We are a week away from the start of free agency. We thought now is a good time to have some fun and create a list of the 2019 top NFL free agents and predict their landing spot. This season’s free agent class isn’t loaded with high-end offensive talent, however, it does have quite a few players who should make an impact in 2019 and beyond. We as a group discussed the top 10 and this ended up being the final list. We could have expanded this and included TJ Yeldon, Tyrell Williams, John Brown, or Adam Humphries. What will matter most is the landing spot and opportunity.
Check out the latest TFA Podcast for reactions to this article and a little deeper dive into free agency. Also, follow the writers on Twitter and feel free to reach out to us!
Kevin Steele @FantasyWrath13
Ryan Williams @RyanAlexander_W
Anthony Pinzone @the1andonlypz
Jennifer Smith @TheOnlyJenSmith
Le’Veon Bell, RB
2018 Stat Line: Did not play.
New York Jets
Heading into 2019, Le’Veon Bell is the biggest name offensive player and it’s not particularly close. There are a few things we know that Bell is looking for in his next team after sitting out all of 2018 with the Steelers to preserve his health. The first thing is definitely money. This is likely his last chance at a payday. The second would likely be a chance to win a Super Bowl, something he never did in Pittsburgh.
With all of those things factored, I believe the most likely scenario is Bell signing with the Jets. The Jets have over 100 million in cap space to work with this offseason and certainly have many holes to fill. One area that would benefit the signing of Bell and their second year QB Sam Darnold would be bolstering their offensive line. The Jets had the 32nd ranked run blocking offensive line and finished dead last in adjusted line yards (3.59). With a back like Bell who often dances around in the backfield, having a quality line will do wonders for his effectiveness. — Kevin Steele
It pains me to admit this as a fan of another AFC East team, but the best landing spot I can think of for Bell is easily the Jets. A young QB without a ton of receiving talent will most assuredly rest on Bell’s elite receiving skills out of the backfield. The Jets also have enough money to add more pieces around him, and ultimately build the team around Darnold and Bell. — Anthony Pinzone
This landing spot makes the most sense, given the Jets’ needs and Bell’s adamance for a large paycheck. The Jets have the second-most in salary cap space (over 104 million) behind only the Colts. Running back isn’t the only position lacking on this roster. The Jets will focus on improving their offensive line in the draft (solid offensive lineman hard to find on the open market). Set to let both Bilal Powell and Isaiah Crowell walk in free agency, the Jets want to overhaul their backfield. Bell is their answer.
If they can snag some talented o-line options, Bell’s patience and shifty-ness (is that a word? well, now it is) will pay off dividends for the struggling run game. Even if NY ends up with sub-par talent on the line, Bell proved that he can create opportunities and is a dangerous playmaker with the ball in his hands. If he gets his butt back in shape (I’m not worried) and hasn’t lost a step in his long absence from scrimmage, we will be seeing some fireworks from Bell in a green uniform in 2019. If the Jets don’t beef up the offensive line as we expect, Bell will be missing his big men in Pittsburgh sooner rather than later. — Jen Smith
Even with a year off of football, Bell is still the hottest commodity of the 2019 NFL Free Agency class. All of my counterparts believe the New York Jets will be his future home. Not I. The landing spot I have for Bell is with Indianapolis. Bell himself teased us about this notion back in November 2018, remember?
To think about an offense with the big three being Andrew Luck, T.Y. Hilton and Bell should have fantasy advocates salivating everywhere. It’s not too far-fetched to think about either considering the Colts have the most cap space of any team. Bell’s career averages of 4.34 yards/attempt and 8.9 yards/catch with 42 touchdowns in 62 career games. Even with Marlon Mack’s 4.7 yards/attempt in a breakout year rushing and Nyheim Hines 63 receptions, Bell would instantly help the team in both areas. As we’ve seen over the years in the new age NFL, you cannot overlook the importance of an established, consistent running game. Bell instantly makes the Colts a top-3 contender in the AFC. — Ryan Williams
Golden Tate, WR
2018 Stat Line: 74 receptions (105 targets), 795 yards, and 4 TDs
Green Bay Packers
The receiving depth in Green Bay is probably the worst we’ve seen it in the Aaron Rodgers era. Tate adds an immediate boost of speed to pair with 2018 receiving champ Davante Adams. With over 1,000 yards in 3 of his last 5 seasons and 4+ touchdowns in his last 7, Tate would provide that 1-2 punch we’ve grown used to seeing in the past from guys like Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. — Anthony Pinzone
New England Patriots
Well, is it recency bias because he JUST came out saying he would “love” to play for the Patriots? Maybe. It does make sense for New England to consider a player like Tate, though. Think about it. Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett, and Cordarelle Patterson are all optioned for free agency. Rob Gronkowski is basically eyeing retirement. The Patriots need some pass catchers to help Tom and Edelman out. Tate is versatile enough to play in the slot or on the outside. Not to mention he’s the most elusive NFL receiver over the last three years (58 broken tackles).
Tate has only missed one game in the last six seasons and is only one year removed from two 1000+ yard seasons back-to-back. The Patriots know talent when they see it. Thing is, they may not want to add another 30+ year old to their receiving corps. Tate certainly has more to offer and if Patriots take advantage, they should have all the weapons Brady needs. — Jen Smith
Recently Golden Tate posted to his Instagram that he would love to play for the Patriots and Tom Brady. This move makes some sense. We know the Pats are in need of some help at the position. Chris Hogan, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Philip Dorsett are free agents. Rob Gronkowski is mulling retirement and Josh Gordon is currently suspended. That’s 259 total targets. Saying the Patriots need help at the position is an understatement.
Tate would be a solid addition to an offense that loves to utilize wide receivers in short and intermediate routes. Look no further than to last season were Brady attempted the 14th fewest deep balls. The Patriots know what they have in both their QB and their roster. Julian Edelman will turn 33 this season and is in the last year of his deal. Tate is the best wide receiver available and is probably the best fit, although some could make a case for Adam Humphries or Cole Beasley as just as good of fits. Either way, the Pats wide receiver room will likely look a lot different as Brady prepares for another season. — Kevin Steele
It’s hard to argue that the “King of YAC” wouldn’t make the most sense for New England who could potentially be losing their entire receiving core this offseason. Tate is one of the most consistent receivers in the NFL and it’s a joke Detroit let Matthew Stafford’s favorite receiver go for a third-round pick. Nevertheless, there are more teams than just New England who need pass-catching help.
The team I see Tate landing with is the Tennesee Titans. For one, he’s a Nashville native so returning home to play for the Titans would be quite the narrative. Second, Mariota has no help outside of Corey Davis as far as receivers go. Dion Lewis was second on the team in targets and receptions. The next closest receiver to the 112 targets Davis had in 2018 was Taywan Taylor with 56…half. Tate has surpassed that number in every season outside of his rookie year with Seattle. He would instantly bolster new OC Arthur Smith’s offensive unit. — Ryan Williams
Mark Ingram, RB
2018 Stat Line: 12g, 159 touches (138 rushing – 21 receptions), 815 total yards (645 rushing; 170 receiving), and 7 total TDs
New Orleans Saints
Oh, shush. I know it’s boring, but that doesn’t make me believe it any less. I could’ve said Baltimore like most are or maybe the Colts because I could see that working out well for both sides. BUT, the only way that the Saints don’t keep Ingram is because of money. I know there’s been much speculation about the “tension” between Ingram and Sean Payton at times, but they know they need him (or a reliable back like him to work in tandem with Kamara).
During his four-game suspension in 2018, the Saints explored their options. Those clearly fell flat. There isn’t anyone on the market this year that could easily replace a guy like Mark Ingram. They’ve emphasized not wanting to run Kamara into the ground. Mark and the organization both voiced a desire for him to re-sign. He’s also familiar with their offense and has been very successful. That said, he’s 29.
This is a big decision for Ingram. He should be shopping himself around hardcore to see the offers. Though Ingram has indicated in the media that his initial talks with the Saints organization haven’t gone anywhere, they will come around. Also, the Saints may benefit from Ingram’s desire to end his career in New Orleans. He could consider taking less money to stay with an organization he clearly feels connected to in multiple ways. You can argue that he shouldn’t do that, but Ingram wants to be on a Super Bowl Contender. That isn’t going to happen on the Baltimore Ravens. — Jen Smith
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
While I do believe there is a chance that Ingram returns to the Saints if he doesn’t, the Bucs are certainly in the market for a back. After spending a 2nd round pick (38th overall) on Ronald Jones, it certainly looks like he is a massive bust and Peyton Barber is a restricted free agent. That is where Ingram comes in. Mark Ingram has been a solid back in New Orleans and offers the ability to not just be an effective runner, but has also displayed the ability to be a competent receiving back as well. Ingram has recorded at least 45 receptions in three of the last four seasons while splitting work with Alvin Kamara. Now, in Tampa, Ingram could serve as the lead back at a cheap price who can serve as a bridge to their next rookie running back if they decide to go that route in the draft similarly to the Cardinals signing Chris Johnson after drafting David Johnson. — Kevin Steele
You’ll probably see this projection a lot, and for good reason. Ingram has shown he can carry the load as a primary back with back to back 1,000-yard seasons in 2016-2017 and the Ravens could use a consistent presence in the backfield. While Gus Edwards showed signs of life and Kenneth Dixon should be back to 100% next year, Ingram brings a known commodity to a team that’s going to lean heavily on the run in 2019. — Anthony Pinzone
Doesn’t it always seem like the Steelers get running backs on the second wind of their careers? In recent memory names like Duce Staley, DeAngelo Williams, Stevan Ridley come to mind. They were 29, 31, and 28 years of age, respectively, when the Steelers inherited these guys. Mark Ingram is 29…he fits the bill. It’s hard to see the Saints letting Ingram go, and the Steelers have many other needs outside of running back, but history shows us if there’s a running back out there to be had, they’ll be in the mix.
Ben Roethlisberger just turned 37 and with Brown seemingly out of the door, the Steelers pass game is sure to take a hit. I see them getting back to their roots with a ground-and-pound attack which means adding to the depth of James Conner and Jaylen Samuels. Ingram fits the Steelers heritage, and at 29 an RBBC situation would be perfect for him. If anything happened to Conner, Ingram would immediately become an RB1 fantasy asset. — Ryan Williams
Jamison Crowder, WR
2018 Stat Line: 9g, 29 receptions (44 targets), 388 yards, and 2 TDs
Green Bay Packers
Green Bay has lost some members of their wide receiver group over the last few seasons. Last year was Jordy Nelson and this year we will likely see Randall Cobb head elsewhere. While the Packers still have some promising young WRs in Equanimeous St. Brown and Marquez Valdes-Scantling, they certainly could use a true slot wide receiver for Aaron Rodgers. Crowder is still very young (25) for a player heading into his 5th season. While many seem to be down on Rodgers after a poor 2018, this feels like the ultimate bounce-back spot for the still elite QB. — Kevin Steele
Though Jay Gruden emphasized that hanging on to Crowder is a priority for him, I think Jamison jumps ship for greener pastures. Green Bay is in desperate need of pass catchers for Aaron Rodgers. Rumor mills are churning out speculation regarding a certain #84. That would be so cool. But, I digress. Regardless, the Packers need a solid slot receiver since they aren’t expected to resign free agent Randall Cobb. His performance and health declined over the last three seasons, and the Packers need another talented WR2 who can get separation in the middle of the field.
Jimmy Graham wasn’t the weapon many thought he would be in 2018. At age 32, I think it’s safe to say that he’s slowing down. Green Bay reported that they do not plan to release Graham, but that still leaves the need for a guy like Crowder. Crowder is quick, gets separation, and has the talent to be a solid WR2 and complement to Devante Adams. Crowder has potential and who other than Aaron Rodgers to bring that out in a player. He shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg, though they will have to fight Gruden for him.
Washington is a mess right now. If Green Bay makes him a decent offer, I’m sure Crowder would jump at the chance to get a major upgrade at quarterback and skyrocket his chances of making it to the playoffs. Green Bay has 16th most cap space, so they have plenty to entice him with if they think he’s a fit. — Jen Smith
San Francisco 49ers
Pierre Garcon isn’t coming back and hasn’t made an impact anyways. Regardless of whether or not AB lands here, this is a great spot for Crowder. An up and coming QB, a young head coach and the beautiful weather of San Francisco would be attractive to any free agent. For Crowder, he’ll look to build on his 2016 and 2017 seasons which saw him pull in 67 and 66 catches respectively from the now Minnesota Viking, Kirk Cousins. — Anthony Pinzone
For me what this really comes down to is I don’t know how big the market will be for Crowder. Plus Jay Gruden is on record saying that they want to keep Crowder in house. Only four seasons in Crowder is still a young, budding talent with a decent resume that includes over 10 yards per reception in every season, and basically two seasons of 100 targets with Kirk Cousins. There are issues, however, that cannot be overlooked like his 12 career fumbles and his decreasing catch rate every season that I believe will keep his value down with other clubs. This may be a spot for him to stay for another couple years and if the Redskins can get a quality quarterback, Crowder can bounce back and potentially raise his value for the next time he hits the market. — Ryan Williams
Nick Foles, QB
2018 NFL Stat Line: 5g, 145/195, (78% completion percentage), 1413 yards, 7 TDs, and 4 INTs
After dealing with the rollercoaster that is Blake Bortles, look for Jacksonville to replace him with the more seasoned Nick Foles. He provides consistency and leadership for a team in a complete overhaul. As illustrated by his success with the Eagles, Foles may not wow you with his stats all the time, but he can get you the wins. Other teams will show interest, but hopefully, the Jags prioritize the position. They’ll need to work to make the cap space, as they are dead last in the NFL but I think they land Foles in the end. — Jen Smith
New York Giants
This one really comes down to what the Giants plans are for Odell Beckham and Eli Manning in 2019. If the Giants plan on keeping OBJ (which they should), the time has come to let Eli Manning walk. They easily could draft a QB like Dwayne Haskins or Drew Lock with their #6 overall pick, or they could forego that route and sign Nick Foles and stick it to their NFC East rival.
The Giants have one of the best offenses in the league with OBJ, Sterling Shephard, Evan Engram, and star running back Saquon Barkley. Whoever steps into this role will take over one of the most talent-rich offenses in the league. The Giants would probably be better off not going through the growing pains of a rookie quarterback and sign Nick Foles who can step in right away and take command of that offense. However, trusting the GM who believed Eli Manning still had something in the tank is a risky proposition. — Kevin Steele
I’m honestly not sure that Foles would even want to do this, he’s been pretty open about his love for the Eagles. If he looks around the league honestly though, he won’t find a better opportunity. If the Giants decide its time to move on from Eli, and they’re not sold on any of the first round draft candidates at the position, this would be the most talented roster Foles could ever hope for. Odell Beckham Jr, Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram, and Saquon Barkley is probably amongst the best position groups in all of the NFL. — Anthony Pinzone
I mentioned the Redskins need a quality quarterback for 2019 and beyond and Foles is the guy I had in mind. Two months ago, the media was propping Foles up as the biggest thing since read-option to swoop the NFL off of its feet. People were saying it was time for the Eagles to (ALREADY) move on from an “injury-prone” Carson Wentz and go with Foles as the future. Now while I think that’s a little blasphemous to say, I do think that Foles has the makings to bring the Redskins back into the playoff hunt.
Foles has never started a full season, but man does he have an impressive resume. His sophomore season with the Eagles throwing for 27 touchdowns and only two interceptions in 10 starts. His 2017 playoff run, leading the Eagles to hoist the Lombardi trophy and taking home the Super Bowl MVP, while filing in for a quarterback who would have won the season MVP if not for injury. Then once again coming to the call yet again as a backup and not only getting the Eagles into the playoffs but getting them a road win versus the Chicago Bears.
It just seems he has the it-factor. “Foles magic” if you will. And whether or not we agree with it, the Redskins could use some of that in their favor. Their division is always a crapshoot, Jay Gruden just did wonders with Cousins not too long ago, and they have a decent running back situation heading into 2019. I say the Redskins go all-in with an established quarterback who has won in big moments to build around. — Ryan Williams
Update: Reports indicate that the Jaguars are the favorites to land Nick Foles. They will need to clear considerable cap space to make this work.
Report: Jaguars expected to land Nick Foles https://t.co/my0acXqPzf
— Rotoworld Football (@Rotoworld_FB) March 3, 2019
Tevin Coleman, RB
2018 NFL Stat Line: 16g, 199 total touches (167 rush; 32 rec), 1,076 total yards (800 rush; 276 rec), 9 TDs
My man, Tevin, is a free agent this season. Long have I beat the drum for this player and I’m excited to see a new home for him. Though he put up career-best numbers last season, some consider his 2019 campaign a disappointment. Expectations were for him to take over the backfield after Devonta Freeman’s injury, especially because of his already distinct role in the backfield. Instead, Atlanta wanted their rookie, Ito Smith, to get 8-12 touches per game, capping Tevin’s ceiling. It makes sense though, as they knew they might move on from Coleman in free agency and wanted to see what they had in Smith.
Coleman finished his last three seasons #20, #22, and #18 fantasy RB (PPR). Yup. That’s right. He sneakily finished with 1076 total yards and 9 TDs in 2018 (good for #18). He doesn’t have bell cow miles on his tires and could be a great asset to a backfield like Philly’s. Behind that solid offensive line, Coleman could do some real damage and provide some consistency to a backfield plagued with injuries. Coleman missed just one game in the last two seasons. The only issue is where Philly will find the money, being the second-to-last team in cap space. — Jen Smith
Coleman is one of those guys that needs a creative coach to be most effective, so why not land him with Doug Pederson in Philadelphia? The Eagles had a constant merry-go-round of backs last year due to injury and have their two top guys (Ajayi & Sproles) headed to free agency. While the trio of Smallwood, Adams, and Clement showed some signs of life, none of them showed enough that the Eagles should be relying on that trio alone. Averaging 955 yards from scrimmage and 9 touchdowns per season over the last 3 years, Coleman is a talented young back who screams breakout potential. — Anthony Pinzone
After surveying the landscape, the team that makes the most sense for Tevin Coleman is the Buffalo Bills. With Shady McCoy getting up there in age and his hefty contract for a 31-year-old running back (9 million), the Bills can save nearly 7 million in cap space by moving on from the former star running back. The Bills need to do whatever they can to improve this roster while Josh Allen is still under his rookie deal. The problem is there just aren’t many options this year in free agency.
While they certainly could look to the draft to add another running back, it would seem to make more sense to sign Tevin Coleman to jump-start the process. Coleman wasn’t great last season, despite racking up over 1,000 total yards and 9 TDs. He’s a straight line runner with great hands for a back. I truly believe if Coleman would have had a bigger season last year, he would be just as sought after as Le’Veon Bell who has far more wear on his tires and is a year younger than Bell. While there may be better landing spots for Coleman, the Bills seem to make the most sense given their current situation. — Kevin Steele
Kansas City Chiefs
Over the past few seasons, Coleman has been one of the best handcuffs in all of fantasy football. In just four seasons he’s barely eclipsed 500 carries, yet has 4.4 yards per attempt career average. Despite having one of the most incompetent offensive coordinators in the league, Coleman still garnered 800 yards and nine total touchdowns in 2018. When he had to share a backfield with Devonta Freeman, his numbers were good enough for a borderline RB2 in fantasy. This kid has all the makings of being special, he just needs the right situation. Maybe a situation that reunites him with his college running backs coach Deland McCullough who is currently the Chiefs running backs coach…
I understand Damien Williams was admirable towards the end of the season and fantastic in the playoffs, but the Chiefs could use Coleman’s playoff experience and talents both rushing and receiving the football. A quarterback like Patrick Mahomes would embrace someone a back like Coleman from day 1, and though we wouldn’t get to see him thrive in his own offense, he would instantly become a top RB2 pick in fantasy. — Ryan Williams
CJ Anderson, RB
2018 Stat Line: 11g, 72 total touches (67 rush; 5 rec), 444 total yards (403 rush; 41 rec), and 3 TDs
New Orleans Saints
With Mark Ingram leaving the Saints, this sets up nicely for Jerome Bettis 2.0. After Anderson was cut from the Panthers after very little usage, he latched on late in the season with the Rams. He stepped right in and exploded for three straight 100-yard performances while Gurley was sidelined. In his 5 games (including the playoffs), he averaged 97.5 yards on 17.8 carries and about a touchdown per game. Anderson is an adequate pass catcher but isn’t someone I would want as a workhorse back. He is the perfect thunder option in a backfield.
Anderson is a perfect fit in Sean Payton’s and his RBBC approach and would be the change of pace option behind Alvin Kamara. If Anderson does wind up with the Saints, he would make for an interesting flex option on an explosive Drew Brees led offense. — Kevin Steele
Did anyone do more for their stock in 2018 than CJ Anderson? He single-handedly took over for an injured Todd Gurley and it was as if the Rams didn’t miss a beat. Naturally, he should be looking at a starting gig, or at least a chance at one. I’m going with the Raiders here. Lynch has been injured, the Doug Martin experiment was a massive bust and Jalen Richard either isn’t that good, or they don’t know how to use him. Gruden loves old school, smash mouth football. CJ Anderson fits that bill perfectly. — Anthony Pinzone
We were all surprised by the contribution of CJ Anderson in Weeks 16, 17, and 19 when he stepped in for Todd Gurley. Don’t get me started on the usage of Gurley in the playoffs. There’s been much speculation, but he clearly wasn’t healthy. The takeaway: they need a reliable back up and trust CJ Anderson. To say he took advantage of the opportunity is an understatement. Over those three games, Anderson carried the ball 69 times for 422 yards and 5 TDs. Just like we all predicted. Right? Well, he showed everyone that he can still contribute to a backfield and step into a heavier role if needed.
The result is that the Rams want to keep him. Makes sense. Anderson may check his price on the open market but ultimately will end up back with the Rams. With all of Todd Gurley’s knee issues, the Rams need a backfield they can count on in situations just like the end of 2018. So, I would be surprised if they don’t do what they can to keep him. The Rams are pretty set on offense otherwise and have the 18th most cap space, so making a decent offer won’t break the bank. — Jen Smith
Talk about a bounce-back. CJ Anderson’s 2018 resurgence is one of the biggest comeback stories in recent history. Here’s a guy who had his first 1000-yard season in 2017, quietly, but seemed to be allergic to the endzone with only three touchdowns in 16 games. The next year he gets to Carolina and can’t even be found on milk cartons, then gets picked up by the LA Rams off waivers and has 299 in two games. In his career prior to that, he never had averaged more than 70 yards per game. Remarkable.
Now I’m not trying to just get stuck going down memory lane, but it’s important to remember that as Rams star was MIA with a secret injury, CJA was carrying this team, literally, to the Super Bowl. It also needs to be said that Anderson is a California boy, not only did he grow up there, but also having attended the University of California. Oh, who else went to Cal? Just their franchise quarterback Jared Goff. How can the Rams let his guy walk? — Ryan Williams
Jay Ajayi, RB
2018 Stat Line: 4g, 50 total touches (45 rush; 5 rec), 204 total yards (184 rush; 20 rec), 3 TDs
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I had a really hard time placing Ajayi. While dynamic when he’s healthy, he’s played in just 18 games over the past 3 seasons. We can’t predict injuries though, so if I had to place him somewhere he could flourish and possibly get back to 2016 form (1,423 total yards, 27 receptions, 8 touchdowns) I’d go with Bruce Arians down in Tampa. With Peyton Barber, Jacquizz Rodgers and 2018 rookie disappointment Ronald Jones on the roster, there’s plenty of opportunities for Ajayi to step right into a starting role. — Anthony Pinzone
Kansas City Chiefs
The risk with Ajayi is that you’re chasing after the Ghost of 2016 Past. In 15 games, Ajayi amassed 1272 yards and 8 TDs, adding 27 catches for 151 yards. That’s good enough for #11 fantasy RB (PPR). We’ve never seen a full season from Ajayi, so the team that takes a chance on him should get him at a value. Kansas City is a position to take a swing with Ajayi, hoping to get the guy who averaged 4.62 yards per carry and 6.6 yards per reception.
The Chiefs released Kareem Hunt last season (you know THAT story. If you don’t, wake up dude and go Google it), Spencer Ware is a free agent, and that leaves Damien and Darrel Williams. The Chiefs liked Damien’s performance in Hunt’s stead and signed him to a two year deal in December. I think they let Ware walk, and bring in a fresh face with potential for 2019. Ajayi’s coming off an ACL injury, but with two men already primed in the backfield, there won’t be a need to rush him back or bank on his immediate return.
He’s definitely is a risk to not return on investment, but the Chiefs have enough wiggle room with Mahomes under his rookie contract. They just might take a chance on a guy that flashed playmaking ability, but maybe couldn’t find the right fit (or stay healthy). They’re in a win-now mentality and Ajayi could round out that backfield nicely, on the cheap. — Jen Smith
While the Raiders are in full rebuild after trading away Amari Cooper and Khalil Mack for multiple 1st round picks, they certainly have a need at running back with Marshawn Lynch, Doug Martin, and Jalen Richard (restricted) all eligible for free agency. While I do believe the Raiders could be in the mix for Le’Veon Bell, I can’t see him going to a team that is years away from contending. This is where Jay Ajayi comes into the fold. Ajayi is a decent option for them at a cheap price. He needs to prove to teams that he can actually stay healthy after two injury-plagued seasons. He is still young enough (turns 26 in June) to sign with a team on a “prove it” type deal — Kevin Steele
Can you name the Raiders running backs currently? Good for you if you answered yourself with a yes. It took me a while, and for good reason. Their current depth chart is atrocious and it’s no secret they are going through a re-build. The Raiders could use a veteran talent like Ajayi to establish some sort of structure with Jon Gruden’s minions.
At only 25 (26 by the 2019 kickoff), he still has plenty left in the tank. Even though he is coming off of an ACL injury, his rehab has been going smoothly. Many reports have him ready for the start of the 2019 season. Due to injury, the Raiders could get Ajayi on a discount. Doesn’t all of scream Oakland Raiders? — Ryan Williams
Devin Funchess, WR
2018 Stat Line: 44 rec (77 targets), 549 yards, and 4 TDs
The Panthers will move on from Devin Funchess in free agency, as his involvement and targets declined as the year progressed in 2018. His measly 11 targets over the last four weeks of the season say it all. There are plenty of teams desperate for an upgrade at WR that might give the 24-year-old a shot with a new offense. Funchess’ stats for 2018 surely aren’t going to jump off the page, but he did have success in 2017 (63 catches for 840 yards and 8 TDs), which many labeled his “break out” season.
Baltimore is set to lose John Brown in free agency and their receiving depth chart is pretty ugly: Quincy Adeboyejo, Chris Moore, Willie Snead, Jordan Lasley, and Jaleel Scott. If you don’t recognize some of those names, you’re not alone. Enter: Devin Funchess. Clearly, he will be used to working with a mobile QB, catching passes from Cam Newton all four years of his career so far. The Ravens are an up and coming offense led by Lamar Jackson, a situation that could appeal to young Funchess. Given his age, he’s most likely looking for a contract for the next 3-4 years. Funchess admitted that 2018 wasn’t his best performance, but that he learned a lot and is ready for the next step. Baltimore needs weapons and Funchess could be a consistent producer for them if he can get back to his 2017 form. — Jen Smith
With Josh Allen entering his second season, the Bills desperately need to make improvements. Most specifically to their pass catchers. While Funchess isn’t a huge upgrade, I do believe he’s better than Robert Foster and Zay Jones. Funchess is coming off a down year. He posted 44 receptions, 549 yards, and 4 touchdowns with the Panthers in 2018. What he brings to the table is his size at 6’4 and 236 pounds. He provides a large frame and a more than adequate red zone threat for Josh Allen. Not to mention, Funchess is still a very young 25 years old. — Kevin Steele
I originally had Funchess going back to Carolina, but recent news suggests both the Panthers and Devin are in mutual agreement to move on. Instead, how about heading up to Pittsburgh to play alongside Juju Smith-Schuster and Big Ben? The Steelers offense has been a fantasy goldmine for WR2 options over the years, seeing names such as Mike Wallace, Santonio Holmes, Plaxico Burress, and Martavis Bryant put up good and even great fantasy seasons. Last season was even further evidence of this, with all the Antonio Brown drama going on, JuJu exploded for 111 receptions, 1,426-yards, and 7 touchdowns on a whopping 166 targets! By the way, Antonio Brown still had 168 targets last year himself, all of which will be wide open for another receiving option to pick up.
While the Steelers typically go the draft route for their receivers, I think they may make an exception for a 24-year-old WR on the open market who has already had some NFL success. At 6’4” 225 pounds, he would give Ben the biggest target he’s had on the outside since Martavis Bryant back in 2017. With Ben’s knack for throwing guys open, I think Funchess could easily build on his career-best 63 receptions, 840 yards, and 8 touchdowns. — Anthony Pinzone
We haven’t brought up Cleveland Browns thus far, so allow me. Here’s a team that many feels are just a few players away from making noise. They have their franchise quarterback. They have an incredible young running back core. Their tight end Njoku is no slouch, either. Their receiving corps, however, could use a guy like Devin Funchess. I was thinking about their size, and they don’t have a big body wide receiver that offers an opposing threat. Rashard Higgins, Damian Ratley, and Breshad Perriman are all around 6’2″ but just around 200 pounds. Funchess is 6’4″, and over 225 lbs. Funchess would be an immediate red zone threat, but also better than the aforementioned receivers. A stellar complement to starters Jarvis Landry and Antonio Callaway in my eyes.
Many sleep on the talent Funchess has, but Jaxon of SB Nation did a great article on how his talent fares to those who have contracts similar to what he’s expected to receive. The Browns are projected with the third most cap space in the league. Nine million a year on Funchess is well within the cards to get Mayfield another weapon on offense. — Ryan Williams
Teddy Bridgewater, QB
2018 Stat Line: 1g, 118 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
It’s been a nice story for Teddy Bridgewater after suffering a gruesome injury with the Vikings a few years ago. It’s amazing that he even made it back. Let alone, looking for an opportunity to start for another franchise. His best chance to get a long term job again will be playing the role of stop-gap for another team’s 1st round QB. Washington is one of the few teams that need a starting quarterback. This is the landing spot I see for Bridgewater. The Redskins had a huge blow with Alex Smith suffering his own nasty injury this past season that will likely keep him out until at least 2020. This means the Redskins need a QB who can come in and start right away, for low pay. Enter Teddy Bridgewater.
The Redskins certainly have plenty of areas of need on offense. They are likely going to lose their best wide receiver in Jamison Crowder. That leaves them with Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson, Trey Quinn, and, Maurice Harris as their best wide receivers. They also have exciting second-year running back Derrius Guice and Chris Thompson returning. Unfortunately for Teddy B, the offense will likely be pretty ugly, unless the Redskins address it in the Draft. This is one of the best short-term options for any quarterback trying to turn their career around. — Kevin Steele
Before you go all groaning and what not, let’s take a look at the situation in South Florida. Yes, they’re going through a rebuild. But I think this would actually make for a great landing spot. Albert Wilson, Kenny Stills, Kenyan Drake, and Jakeem Grant all have shown dynamic playmaking ability. Mike Gesicki was a fantasy writers dream last offseason. Last I checked, he is still really tall and really fast (obviously the only standards that matter). That’s five playmakers for Bridgewater right from day 1, not to mention whatever happens in free agency and the draft. With these tools, I think he could surprise people in Miami. — Anthony Pinzone
The most important position in the NFL is the quarterback (duh). It’s not every offseason we have a free agent quarterback who was a former first-round pick and only 26. Teddy Bridgewater should be grateful to be in this position. It was just two years ago he suffered a horrid knee injury. The landing spot I had lined up for Teddy B was New Orleans. Reason being that he would inherit a solid offense when Drew Brees’ hangs it up. But the thing there is Drew Brees isn’t ready to retire. Two or three years of just being a back-up will leave Bridgewater almost 30 with limited game experience. He needs a situation where he can climb into right away, and that should be Miami.
He owns a home in South Florida already and has been training there. As Anthony says above, the young core the Dolphins have would give Bridgewater a decent situation to inherit. The best part of all about being in Miami will be the lack of pressure he’ll step into. The Dolphins are not viewed as a playoff team as the other landing spots where he could be the starter i.e. Washington, New York Giants, or Jacksonville. I think he could use this landing spot as a way to get his rhythm back. He looked solid last preseason and even in Week 17 versus Carolina. It’s also a win for Miami. They can land Bridgewater on a discount and have cap space to utilize for other offseason needs. — Ryan Williams
New York Giants
If the Giants cut Eli Manning, it frees up $17 million in cap space. They have one of the best receivers AND one of the best running backs in the NFL. The team can’t afford to lose years of this caliber of talent. Picking up Bridgewater could be the perfect stop-gap move. NY is expected to draft a QB in the first round. This would give the organization time to work with the rookie QB before having to start him.
Bridgewater needs an opportunity to show if he can start again. The Giants, well, they need a change, a QB, and a huge upgrade to their offensive line. Bridgewater won’t cost them much either since there isn’t much of a body of work to boost his marketability. This could be a deal that benefits both sides. –Jen Smith
Remaining Notable Free Agents:
Hello, my name is Kevin Steele. I enjoy long walks on the beach and cuddling up with a good glass of scotch and The Fantasy Life book by Matthew Berry.