5 NFL free agents who are likely to sign before training camp
The 2020 free agency frenzy has long since passed in the NFL, with things slowing to an even more unusual crawl thanks in part to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, with the NFL set on opening training camps on schedule, we will likely see a run on remaining free agents in the coming weeks. And the good news for teams is that there are still plenty of quality — and in some cases, game-changing — players available for the picking.
Here’s a look at five current free agents who are likely to sign before training camps open.
5. Markus Golden, LB
We start this list off with a pass rusher, and that will continue to be a theme. A spot originally slated to go to Cam Newton (signed with the New England Patriots), we’re cheating a bit by adding Markus Golden here. The New York Giants used the rare unrestricted free agent tender on Golden, guaranteeing a spot for him in the event no other team scoops him up. But don’t bank on that from preventing other teams from potentially signing Golden. Although a large market has not materialized for the outside linebacker who recorded 10 sacks in 2019, there will be increased interest as training camps near. Golden has proven he’s over his injury issues and is capable of playing at a high level — even in a somewhat dysfunctional defense. Whether it’s with the Giants or another team, he’ll be playing a major role in 2020.
4. Larry Warford, OL
Offensive linemen come at a premium in today’s NFL, which is why Larry Warford remaining unsigned is a bit of a curiosity. The 28-year-old finished the 2019 season with a Pro Football Focus grade of 73.1 and allowed just two sacks on 970 offensive snaps. That alone seems like enough to warrant his signing, but here we are with him still unsigned as of early July. However, like many other veterans on this list, Warford’s name has been connected to multiple teams, including the New York Jets, Cincinnati Bengals, Washington Redskins and, more recently, the Philadelphia Eagles. Ultimately, it’s a near lock he ends up with one of those teams; the only remaining question is when.
3. Logan Ryan, CB
Logan Ryan has generated a substantial amount of buzz in the media this offseason, but despite that, he remains unsigned entering July. Still, he’s arguably the best remaining cornerback on the open market, which also means he will inevitably be signed prior to the start of NFL training camps. Where he’ll end up is unclear, but there are several potential suitors Ryan has been connected to, including the New York Giants, New York Jets, Atlanta Falcons, Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles and others. The one potential drawback when it comes to Ryan is that no one seems set on what type of cornerback he is. Some view him as a nickel guy and some as an outside guy, which is part of the reason for his stay on the free agent market. Ryan’s lack of consistency also hasn’t helped his case much.
2. Everson Griffen, EDGE
Everson Griffen has recorded double-digit sacks three times in his career and finished with eight (in 15 games) a season ago, which led to a 77.6 Pro Football Focus grade. Like Jadeveon Clowney, it seems somewhat strange that Griffen remains without a team. And unlike Clowney, he’s not seeking the sort of money that would account for being shelved this long. The fact that Griffen is 32 years old (will be 33 during the season) may be giving some teams pause, but with edge rushers at a premium, it’s all but guaranteed that stalemate will come to an end soon. There are teams like the Detroit Lions, New York Giants and Cleveland Browns who are all in need of a sack artist, which could also be said for Griffen’s former team, the Minnesota Vikings.
1. Jadeveon Clowney, EDGE
Jadeveon Clowney has had an interesting offseason, and that seems poised to continue until the moment he eventually signs somewhere. At first, the delay in landing a new gig seemed to center around his contract demands, which were widely considered to be astronomical. However, even after the price came down, Clowney appears determined dictate every step of the process, which includes blocking out the Browns, who remain in the hunt despite his obvious desire to avoid the city of Cleveland. How the dust settles on this remains to be seen, but it’s still expected that Clowney ends up signing somewhere prior to the start of the 2020 regular season.