The 10 unsigned free agents who can still help your NFL team (and three trade targets too)

Monday was a big, yet unpublicized, day for NFL free agency.

A deadline passed. Free agents signed after Monday would no longer count in the league’s formula for handing out compensatory draft picks. The deadline also means there’s one fewer obstacle for teams to sign that one missing piece in free agency.

Now that the draft has passed, teams have a clear idea what they need to add before the 2020 season. Here’s a look at 10 free agents who can still have an impact this season, along with three players who are well known to be on the trading block and haven’t moved yet:


DE Yannick Ngakoue

It was a surprise the Jaguars didn’t move Ngakoue, who has entered the “rip the team on Twitter” portion of his disgruntlement. Trading after the draft is a lot harder, but the Ngakoue situation seems untenable. Some team could give a pick as a one-year rental and promise to not franchise him again. Which is how Jadeveon Clowney landed with ... BEST FIT: Seattle Seahawks

QB Andy Dalton

In most years, the Bengals would have no trouble moving a three-time Pro Bowl quarterback. But the league is deep at quarterback and nobody is looking for a starter. Now that the Bengals have Joe Burrow, it would be best for everyone if Dalton found a new home, but that might take the Bengals releasing him and getting nothing back. BEST FIT: New England Patriots

RB Leonard Fournette

Fournette is very unlikely to live up to the hype that preceded him entering the NFL, but he can still be a viable back for some team. Given how the Jaguars are in a rebuild — maybe with an eye on 2021 NFL draft prize Trevor Lawrence — it wouldn’t make sense to hold onto Fournette. BEST FIT: Tampa Bay Buccaneers


QB Cam Newton

This is a combination you might not see again for a long time: former MVP quarterback, 30 years old, unsigned free agent. Newton has dealt with injuries and has taken a lot of punishment as a dual-threat quarterback, so he’s not your typical 30-year-old at the position. And there aren’t many teams looking for a starting quarterback. It seems like he’s likely to go the backup route on a short-term deal, maybe to a team that has a little uncertainty at quarterback. BEST FIT: Denver Broncos

Quarterback Cam Newton is still looking for a team. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Quarterback Cam Newton is still looking for a team. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

DE Jadeveon Clowney

It’s stunning that we’re almost to May and Clowney is still a free agent. He’s a top-end defensive player and the rare move this late in the offseason that could change a team’s outlook. He might have to settle for a short-term deal and try free agency again, and the Colts seem to prefer short deals. BEST FIT: Indianapolis Colts

DE Everson Griffen

Griffen can still play. He had eight sacks last season. He can give a nice one-year boost to a team that didn’t fill a pass-rush need in the draft. BEST FIT: Dallas Cowboys

OT Jason Peters

Peters is 38, but played well last season for the Philadelphia Eagles. He’s not going to be your left tackle of the future, but he has had a career that will likely land him in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and he could still help a team this season. BEST FIT: Los Angeles Chargers

CB Logan Ryan

Ryan is 29 and is still a solid corner. There aren’t many teams that couldn’t use another good corner or three. Ryan can fill a need. BEST FIT: New York Jets

CB Darqueze Dennard

Dennard is a former first-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals who never developed into a star, but he’s a capable slot cornerback. And slot cornerbacks are starters these days. BEST FIT: Las Vegas Raiders

DT Mike Daniels

Daniels moved from the Packers to the Lions and had a down season. He was very good in 2017, which isn’t that far in the rearview mirror, and maybe he can get back closer to that form with a new team. BEST FIT: New England Patriots

S Eric Reid

The Texans have a need at safety after cutting Tashaun Gipson. Reid could be reunited with brother Justin Reid, Houston’s other starting safety. Adding Eric Reid would make sense. BEST FIT: Houston Texans

CB Eli Apple

Apple has a familiar story. He’s a former top-10 pick who hasn’t played near that level, but is 24 and his pedigree will lead to more chances. A deal with the Raiders earlier this offseason fell through, but some other team will try to revive his career. BEST FIT: Jacksonville Jaguars

DT Damon Harrison

Harrison fills a specific need. If a team wants a 350-pound tackle to help with its run defense on early downs, “Snacks” can fill that role. He was an All-Pro in 2016 and while he isn’t that anymore at 31, he can be a valuable specialist. BEST FIT: Cleveland Browns

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