2020 NFL free agency: Amari Cooper, Derrick Henry among top 20 skill-position players

·7 min read

The NFL’s reigning rushing champion and a four-time Pro Bowl receiver in his prime are set to hit the market.

Derrick Henry and Amari Cooper are the headliners of this free-agent class of running backs, receivers and tight ends, but there are some quality options after them.

While a lot of headlines will be on the quarterbacks in free agency, there’s a lot more offensive star power beyond them. Here are the top 20 skill-position players set to hit free agency.

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper could cause a team to break the bank if the Cowboys don't give him the deal he wants. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper could cause a team to break the bank if the Cowboys don't give him the deal he wants. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

20. Colts RB Jonathan Williams

Williams’ career was on fumes, and then he came out of nowhere to post back-to-back 100-yard games for the injury-riddled Colts. It’s a reminder that quality running back play can be found in many places, and it won’t cost a lot for a team to find out if Williams’ two-game stretch was a sign that he can do more.

19. Eagles WR Nelson Agholor

Agholor has drawn the ire of Eagles fans, and his inconsistency is frustrating. But he is a 26-year-old former first-round pick who did have a solid eight-touchdown season in 2017. He’ll find a home.

18. Chiefs WR Demarcus Robinson

Robinson has had some promising moments, but that happens when Patrick Mahomes is throwing you the ball. It always seemed like there was more potential here, but he still can be a depth piece that has the ability to make a flash play.

17. Texans RB Carlos Hyde

Hyde seemed to be slowly fading away, but a trade to the Houston Texans revived his career. After Lamar Miller was injured in the preseason, Hyde became the lead back in Houston with 1,070 yards. He’s not a great option but can be a solid part of a committee.

16. Eagles RB Jordan Howard

Howard started with a 1,313-yard rushing season as a rookie, and his yards have dropped every year since. He’s a between-the-tackles runner who will give you very little as a pass catcher. As long as you play to Howard’s strengths, he can be a contributor.

15. Colts WR Devin Funchess

A year ago, Funchess was worth a one-year, $10 million contract. He played just one game with the Colts due to a clavicle injury and now hits the market with a lot more uncertainty, though he is still just 25 years old.

14. Colts TE Eric Ebron

Ebron will likely be known more for the Detroit Lions drafting him ahead of Odell Beckham Jr., Aaron Donald and other Pro Bowlers than anything he’ll do on the field. Ebron did have a 13-touchdown season with the Colts in 2018, but that was a bit fluky. He’s a fine option, just not one to build an offense around.

13. 49ers RB Matt Breida

Breida is a restricted free agent, but the 49ers can’t keep all of their running backs. Breida is perhaps the NFL’s fastest running back, though durability is an issue. It would be interesting to see him with a regular role and better health.

Matt Breida (22) was part of a successful committee at running back for the 49ers. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Matt Breida (22) was part of a successful committee at running back for the 49ers. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

12. Cowboys WR Randall Cobb

Cobb’s 1,287-yard season in 2014 is clearly his career outlier. Still, the longtime Packer had 828 yards with the Cowboys last season with a career-best 15.1-yard average. Even as he enters his age-30 season, he has some short-term appeal.

11. 49ers WR Emmanuel Sanders

Sanders came back from a torn Achilles and looked pretty good, then got traded from the Broncos to the 49ers during the season. He’ll be 33 next season and likely isn’t going to regain the form that made him a two-time Pro Bowler, but he can be a secondary piece.

10. Buccaneers WR Breshad Perriman

Perriman completely washed out as a first-round pick with the Ravens, as injuries held him back. But a 645-yard, 6-touchdown season with the Buccaneers put him back on the map. All of a sudden, he’s an intriguing talent with a first-round pedigree who can be a potential bargain.

9. Browns RB Kareem Hunt

Hunt is a complicated case, to say the least. He’s a former NFL rushing champion. He also was cut by the Chiefs over a video that showed him shoving and kicking a woman. Then there was a Jan. 21 traffic stop and an embarrassing video, though Hunt won’t be charged with marijuana possession from it. He can be a restricted free agent, which limits his options, as will the off-field red flags that come with him.

8. Chargers RB Melvin Gordon

Finally, Gordon can hit free agency. His holdout didn’t lead to a long-term deal from the Chargers, and then he was overshadowed a bit by teammate Austin Ekeler in his own backfield. Then, Ekeler is the one the Chargers decided to pay before free agency. Gordon is a good back, maybe not great, and what does that mean in today’s landscape?

7. Falcons TE Austin Hooper

Hooper improved each year with the Falcons, and made the Pro Bowl each of his last two seasons. Hooper isn’t a dominant tight end, but he is a plus player and a rare one who can hit the open market. He might be overpaid by someone, but a team will be getting a quality piece for its passing game.

6. Cardinals RB Kenyan Drake

It can’t be a coincidence that every offensive player who escapes Adam Gase seems to get better. Gase rarely tried the efficient Drake as a primary back, then the Cardinals traded for Drake during last season and he flourished. Considering Drake has just 456 career carries (nice work, Dolphins), he shouldn’t be viewed as much of a risk of being worn down. He might be the rare safe investment at running back.

5. Chargers TE Hunter Henry

The Chargers are placing a priority on re-signing Henry, and that might include the franchise tag. It’s hard to blame them. Although Henry has dealt with injuries, he’s a very talented player and the type of tight end that can be the centerpiece of an offense.

4. Jets WR Robby Anderson

Anderson was supposed to break out this season, but with Gase calling the plays for the Jets, it took a long time for him to get going. Anderson is a fine deep threat and it seems he’s capable of much more in the right offense. He’ll be a nice addition for a team looking for a high-end No. 2 receiver.

3. Bengals WR A.J. Green

The Bengals will likely franchise-tag Green, which makes a messy situation even messier. Green didn’t play all season as an ankle injury suffered in training camp lingered. Was it related to his desire to get a new extension? Regardless, the tag likely won’t help the relationship.

2. Titans RB Derrick Henry

The Titans took forever to figure out Henry was a great back, one of the great coaching mysteries of the last decade. At least that means Henry has a little less wear-and-tear than he should have on his legs. Henry led the NFL in rushing and was incredible late last season, the second straight year he has dominated in December and January. He’s not great in the passing game, so he might not fit every offense. But if a team is looking for a great runner who can handle a tremendous workload, here’s your guy. The market for Henry is tough to predict, given the running back landscape.

1. Cowboys WR Amari Cooper

Cooper is going to get paid. He’s a former top-four pick, only 25 years old, and has four 1,000-yard seasons. His inconsistency is troubling — Cooper has a habit of mixing monster games with weeks of quiet ones — but it’s rare to see a player like this hit the market. If the Cowboys can’t get Cooper the payday he wants, someone is going to break the bank.

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) had a great finish to last season. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) had a great finish to last season. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

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