re breaking down some potential fits for our top pending 2021 NFL free agents with the start of the league year and free agency coming up soon on March 17. Using our Top 100 2021 NFL Free Agents list, we’re examining the possible landing spots for the top players who are expected to be available this offseason. 

This is based both on reported interest by particular teams and by connecting the dots between team needs, coaching staff connections, scheme fits and available players. We’ve removed 10 players who signs are pointing to as likely candidates to be franchise tagged by their current teams. 

Other free agent fits: 

Keep an eye out this week for the rest of our Free Agent Fits series!

Rams CB Troy Hill

Reported Interest: Rams

Best Fit: Chargers

Hill has developed into a decent No. 2 corner for the Rams the past few seasons. However, the way the team operates means mid-level players like Hill tend to walk while they rely on developing other replacements. While Hill might not play for the Rams in 2021, he might not have to leave Los Angeles, as former DC Brandon Staley could bring a number of players, including Hill, along with him after taking the head coaching job for the Chargers. 

Buccaneers TE Rob Gronkowski

Reported Interest: Buccaneers

Best Fit: Buccaneers

Short and sweet: Gronkowski came out of retirement to play for Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. He’ll retire again before playing with or for anyone else. 

Lions WR Marvin Jones

Reported Interest: Rams

Best Fit: Ravens

Jones has openly lobbied to join the Rams, as that would keep him on the same team as QB Matthew Stafford and check the box of playing for a Super Bowl contender, as well as bring Jones back to the West Coast. The Rams might not have the same interest. There’s a vacancy in their starting three-wide set with the departure of Josh Reynolds but that’s why they drafted Van Jefferson in the second round last April. Los Angeles does need a deep threat and Jones provides that, but more in a catch-radius and jump-ball way than as a speedy field stretcher.

So if not the Rams, the Ravens could potentially be a good fit for Jones. Ravens QB coach James Urban was Jones’ receiver coach his first four seasons in the league with the Bengals. The Ravens qualify as contenders and Jones would be an affordable option to fill the Ravens’ need for a possession receiver.

Broncos DL Shelby Harris

Reported Interest: Broncos

Best Fit: Browns

The open market can be a fickle place sometimes. Harris tested free agency last year coming off a six-sack season and anticipating the potentially huge payday the former seventh-round pick worked hard for years to earn. Instead, his market was flat and he returned to Denver on a one-year, $2.5 million deal to try again.

Harris had just 2.5 sacks in 2020 but he batted down another seven passes after having nine the year before that, so he has a real niche that he’s settling into. Browns DC Joe Woods held the same position for the Broncos when Harris was first breaking onto the scene, and the Browns have a need on the interior of their line. They also have the cap space to potentially pay Harris closer to what he was hoping to get last year. 

Panthers LT Russell Okung

Reported Interest: Colts

Best Fit: Jaguars

Okung would make a lot of sense for the Colts to help fill the gaping hole they have at left tackle, and he might be the fallback if they can’t land 49ers LT Trent Williams. There’s another potential home in the AFC South for Okung with the Jaguars, who look like they’re willing to let LT Cam Robinson leave and will need someone to protect Trevor Lawrence’s blindside in the meantime. They have cap space to spare, though Okung’s market might be questionable given he’s played just 13 games the past two seasons. The lack of income tax in Florida should appeal to Okung, who negotiated a portion of his salary from the Panthers in Bitcoin. 

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