Defenders Dominate List Of Top 10 NFL Free Agents In 2019

Monday, February 4, 2019 2:14 PM UTC

Monday, Feb. 4, 2019 2:14 PM UTC

Got the post-Super Bowl blues? Cheer up. NFL free agency begins in March. Franchises looking for help in 2019 on defense are in luck. Here's our top-10 potential game-changing free agents this offseason.

<p>Conjuring up a top NFL free agent list in early February is a bit of a chore with teams set to utilize franchise tags, prune rosters to lessen salary caps, and negotiate long-term deals with restricted players in coming weeks. The Texans, for example, are expected to tag OLB Jadeveon Clowney. Ditto with QB Nick Foles and the Eagles, Philly anticipated to sign and trade later. Nonetheless, there are a few players game-changing players destined to hit the market. We’ve compiled a top-10 list. Defenders are prominent.</p><p>The 2019 offseason NFL schedule sees free agency begin on March 13 at 4 p.m. ET, the official start of the league year. Contract negotiations between teams and player agents can commence on March 11.</p><h2>10. Earl Thomas (S, Seahawks)</h2><p>The perennial All-Pro safety was a Defensive Player of the Year candidate before fracturing his leg in a Week 4 clash against the Cardinals. A similar injury ended his 2016 campaign. Thomas, excelling at coverage and tackling, rates at the top of his class every season when not sidelined by some sort of ailment. Unfortunately, his knack for getting hurt slips him down the free-agent list.</p><h2>9. Ndamukong Suh (DT, Rams)</h2><p>Suh and Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald combined for 154 pressures during the 2018 campaign, easily topping defensive tackles in the league as a duo. The Steelers’ Cam Heyward and Stephon Tuitt ranked second with 100. Throughout his career, when Suh registers a full sack or more in a contest, his teams are 28-17-3 ATS (62.2 percent). They are 28-58-1 ATS (32.5 percent) when gaining a half sack or less. Suh can be a clubhouse cancer, but his game is still stout.</p><h2>8. Tyrann Mathieu (S, Texans)</h2><p>Mathieu isn’t the best defensive back in coverage, particularly against crafty slot receivers, but he has a gift for big plays, forcing fumbles, and pressuring the quarterback. Place him close to the line of scrimmage, and Honey Badger shines. In the right scheme, his services offer oodles of value.</p><h2>7. C.J. Mosely (LB, Ravens)</h2><p>C.J. Mosely, a four-time Pro Bowler, is one of the top-3 middle linebackers in the NFL. His knowledge of the game, leadership, and run punishment is uncanny. The only reason he is this far down the free-agency list is the fact the position is in a transition phase currently among NFL defenses.</p><p>[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "&lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\" data-lang=\"en\"&gt;&lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&gt;CJ Mosley puts the Ravens in the playoffs 😱 &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/TreyDeuce32RTR?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;@TreyDeuce32RTR&lt;/a&gt; &lt;a href=\"https://t.co/yQxuaVw5nB\"&gt;pic.twitter.com/yQxuaVw5nB&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/thecheckdown/status/1079538000223064064?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;December 31, 2018&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;\n&lt;script async src=\"https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js\" charset=\"utf-8\"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;"}[/]</p><h2><strong>6. Sheldon Richardson (DT, Vikings)</strong></h2><p>Richardson is high on our list because, like Suh, of his equal ability to defend the pass and the rush. His consistency is also a bonus. Every single Vikings front seven starter rated lower in overall performance metrics from last season other than Richardson. The veteran defensive tackle has 83 QB pressures over the last two years.</p><h2>5. Frank Clark (DE, Seahawks)</h2><p>The 25-year-old edge rusher compiled multiple QB pressures in every game this season and is entering his prime. Clark has 32 sacks and 66 QB hits over the last three years. These are elite numbers in a crowded free-agent field of edge rushers. Clark is a franchise player ripe for the taking.</p><h2>4. Grady Jarrett (DT, Falcons)</h2><p>One of the best interior pass-rushing defensive tackles in the NFL, Jarrett is also entering his prime at 26-years old. Contract negotiations are a top off-season priority according to Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff, so the prospect of hitting the market is up in the air.</p><h2>3. Trey Flowers (DE, Patriots)</h2><p>The best pass rusher on the Patriots’ defense the last couple of seasons, Flowers is best known for his versatility and ability to adapt to any alignment. Since emerging as a starter in Week 10 of the 2016 season, the Patriots are 36-8 SU (81.8 percent) and have covered the spread in two-thirds of all contests (28-14-2 ATS) when Flowers records a tackle.</p><h2>2. Le’Veon Bell (RB, Steelers)</h2><p>Bell was the best running back in the NFL prior to his holdout. Period. The long layoff may hurt his return early, but be confident Bell will pick up where he left off when fully fit. He’s still only 26 years old, and is itching to prove his withstanding was worth it.</p><h2>1. DeMarcus Lawrence (DE, Cowboys)</h2><p>Elite pass rusher with double-digit sacks the last two seasons entering his prime, Lawrence is getting paid. The Pro Bowler played under the $17.1-million franchise tag this season, and will likely consider holding out if tagged again. He’s the cream of the crop this free agency and knows it.</p>
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