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:
- Trent Williams, Will Fuller, Lavonte David, Joe Thuney, Marcus Williams
- Jadeveon Clowney, Yannick Ngakoue, Shaq Barrett, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Aaron Jones
- Cam Newton, Andy Dalton, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Gerald Everett, Chidobe Awuzie
- Troy Hill, Rob Gronkowski, Marvin Jones, Shelby Harris, Russell Okung
Keep an eye out this week for the rest of our Free Agent Fits series!
Cardinals LB Haason Reddick
Reported Interest: Cardinals
Best Fit: Panthers
Reddick is one of the most unpredictable free agents to try and pin down. With the build of an off-ball linebacker and the skillset of an edge rusher, the Cardinals struggled to find a good fit for Reddick during his first few seasons and declined his fifth-year option last May. Deemed a bust for most of his career, Reddick flipped the narrative in 2020 with a breakout 12.5 sack season. He was a good player last year, but a dominant five-sack, three forced fumbles performance against the Giants could be seen as skewing his numbers given he had 7.5 sacks and three forced fumbles in his career entering this season.
Sacks typically get players paid in free agency but there are mitigating factors that could depress Reddick’s market. He was a strong candidate to return to the Cardinals and they still might figure out a way to fit him in despite landing DE J.J. Watt on a two-year, $31 million deal. But the Panthers are the other team to watch, as HC Matt Rhule has shown a proclivity for collecting former Temple players and Reddick was one of his best. Carolina runs a flexible defense that should be able to cater to Reddick’s strengths as well.
Raiders WR Nelson Agholor
Reported Interest: Colts, Jets, Raiders
Best Fit: Raiders
After Agholor signed a deal for the veteran minimum to compete for a role to round out the Raiders’ depth chart, he ended up working his way to the top of the pecking order among all of their receivers. He set career highs in yards and yards per catch as he ended up being one of QB Derek Carr’s favorite downfield weapons. Jon Gruden was a big fan of his before he came to Las Vegas and he was an even bigger fan after a season where Agholor was often setting the tone and standard in the locker room for what it takes to develop into a consistent winner. Money will be one of Agholor’s top considerations after signing a prove-it deal last offseason but don’t be surprised to see the Raiders value him more than any other team given how young their receiver room is.
Colts CB Xavier Rhodes
Reported Interest: Colts
Best Fit: Bills
Rhodes made a seamless transition as a former press man corner to the Colts’ zone heavy scheme. That should put him in demand with several teams who need a strong zone corner, like the Raiders, Bills, Cowboys, Seahawks and Washington, which is why Colts GM Chris Ballard acknowledged they might face steep competition to re-sign him. The Bills are in a decent enough position with the salary cap and can offer Rhodes a chance to compete for a title, while he shores up the No. 2 corner spot that’s been a big problem in Buffalo across from Tre’Davious White.
Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson
Reported Interest: Cardinals, Raiders
Best Fit: Saints
The Cardinals and Peterson have both publicly maintained an optimistic tone about a reunion but the tenor of other reports has been much more pessimistic. Given Arizona was content to let Peterson play out the 2020 season in a contract year, it’s probably fair to assume Peterson will at least see what offers are out there. Though the Saints’ salary situation looks grim, they always manage to reel in a free agent or two no one expects them to land. If No. 2 CB Janoris Jenkins ends up a cap casualty, Peterson could be a strong replacement as the Saints bring him back home to Louisiana.
49ers CB Richard Sherman
Reported Interest: Jets, Raiders
Best Fit: Jets
Sherman may be older but he still should have two fairly productive years left and could be an attractive option to teams in Cover 3 schemes looking for bridge corners to help as other younger options get up to speed. That fits both the Jets and Raiders right now. Gruden openly recruiting Sherman on a podcast a few weeks ago, while Sherman has publicly raved about new Jets HC Robert Saleh. The Raiders might have the better team, but Sherman is a big believer in Saleh so that could swing things that way. As could the money.