We’re coming up on the third week of the NFL offseason, and while many huge contracts have been handed out some top free agents are still looking for homes. Among them is a former league MVP, and three of them are former No. 1 overall picks, which is pretty wild all by itself.
So where will the top-five remaining NFL free agents land? We have some ideas about that.
Jameis Winston, quarterback: Tennessee Titans
Despite starting 70 games for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the past five years, Jameis Winston is not going to land a starting gig anywhere in 2020 right off the bat. It would be somewhat ironic if he did get signed by the Titans, as he’d be in the same position as Ryan Tannehill was last year when he was traded to Tennessee and backed up Marcus Mariota.
The Titans make sense because that Tannehill has been through the ringer during his career and could be a tremendous influence on Winston, for starters. Secondly, if Tannehill were to get injured and miss time, Tennessee — a team that has an outstanding overall roster and a good offensive line — needs an experienced backup who can continue to push the ball downfield on play-action.
Everson Griffen, defensive end: Indianapolis Colts
The Colts are poised for a deep run in the playoffs and could challenge the Kansas City Chiefs this season now that Philip Rivers has once again teamed up with head coach Frank Reich and offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni. The team’s defense is already stacked with talent at all three levels, especially after trading for All-Pro defensive tackle DeForest Buckner.
Adding an experienced, dominant edge rusher like Everson Griffen would be the icing on the cake for the Colts. It would also provide the savvy veteran with the perfect opportunity to close out his career in style on a contender. Indy still has plenty of cap space to make Griffen a big offer. He and Justin Houston would be a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks with Buckner inside.
Jason Peters, offensive tackle: Seattle Seahawks
It remains to be seen just how much gas Jason Peters has left in the tank. He missed three games last season due to injury and is 38 years of age. But the nine-time Pro Bowler is worth a low-risk signing, to be sure. When he’s healthy, Peters is one of the best offensive tackles in football. And he still has the fire to play.
Adding Peters to an offensive line in Seattle that features Duane Brown, Ethan Pocic, B.J. Finney and D.J. Fluker would give the Seahawks an outstanding run-blocking unit that can also protect Russell Wilson better than what we’ve seen the past few years. Sure, Seattle signed Cedric Ogbuehi to a one-year deal, but Peters would represent a huge upgrade.
Jadeveon Clowney, defensive end: Arizona Cardinals
There are reports out there indicating Jadeveon Clowney wants upwards of $20 million per year. With a history of injuries, he’s not going to get that kind of cash any time soon due to the NFL’s inability to have players take physicals in an ordinary manner due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He may not get that kind of cash at all, and many believe Clowney will be forced to take a one-year deal in 2020.
Regardless, the Cardinals make a ton of sense for Clowney in 2020. They are going to be a highly competitive team, for starters, now that the offense has the firepower it needs to maximize the talents of young Kyler Murray. Secondly, adding Clowney to a defensive front that includes top pass rusher Chandler Jones would give the Cardinals one of the most frightening duos in the league. Finally, Clowney would be able to face the Seahawks two times a year.
Cam Newton, quarterback: New England Patriots
The Patriots may not be able to offer much in the way of money to Cam Newton. They currently have the second-least cap space in the NFL (per Over The Cap) with just over $700,000. So, it would take some creative maneuvering by New England to bring Newton into the fold.
That said, it’s not impossible from a financial perspective — just very challenging.
Money issues aside, Newton going to the Patriots makes too much sense. This franchise currently has Jarrett Stidham, Brian Hoyer and Cody Kessler as its three quarterbacks — perhaps the worst trio in the NFL. Newton would instantly make the Patriots a contender, and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is smart enough to make the most out of the former MVP’s talents.