2019 NFL free agency: The top 25 available free agents

·10 min read

There’s no Bryce Harper or Manny Machado available in NFL free agency this season. The NFL free-agent class is relatively thin.

We won’t wait for the start of training camp to see where the top players land, either. Baseball superstars Machado and Harper waited until February to sign, mostly because baseball’s free agency moves at a glacial pace. The NFL couldn’t be more different.

On Monday, the so-called “legal tampering period” started. Teams can contact players set to hit free agency. Then at 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday, the league year begins, and so will the free-agent frenzy. Your favorite team is likely to undergo some major changes by the end of the week, no matter who you root for.

Last week we looked at the top free-agent quarterbacks, defensive players, skill-position players, offensive linemen and analyzed each team’s cap space and needs. Now here are the top 25 available free agents, regardless of position:

1. RB Le’Veon Bell

Of all the free agents, at least the ones under 30 years old, Bell is the best bet to end up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Yet, he’s likely not going to get paid like many other players on this list. Holding out all last season doesn’t bring any clarity to his long-awaited free agency. Due to the running back position being devalued, Bell’s high-profile holdout and his incredible talent, he’s one of the most interesting free agents in a long, long time.

(UPDATE: Bell finally made up his mind, choosing to join the Jets on a four-year, $52.5 million deal.)

Le'Veon Bell (26) didn't play last season, and that adds to his intrigue as a free agent. (AP)
Le'Veon Bell (26) didn't play last season, and that adds to his intrigue as a free agent. (AP)

2. QB Nick Foles

If Foles signs with anybody but the Jacksonville Jaguars, it will be the biggest surprise of free agency. Even though teams aren’t allowed to contact free agents until the “legal tampering period” starts at 12 p.m. ET on Monday (wink, wink), Foles to the Jaguars has been rumored for a long time. The Jaguars will be hoping to get the best of Foles, and not the mediocre parts of the former Super Bowl MVP.

(UPDATE: To the surprise of nobody, Foles agreed to a deal with the Jaguars. It’s worth $88 million over four years with more than $50 million guaranteed.)

3. DE Trey Flowers

Due to prime age, his time with the Patriots and his ability against the run and the pass — as well as the edge pass rusher market being thinned out due to the franchise tag — Flowers will be in huge demand. One of the teams with a load of cap space to spend in what isn’t the deepest free-agent class might break the bank on Flowers.

(UPDATE: The Lions have agreed to a massive contract with Flowers, reuniting him with coach Matt Patricia, the former Patriots defensive coordinator.)

4. S Landon Collins

It’s a little surprising the Giants didn’t use the franchise tag on Collins, a playmaking strong safety. Collins might not recapture what he was in 2016, when he was a NFL defensive player of the year candidate, but he’s a quality defender and just 25 years old.

(UPDATE: Collins will be staying in the NFC East, signing a six-year, $84 million deal.)

5. LB C.J. Mosley

Mosley is a Pro Bowl inside linebacker who can do it all. The Ravens will likely push to retain him but he’d be a hot name on the open market.

(UPDATE: The Jets paid big money for Mosley, giving him $85 million over five years with $51 million guaranteed, resetting the bar for an inside linebacker.)

6. DT Ndamukong Suh

Last year, Suh was worth a one-year, $14 million deal. He could get something similar this time around because even though he’s 32 years old, he’s still a force in the middle.

7. OG Rodger Saffold

Saffold is a quality left guard, and with quality offensive linemen in demand, good guards have plenty of value in free agency. A lot of teams have offensive line needs.

(UPDATE: Saffold agreed to join the Tennessee Titans on a four-year, $44 million deal.)

8. S Earl Thomas

Thomas is risky, having missed games due to injury each of the past three years. But Thomas is among the best safeties to ever play the game, masterful at covering the deep part of the field for that great Seahawks defense.

(UPDATE: Thomas moves all the way to Baltimore, replacing Eric Weddle on a four-year, $55 million deal with the Ravens.)

9. OT Trent Brown

Brown is best known for his size, at 6-foot-8, 380 pounds. But he is also coming off a good season for the Patriots and should have plenty of interested teams.

(UPDATE: Brown and the Raiders agreed to a $66 million deal shortly into the legal tampering period.)

10. S Lamarcus Joyner

Joyner got the franchise tag from the Rams a year ago. He’s the kind of versatile safety that can match up against creative offenses. It’s a crowded safety market but Joyner is one of the best.

(UPDATE: The Raiders continued to be aggressive and landed Joyner on a four-year deal.)

11. RB Tevin Coleman

Coleman has big-time speed and is a good receiver. What nobody knows yet is if he can be a featured back. That makes his market tough to gauge.

(UPDATE: Coleman didn’t get a huge deal, settling for a two-year, $10 million contract with the 49ers.)

12. QB Teddy Bridgewater

Bridgewater had a good preseason last season, and the hype surrounding him reached a fever pitch. The Saints traded for him, and Bridgewater struggled in Week 17, his only extended playing time. With few teams desperate for a starting quarterback, it’s uncertain who might pay Bridgewater.

(UPDATE: Despite reportedly having a bigger offer from the Dolphins, Bridgewater is going to stay with the Saints ... ANOTHER UPDATE: The Dolphins reportedly were making a last-minute push to get Bridgewater to change his mind.)

13. WR Golden Tate

Tate played four full seasons in Detroit and hit 1,000 yards three times. He’s the type of receiver who can get open on third down, also with the threat of hitting a big play.

(UPDATE: The Giants, who traded Odell Beckham earlier this week, signed Tate to a four-year, $37.5 million deal.)

14. WR Tyrell Williams

Williams could end up with a really big deal. He has shown the ability to be a high-end starter. He’s also young. The market for receivers, running backs and tight ends isn’t deep. A team like the Colts, with a ton of cap space, could overpay for him.

(UPDATE: Williams is going to stay in the AFC West, agreeing to join the Oakland Raiders with a four-year, $44 million deal.)

Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Tyrell Williams (16) will be popular in free agency. (AP)
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Tyrell Williams (16) will be popular in free agency. (AP)

15. OT Daryl Williams

Williams was good at right tackle for the Panthers in 2016, then missed most of last season with a knee injury. Assuming he checks out medically, teams will be happy to pay him.

(UPDATE: In a bit of a surprise, Williams settled for a one-year deal to return to the Panthers for approximately $6 million according to Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer.)

16. OT Ja’Wuan James

James, a former first-round pick, developed into a good right tackle for the Dolphins. Again, there are more teams with offensive line needs than quality offensive linemen to go around.

(UPDATE: The Broncos spent big to land James, who got a four-year, $52 miillion deal.)

17. DE Ezekiel Ansah

Ansah is a tough evaluation. He has shown Pro Bowl ability as a pass rusher, and that’s something many teams need. He has also been inconsistent and is coming off an injury-filled season. The upside is worth chasing though.

18. OLB Justin Houston

Houston will likely never replicate his 2014 season, when he had 22 sacks. That season led to him landing a $101 million contract. But after the Chiefs cut him, Houston will have suitors. He is 30 years old so still should have a couple good seasons left, with 18.5 sacks the last two years.

19. LB Anthony Barr

Barr, a former first-round pick by the Vikings, has made four straight Pro Bowls. But the reputation has outweighed the production the last couple years. The best of Barr is still really good.

(UPDATE: Barr agreed to a deal with the New York Jets ... and then changed his mind, and decided to stay with the VIkings instead in one of the wilder stories of this free agent period.)

20. DT Sheldon Richardson

Richardson had a quiet season in Minnesota on a one-year contract. But he’s still an active interior defender and a former first-round pick, and he’ll get paid well.

(UPDATE: Richardson will sign a three-year deal with the Browns worth $36 million according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, giving Cleveland a formidable defensive line.)

21. S Tyrann Mathieu

Mathieu isn’t the same player who was dominant with the Cardinals early in his career. But he’s still a versatile playmaker and an asset to a defense.

(UPDATE: Mathieu is going to the Kansas City Chiefs on a three-year, $42 million deal according to Terez Paylor of Yahoo Sports.)

22. CB Ronald Darby

Darby benefits from being one of the best cornerbacks in a market that doesn’t have many available stars. Darby has had injury issues but is young and at a prime position.

(UPDATE: Darby decided to stay with the Eagles on a one-year, $8.5 million deal according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.)

23. WR John Brown

If Brown is healthy, he can be one of the best deep threats in the game. Health has been an issue, however. There aren’t many receivers under 30 who are available and have a 1,000-yard season on their resume.

(UPDATE: Brown is headed to the Buffalo Bills, as he agreed to a three-year, $27 million deal.)

24. WR Adam Humphries

The market for slot receivers and slot cornerbacks is going up. Humphries didn’t put up huge numbers with the Buccaneers, but he is valuable out of the slot and is going to get a nice deal.

(UPDATE: Humphries is going to the Titans after agreeing to a four-year, $36 million deal.)

25. RB Mark Ingram

Ingram is a quality player, but he’s also an aging running back. The best fit for him is probably back in New Orleans, but that relationship seemed rocky last season.

(UPDATE: Ingram will join with Lamar Jackson in Baltimore, as he agreed to a three-year, $15 million deal with the Ravens.)

25a. TE Jared Cook

Had to squeeze Cook on the list, because he stands out at a thin position in free agency. Cook has always flashed talent. Last season he put it together for a career year with the Raiders. Tight end is thin in free agency and Cook stands out as the best available pass catcher at the position.

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Frank Schwab is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab