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#pounditThursday, April 22, 2021

5 NFL players who are likely to be overpaid in free agency

Logan Ryan

Free agency is always a crazy time in the NFL, and the frenzy promises to be just as wild this year. That also means that teams will rush to sign players before their competitors are given a chance, driving up prices, and leading to some massive over-payments.

Here’s a look at five impending free agents who are bound to be overpaid in 2020.

5. Logan Ryan, CB, Tennessee Titans

Just a few short years ago, Logan Ryan was considered one of the best up-and-coming cornerbacks in the NFL, and there were 32 teams that would have been happy to have him. However, Ryan has seen a production decline in recent seasons, finishing 2019 with a Pro Football Focus grade of just 64.9 after surrendering 80 receptions for over 1,000 yards. Despite those struggles, Ryan is still on the right side of 30 and has a stretch on his resume that will intrigue any team in need of a veteran cornerback. And while there are some similar talents potentially becoming available in March, Ryan is still likely to command top dollar — far beyond what his 2019 season should warrant.

4. Yannick Ngakoue, DE, Jacksonville Jaguars

Make no mistake about it, Yannick Ngakoue is one of the most talented pass rushers who could potentially become available. And if he hits the open market, it’s going to be raining dollar, dollar bills, y’all. However, as talented a pass rusher as Ngakoue may be, he’s not a consistent all-around talent, as he often struggles against the run. That should be enough to drive his price down, but it won’t given the way offenses and quarterbacks dominate today’s league. As a result, Ngakoue, who may be franchise tagged, could cash in well above where the market should be set for a one-dimensional pass rusher, which is a trend that is likely to continue for several years. The NFL will adapt, and an emphasis on run-stopping pass rushers will return, but for now, it’s the perfect storm and Ngakoue will benefit greatly from that.

3. Leonard Williams, DT, New York Giants

New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman put himself and the organization in a no-win situation with Leonard Williams after acquiring him from the New York Jets in exchange for two draft picks. Now the team can either let him walk and essentially toss those picks right in the garbage, or do business with the 25-year-old Williams, who now has all the leverage. There have been rumors that he will seek upwards of $15 million annually, meaning the Giants may have to drop four years and $60 million on a rotational defensive tackle looking to be paid as a defensive end, in order to avoid losing those picks. The irony here is that whether the Giants re-sign Leonard or not, they’re going to be paying substantially. That’s great news for Williams, who is about to get a massive and unexpected pay day.

2. Brandon Scherff, OG, Washington

Make no mistake about it, Brandon Scherff is a very talented guard who borders on dominant at times. He’ll be coveted in free agency if not tagged, and that will drive up his price. That’s significant because in recent years, the trend has been to drastically overpay for average-or-above offensive linemen, so it’s possible Scherff pushes that boundary even further. Rodger Saffold got $44 million in last March, and Brandon Brooks landed an extension in excess of $56 million in November, so expect Scherff and his representatives to at least be aiming for around $55 million if not $60 million or more, which would make him the highest-paid guard in the NFL.

1. Germain Ifedi, RT, Seattle Seahawks

Similarly to Brandon Scherff, Germain Ifedi is going to benefit from being an offensive lineman in an era where they are drastically overpaid. And even more than Scherff, Ifedi will benefit from playing tackle, where there is league-wide scarcity coupled with a level of need border on desperation. The 25-year-old Ifedi will likely aim for a contract similar to the one Nate Solder landed in New York (four years, $62 million) or the one D.J. Humphries got from the Arizona Cardinals (three years, $45 million). And despite a a lowly 56.2 Pro Football Focus grade and 13 penalties in 2019, some team will undoubtedly cave and give it to him, because there aren’t many other options.

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