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2021 NFL free agency rankings

We rank the top-50 NFL free agents heading into the 2021 season.

Offensive lineman Trent Williams #71 of the San Francisco 49ers during the second half of the NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills at State Farm Stadium on December 07, 2020 in Glendale, Arizona. Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images

March 22nd update: As of the Monday morning following the official kick off of the free agency period, there are just 11 players who have yet to sign deals remaining from our list of top-50 available free agents. Ranking highest on our list are three defensive playmakers, Malcolm Butler, Melvin Ingram and Richard Sherman.

March 16th update: As the first 24 hours of the legal tampering period wraps up, 22 of our top-50 NFL free agents agreed to terms on a new deal or received a RFA tender that is likely to keep them with their previous team. Top free agents available today include OT Trent Williams and WRs Kenny Golladay and Will Fuller. Notably, the wide receiver market was slow in general for day one, so there are still plenty of moves left to make.

The legal tampering period officially begins Monday, March 15th, which means that NFL teams can officially start to contact and negotiate impending free agents. As the new league year becomes official on March 17th, those deals can be signed.

The NFL officially announced the 2021 salary cap will sit at $182.5 million, a drop from last year’s total of $198.2 million. With that, we have to wonder if we’ll see the typical excitement of free agency given the decreased budget. Maybe we see more short term deals that get a player back on the market when the cap increases post-pandemic.

There’s a ton of talent on both sides of the ball, with some bigger than expected names getting a chance to hit the market. The franchise tag prevents the biggest of names, but this year there are some exceptions. Notably, the 49ers agreed to not use the franchise tag on offensive tackle Trent Williams when they acquired him last year. In Detroit, the Lions rebuild has them letting Kenny Golladay walk as an unrestricted free agent. On the other side of the ball, you have the likes of Shaq Barrett and Richard Sherman among the notable defensive names hitting the market. Rumors have circulated, too, that there’s a potential for Von Miller to hit the open market, as the Broncos could see a potential savings of $18 million if he is released.

Here is a countdown of our top-50 available free agents heading into the 2021 league year.

2021 Free Agency Rankings, top-50

Rank Player Position Former Team Update
Rank Player Position Former Team Update
1 Trent Williams OT 49ers Resigned with 49ers –Six-years, $138 million
2 Will Fuller WR Texans Signed with Dolphins — One-year, $10.625 million deal
3 Shaquil Barrett LB Bucs Resigned with Bucs — Four-year contract, worth up to $72 million
4 Kenny Golladay WR Lions Signed with Giants — Four-year, $72 million deal
5 Corey Linsley C Packers Signed with Chargers — Contract details pending
6 Darious Williams CB Rams Rams applied first-round RFA tender
7 Joe Thuney G Patriots Signed with Chiefs — Five-year, $80 million deal
8 Bud Dupree LB Steelers Signed with Titans — $16.5 million per year, multi-year deal
9 William Jackson CB Bengals Signed with Washington — Three-year, $42 million deal
10 Anthony Harris S Vikings Signed with Eagles — One-year, $5 million deal
11 JuJu Smith-Schuster WR Steelers Resigned with Steelers — One-year, $8 million deal
12 Hunter Henry TE Chargers Signed with Patriots — Three-year, $37.5 million contract
13 Aaron Jones RB Packers Resigned with Packers — Four-year, $48 million deal
14 Desmond King CB Titans Signed with Texans — One-year, $3.5 million deal
15 Carl Lawson DE Bengals Signed with Jets — Three-year, $45 million deal
16 Trey Hendrickson DE Saints Signed with Bengals — Four-year, $60 million deal
17 Malcolm Butler CB Titans
18 Melvin Ingram DE Chargers
19 Richard Sherman CB 49ers
20 John Johnson S Rams Signed with Browns — Three-year deal, contract details pending
21 Jonnu Smith TE Titans Signed with Patriots — Four-year, $50 million
22 Romeo Okwara DE Lions Resigned with Lions — Three-year, $39 million
23 Alejandro Villanueva OT Steelers
24 Shaquill Griffin CB Seahawks Signed with Jaguars — Contract details pending
25 Russell Okung OT Panthers
26 Jason Verrett CB 49ers Resigned with 49ers — One-year, $5.5 million worth $6.5 million including Pro Bowl incentive
27 Yannick Ngakoue DE Ravens Signed with Raiders — Two-year, $26 million deal
28 Mike Hilton CB Steelers Signing with Bengals — Contract details TBA
29 Jameis Winston QB Saints Resigned with Saints — One-year deal with base value of $5.5 million
30 Shelby Harris DE Broncos Resigned with Broncos — Three-year, $27 million deal
31 Leonard Floyd LB Rams Resigned with Rams — Four-year, $64 million deal
32 Mitchell Schwartz OT Chiefs
33 Corey Davis WR Titans Signed with Jets — Three-year, $37.5 million deal with $27 million guaranteed
34 Jadeveon Clowney DE Titans
35 Ryan Fitzpatrick QB Dolphins Signed with Washington — One-year, $10 million deal with max value of $12 million
36 Chris Carson RB Seahawks Resigned with Seahawks — Three-year deal worth up to $24.625 million — Voids to two years
37 Dalvin Tomlinson NT Giants Signed with Vikings — Two-year, $22 million deal
38 Troy Hill CB Rams Signed with Browns Two-year, $9 million deal
39 Jayon Brown LB Titans Resigned with Titans — One-year deal worth up to $5.25 million
40 Andy Dalton QB Cowboys Signed with Bears — One-year, $10 million deal
41 Kevin Zeitler G Giants Signed with Ravens — Three-year, $22 million deal
42 Rob Gronkowski TE Bucs Resigned with Bucs — One-year deal, worth up to $10 million
43 Matt Judon LB Ravens Signed with Patriots — Four-year, $56 million deal with $32 million guaranteed
44 Haason Reddick LB Cardinals Signed with Panthers — One-year deal worth up to $8 million
45 David Andrews C Patriots Resigned with Patriots — Max Value of four-years $19 million plus $2 million incentives
46 Eric Fisher OT Chiefs
47 Malik Hooker S Colts
48 Antonio Brown WR Bucs
49 KJ Wright LB Seahawks
50 John Brown WR Bills Signed with Raiders — One-year, $3.75 million