Allen Robinson
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A go-to guide for the best potentially available free agents at the New York Jets’ positions of need in the 2021 NFL offseason, featuring key analytics to know.

According to Over The Cap, the New York Jets are currently projected to have $79,634,956 in cap space next March, second-most in the league behind Jacksonville ($79,676,992).

Joe Douglas has plenty of holes to fill and plenty of cash to put towards filling them. Here are some of the top players at the Jets’ positions of need who will see their contracts expire after the 2020 season (ranked in no particular order).

Edge rusher

Expiring Jets contracts: Tarell Basham, Jordan Jenkins

Romeo Okwara, Lions
  • Height: 6-foot-4
  • Weight: 274
  • Draft year: 2016
  • Current age: 25.4
  • Free agency type: Unrestricted

Romeo Okwara is quietly having a fantastic season that will line him up for a big payday. He is ranked seventh among edge rushers with 43 pressures. His pressure rate of 16.3% ranks third-best out of 81 qualifiers behind only T.J. Watt (17.9%) and Joey Bosa (19.6%). The 274-pounder typically lines up with his hands in the dirt at 5-tech defensive end, a role primarily manned by Henry Anderson and Jabari Zuniga for the Jets right now (occasionally featuring John Franklin-Myers or Quinnen Williams throughout the season).

Carl Lawson, Bengals
  • Height: 6-foot-2
  • Weight: 265
  • Draft year: 2017
  • Current age: 25.4
  • Free agency type: Unrestricted

Carl Lawson is ranked 17th among edge rushers with 36 pressures, while his pressure rate of 12.6% ranks 24th out of 81 qualifiers (71st percentile). He primarily lines up at the right-side 5-tech defensive end position, occasionally standing up as the outside linebacker on that side. Every one of Lawson’s pressures came while he was lined up on the right side, placing him second at the position in pressures from the right.

Kerry Hyder, 49ers
  • Height: 6-foot-2
  • Weight: 270
  • Draft year: 2014
  • Current age: 29.5
  • Free agency type: Unrestricted

Originally signed by the Jets as an undrafted free agent in 2014, Kerry Hyder is tied for 14th among edge rushers with 39 pressures this season, taking advantage of increased playing time afforded by Nick Bosa‘s season-ending injury against the Jets. Hyder’s pressure rate of 14.6% ranks eighth-best at the position (91st percentile). He is a 5-tech defensive end who plays both sides of the line. In the past, he has played some defensive tackle.

Trey Hendrickson, Saints
  • Height: 6-foot-4
  • Weight: 270
  • Draft year: 2017
  • Current age: 25.9
  • Free agency type: Unrestricted

One of the league’s breakout defensive stars, Trey Hendrickson is tied for third in the NFL with 9.5 sacks after posting just 6.5 over his first three seasons. The pressure numbers back up Hendrickson’s impact. On the 37th-most pass-rush snaps among edge rushers (252), Hendrickson is tied for 19th in pressures (35), owning a pressure rate of 13.9% that ranks 14th-best among his qualified peers (84th percentile).

Like the players mentioned above, Hendrickson is a hand-in-the-dirt 5-tech defensive end. He has predominantly lined up on the defense’s right side over the past two seasons.

Jadeveon Clowney, Titans
  • Height: 6-foot-5
  • Weight: 255
  • Draft year: 2014
  • Current age: 27.8
  • Free agency type: Unrestricted

Jadeveon Clowney is having his least productive season in the league. Sitting on a goose egg in the sack column, the pressure numbers do not help Clowney much, as he is just 34th among edge rushers with 28 pressures while posting a decent pressure rate of 10.9% that only ranks at the 60th percentile, which is good, but not up to the level of hype that Clowney typically generates.

He has not even been the same dominant run defender that he usually is, placing 36th at the position with 10 run stops. His run stop rate of 6.6% is up at the 72nd percentile among qualifiers, but we’re used to seeing Clowney topping the charts in most run-stopping metrics.

Yannick Ngakoue, Ravens
  • Height: 6-foot-2
  • Weight: 246
  • Draft year: 2016
  • Current age: 25.6
  • Free agency type: Unrestricted

Traded from Jacksonville to Minnesota prior to the season and then traded again to Baltimore after six games with the Vikings, Yannick Ngakoue is having his worst season in the NFL. He is only 40th among edge rushers in pressures with 27 while his career-low pressure rate of 8.9% ranks 54th (34th percentile).

Ngakoue had ranked 24th, 10th and 11th in pressures among edge rushers over his previous three seasons, collecting a total of 29.5 sacks, 71 quarterback hits, seven passes defended, and 10 forced fumbles over that three-year span. This year, things just have not been clicking like they usually do for Ngakoue. Perhaps his stock will drop and a team can buy low on him?

Matt Judon, Ravens
  • Height: 6-foot-3
  • Weight: 261
  • Draft year: 2016
  • Current age: 28.3
  • Free agency type: Unrestricted

Matt Judon is just 28th at his position with 31 pressures, but that’s only due to a decrease in pass-rush opportunities that has been caused by various things (a missed game, an early ejection, more snaps in coverage early in the season). He has been excellent went sent after the quarterback, ranking sixth at his position with a 15.5% pressure rate (94th percentile). Judon ranked 15th among edge rushers with 62 pressures in 2019. Since the beginning of the 2019 season, Judon is fourth in the NFL with 50 quarterback hits and tied for 10th with 20 tackles for loss.

In addition to his age, the biggest question regarding Judon is the legitimacy of his production. Despite his excellent pressure numbers, PFF has Judon’s pass-rush grade at just 62.6, which ranks at the 40th percentile among edge rushers. The reason for this may be that Judon is lucking into easy production as a result of playing in a defense loaded with talent. He seems to rack up a lot of scheme-produced pressures through things such as stunts and long-lasting plays thanks to good coverage – in other words, pressures that can be easily replicated by the average player and are not actually the result of good pass rushing. This chart seems to support that, showcasing that in 2019, Judon drew one-on-one matchups at a very high rate.

The raw numbers for Judon are excellent, but when you dig deeper, he may not actually be quite as good as they suggest.

Bud Dupree, Steelers
  • Height: 6-foot-4
  • Weight: 269
  • Draft year: 2015
  • Current age: 27.8
  • Free agency type: Unrestricted

Bud Dupree’s career-best season came to an end this week because of a torn ACL on Wednesday. Dupree is currently tied for seventh among edge rushers with 43 pressures, owning a pressure rate of 12.6% that ranks 23rd (73rd percentile). His total of 41 pressures from the right side currently leads the NFL. He has a nose for the ball as well, recording six forced fumbles and five passes defended since 2019.

Leonard Floyd, Rams
  • Height: 6-foot-4
  • Weight: 251
  • Draft year: 2016
  • Current age: 28.2
  • Free agency type: Unrestricted

Leonard Floyd has already tied his career-high with seven sacks, but that’s misleading. He has not actually been very good. Floyd had gotten the fifth-most pass-rush snaps among edge rushers (346) yet ranks 24th in pressures (32), as his 9.2% pressure rate ranks 50th (39th percentile). Playing alongside Aaron Donald has made him look better than he truly is.

Shaquil Barrett, Buccaneers
  • Height: 6-foot-2
  • Weight: 250
  • Draft year: 2014
  • Current age: 28.0
  • Free agency type: Unrestricted

After being franchise-tagged following an NFL-high 19.5 sacks in 2019—more than his career total over five prior seasons—Shaquil Barrett has proved that he is here to stay as one of the league’s elite pass rushers. Barrett’s mere total of six sacks is highly misleading, as he leads all edge rushers with 59 pressures. That puts him on pace for 79, which would fall just two shy of his fourth-ranked total of 81 from last year. Barrett’s pressure rate of 15.6% this season is fifth-best among qualified edge rushers, even better than his 2019 rate (15.1%).

Honorable mentions (age, free agency type):

(Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Guard

Expiring Jets contracts: Pat Elflein

Brandon Scherff, Washington
  • Height: 6-foot-5
  • Weight: 315
  • Draft year: 2015
  • Current age: 28.9
  • Free agency type: Unrestricted

Brandon Scherff was franchise-tagged for the 2020 season. He is enjoying his sixth consecutive season of strong play at right guard for Washington, currently owning the fifth-best overall Pro Football Focus grade (82.5) among all guards. His allowed pressure rate of 3.0% is 14th-best among guards. Washington loves running behind Scherff in short-yardage situations, converting a league-high 12 rush attempts directed to the right-side A and B-gaps on third or fourth down with fewer than three yards to go. Their conversion rate of 80.0% on those runs dwarfs the league average of 68.1%.

In 2019, Scherff was PFF’s eighth-ranked guard (75.2 grade) with an allowed pressure rate of 2.5% that placed fourth-best at the position.

Joe Thuney, Patriots
  • Height: 6-foot-5
  • Weight: 308
  • Draft year: 2016
  • Current age: 28.0
  • Free agency type: Unrestricted

A much-hyped Jets free agent target this past March, Joe Thuney was slapped with a franchise tag by the Patriots. He has been strong once again with a 71.9 PFF grade that ranks 12th-best among all guards, while his allowed pressure rate of 3.4% ranks 18th. On the ground, Thuney has helped the Patriots average 5.3 yards per rush attempt on carries directed to the left-side A and B-gaps, which ranks fourth-best in the NFL.

In 2019, Thuney had the fifth-best grade among all guards (77.4) and gave up the third-lowest pressure rate (2.3%) while New England ranked sixth in yards per carry on runs directed to the left-side A and B-gaps (5.0).

Honorable mentions (age, free agency type):

Cornerback

Expiring Jets contracts: Brian Poole, Arthur Maulet, Bennett Jackson, Javelin Guidry, Lamar Jackson, Kyron Brown

Troy Hill, Rams
  • Height: 5-foot-11
  • Weight: 183
  • Draft year: 2015
  • Current age: 29.2
  • Free agency type: Unrestricted

Troy Hill has quietly provided very solid depth at cornerback for the Rams since 2016. This season, he has been thrust into a starting role and has held up respectably well. Hill has allowed 6.9 yards per target, which ranks 33rd out of 97 qualified cornerbacks (67th percentile). His average of 1.04 yards per cover snap allowed ranks 42nd (57th percentile). He has primarily manned the slot role, ranking seventh among cornerbacks with 250 snaps in slot coverage. Tackling is an issue, as he is tied for the position lead with 13 missed tackles.

Terrance Mitchell, Browns
  • Height: 5-foot-11
  • Weight: 191
  • Draft year: 2014
  • Current age: 28.5
  • Free agency type: Unrestricted

As Cleveland’s starting right corner, Terrance Mitchell has accumulated good coverage numbers this season, ranking 40th-of-97 with 7.3 yards per target allowed (59th percentile) and 28th-of-97 with 0.92 yards per cover snap allowed (72nd percentile).

Corn Elder, Panthers
  • Height: 5-foot-10
  • Weight: 185
  • Draft year: 2017
  • Current age: 26.1
  • Free agency type: Restricted

Elder’s numbers are strong across the board, as he ranks 24th among cornerbacks in overall PFF grade (69.0 – 76th percentile), 12th in yards per target allowed (5.9 – 89th percentile and 15th in yards per cover snap allowed (0.79 – 85th percentile).

Charvarius Ward, Chiefs
  • Height: 6-foot-1
  • Weight: 200
  • Draft year: 2018
  • Current age: 24.5
  • Free agency type: Restricted

Ward started for the Chiefs throughout their 2019 championship run and played fine, but has improved this season. While he is allowing 8.0 yards per target (45th percentile), Ward has given up just 0.92 yards per cover snap (71st percentile). His average of 15.8 cover snaps per allowed reception is seventh-best while his 67.3 passer rating allowed—powered by a 1-to-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio—is ninth-best. Ward has a 69.2 coverage grade at PFF, 29th-best at the position (71st percentile).

Bashaud Breeland, Chiefs
  • Height: 5-foot-11
  • Weight: 195
  • Draft year: 2014
  • Current age: 28.8
  • Free agency type: Unrestricted

Beshaud Breeland is putting up elite coverage numbers for Kansas City, allowing the third-fewest yards per target (4.6) and fourth-fewest yards per cover snap (0.53) among cornerbacks.

Jimmy Smith, Ravens
  • Height: 6-foot-2
  • Weight: 210
  • Draft year: 2011
  • Current age: 32.3
  • Free agency type: Unrestricted

Despite the age, Jimmy Smith deserves to be listed on here, as he has arguably been the best cornerback in the NFL this year from a production standpoint. Smith has allowed the fewest yards per cover snap (0.35) and second-fewest yards per target (4.0) among cornerbacks this season. Over 319 snaps in coverage, he has yet to allow a touchdown and has committed only one penalty. Joe Douglas was with the Ravens when they drafted Smith at 27th overall in the first round of the 2011 draft.

J.C. Jackson, Patriots
  • Height: 6-foot-1
  • Weight: 198
  • Draft year: 2018
  • Current age: 25.0
  • Free agency type: Restricted

J.C. Jackson has quietly been maybe the league’s most efficient cornerback in coverage over the past three seasons. He has allowed a career passer rating of just 47.2, yielding an insane 5-to-14 touchdown-to-interception ratio and just 6.4 yards per target. After allowing the NFL’s lowest passer rating among cornerbacks in 2019 (37.0), Jackson ranks fourth with a 54.0 rating allowed in 2020. He has taken a dive from a yardage perspective, placing at the 61st percentile in yards per target (7.2) and the 51st percentile in yards per cover snap (1.10) this season, but his ability to limit big plays by the opposition and create big plays of his own is unmatched.

A restricted free agent, the Patriots will likely place a first-rounder tender on Jackson, but it seems likely that some team out there would be willing to dole out a first-rounder and a huge contract for the 25-year-old stud.

Rasul Douglas, Panthers
  • Height: 6-foot-2
  • Weight: 209
  • Draft year: 2017
  • Current age: 25.2
  • Free agency type: Unrestricted

Drafted by Philadelphia while Joe Douglas was in the front office, Rasul Douglas is having a nice season in his first year with Carolina. Rasul is ranked 26th with 6.7 yards per target allowed (74th percentile) and 27th with 0.92 yards per cover snap allowed (73rd percentile).

Ronald Darby, Washington
  • Height: 5-foot-11
  • Weight: 193
  • Draft year: 2015
  • Current age: 26.9
  • Free agency type: Unrestricted

Another former Eagle who came to Philly during Joe Douglas’ tenure, Darby is a polarizing figure. Injuries have been his biggest issue. He was very good over his first four seasons, the first two spent in Buffalo and the latter two with Philadelphia, but he only played 17-of-32 possible regular season games for the Eagles from 2017-18. In 2019, Darby looked horrendous in another injury-riddled season.

This year, Darby has been healthy, playing in all 11 games so far, and the numbers are all over the map on his performance. PFF adores him, scoring him with a 76.7 overall grade that ranks 10th-best among cornerbacks. That is largely thanks to his sublime tackling, as he has a tremendous missed tackle rate of 2.2% with only one miss against 45 tackles. However, his coverage numbers are poor, as he ranks 76th with 9.1 yards per target allowed (22nd percentile) and 85th with 1.47 yards per cover snap allowed (13th percentile).

Michael Davis, Chargers
  • Height: 6-foot-2
  • Weight: 196
  • Draft year: 2017
  • Current age: 25.9
  • Free agency type: Unrestricted

The former undrafted free agent provided solid coverage for the Chargers in stints as a backup over his first three seasons but is now putting himself on the map as a full-time starter. Michael Davis’ 72.0 coverage grade at PFF ranks 19th among qualifiers (81st percentile). He has yielded a 1-to-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio this season, and an impressive 3-to-4 ratio over his 1,316 career coverage snaps. Davis’ 1.03 yards per cover snap ranks at the 60th percentile while his 7.7 yards per target is at the 55th.

Xavier Rhodes, Colts
  • Height: 6-foot-1
  • Weight: 218
  • Draft year: 2013
  • Current age: 30.4
  • Free agency type: Unrestricted

After an ugly 2019 season in Minnesota, Xavier Rhodes is having a bounceback season with 0.92 yards per cover snap allowed (74th percentile) and 6.8 yards per target allowed (70th percentile).

Shaquill Griffin, Seahawks
  • Height: 6-foot
  • Weight: 198
  • Draft year: 2017
  • Current age: 25.3
  • Free agency type: Unrestricted

Shaquill Griffin established himself as an elite corner in 2019, earning PFF’s ninth-best overall grade at the position, but he has taken a big step back this year. Griffin has been pedestrian, ranking 44th in overall PFF grade (61.6 – 55th percentile), 65th in yards per target allowed (8.4 – 33rd percentile), and 55th in yards per cover snap allowed (1.16 – 44th percentile).

Richard Sherman
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Richard Sherman, 49ers
  • Height: 6-foot-3
  • Weight: 195
  • Draft year: 2011
  • Current age: 32.6
  • Free agency type: Unrestricted

Richard Sherman may be from the Jurassic period, but he is still one of the absolute best cover men in the sport. In two games this year, Sherman has allowed just two completions for 18 yards over 89 cover snaps, allowing no touchdowns and snagging an interception. He allowed the third-lowest passer rating at the position in 2019 (46.8).

Desmond King, Titans
  • Height: 5-foot-10
  • Weight: 200
  • Draft year: 2017
  • Current age: 25.9
  • Free agency type: Unrestricted

A slot specialist, Desmond King has ranked as one of the league’s best cornerbacks throughout the entirety of his four-year career. This season, he has allowed the sixth-fewest yards per cover snap at the position (0.62) and 24th-fewest yards per target (6.5) and is yet to give up a touchdown. It is a bit concerning that his production has dipped since being traded to the Titans. King has allowed 8.9 yards per target and 0.96 yards per cover snap over four games with Tennessee, versus 4.0 yards per target and 0.33 yards per cover snap over six games with the Chargers.

Honorable mentions (age, free agency type):

Jet X Membership

Inside linebacker

Expiring Jets contracts: Neville Hewitt, Patrick Onwuasor, Bryce Hager, Harvey Langi

Jayon Brown, Titans
  • Height: 6-foot
  • Weight: 226
  • Draft year: 2017
  • Current age: 25.7
  • Free agency type: Unrestricted

Jayon Brown owns a 65.7 overall grade at PFF that ranks 13th out of 71 qualified linebackers (83rd percentile). He is particularly good in coverage, ranking eighth with a 73.5 coverage grade.

B.J. Goodson, Browns
  • Height: 6-foot
  • Weight: 241
  • Draft year: 2016
  • Current age: 27.5
  • Free agency type: Unrestricted

B.J. Goodson is another favorite at PFF, owning a 65.1 overall grade that ranks 16th among linebackers (79th percentile). Goodson has tackled very well, missing only three tackles against his 75 total tackles for a miss rate of 3.8%. In coverage, he has five passes defended, two of which were interceptions. His coverage grade of 67.4 ranks 20th (73rd percentile).

Honorable mentions (age, free agency type):

Running back

Expiring Jets contracts: Frank Gore, Josh Adams

Kenyan Drake, Cardinals
  • Height: 6-foot-1
  • Weight: 211
  • Draft year: 2016
  • Current age: 26.9
  • Free agency type: Unrestricted

After showing flashes on a smaller sample size in Miami, Kenyan Drake has taken off in Arizona. He is sixth in the NFL with 71.9 rushing yards per game this season. Over 18 career games with the Cardinals, Drake has averaged 75.7 rushing yards on 4.7 yards per carry, running for 15 touchdowns.

James Conner, Steelers
  • Height: 6-foot-1
  • Weight: 233
  • Draft year: 2017
  • Current age: 25.6
  • Free agency type: Unrestricted

James Conner has been the Steelers’ bell-cow back since Le’Veon Bell sat out the 2018 season. Over 33 games since 2018, Conner has averaged 63.1 yards per game on the ground (4.4 per carry) and 27.1 through the air (6.4 per target), rushing for 21 touchdowns and hauling in four. Durability is a question mark, as Conner has never played a 16-game season and has appeared in only 47-of-59 (79.7%) possible regular season games to date.

Aaron Jones, Packers
  • Height: 5-foot-9
  • Weight: 208
  • Draft year: 2017
  • Current age: 26.0
  • Free agency type: Unrestricted

Aaron Jones has been consistently successful behind Green Bay’s strong offensive line, averaging a fantastic 5.0 yards per carry throughout his career. He is currently ranked 10th in rushing yards per game this season (69.3). Jones led the NFL with 16 rushing touchdowns in 2018, and in 2017 he led the league with 5.5 yards per carry.

Todd Gurley, Falcons
  • Height: 6-foot-1
  • Weight: 224
  • Draft year: 2015
  • Current age: 26.3
  • Free agency type: Unrestricted

Todd Gurley is tied for fifth in the NFL with nine rushing touchdowns, but his 3.7 yards per carry is fourth-worst among qualifiers. He also contributes little in the passing game, with just 8.2 receiving yards per game.

Mike Davis, Panthers
  • Height: 6-foot-1
  • Weight: 224
  • Draft year: 2015
  • Current age: 26.3
  • Free agency type: Unrestricted

Mike Davis has been relatively mediocre in place of Christian McCaffrey. Over nine starts, Davis is averaging 55.6 rushing yards on 4.0 yards per carry and 24.6 receiving yards on just 4.6 yards per target, rushing for three touchdowns and catching two.

Phillip Lindsay, Broncos
  • Height: 5-foot-8
  • Weight: 190
  • Draft year: 2018
  • Current age: 26.4
  • Free agency type: Restricted

Phillip Lindsay is a fantastic rusher, averaging 4.9 yards per carry throughout his career, but he struggles in the passing game. Over his career, Lindsay has given up a pressure on 17.9% of his snaps in pass protection and owns a drop rate of 15.3%, both brutal numbers.

Jamaal Williams, Packers
  • Height: 6-foot
  • Weight: 213
  • Draft year: 2017
  • Current age: 25.7
  • Free agency type: Unrestricted

Jamaal Williams is the anti-Lindsay, thriving in the fundamental aspects of the game. His career drop rate is only 4.7%, while he has been excellent in protection, allowing a pressure on only 6.3% of career pass-blocking reps. He also has zero career fumbles.

Marlon Mack, Colts
  • Height: 6-foot-0
  • Weight: 210
  • Draft year: 2017
  • Current age: 24.8
  • Free agency type: Unrestricted

Mack’s 2020 season came to an end after only one game due to a torn Achilles tendon, taking away his chance at a third consecutive season of excellence.

From 2018-19, Mack rushed for 1,999 yards and 17 touchdowns in just 26 games, numbers that put him on pace for 1,230 yards and 10 touchdowns per 16 games. He did that while averaging a solid 4.5 yards per attempt.

In addition to his health, the obvious question mark with Mack is how much he benefited from Indianapolis’ elite offensive line. Is he really that good, or is he just an average running back who happened to land on a team that creates enormous holes?

Chris Carson, Seahawks
  • Height: 5-foot-11
  • Weight: 222
  • Draft year: 2017
  • Current age: 26.3
  • Free agency type: Unrestricted

Over 36 games since 2018, Carson has racked up 3,339 yards and 25 touchdowns from scrimmage for the Seahawks, putting him on pace for 1,484 yards and 11 touchdowns per 16 games. He has averaged 4.6 yards per carry over that span, including a career-high of 4.9 in 2020 (on a lower volume of 11.8 carries per game compared to 18.1 from 2018-19). In addition, Carson is averaging a career-high 23.6 receiving yards per game this season and has already set a career-high with three receiving touchdowns.

Honorable mentions (age, free agency type):

Tight end

Expiring Jets contracts: Daniel Brown, Ross Travis

Hunter Henry, Chargers
  • Height: 6-foot-5
  • Weight: 250
  • Draft year: 2016
  • Current age: 25.9
  • Free agency type: Unrestricted

Hunter Henry ranks sixth among tight ends this season with 45.6 receiving yards per game, grabbing 48-of-76 targets for 502 yards and three touchdowns. He is blocking well, too, ranking 13th out of 80 qualified tight ends with a 70.2 run blocking grade at PFF (85th percentile).

Over 52 career games, Henry has caught for 2,211 yards and 20 touchdowns, averages of about 680 yards and six touchdowns per 16 games.

Robert Tonyan, Packers
  • Height: 6-foot-5
  • Weight: 237
  • Draft year: 2017
  • Current age: 26.5
  • Free agency type: Restricted

Previously just a blocker for the Packers, Robert Tonyan has broken out as a receiver this season, tying for the lead among tight ends with seven touchdown grabs while ranking 12th with 41.6 receiving yards per game. Tonyan has just one drop against 51 receptions in his career.

Jonnu Smith, Titans
  • Height: 6-foot-3
  • Weight: 248
  • Draft year: 2017
  • Current age: 25.2
  • Free agency type: Unrestricted

Jonnu Smith leads tight ends in total touchdowns this season, tying for the positional lead with seven receiving touchdowns but tossing in a rushing score as well. Few tight ends are as agile with the ball in their hands as Smith, who ranks third at the position with 6.3 yards after catch per reception in 2020 and ranked second with an average of 8.1 in 2019.

Richard Rodgers, Eagles
  • Height: 6-foot-4
  • Weight: 257
  • Draft year: 2014
  • Current age: 28.9
  • Free agency type: Unrestricted

Previously going without a touchdown grab since the 2017 season while he was a member of the Packers, Richard Rodgers has come out of nowhere as a big part of the Eagles offense. Over his past nine games, Rodgers has caught for 38.3 yards per game and two touchdowns, averaging a stupendous 11.1 yards per target. His grabs have not been manufactured – they’ve been largely impressive, as evidenced by Rodgers’ 90.6 receiving grade at PFF that ranks second-best among tight ends this season behind only Travis Kelce.

Honorable mentions (age, free agency type):

CLEVELAND, OHIO - NOVEMBER 15: Will Fuller V #15 of the Houston Texans celebrates a touchdown reception by teammate Pharaoh Brown (not pictured) against the Cleveland Browns during the second half at FirstEnergy Stadium on November 15, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio.
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Wide receiver

Expiring Jets contracts: Breshad Perriman, Chris Hogan, Vyncint Smith, Jeff Smith

Will Fuller, Texans
  • Height: 6-foot
  • Weight: 184
  • Draft year: 2016
  • Current age: 26.6
  • Free agency type: Unrestricted

Will Fuller has been excellent when healthy. At the point of his season-ending suspension this season, he was ranked 10th in the NFL with a career-high 79.7 receiving yards per game, while his total of eight touchdown grabs was already a career-best. He averaged a strong 65.2 yards per game from 2018-19. Durability is the main issue. He will conclude the 2020 season having played only 53 out of 80 (66.3%) possible career regular season games.

Allen Robinson, Bears
  • Height: 6-foot-2
  • Weight: 220
  • Draft year: 2014
  • Current age: 27.3
  • Free agency type: Unrestricted

Despite catching passes from Nick Foles and Mitch Trubisky, Allen Robinson is ranked 17th in the league with 75.4 yards per game. Throughout his career, Robinson has averaged 82 catches for 1,075 yards and seven touchdowns per 16 games, even with numerous subpar quarterbacks throwing him the ball. Robinson has some of the stickiest hands in the game, catching 71 passes without a single drop this season and owning a drop rate of just 2.1% since joining the Bears (5 drops, 234 receptions).

Corey Davis, Titans
  • Height: 6-foot-3
  • Weight: 209
  • Draft year: 2017
  • Current age: 25.9
  • Free agency type: Unrestricted

Corey Davis is enjoying a breakout season, ranking 22nd in the league with a career-high 68.8 yards per game. He has been incredibly efficient, ranking fourth-best among qualified wide receivers with 2.48 yards per route run, which trails only Julio Jones (2.62), Justin Jefferson (2.91), and Davante Adams (2.96).

Tim Patrick, Broncos
  • Height: 6-foot-4
  • Weight: 212
  • Draft year: 2017
  • Current age: 27.0
  • Free agency type: Restricted

Seldom-used prior to 2020, Tim Patrick is emerging into a solid player, averaging 56.3 yards per game (36th) and 9.7 yards per target (20th) this season. He had been averaging 77.6 yards over his previous six games—including three 100-yard performances—prior to the Broncos’ quarterback nightmare against New Orleans.

Chris Godwin, Buccaneers
  • Height: 6-foot-1
  • Weight: 209
  • Draft year: 2017
  • Current age: 24.8
  • Free agency type: Unrestricted

Chris Godwin’s numbers have dipped in a Tampa Bay offense that has a ton of mouths to feed, but he is still averaging 70.3 yards per game (19th) on 9.4 yards per target (26th). In 2019, Godwin ranked second in the NFL with 95.2 yards per game and placed fourth with 11.0 yards per target.

Kenny Golladay, Lions
  • Height: 6-foot-4
  • Weight: 214
  • Draft year: 2017
  • Current age: 27.1
  • Free agency type: Unrestricted

After missing the first two games of the season, Kenny Golladay was averaging a career-high 84.5 yards per game over his first four games before going down with a hip injury in Week 8, and he has yet to return. In 2019, Golladay led the NFL with 11 touchdown receptions while placing seventh with 1,190 total receiving yards and 15th with 74.4 receiving yards per game.

JuJu Smith-Schuster, Steelers
  • Height: 6-foot-1
  • Weight: 215
  • Draft year: 2017
  • Current age: 24.0
  • Free agency type: Unrestricted

JuJu Smith-Schuster has been pedestrian since Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell skipped town, averaging only 49.4 yards per game on 7.5 yards per target from 2019-20 after posting 89.1 yards per game on 8.6 yards per target in 2018. Among the 57 wide receivers with at least 50 targets in 2020, Smith-Schuster ranks 44th in yards per route run (1.42).

Curtis Samuel, Panthers
  • Height: 5-foot-11
  • Weight: 195
  • Draft year: 2017
  • Current age: 24.3
  • Free agency type: Unrestricted

New offensive coordinator Joe Brady has unleashed the versatility of Curtis Samuel, who has caught for 47.0 yards per game and three touchdowns while rushing for 10.6 yards per game and two touchdowns.

Marvin Jones, Lions
  • Height: 6-foot-2
  • Weight: 199
  • Draft year: 2012
  • Current age: 30.7
  • Free agency type: Unrestricted

In his first season on the other side of 30, Marvin Jones is averaging only 45.7 yards per game, his lowest mark since 2013, and 7.3 yards per target, his lowest mark since 2012. Jones does have five touchdowns, his fourth straight season hitting that number.

John Ross, Bengals
  • Height: 5-foot-11
  • Weight: 194
  • Draft year: 2017
  • Current age: 25.0
  • Free agency type: Unrestricted

John Ross has only played 86 snaps over three games this season due to a foot injury, which currently has him on injured reserve. He has not gotten the chance to build off of a promising 2019 season in which he averaged 63.3 yards per game and 9.0 yards per target over eight appearances, also posting a solid 1.95 yards per route run that ranked 23rd out of 79 qualifiers.

Damiere Byrd, Patriots
  • Height: 5-foot-9
  • Weight: 180
  • Draft year: 2015
  • Current age: 27.8
  • Free agency type: Unrestricted

Despite his size, Damiere Byrd is not actually a slot receiver, ranking last among New England’s wide receivers with only 9.2% of his routes coming out of the slot this season. Byrd leads the Patriots with 502 receiving yards this season, while his 45.6 yards per game narrowly trails Jakobi Meyers and Julian Edelman.

Honorable mentions (age, free agency type):

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JetOrange
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JetOrange

Comprehensive. Very difficult talent evaluations. Very curious, how markets will develop in the 2021 CAP year. Douglas will be challenged.Huge Allan Robinson Fan. Your review of Thuney, has given me second thoughts.

Sean Bird
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Sean Bird

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Jimmy Smith and Chase R. have been signed to extensions.