Early Look at Free Agency Part Two!
In Part Two of this series, I'm going to take an early look at a few players who are set to become Free Agents at the March 2021 deadline. For this week's edition, we are going to look at Kenny Golladay (UFA), Hunter Henry (UFA), and Chris Carson (UFA).
After a promising 2019 Season, there were high expectations for the 2020 Season. Golladay only played 5 games before dealing with a handful of injuries. Some speculate his hip injury wasn't nearly as bad as it seemed and that a contract issue is what held him from playing. Regardless, it's possible Golladay gets franchise-tagged by the Lions, but with a new regime and some extra draft capitol from Stafford being traded, I wouldn't be surprised to see Golladay hit the open market.
Golladay has what it takes to be a team's true WR1, and he's entering his prime. We also have to assume whatever team does sign him, will likely be paying close to $20 Mil or more.
There are some teams that would be a great fit Golladay. Those places being the New York Giants (- $3.3 Mil in cap space), and the Jacksonville Jaguars ($73 Mil in cap space). Cap Space projections supplied by overthecap.com !
The Giants are an interesting choice, but a guy like Kenny Golladay is something they've been lacking. Sterling Shepard is fine but he isn't a guy who will take the top off a defense, as he's really struggled to stay healthy. Darius Slayton has his moments, but he's too inconsistent. Golden Tate more than likely won't be returning, especially after his midseason debacle.
The cap space for the Giants can be an issue, but they do have guys they can cut, and they aren't that deep in a hole to where they can't afford Golladay at all. For what it's worth, PFF also predicts the Giants make a move for Golladay.
Another team that could make a move for Golladay, is Jacksonville. Not only is Jacksonville the hottest destination with the Trevor Lawrence and Urban Meyer, but they've got deep pockets and all the reason in the world to be big buyers at free agency. The Jaguars could likely get by with the receivers they have, but it never hurts to add a solid starter who could be huge for their rookie QB.
Other teams like the Jets and Patriots also have deep pockets and could use a WR like Golladay, so I wouldn't be surprised to see Kenny G go that route. A place like Philadelphia would be perfect as well, but sitting at a projected - $53 Mil isn't ideal to be a buyer.
I would be surprised to see the Chargers move on from Hunter Henry. But they chose to go the franchise tag route last season, and they do have a new coaching staff. The Chargers have a healthy amount of cap space at $19 Mil so it's just about whether Henry wants to test the market or not.
If Henry does choose to test the market, the best suitors, in my opinion would be the New England Patriots and the Jacksonville Jaguars. These are team names that you've seen a LOT, and for a good reason. As previously mentioned, the Jaguars have deep pockets and ideally should be buyers. As for the Patriots, they have a healthy amount of caps and little to no offensive weapons.
But Henry going to New England runs a little deeper than cap space and need. A quote from Bill Belichick on Hunter Henry (taken from nesn);
“Henry continues to be a complete and very good football player for them,” Belichick said. “Henry’s really been a great player, watched him pretty much his whole career. He started at Pulaski Academy down in Little Rock, Ark., played for coach (Kevin) Kelley down there, had a great career there, went to Arkansas. Had a great career at Arkansas, went to the Chargers and with (Virgil) Green out, he’s really played the Y role this year. And he’s shown good ability to block, catch, runs a variety of routes. He’s come back off of the injury and been a very productive player for them.”
Belichick has been a fan of Hunter Henry since high school and I'm sure he'll jump at the opportunity to add him if the opportunity presents itself.
As mentioned before, the Jaguars are going to be a hot destination for free agents, they have deep pockets, and adding another weapon couldn't hurt!
The Seahawks are another team that could be in the hunt. Greg Olsen just retired and Jacob Hollister is a free agent. Their current TE Depth is Will Dissly and soon-to-be second year player Stephen Sullivan. Their cap space is at $2.7 Mil, and I'm sure they could make it work with just a few roster moves.
I could likely pick a few more teams to go after Henry, but my feeling is he stays in Los Angeles, so let's move to our last player!
Another potential big name free agent is set to hit the open market. Now, could Seattle keep him likely spend $10 Mil or more? Yeah they could. But I really don't think they want to. Unless Carson lowers his price (but he shouldn't), it's hard to imagine he sticks around.
When teams that need a RB come to mind, you also have to think of whether that team is/can be a contender, and that's for a couple of reasons. A contender is looking for that piece who can come in right away and make an impact. Most other teams are ok with drafting a RB and letting the process play out. So, unless you have deep pockets and need to fill the position (like the Jets), I'd imagine Carson, and most other Free Agent RBs to go to competing teams.
A team like the Bills was one game short of playing in the super bowl, and what really held them back was their lack of a running game. They could go with drafting a RB, but that's never a guarantee and they have taken that route the past two years with Singletary and Moss.
Now don't just take my word for it that the Bills need a better rushing attack. Take it from Sean McDermott himself..
Marcel Louis-Jacques, who covers the Buffalo Bills for ESPN, makes it clear from McDermott that addressing the running game is a priority for them.
They could go for a guy like Aaron Jones, who will likely cost an arm and a leg, or get an established, tough, runner like Chris Carson for less money. It's an ideal move for a team with $1.2 Mil in cap space and it allows them to use a RBBC.
I had mentioned the Jets before, and although they aren't contenders, they do have a gaping hole at RB, and deep pockets to spend. They paid big for Le'Veon Bell and we all know how that went, so there's a chance they are discouraged from doing it again. Plus they have a ton of draft capitol to grab a good 2nd or 3rd Round guy.
Some teams like the Steelers and Falcons also come to mind, but cap space is a real issue for both team who currently sitting below the - $33 Million mark.
Let me know what players you want me to talk about for next week's article!