2021 NFL Free Agency Update – The Best Remaining Free Agents as of June
A lot of the top end NFL free agents from this year’s class have been signed, but there are still valuable players on the market.
Big names like Trent Williams and Kenny Golladay are spoken for, but there is still talent left on the in free agency.
There is still some carry over from when Michael Wynn looked at the best available options in May, and I’ve got a few more names to keep an eye on.
With teams still looking for ways to improve their rosters, here’s a look at the best remaining NFL free agents in 2021.
Richard Sherman – Cornerback
Sherman made headlines on his previous contract with the 49ers because he didn’t use an agent and his deal was heavily criticized. It appears Sherman has had the last laugh.
His original contract was 3 years for $27 million, but a lot of incentives. According to Spotrac.com, the veteran cornerback made over $32 million in his three years in San Francisco.
Sherman again enters the market in his age 33 season. Sherman may seem to be a riskier, more expensive veteran, but he would provide great value to a team who utilizes him correctly.
One interesting spot could be Seattle, as it’s been rumored there could be mutual interest between the two sides.
The former Seahawk is a physical corner who can shut down an opposing wide receiver. Sherman can also provide veteran leadership to a young corner, who excels in being physical at the line of scrimmage.
A player such as Jaycee Horn or Patrick Surtain II comes to mind. Sherman will get a short-term contract and might be incentive based again, since his age and health might come into question. Sherman can range anywhere from a contender to a mentor with his future team.
- Potential Fits: Titans, Cardinals, Browns, Seahawks
Malik Hooker – Safety
The former 15th overall pick finds himself hitting the market in his age 26 season. Hooker ended up missing 14 games last season due to a torn Achilles, and the Colts chose to decline his 5th year option on his rookie contract.
Hooker remains unsigned due to his injury history, but this might make him the cheapest he can possibly be. Hooker has a lot of talent and is still very young, but he hasn’t been able to play a full season yet.
He did play 13 and 14 games in the 2018 and 2019 seasons, and he scored respectable ratings at PFF.
- 2018: 79.1 rating
- 2019: 69.5 rating
It seems likely that Hooker is offered a one year “prove it” deal with a young team who can potentially trade him later in the season. A young team who isn’t necessarily ready to win a Super Bowl could be a good fit for them, as they have more margin for error.
- Potential Fits: Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Jets, Cincinnati Bengals, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans
Geno Atkins – Defensive Tackle
Atkins only played 8 games last season with the Bengals after being placed on the injured reserve list due to his shoulder injury. The 8-time Pro Bowler hits the open market after 11 seasons with the Bengals.
Atkins has talent, but teams might be worried about his age and his recent shoulder injury. He could be offered a short-term contract around $5-$10 million, simply because of his track record.
He could be a very nice addition to any defensive line in the NFL.
- Potential Fits: Cowboys, Raiders, Cardinals, Browns
Kawaan Short – Defensive Tackle
Kawaan Short has had some serious trouble staying healthy the past two years. Short has only played in 5 games in two years due to shoulder injuries.
Before that, he was a solid defensive tackle. Short was able to put up decent sack totals for a tackle, along with good tackle for loss numbers. Short’s best season had to be in 2015, when he had 11 sacks and 16 TFLs.
If he can find a way to stay healthy and get back into his 2015 form, he could be a great signing.
He probably won’t get offered anything close to a multi-year contract, and it might be all incentive based due to his health concerns. Short is a high-risk, high-reward free agent and low-guarantees are the way to go in this scenario.
- Potential Fits: Seahawks, Bills, Cardinals, Browns
Melvin Ingram – Edge Rusher
Melvin Ingram is yet another veteran who hasn’t been fully healthy in recent years. He has only played 20 out of 32 possible games in the past two seasons, but he is a great pass rusher.
Ingram was able to reach double digit sack totals in 2015 and 2017 but hasn’t gotten there since. He’s coming off a 4-year deal with the Chargers who paid him $64 million, but he probably won’t get any deal near that, given his inability to stay healthy.
While his health is a concern, he can provide good pressure on the quarterback. It would be smart to pair him in a nice rotation of pass rushers and maybe play him on obvious passing downs.
The 49ers stand out as a deep defense that could put his talents on the edge to good use. Former teammate Jason Verrett is already trying to lure him to the Bay Area, too.
With that being said, nobody should pay him a ton if they are only going to use him in certain situations. Ingram should look to join a contender so he could show how good he is in big games and potentially earn himself a big contract in the future.
- Potential Fits: Titans, Patriots, 49ers, Rams
Le’Veon Bell – Running Back
Bell is a real question mark heading into the 2021 NFL season. He found himself making headlines after he said he would never want to play for Andy Reid again.
He finds himself in the news almost every year and can be tough to deal with. He was one of the best, most complete running backs in the league a few years ago.
He was putting up amazing statistics in Pittsburgh, almost having 2,000 total yards in three of his seasons there.
He had 1,250 yards in his first season with the Jets in 2019 but had less than 500 last year with the Jets and Chiefs combined. It could be possible that he doesn’t even sign to a team this year if nobody wants to take a chance with him.
When he is right, he is a very balanced back who can rush and receive well. He is very talented, but he might be his own worst enemy when it comes to his professional career.
Who knows, maybe Tom Brady can help him out like he did Antonio Brown.
- Potential Fits: Buccaneers, Dolphins, Falcons
Earl Thomas III – Safety
Earl Thomas is another player who brings a lot of drama with him. He didn’t get along with his teammates in Baltimore, was upset when he was in Seattle, and he also had problems off the field as well.
When Seattle had the Legion of Boom in their Super Bowl year, Thomas was in the centerpiece. Kam Chancellor, Richard Sherman, Byron Maxwell, and Brandon Browner made up for one of the best secondaries of all time and destroyed Peyton Manning’s record-breaking offense in the Super Bowl.
Thomas was one of the biggest pieces in that defense, was a vocal leader on the field, and made tons of plays.
Thomas probably will get a short-term deal with heavy incentives and close to no guaranteed money, but the reward would be incredible. A contender could sign him for the minimum, but they might be risking their locker room and team chemistry.
The Cowboys ended up coming close to signing him, but failed to pull the trigger. Will their talks heat up again?
- Potential Fits: Cowboys, Vikings, Dolphins
Robert Griffin III – Quarterback
RG3 found himself backing up Lamar Jackson on the Ravens last season, and he seems to be a good fit there. The Ravens’ style of offense benefitted RG3 well and he could resign there again because he’s a similar player to Lamar Jackson.
Baltimore’s mobile quarterback style offense wouldn’t have to change that much if Lamar Jackson were to go down with an injury, so they could sign RG3 again.
RG3 could also try and pursue a starting job elsewhere, as there is no chance, he starts over Lamar Jackson without injury.
If RG3 seeks employment outside of Baltimore, anyone looking to bet on his next landing spot may want to focus on teams with mobile passers that need a backup.
- Potential Fits: Ravens, Cardinals, Cowboys
K.J. Wright – Linebacker
Wright has been one of the most consistent linebackers in the league since he made his debut in 2011. Wright is an inside linebacker who is a pretty much sure thing to get 100 tackles.
He has 941 tackles in his 10 years in the league, with one of those seasons playing only five games. He isn’t one of the most dominating inside linebackers in the league, but he’s extremely reliable.
As reliable as he may be, he seems to be done in Seattle.
Wright still graded out nicely per PFF (75.3 last year) and would be a rock-solid addition to any team if he’s indeed leaving the Seahawks. A team who has a young linebacking core could use Wright to provide veteran leadership.
- Potential Fits: Cowboys, Cardinals, Browns, Giants
Jamize Olawale – Fullback
The fullback position is almost no longer in today’s game. Fewer and fewer teams want to be run-first and the fullback position is dying because of it. But there are a couple outliers who keep their position alive.
Kyle Juszczyk is among one of the very best to play the position, and the 49ers run offense has been incredible. He is a key to their I-formation sets that Kyle Shanahan employs and he can also catch the ball out of the backfield.
The Ravens, Browns, Vikings, were all top 5 in yards per attempt and their fullbacks are a big reason for that. Olawale could fit right into where Anthony Sherman left off in Kansas City to help establish the run game.
- Potential Fits: Chiefs
Betting on the NFL Free Agency in 2021
There are still more remaining 2021 NFL free agents that are worth signing, and there’s no telling where they will wind up.
I could list a litany of other big names, with players like Jason McCourty, Justin Houston, Russell Okung, and so many others without 2021 NFL homes.
The top NFL betting sites routinely offer wagers dealing with the future of players. One key prop bet you’ll find is whether players will get traded, and what team they’ll play for next.
Some of the best remaining 2021 NFL free agents aren’t exactly household names, and it’s likely you won’t be able to bet on where they all sign. However, some will certainly be available to bet on, and hopefully this post helps.
There is more NFL betting advice where that comes from, of course. For more NFL odds, analysis, and predictions, be sure to bookmark our NFL betting blog.