NFL free agents who could change teams this 2020 offseason

This list names players who I believe could move teams in free agency. It precludes some big names such as Tom Brady and Dak Prescott, so their emissions indicate that I think it’s likely they remain with their clubs. This list also gives some reasoning about why the new destination could be a nice fit for the player, gives precedence for contract value compared to previous contracts at the player’s position, as well as naming other teams who could be in the hunt for the player.

QB Philip Rivers – Colts (two years, $24 million).  

Indy could be the best fit football-wise, as a major reason they missed the playoffs last season was because of Andrew Luck’s retirement, so the Colts might value Rivers highly as they could see him as an upgrade over incumbent QB Jacoby Brissett. The Colts’ current offensive co-ordinator worked with Rivers in LAC, so he could fit right in, and the Colts might think of themselves as a win-now team with the amount of cheap talent they have along the offensive line.

The Colts have a whopping $86 mil in cap space. They’ll likely use some of it to re-sign players like Anthony Castonzo, Jabaal Sheard (even though I think he might leave for New England, read below!), Devin Funchess and even Eric Ebron (despite the team having a falling out after he placed himself on IR without consulting the team, and GM Chris Ballard has said “we’ll probably move on”), but that’s still plenty of space to use on Rivers.

I have listed the Jets as a possible destination as they have $50 mil in cap space and might consider making a playoff run that the 22 year old Sam Darnold might not promise them. While there has been a change in GMs since Maccagnan signed LeVeon Bell and CJ Mosley to big deals as marquee players in their primes, having a placeholder QB like RIvers might make sense to capitalise on the expenditure on marquee players. 

Similar deal: Ryan Fitzpatrick, 2 years and $11 mil at age 36, to either backup or start over whatever young QB the Phins picked up in the draft (which ended up being Josh Rosen). 

Other teams: Jets.

RB Melvin Gordon – Dolphins (three years, $24 million). 

The Phins have the cap space to outbid everyone else, with $89 mil in space if no roster changes are made (per OverTheCap). The market might not be overly strong for Gordon anyway, as he held out for four games last season and had 1.3 yards per rush less than his ‘18-’19 campaign, despite a similar number of carries. 

But this is a high upside play for the Dolphins, as Gordon will be just 27 once the season rolls around and was top 10 in both rushing yards and receiving yards for running backs per game for three straight years from 2016. The Chargers letting Gordon go would indicate they want to prioritise re-signing Austin Ekeler, who didn’t hold out for them, is younger (aged 24), and played well – he was second to Christian McCaffrey in receiving yards for Rbs with 60 yards per game, and threw in 4.2 yards per rush, which was top 30 among RBs as well. 

Similar deal: Mark Ingram, 3 years and $15 mil. 

Other teams: Steelers, Jaguars

RB Chris Thompson – Buffalo Bills (three years, $18 million). 

Wash are loaded at running back with Derrius Guice, Bryce Love and Adrian Peterson in the fold, so I think they would let Thompson walk if the Bills came in with an offer like this. The Bills have a young big play back in Devin Singletary who led the league in both 20+ yard rush rate and fumble rate for running backs last season, and Frank Gore and TJ Yeldon are free agents. They might like to add a proven pass catching back in Thompson to help mentor Singletary, and could even be used as a slot receiver, as the Bills could use Josh Allen in empty sets to spread the defense out and give him space to run. 

Similar deal: Latavius Murray, 4 years and $14 mil to help spell Alvin Kamara. 

Possible competing teams: most teams.

DE Dante Fowler – Giants (three years, $18 million). 

The Rams are cash strapped (just $14 million in cap space at time of writing) and might want to keep linebacker Cory Littleton over Fowler as the Rams pass rush is already solid with Aaron Donald, Samson Ebukam, Clay Matthews and potential young contributors in edge rusher Jachai Polite (if he can behave himself) and defensive tackle Greg Gaines. The Giants will hope to get Chase Young in the draft but the Redskins are ahead of them in draft order, and barring a big move, Young will be gone. Either way, Fowler is an upgrade over Lorenzo Carter and fellow free agent Markus Golden – the former of which can play off-ball in a 4-3 scheme if the need arises, the latter of whom can spot start anyway if they re-sign. 

Similar deal: Cameron Wake, 3 years and $23 million, after getting 6 sacks in 14 games the season prior, but with an expected decline at age 37. 

Other teams: Raiders, Phins, Jets.

CB AJ Bouye – Eagles (two years, $14 million). 

Every team could use Bouye, a Pro-Bowl caliber cornerback in his prime. But the Eagles might need him more than anyone, as they had to play eight different defensive backs due to injuries to starters Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills, Rasul Douglas and Avante Maddox. 

The team finished middle of the pack statistically as far as receiving yards and TDs given up, but if the Eagles want to capitalise on their dominant but ageing offensive and defensive lines, they might want to use some of their $40 mil in cap space on a quality corner like Bouye.

This could be a high upside play for Bouye to join a team who won the championship in 2017, with not too much roster change, that managed to make the playoffs with a losing record, indicating a weak division. 

$7 mil a year for a former Pro-Bowler in his prime age-wise is a below market rate, and the Eagles would hope his talent can help them get back to the promised land. 

Similar deal: Darryl Roberts, re-signed with Jets for three years and $18 million, at age 28. 

Other teams: most teams.

CB Jimmy Smith – Giants (two years, $14 million).

Smith is 32 but can still produce – he played in 405 snaps on a Baltimore team that gave up the sixth fewest passing yards in the league last season. The Ravens already have corners rostered on in Marlon Humphrey, Marcus Peters, Tavon Young and Brandon Carr, so I think Smith might feel he can get more playing time somewhere else. He could head up the road and play for the Giants, who took Deandre Baker and Julian Love as defensive backs early in the draft last season, but could use extra depth and mentorship, particularly after they released veteran cornerback Janoris Jenkins. 

Similar deal: Jason McCourty with the Pats, two years, $11 million at age 32. 

Other teams: Titans, Panthers

DT Derek Wolfe – Titans (three years, $12 million). 

I think Wolfe, having had a taste for a Super Bowl ring, will look to join a winning team, as Denver has an 18-30 record over the last three seasons. Tennessee already has a quality interior defensive rotation with Jurrell Casey, Jonathon Simmons and DaQuan Jones, but I think Wolfe will be ok with that, as he can make bank and take pass rushing snaps in the latter stages of his career. Denver might go into rebuilding stage and prefer bringing back younger defensive tackles Adam Gotsis and Shelby Harris. The Titans have not been shy to pay long-term deals to players past the age of 30, as they have gave 37 year old Cameron Wake a three year, $21 million deal last offseason. 

Similar deal: Mike Daniels, who got 1 year and $9 mil from the Lions. 

Other teams: Ravens, Falcons.

Adrian Phillips
Chargers safety Adrian Phillips in 2019. Photo courtesy of Joe C. Hong of Associated Press.

S Adrian Phillips – Dallas Cowboys (three years, $12 million). 

The Cowboys need safety help regardless of whether they bring Jeff Heath back. Phillips started for the Chargers when they had a top 10 defence in 2018 as far as yards allowed. The Chargers drafted Nasir Adderley in his position early on last season, and Kyzir White could take some of his snaps too, as will All-Pro Derwin James. Phillips is coming off a broken arm, but still notched 268 snaps last season, with 36 tackles and a TFL. Unfortunately for Phillips, the safety market is saturated with players like DJ Swearinger, Tre Boston, Karl Joseph and potentially Eric Berry, so he might not command the lucrative deal that Gipson got. 

Similar deal: Tashaun Gipson in 2019, 3 years and $22 mil after starting on AFC Divisional champion Jags. 

Other teams: most teams.

QB Taysom Hill – Miami Dolphins (two years, $10 million). 

Hill has made it known he thinks he can be a franchise QB, and while his lack of sample size in throwing the ball, as well as his age (30), will limit the market on him, the Dolphins are in the position to take a flier on him. They already have: Josh Rosen, the former 11th overall pick in 2018; 37 year old Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is owed another $8 million in the 2020-2021 season; and the Phins own three first round draft picks in the 2020 draft, which they could use on a QB. This means that Miami can lure Hill with the potential for a starting job with substantial money, while still having solid fall back options. I don’t think the Saints will outbid them as I think they’ll prioritise a younger and more proven QB in Teddy Bridgewater, and they’ll be committing a fair chunk of cap ro re-sign Drew Brees. I also think they might take a QB in the first few rounds of the draft to give Teddy some competition beyond Brees.

Similar deals: Teddy Bridgewater, 1 year, $7.5 mil by the Saints. Like Hill, Teddy was considered a bit of a wild card, having started in just 1 game since his knee injury in 2016. FYI: I think the Saints re-sign Teddy. 

Other teams: nil.

DE Ronald Blair – Miami Dolphins (two years, $10 million). 

At age just 27 and providing 200 snaps and 3 sacks for an elite defense, Blair is an up and coming edge defender who might look for a payday and snap count that the Niners cannot provide, as they have $13 mil in cap space and might look to re-sign a bigger (literally) contributor in Arik Armstead at Blair’s position. The Dolphins don’t have anyone (!!) rostered on as an edge defender, and while they have 14 picks in the draft to potentially take a quality young pass rusher like AJ Epenesa or Yetur Gross-Matos, they can still promise Blair more snaps than the Niners can, and with $88 million in cap space, they can give him more money. 

Similar deal: Romeo Okwara, 2 years and $6.8 mil from the Lions, after getting 7.5 sacks in 716 snaps as a 24 year old the season prior. 

Other teams: nil.

WR Paul Richardson – Eagles (two years, $10 million). 

Just Like Bouye, Richardson was cut from his former team and could find a home in Philly that sorely needs him. The Eagles had a good receiving corps on paper last season but were crippled by injuries. Richardson is a flier just like 2019 signee DeSean Jackson but is five years younger, and could be deemed more reliable than Eagles free agent Nelson Agholar, who had a drop rate per target of 5.8% last season compared to Richardson’s 4.8%. 

Similar deal: Randall Cobb at age 29, 1 year and $5 mil from the Cowboys. 

Other teams: nil.

RB Matt Breida – Chargers (two years, $10 million). 

With Tevin Coleman and Raheem Mostert rostered on and former feature back Jerick McKinnon probably returning from injury, Breida might be the man left out in San Fran if he wants to command a decent salary. Breida will provide a discount over Melvin Gordon for LAC and can replace his ability to run between the tackles somewhat, giving a nice change of pace to a good pass catching back in Austin Ekeler.

Similar deal: Tevin Coleman, 2 years and $10 mil from the Niners after being a rotational back for the Falcons. 

Other teams: Bucs. 

DT Marcell Dareus – Colts (two years, $10 million).

The Colts need help on the defensive interior, with just three defensive tackles rostered on currently, the most notable of which being Margus Hunt. The Colts are an attractive free agent destination, as they have an abundance of cap space and draft picks (including Washington’s second round pick from the Montez Sweat trade in the 2019 draft), and have a high ceiling due to their young roster, and stud receiver TY Hilton possibly being back to full health. 

Similar deal: Margus Hunt in 2019, 2 years, $9 mil at age 32. 

Other teams: Packers, Raiders.

S Karl Joseph – Cleveland Browns (two years, $10 million). 

The Raiders drafted strong safety Jonathan Abram in the first round last season, and plays in the same role Joseph is suited to. I think the Raiders might move on from Joseph, and the Browns will snap him up, as incumbent Morgan Burnett is 31 and missed eight games last season. The Browns have been disappointing but I think Joseph will enjoy playing for a talented defence, particularly with Myles Garrett returning from suspension.

Similar deal: HaHa Clinton-Dix,1 year, $3.5 mil deal with Chicago after being traded from Packers to Washington midseason. 

Possible competing teams: Phins, Bucs.

DT Dontari Poe (potential cut by Panthers, would save them $9.8 mil in 2020) – Cincinnati Bengals (via trade, could give up 6th round pick for him). 

The only other defensive tackles on this list who I believe are available in free agency are Derek Wolfe and Marcell Dareus, neither of whom would be likely to sign with the struggling Bengals. That might leave Cinci in a position where they want to add talent to their defensive tackle rotation, but can’t get a proven starter. That’s where a trade for Poe would come in. The Panthers would save $9.8 mil in trading or cutting Poe, and getting a 6th rounder as compensation would be a bonus. Andrew Billings is also an option for the Bengals to re-sign, but he hasn’t shown the level of production Poe has, and adding both could be a nice defensive interior rotation anyway. The Bengals have plenty of cap space even if they keep a marquee free agent of theirs in AJ Green, so I think they could stomach taking on Poe’s contract. 

Similar deal: Miami traded defensive lineman Robert Quinn, on a $10 million a year salary,  to Dallas for a 2020 sixth round pick. 

Possible competing teams: Colts.

WR Nelson Agholar – Los Angeles Rams (two years, eight million). 

I think Agholar might be sick of his ill-treatment from Philly fans over his production and look for a fresh start. The Rams continue to use three receiver stes most of the time and might look to gain insurance in case Brandin Cooks or Cooper Kupp go down, which has happened in the past. Agholar still has room to grow at age 26, and could command Moncrief type money having had a multiple 700 yards-plus seasons when fully healthy.

Similar deal: Donte Moncrief, 2 years, $9 mil at age 26 after a 48 catch, 668 yard season. 

Possible competing teams: Ravens.

OLB Vic Beasley – Ravens (two years, six million). 

The Falcons have come out and said they won’t re-sign Vic Beasley in free agency. I think the Ravens might snap him up, as he suits their scheme as a pass rushing outside linebacker. They need help at the position as they might lose Matt Judon in free agency, and Jaylon Ferguson (2.5 sacks on 500 snaps) seemingly didn’t contribute enough to replace Zadarius Smith last season. Beasley’s stock is low and he is considered by some to have underperformed after being the 8th overall pick and a declining sack count after his sophomore season, but he still managed 8 sacks last season, and is just 27 years old. 

Similar deal: Mario Edwards, 2 years, $5 mil with Saints at age 25.

Other teams: Miami

Edge defender Anthony Chickillo in 2019. Photo courtesy of Charles LeClaire of USA TODAY sports.

OLB Anthony Chickillo – Colts (two years, six million). 

The Steelers have $6 million in cap space at the time of writing despite being a non-playoff team. They have defensive MVP candidate TJ Watt on one edge, and potentially Bud Dupree on the other, if they can re-sign or franchise tag him in free agency. Chickillo could be the odd man out, as the team would save $5 million by cutting him. If he becomes available, the Colts might like to add him – he has versatility in rushing the passer and covering, and they might lose Jabaal Sheard in free agency.

Similar deal: Markus Golden,1 year and $3.7 mil with the Giants. 

Other teams: Ravens

RB Corey Clement – New York Giants (two years, six million). 

The Eagles ran with Miles Sanders, Jordan Howard and Boston Scott last season, as Clement was placed on IR in Week 2 with a shoulder injury, which should have healed by the time of writing. I think the Eagles would prefer to re-sign Howard, who provides a bell-cow style –  he had 2.4 yards after contact, 16th in the league last season, which contrasts nicely with Sander’s make-people-miss style. Clement is a championship contributor and might be an upgrade over Saquon Barkley’s backups in Wayne Gallman and Jon Hilliman last season. Clement provides a similar profile to Barkley anyway with his pass catching ability at his size (5’10”, 220 pounds, 25 targets for 192 yards in 2018, against 68 rushes and 259 yards the same season), which would make play calling easier if Barkley is out of the game. New York aint too far from Philly anyway! 

Similar deal: Mike Davis, 2 years and $6 mil to be a part of teh Seahawks running back rotation. 

Possible competing teams: Bucs, Jags.

DE Jabaal Sheard – Patriots (two years, six million). 

Sheard played two of his prime years in New England, and having earnt $41 million in his career, might look to return there to go ring chasing. The Pats have done ok after losing Trey Flowers in free agency in 2019, but could stand to add another edge rusher alongside John Simon and the versatile pieces of Kyle van Noy (who they will look to re-sign) and Dont’a Hightower. Sheard is 31 and might not garner many offers of a starting job, so a rotational role with New England could suffice. The Pats are closer to contending than the Colts with their already elite defence.  

Similar deal: Adrian Clayborn, 1 year, $2 mil at age 31, returning to his old team. 

Possible competing teams: most teams.

ILB Tahir Whitehead – Patriots (two years, six million)  

Whitehead is a cut candidate for Las Vegas, and he might suit what the Pats like in a linebacker – he’s over 240 pounds, which fits the size of other linebackers like Donta Hightower and Kyle Van Noy, who have versatility. Incumbent Elandon Roberts and off-ball linebacker has been used as a fullback, so adding WHitehead, who has had four consecutive 100+ tackle seasons, could be a wise move.

Similar deal: Zach Brown with the Eagles, one year, $3 million after being cut by Washington.

Other teams: Chiefs, Broncos.  

QB Case Keenum – Detroit Lions (one year, five million). 

I don’t think Keenum wants to play second fiddle to Dwayne Haskins, especially with Alex Smith potentially playing again in Washington. The Lions didn’t win a game after Matt Stafford got hurt, so they might look to give insurance in case that ahppens again, and Keenum has been a solid starter-caliber player since his remarkable playoff run with the Vikings in 2017. I don’t see any other team paying Keenum as much nor tempting him with a starting opportunity for less money. 

Similar deal: Blake Bortles in 2019, with 1 year and $1 mil from Rams, while getting paid $5.5 mil by Jags after being cut. 

Other teams: Packers, Bucs.

S DJ Swearinger – San Fran 49ers (two years, four million). 

The Niners have a solid safety rotation in Jimmy Ward and Jaquiski Tartt. Nonetheless the Niners could always use an elite talent in Swearinger. The knock against Swearinger is that he hates losing so much that he’s been booted off a couple of teams in the past for making critical comments about front office personnel. The Niners shouldn’t see a big drop-off from last year’s Super Bowl team, with key pieces like George Kittle and Jimmy G in their primes, so I think Swearinger will be attracted by that potential for playoff success. Ward can play slot corner and Tartt can play in the box as a sub linebacker on passing downs, so Swearinger might be able to see plenty of snaps anyway. 

Similar deal: Morgan Burnett, two years, $7.5 million. 

Other teams: Cowboys, Saints, Falcons, Bucs. 

DT Damon Harrison – Saints (two years, four million). 

The Saints have done well to add pieces here and there to address perceived weaknesses – Demario Davis and Kiko Alonso were good veteran pickups at linebacker, and Jared Cook was a quality tight end for them last season as well. Adding Harrison to help plug the middle while shiftier guys like David Onyemata (who they might re-sign as a quality young defensive tackle), Cam Jordan and possibly Marcus Davenport to get after the QB. Harrison ha sbeen an elite run stuffer in his prime, but age 31, a decline might be expected (which undoubtedly le=d to him being cut by the Lions, although his hefty salary would’ve contributed to that also). He still managed a 50 tackle, 3 TFL and 2 sack season last year, so I’d add him for cheap here to help in the defensive rotation. 

Similar deal: Steve McClendon, one year, $3 mil with Jets, got a one year, $3 million extension the season after.  

Other teams: most teams. 

ILB DeVondre Campbell – Saints (one year, three million). 

The Falcons have just $4 mil in cap space, and if they do manage to get more by restructuring contracts or releasing players, they might prioritise re-signing tight end Austin Hooper over Campbell. Campbell is 26 years old and provides versatility at the linebacker spot, where he can drop into coverage as well as rush the passer. The Saints have Demario Davis, Alex Anzalone and Kiki Alonso rostered on at linebacker, and they could re-sign Manti Te’o, but Campbell adds youth to that group. 

Similar deal: Deone Buchanon, 1 year and $2.5 mil with the Bucs, who is also know for his coverage abilities at linebacker. 

Other teams: Raiders, Jags. 

WR Taylor Gabriel – Cowboys (one year, three million). 

The Cowboys need some receiver help to take some attention off of Amari Cooper (who they’ll hope to re-sign), and Gabriel has the big play ability to stretch the defence and provide some gadget plays as well, which Mike McCarthy liked to do with prime Randall Cobb. He won’t cost too much due to his injury history (missed seven games last season, has had two reported concussions in NFL) but it’s a high upside play as he’s still just 29 and can be a big play target (he had 12.2 yards gained per reception, which was top 60 for receivers last season).

Similar deal: Randall Cobb, 1 year, $5 million with Cowboys as a 29 year old. 

Other teams: most teams.

T Demar Dotson – Kansas City (one year, three million). 

Dotson has been an above average right tackle for many years, but at age 34 he might struggle to command a large contract or starting role. Having played for the Bucs for 10 years and never making the playoffs, backing up Eric Fisher (who has missed eight games over the last season) and Mitchell Schwartz for the championship winning Chiefs might be an attractive option. 

Similar deal: Jared Veldheer, 1 year and $3.5 mil at age 32. 

Other options: most teams. 

ILB Sean Lee – CHiefs (one year, three million). 

Fellow free-agent and incumbent Chief Darron Lee didn’t play much after being acquired from the Jets last offseason (160 snaps), so they might look to upgrade at the linebacker spot, and provide extra depth behind the likes of Reggie Ragland and Anthony Hitchens. They might be able to add Sean Lee for a cheap price, as Lee has played his entire career in Dallas, but has had a winning percentage of around .500 during that time. The Chiefs are more proven contenders so they could be a more attractive option. Lee could sign a similar deal with the Chiefs Super Bowl rival, the Niners. 

Similar deal: Zach Brown (age 29), 1 year and $1.4 mil to provide depth to the Eagles, after being cut by the Redskins midseason. 

Other teams: most teams.

RB LeSean McCoy – Tampa Bay Bucs (one year, three million). 

McCoy barely played for KC, who seemingly want to prioritise the younger backs in Damien Williams and Darwin Thompson. The Bucs need running back help, and getting a legendary back in McCoy might help early round pick Ronald Jones in his development. 

Similar deal: Frank Gore in 2019, 1 year, $2 mil deal with bills at age 36. 

Other teams: Cowboys, Dolphins, Jets, 

CB Prince Amukumara – Niners (one year, three million). 

The Niners will love some DB depth, as starter Akhello Withrspoon missed eight games last season. Amukumara has been a key cog on some talented defences, such as the 2018 Bears, but was released by the Bears, as he’s aged 30 and saved the cash-strapped Bears $9 million in cap space. If the Niners or Chiefs can add bick time veterans like Amukumara, Dotson and/or Sean Lee, that is proof in itself that winning attracts!

Similar deal: Morris Claiborne,1 year, $2 million with Chiefs. 

Other teams: most teams.

S Eric Berry – Seahawks (one year, two million). 

Remember this guy? He was an All-Pro but has been injury riddled. The Seahawks like Tedric Thompson and Bradley McDougald, but Berry could provide insurance for them and potentially be a game-breaker if he is at full strength, at age just 31, Berry could have a similar career trajectory as legendary safety Earl Thomas, who still produced at age 30 last season with a similar pedigree (and leg injury!). The Seahawks gave Ezekiel Ansah a one year prove-it deal last offseason, and Sheldon Richardson one the year before that, so the front office is willing to give talented players whose stock is low another opportunity. 

Similar deal: Tre Boston, 1 year and $3 mil with Panthers.

Other teams: Cowboys, Lions, Colts.

TE Jordan Reed – Pats (one year, one million). 

Reed is a good player when available – he had a monster season in 2015-’16 with Washington when he had 952 yards receiving and 11 touchdowns in 14 games. He’s had multiple concussions and leg injuries, but he’s still just 29 and wants to keep playing after being cut by Washington, partly due to financial reasons. The Pats need a tight end to help replace Rob Gronkowski and bringing in a high-upside player like Reed for cheap could be a wise move. 

Similar deal: Tyler Eifert, one year, $2.2 million guaranteed, with $3.8 mil in incentives after missing a lot of snaps due to injury.

Other teams: Titans, Saints. 

QB Brett Hundley – Kansas City Chiefs (one year, one million). 

Hundley brings a similar skillset to Pat Mahomes as far as extending plays with his legs – in the nine games he started in place of an injured Aaron Rodgers in 2017-18, Hundley rushed for 270 yards, or 7.5 yards per carry. If Mahomes goes down like he did for a few games last season, a similarly styled player as far as extending plays with his legs might be a better option that a pure pocket passer like incumbent (free agent) Matt Moore, but it might be wise to have three QBs on the roster anyway – look at the Jets QB situation last season! Darnold and Siemien went down, so Luke Falk was thrown into the fire. The Chiefs are obviously bigger contenders than Hundley’s former team in the Cardinals, so I think Hundley might move. 

Similar deal: Brett Hundley, 1 year, $1.8 mil with Cards as a projected backup behind Josh Rosen or a draftee. 

Possible competing teams: Cowboys.

WR Antonio Brown – Steelers (one year, $800k).  

The latest on AB is that the Steelers GM has publicly said he is not currently open to bringing Brown back on the team after a remarkable fall from grace, including recent sexual assault allegations. As the season winds on, I think some teams might be open to at least giving him a prove-it deal, and the Steelers are most familiar with him. He’s still just 31 and has been a relatively recent All-Pro. Steelers GM Kevin Colbert said “they have no business interest (with AB) at this time.” That doesn’t preclude them from bringing back their franchise stalwart from 2010 to 2018.

Similar deal: Josh Gordon, claimed off waiver in 2019 for $800k after failing multiple drug tests and barely playing for New England. 

Other teams: Packers, Niners, Panthers.

Where my top valued NBA free agents will sign in 2019

Here’s some prediction of where my top-valued upcoming NBA free agents will sign in the 2019 offseason. PO represents Player Option and RFA represents restricted free agent. The $ value represents how much I’d be willing to pay the player per year.

$37 million /year

  • Kevin Durant – Los Angeles Lakers

The Warriors will struggle to keep him without paying absurdly high luxury and repeater taxes, and KD might look for a different challenge. Teaming up with Nike co-star LeBron James in LA makes sense from a basketball point of view – he could play in an ultra-switching lineup with fellow forwards LBJ, Kuzma and Ingram, and they’d immediately create an epic showdown with the Warriors. The Lakers can afford him, with over $60 mil in cap space. And, despite the Lakers front office problems of late, they’re still the Lakers.

$26 million/year

  • Demarcus Cousins – Washington Wizards

Boogie will surely seek a big payday after going ring chasing this year. The Wizards provide a viable option to continue that goal, while getting paid and playing with old Kentucky teammate John Wall. The Otto Porter trade freed up cap space for the Wiz, so they can sign him to a near max deal. The East is weak, so Boogie can make them weep. He’s been injury-prone of late and has had some disciplinary issues, so he might even come cheap.

$23 million/year

  • Harrison Barnes – Sacramento Kings

The Kings are on the rise, and while they traded away potential stud Skal Labissiere, they still have an upward trajectory. Barnes has had some instability of late, so re-signing with his current club, who can easily afford him, would be wise. He fills a big hole at the small forward spot for the Kings, and he’s still young enough to fit that young core.

  • Klay Thompson – Golden State Warriors

He’s a splash bro. Unless the Warriors prioritise bringing back KD or Boogie, which would alienate Klay’s numerous fans away from the Dubs and completely change the dynamic of the most successful team in generations, Klay is their guy.

$19 million/year

  • Kristaps Porzingis (RFA) – Dallas Mavericks

There’s two options for Kristaps – take a petty $5 mil for the 2019-2020 season as a qualifying offer and be an unrestricted free agent in 2020, or sign a deal with the Mavs (or a competing deal from another team) and, if he’s unhappy with the progress the Mavs are making, he can just demand a trade Kyrie Irving style. That way, he still gets paid.

$18 million/year

  • Kemba Walker – Milwaukee Bucks

A dynamite scorer who has been carrying the Hornets for a while now. The Hornets appear to want to break the bank to keep him, but with terrible contracts like Nic Batum’s around, it will require a hefty luxury tax bill to keep him. They haven’t shown they can build a contender around him, so he might look elsewhere. The West is stacked, so teaming with Giannis and the Bucks makes sense. He can be an effective off-ball scorer as a shooter and slasher, so the fit is good also.

$17m per year

  • Nikola Vucevic – Dallas Mavericks

Has been getting some love recently for his awesome numbers. The Magic would be true cellar dweller without him since the Dwight trade. The Magic have had a love hate relationship with him – there’s been trade rumours, and he might go for greener pastures, despite some surprising success in the playoffs. The Mavs are on the rise with Kristaps in the midst and Luka, so he might join his fellow Euros and create a formidable frontcourt there.

  • Tyson Chandler – Denver Nuggets

I still value Chandler highly – ridiculous athlete for his size, and knows subtle techniques like rim protection positioning and screen and rolls to be effective. The Nuggets are a real contender in the West with their young core, and they’ve shown they’re fine with playing a two big lineup. He goes for another ring there.

  • DeAngelo Russell RFA – San Antonio Spurs.

He’s the new face of the Nets, leading them to the playoffs, but I think D’Angelo might want to learn from the best coach there is, Coach Pop. They have the space, and some young pieces to have a bright future (like Dejounte Murray, Davis Bertans, Jakob Poeltl and Derrick White).

$16 mil/year

  • Kawhi Leonard – Houston Rockets

He’s lower down on my board as he evidently has reliability issues, and I’m still not convinced he’s a great facilitator of the ball. He can be a great three and D player the Rockets covet, and can score a bit when the shot clock is winding down to relieve Harden of his huge offensive workload. The Rockets could only afford him for the mid level exception, which Boogie signed with on the Warriors, but Kawhi might go ring chasing, and the Rockets are the closest thing to challenging the Warriors.

  • Kyrie Irving PO – Boston Celtics

If Kristaps was in New York, I think they could’ve nabbed Kyrie. But with limited talent there, I think Kyrie re-signs in Boston. They’ll be contenders in the East for years with the draft capital they accumulated and the players they picked, and he’s young enough to ride with them.

  • Derrick Rose – Golden State Warriors

The Warriors are like a hot tub – your worries melt away when you’re in one. D Rose is still ringless, and while he hasn’t been making bank lately, I think he’d still want to win a ring and be a part of a true contender again. He can play off the ball with Curry off the bench.

$15 mil/year

  • Khris Middleton – Memphis Grizzlies

The Bucks have the space to sign Middleton to a deal around the $20 mil mark, but I get the feeling they might want to add Kemba instead – Middleton ideally plays the same position as Giannis. The Grizzlies need a wing shooter that they thought Chandler Parsons would be, and Middleton fits the bill.

  • Jonas Valancuinas – New York Knicks.

Big V will want that money. He’s a bit undervalued as he’s been benched at times to favour more fleet footed bigs, but he is such an imposing rebounder and finisher inside that he deserves a hefty contract. I think the Knicks will become desperate to spend some money on a free agent and might offer Big V, who is still young, a solid deal.

  • Carmelo Anthony – Minnesota Timberwolves

He’s not that bad. Who else in the league can drop threes even when guarded tightly, out-rebound most small forwards, and is still nimble enough to keep up with the James Hardens of the world? Sure, he has lapses of concentration on D, but he can still be your third best player in a championship team. The Wolves are on the verge of breaking into Western Conference contention and can always use some outside shooting. Melo would probably sign for a veteran minimum.

  • Jahlil Okafor – New Orleans Pelicans.

Considered a bust, but he has great skill for a guy of his immense size, is somehow nimble on his feet, and can punish you on the offensive boards. Not to mention he’s got the Al Jefferson type post moves to get buckets at will. NOLA are talent starved and will likely throw a reasonable contract at him.


  • Enes Kanter – San Antonio Spurs.

Another Euro big who dominates on the glass like Vucevic and Valancuinas, Kanter will likely be underpaid next season, as he will suffer from a “good numbers on bad team” reputation, as well as being a magnet for controversy regarding his issues with the Turkish government, as well as his beef with King James. I still believe he can be a top 50 player in the league with his incredible rebounding g prowess, solid jumper, and some nimbleness to guard both fours and fives. The Spurs have some cap space for the first time in a while with Gasol being traded to the Bucks, and who wouldn’t want to play for Coach Pop? They have an up and coming team but can contend as well with Aldridge and DeRozan.

  • Trevor Ariza – Boston Celtics

Still one of the best 3 and D players in the game. I think he’ll go ring chasing after making bank with the Sun’s, and the Celtics are a top team in the East. The Celtics love their switchable wings, so he’d fit right in.

  • Willie Cauley-Stein – Philadelphia 76ers.

Another King who should be extended ASAP. He’ll hit restricted free agency though, where a team like the Sixers, who want to play fast with Simmons etc, would love a rim runner. He can play alongside Embiid too as a hustling rebounder, while Embiid can space the floor and go to work in the post.

  • Kevin Looney – New Orleans Pelicans

I think Looney will want a big pay day, and I think he’s proven his worth having filled in for Boogie as a starter for the Dubs this season. He’s like Draymond with his wingspan, agility, finishing at rim and passing. The Pels will be starved of talent and will be attracted by Looney talent, age and, frankly, that Warriors zeal (see Ian Clark).

  • Marcin Gortat – Houston Rockets

One of the best pick and roll finishers as a big in the league. Is aging but can still contribute as a rebounder, rim protector and can shuffle those feet on perimeter. Has a little mid range game too. The Rockets need a backup big with Nene aging and Goetat fits the bill. I think he can also play at the four alongside Capela. He’d have to sign on a salary cap exception or veteran minimum but he might go ring chasing. Who doesn’t want to be around success?

  • Dwight Howard – Golden State Warriors

Still a dominant physical force who can finish over either shoulder. He hasn’t won a ring so he might replace Boogie as the starting centre on the Dubs. Would have to sign a small one year deal but I think he has earnt aplenty in his career, and would want some peace having been through a lot of turmoil the last few years. The Dubs wanted Dwight badly before he signed with the Lakers years back, so that desire might still be there.

  • Jonas Jerebko – Denver Nuggets

Great stretch big who does all the little things to win. The Nuggets are in win-now mode with so much cheap talent on the books, and Jerebko can help right away at the forward spots. He’d be a great match with Jokic as a good cutter, floor spacer and rim protector.

  • Boban Marjanovic – Memphis Grizzlies

Dominant post presence and rebounder, obviously a good rim protector at that size. There’s mobility concerns but just don’t switch him onto smalls. He’d be a great fit in Memphis – he can do the dirty work inside while Jaren Jackson Jr shows his finesse game. The Grizz will be left without a starting centre once Valanciunas leaves so they’ll need to fill that spot, and Boban deserves the chance. Plus, he’s a fan favourite. I think Jerry West and co will be smart enough to go after him.


  • Al Horford (PO) – Boston Celtics

Almost $30 mil for one more year with a title contender? I think Big Al will accept that player option.

  • Marc Gasol (PO) – Toronto Raptors

I think he’ll take the massive player option.

  • Isaiah Thomas – Cleveland Cavaliers

Still a dynamite scorer and great leader. Will want a big payday having been underpaid for years, and the Cavs will be desperate to throw money at anyone with ability, so I think they’ll partake. And aren’t K Love and IT friends from way back? I know the Cavs had IT when LeBron was around but I think a reunion is in order there. Signing Love to that fat contract also means they mightn’t necessarily be tanking either.

  • Rudy Gay – New York Knicks

Great athlete with a solid jumper. I think he’s young enough still to seek a big payday and go ring chasing later. The Spurs will go younger I think, and Bertans can fit his role. So New York will be attractive – the bright lights, big Valancuinas (from his time in Toronto), some solid young pieces in Ntilikana and whoever they pick (unless they screw it up). Plus the Knicks need some talented wings – I’m not sure Kevin Knox and Tim Hardaway Jr are the answers there.

  • Bobby Portis (RFA) – New York Knicks

A bit stiff physically but can still block shots, rebound and shoot a bit. Can finish either hand. The Knicks have a ton of space and could fill out a handy frontcourt with JV and Rudy Gay there. The Wizards might go Boogie hunting so won’t have the space to match a deal the Knicks can afford.

$12 mil/year

  • Goran Dragic (PO) – Los Angeles Lakers.

I think, at age 33, he’ll take one last crack at a big contract or a ring, despite his large player option for the ‘19-20 season. Miami are too swamped with large contracts to guys like Dion Waiters and Tyler Johnson to contend. So he’ll sign with the Lakers, who would now boast Dragic, Durant, LeBron, Kuzma and Ingram. Finally, the Warriors aren’t a shoe-in for the chip.

  • Al-Farouq Aminu – Portland Trail Blazers

I see no reason why he’d leave. The Blazers are short on cap space but they can re-sign him anyway with bird rights. He’s quite undervalued so I don’t expect any team to outbid them. He’s a great stretch four who can switch onto wings defensively while defending the rim.

  • Timothe Luwawu – Portland Trail Blazers

Maybe the most underrated player in the league. No-one keeps him on their roster, but he’s an epic 3 and D player. The Blazers love his type – they haven’t had one like him since Allen Crabbe was traded.

  • Greg Monroe – Orlando Magic

The Magic will have a hole at center after Vucevic leaves (which is a bit up in the air with their surprising postseason success so far). Monroe is a similar player who is a bit ground bound but a great rebounder, finisher inside who can move his feet a bit.

  • Jabari Parker (if $20 mil TO is declined, which is likely) – Brooklyn Nets

He’ll be chasing a big contract and I think the Nets will oblige. They’ll have lost DeAngelo (in my crystal ball prediction) so they’ll need more young talent.

  • TJ McConnell – Toronto Raptors

The Sixers have proven to be a crap front office – trading away cornerstones in Robert Covington and Dario Saric for one guaranteed year of Jimmy Butler is the prime example. I think McConnell bolts for an atlantic rival. The Raps plove two-point guard lineups, so he can fit well with Lowry. They’ve also got good young pieces in Anunoby and Siakam to build around, so there’s optimism there, while still winning now.


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