PFF's top-25 remaining free agents in 2019
As signings are announced throughout the next two weeks, we at Pro Football Focus will update this list of the top-25 remaining free agents in 2019.
[Editor’s Note: This piece was originally published March 11 but has since been updated and re-published in wake of recent FA signings. Enjoy!]
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1. DI Ndamukong Suh
He may not be the every-down dominant defensive tackle he once was, but in a rotation, he can still provide dominant play as we’ve seen this postseason. He racked up 48 pressures this past season while still racking up 887 snaps.
2. S Eric Berry
Injuries have kept Berry form being the Berry we all know and love for the past two seasons, but he’s too talented when healthy to leave off the top-five section of this list. In 2016, Berry earned an 89.9 overall grade across 1,151 defensive snaps in KC.
3. LB Zach Brown
Zach Brown’s high-end play is as good as any in the league and at still just 29 years old, his pedigree over the past four seasons should make him a highly sought after target. He’s shown well in coverage over the past four years as well, as his 2017 season in which he struggled in Washington seems more like an anomaly than a sign of his true ability.
4. S Tre Boston
After a breakout contract year for the Chargers in 2017, Boston ended up having to take a prove-it deal with the Cardinals and was yet again solid. He had 10 combined interceptions and pass breakups on 30 targets.
5. Edge Ziggy Ansah
The Lions were forced to franchise Ziggy Ansah after how desperate they were for edge help last offseason, but he managed to see the field for only 146 snaps due to injury. He’ll be 30 next season now and hasn’t notched 50 pressures in a season since 2015.
6. DI Muhammad Wilkerson
Wilkerson looked much improved with a 76.5 overall grade the first three weeks of the season in Green Bay before breaking his leg against Washington. He fell off a cliff in New York after signing a big contract and had back-to-back overall grades below 70.0. For a man who’s not even 30, it’s difficult to think he can’t get back to quality play.
7. OG T.J. Lang
Lang has injury concerns and logged just 282 snaps a season ago in his final year with the Lions. Still, over his time with the Packers and even into his brief tenure in Detroit, he’s one of the best pass-blocking interior offensive linemen in the game. He’d be a marked improvement on any team in need of a guard and add a veteran presence with elite pass-blocking ability.
8. OG Josh Sitton
After earning 76.7-plus overall grades in five consecutive seasons, Sitton tore his rotator cuff 67 offensive snaps into 2018 and missed the entire season as a result. If healthy, Sitton is a valuable veteran to have along the offensive line.
9. S Mike Mitchell
Mitchell came on late with the Indianapolis Colts in 2018, but the 237 defensive snaps he did play were outstanding. He earned an 81.1 overall grade and a 77.9 coverage grade down the stretch of last season and offers great value as a stop-gap solution at safety at 31 years old.
10. OT Jared Veldheer
Now approaching 32 years old, Veldheer isn’t a long-term solution at tackle, but he’s still a serviceable stop-gap option for a team either looking for depth or a plug and play starter in a pinch. He earned a 68.4 pass-blocking grade with the Broncos this past season and has six seasons under his belt with 73.4-plus pass-blocking grades in his career.
11. CB Morris Claiborne
Claiborne has never lived up to his first-round billing in the NFL, but he still offers value as a depth piece in the NFL. In 2018, he 62.7 overall grade while playing over 1,000 defensive snaps for the Jets.
12. OG Quinton Spain
Spain earned an impressive 84.2 overall grade in 2016 but has failed to have similar success in the two years since. He offers high-floor production from a pass protection standpoint, but his run blocking needs to drastically improve in order for him to reach his 2016 form.
13. WR Jordy Nelson
The Raiders released veteran wideout Jordy Nelson on Thursday, thrusting him into our top-25 remaining free agents list. Nelson earned a 70.7 overall grade across 841 offensive snaps with Oakland in 2018.
14. RB Ty Montgomery
Montgomery earned a 76.1 overall grade in 2016 but has watched his grade drop in every year since, falling to a forgettable 67.7 overall grade in 2018. The former Stanford wideout offers upside as a pass-catcher and can offer value as a primary receiving back in 2019.
15. DI Danny Shelton
Shelton turned it on for the Pats late in the season, earning 72.0-plus overall grades in each of the team’s final five games of the year. He’s a high-floor run defender with little upside as a pass-rusher, but his run defense alone is worth investing in at the right price.
16. S George Iloka
Iloka played just 117 defensive snaps this past season, but he still offers value as a depth piece in the secondary. The 28-year-old veteran earned 64.7-plus overall grades in every year prior to the 2018 season.
17. Edge Adrian Clayborn
Clayborn has recorded 40 or more pressures in each of the past four seasons and earned a career-high 85.4 pass-rushing grade just two years ago with the Falcons. The 30-year-old edge defender offers value in a rotational role on passing downs.
18. RB Spencer Ware
Ware has earned 70.0-plus overall grades in each of the past three seasons in the NFL, including a career-high 86.1 overall grade in 2016. He’s a valuable piece to any NFL backfield and offers significant upside in pass protection.
19. CB Rashaan Melvin
Melvin earned a career-high 77.9 overall grade with the Indianapolis Colts in his contract year in 2017 but failed to have similar success in his one-year stint with the Raiders. He earned just a 60.5 overall grade in 2018 and enters free agency at 29 years old.
20. OG Andy Levitre
While he may be 33 by the time he enters fall camp in 2019, Levitre played just 82 snaps a season ago in Atlanta and prior to the 2018 season, hadn’t finished with a grade below 70.0 since his rookie season in Buffalo. At this stage, he’s likely a quality backup but has proven to be a very capable starter if called upon.
21. WR Chris Hogan
Hogan didn’t have the 2018 season many expected him to have in a Pats uniform in 2018. He earned a career-low 55.2 overall grade and just 43 passes for 590 yards and three touchdowns across more than 1,000 offensive snaps. The 30-year-old veteran still offers value as a depth piece with inside and outside receiving experience, but don’t expect him to be a focal point in 2019.
22. WR Dontrelle Inman
Inman turned in a career performance in the Colts’ Divisional Playoff matchup with the Chiefs this past season, earning a career-high 89.8 single-game grade. Though he is entering the 2019 season at 30 years old, the 6-foot-3, 205-pound Inman offers value as a short-term solution for a team needing depth at outside wide receiver.
23. WR Jermaine Kearse
Kearse’s two-year stint in the Big Apple in 2017 and 2018 didn’t go as planned, as he earned sub-70.0 overall grades in each of the two years and caught just six touchdown passes in a Jets uniform. The 29-year-old wideout needs a change of scenery at the very least if he’s going to elevate his play significantly in 2019.
24. Edge Aaron Lynch
Lynch earned a career-high overall grade (73.6) with the Bears in 2018 largely because of his high-floor run defense, as he earned sub-60.0 run-defense grades in just two games all last season. He, however, hasn’t earned a pass-rush grade above 70.1 in any single season of his career and, therefore, lacks value on passing downs.
25. TE Maxx Williams
Williams earned a 73.0 run-blocking grade and a career-high 71.6 overall grade with Baltimore this past season. He has yet to live up to his second-round billing but offers value a depth piece with upside as a blocker.