NFL free agency 2020: Ranking the top 50 free agents, best players by position

NFL free agency will soon be here for 2020. The new league year officially opens for the business of transactions on Wednesday, March 18 at 4 p.m. ET, with the legal tampering period starting two days earlier on March 16, bringing news of unrestricted free-agent deals. 

In the meantime, teams will try to keep their own pending priority free agents with either a new long-term contract or the franchise tag. 

Consider this your Sporting News hub for the latest updates on NFL re-signings, deals and potential trades as they come during the offseason. Here’s a complete list of NFL free agents in 2020, including the best players by position.

Patriots, Raiders, Cowboys, Giants go defense; Bucs, Chargers get in on QB

NFL free agency 2020: Ranking the top 50 players

Dak Prescott

1. Dak Prescott, QB, Cowboys (age: 26)

Prescott went back to his rookie level of success only while handling much higher passing volume and downfield pop under Kellen Moore. Moore is staying in Dallas with Mike McCarthy for that reason and the Cowboys locking up Prescott is the highest offensive priority of any team.

2. Chris Jones, DT, Chiefs (25)

Jones has proved to be a highly disruptive inside pass rusher in two schemes over two massive seasons. He’s an explosive talent for any front and the Chiefs may need to franchise-tag him (at around $15.5 million guaranteed) for 2020. The challenges to giving him a big contract are a past one to Frank Clark and a monster future one for Patrick Mahomes while working with limited cap space.

3. Amari Cooper, WR, Cowboys (25)

The Cowboys have every intention to keep their triplets of Prescott, Cooper and Ezekiel Elliott intact, but it was strange how they were forced into locking up the running back first. There’s a chance Cooper might explore a richer payday in free agency with the potential tag needed to go to Prescott first.

4. Drew Brees, QB, Saints (41)

Brees said he’s taking some time to contemplate his playing future in football, but coming off a third consecutive playoff frustration, he is fully expected to be back leading their offense with a deal on his terms. Sean Payton pretty much made it clear he’ll remain attached to his long-time QB.

5. Tom Brady, QB, Patriots (41)

He’s the third in the loaded class of veteran QBs as he’s much older than Prescott and wasn’t nearly as effective as Brees in 2019. But Brady still made the most of the talent around him to lead the Patriots through a tougher path to the AFC East title by grinding away with his mental toughness and competitiveness. It’s about 50-50 for him to stay in New England, as hard is that to believe.

MORE: Ranking Tom Brady’s best fits in NFL free agency if QB leaves Patriots

6. Jadevon Clowney, EDGE, Seahawks (26)

Clowney liked playing in Seattle’s 4-3 scheme after coming over from Houston’s 3-4, continuing his elite run stopping and when healthy, being a force in the pass rush even without the sacks (only 3 in 13 games) to back it up. He has said he wants to keep contributing to a top contender and the Seahawks want to bring him back.

7. Byron Jones, CB, Cowboys (27)

Jones failed to record an interception in his second full season at cornerback but used his 6-0, 205-pound frame well to be a shutdown artist and also has translated his athleticism to be an active, sound tackler.

8. Justin Simmons, S, Broncos (26)

Simmons is coming off a monster season as a big safety (6-2, 202 pounds), showing off both his prolific tackling against the run and ball-hawking in physical coverage (four interceptions). He is a priority re-sign for John Elway.

9. Hunter Henry, TE, Chargers (25)

Henry rebounded well in a 12-game season coming off a torn ACL with 55 catches for 652 yards and a TD, building on his rookie and second-year promise. At 6-5, 250 pounds, he’s a prototype complete player at the position and sneakily the best of the Chargers’ three offensive re-sign options.

Derrick Henry

10. Derrick Henry, RB, Titans (26)

This Henry was beastly down the stretch to become the NFL’s reigning rushing champion with his old-school blend of power and burst. The Titans will be keeping the hammer and foundation of their offense, but they might need to figure out how much they’re paying their quarterback before knowing what they can pay Henry.

11. Joe Thuney, G, Patriots (27)

Thuney is coming off a second-year All-Pro season at left guard, standing out despite injuries dampening the play next to him at left tackle and center. He is an efficient all-around blocker, especially a rock in the running game.

12. Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers (38)

Rivers looks like he’s either preparing himself to land with another team in free agency or getting ready to retire with his noted family relocation from Southern California to Florida. He’s coming off a rough season where he got too careless with the ball but he’s got something left as a fiery leader in the right offensive support system.

13. Cory Littleton, ILB, Rams (26)

Littleton is a highly active tackler and one of the best cover men at his position because of his quickness, range and instincts. He also can be effective going after the quarterback as a blitzer.

14. Shaquil Barrett, EDGE, Buccaneers (27)

The Bucs got major dividends from the former Bronco as he enjoyed a terrific, long-awaited breakout season, leading the NFL in sacks (19.5) in Todd Bowles’ 3-4.

15. Ryan Tannehill, QB, Titans (31)

The Titans need to be careful about overpaying and over-committing to Tannehill too much given his age, but it’s hard not to think of him as a continued, highly reasonable solution to QB after he meshed so well in the offense playing off Henry and the dominant running game.

16. A.J. Green, WR, Bengals (31)

Green wants to stick around after his season completely lost to ankle injury if the Bengals bring him back at the right final contract price. The Bengals could use him to give Joe Burrow a reliable veteran security blanket outside.

17. Anthony Harris, S, Vikings (28)

Harris, like Simmons is another big safety (6-1, 202 pounds), only coming off making a few more big plays in coverage (6 INTs) with a little less impact against the run.

18. Jameis Winston, QB, Buccaneers (26)

The good of Winston was the league-leading 5,109 yards passing with 33 TDs. The bad was his league-leading 30 INTs that pushed his efficiency way down again for Bruce Arians. Should the Bucs think they are better off trying to win games with someone else, he should be a starter elsewhere.

19. Anthony Castonzo, OT, Colts (31)

He’s been terrific as their left tackle, keeping up the pass protection in the transition from Andrew Luck to Jacoby Brissett without losing his run-blocking edge. But it’s sounding like he’s split between retiring and re-signing.

20. Yannick Ngakuoe, EDGE, Jaguars (24)

He’s too young and too productive as their best pass rusher (8 sacks in 2019) to let walk. If they can’t figure out a long-term deal in the short term, he’s bound to be franchise-tagged at a little more than $19 million for 2020.

Arik Armstead

21. Arik Armstead, DE, 49ers (26)

The 2015 first-rounder from Oregon finally busted out big time with his massive frame (6-7, 290 pounds) with 10 sacks in Robert Saleh’s 4-3, or one more than the total of his previous four seasons. He’s probably still more of a solid complementary pass rusher than transcendent one.

22. Brandon Scherff, G, Redskins (28)

The three-time Pro Bowler and No. 5 overall pick from 2015 isn’t too far behind Thuney with his powerful work at right guard for Washington.

23. Chris Harris Jr., CB, Broncos (30)

Harris has shown some signs of slowing down, but overall, thrust into more of a traveling shutdown role in Denver’s new defense with Vic Fangio, he responded well to the point he has fine appeal on a shorter-team deal.

24. Jack Conklin, OT, Titans (25)

Back to being fully healthy, the 2016 No. 8 overall pick rebounded into form as a rock of a right tackle paving the way for Henry. He is likely to locked up by Tennessee, which is what he wants, too.

25. Leonard Williams, DT, Giants (25)

Williams has been more than a little disappointing with his explosive impact up front, given he was the No. 6 overall pick in 2015, prompting his crosstown trade from the Jets. The Giants want to bring him back as a cornerstone for the rebuild for Dave Gettleman and new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham.

26. Melvin Gordon, RB, Chargers (26)

He got the solid accrued season he wanted to get into free agency and there’s no way the Chargers change their mind to give him what he’s asking given they can just roll with Austin Ekeler as their feature back with a little more power help. Gordon is above average at best, given how low his floor was and how low is ceiling is.

27. Devin McCourty, S, Patriots (32)

McCourty is coming off another solid season as a playmaker in coverage (5 INTs) and offers plenty of savvy and smarts for a team outside of New England that needs it. He wants to keep playing despite the age but the Patriots will be hesitant toward committing too much more.

28. Breshad Perriman, WR, Buccaneers (26)

For Perriman, the No. 26 overall pick in the 2015 draft, he finally was healthy enough with a chance to show off his speed in a offense built on stretching the field. It took late hamstring injuries to Mike Evans and Chris Godwin to show what he can do as a field-stretcher (36 catches, 645 yards, 6 TDs).

29. Matthew Judon, EDGE, Ravens (27)

Judon ripped off 9.5 sacks to emerge as a devastating force in their 3-4. He’s bound to get a little overpaid because of his profile and that likely prices him out of Baltimore.

Robby Anderson

30. Robby Anderson, WR, Jets (26)

Anderson is much like Perriman, given his spike also came in December, but he’s more of a pure field-stretcher coming off a 52-catch, 779-yard, 5-TD season. The supply of wideout help is limited enough where demand can get him a generous deal, but likely out of New York.

31. Bud Dupree, EDGE, Steelers (26)

Dupree, the No. 22 overall pick in 2015, is coming off an 11.5-sack season where he also stopped the run well from the outside. He should cash in like Judon should he hit the open market. The Steelers want to extend him big time and could in the meantime lean on the franchise tag.

32. Dante Fowler, Jr, EDGE, Rams (25)

Fowler delivered on his one-year, $14 million deal with 11.5 sacks of his own. The No. 3 overall pick of 2015 found his stride away from Jacksonville in Los Angeles’ 3-4 and he carries plenty more youthful upside.

33. Austin Hooper, TE, Falcons (25)

Hooper threw down a Pro Bowl season with 75 catches for 785 yards and 6 TDs in only 13 games. The 2016 third-rounder has exceeded expecations as a valuable receiver but the Falcons will need to get creative to retain him at market value given a tight cap situation.

34. Kyle Van Noy, OLB, Patriots (28)

He has been an awesome Swiss Army knife in Bill Belichick’s defense playing a blend of outside linebacker, inside linebacker and defensive end. He simply gets all over the field to make plays from all angles. It’s just hard to see him performing as well away from the Patriots, unless it’s the copycat schemes of the Lions, Dolphins, Giants or Titans.

35. Emmanuel Sanders, WR, 49ers (32)

He’s kind of like his old teammate Chris Harris Jr., only on the offensive side of this class, good for more like a one- or two-year deal. Between Denver and San Francisco, Sanders posted 66 catches for 869 yards and 5 TDs in the regular season, with only two big games with the latter team.

36. D.J. Reader, DT, Texans (25)

He’s emerged as a stout 3-4 nose tackle to eat space against the run and he also chipped 2.5 sacks in 2019.

37. Javon Hargrave, DT, Steelers (26)

He’s become the new Casey Hampton for them at the nose with 4 sacks to go along with engulfing blockers.

38. Shelby Harris,/DE, Broncos (28)

Harris, who had 6 sacks in 2019, proved to be an Akiem Hicks-type player for Vic Fangio with his ability to get to the passer inside from either a 4-3 or a 3-4.

39. Jarran Reed, DT, Seahawks (27)

Reed’s off-field trouble hit into some of his value on the field, as his sacks in Seattle’s 4-3 dropped from 10.5 in 16 games to only 2 in 10 games.

40. Bryan Bulaga, OT, Packers (30)

Bulaga has held down right tackle for them steadily since he was drafted in the first round 10 years ago. But he has durability issues piling up to the point Green Bay may move on. 

Kenyan Drake

41. Kenyan Drake, RB, Cardinals (26)

What did Drake do in his half season in Arizona after being traded from Miami? His 643 yards rushing, 8 TDs and 5.2 per-carry average in 8 games meant he was the perfect fit in Kliff Kingsbury’s offense, down to his receiving ability. He’s suddenly the back of choice over fading David Johnson and should get re-signed.

42. Michael Pierce, DT, Ravens (27)

Here’s yet another stout 3-4 run-stuffing nose tackle to add to the market, only one with less pass-rush punch than either Reader or Hargrave.

43. Vonn Bell, S, Saints (25)

Bell is an excellent run-support safety and showed in limited doses that he can make big plays as a cover man and blitzer.

44. Joe Schobert, ILB, Browns (26)

There’s nothing spectacular about his game, but he’s just durable and productive. The one-time Pro Bowler kept up the same work in racking up tackles with a few sacks, but he also added 4 interceptions in 2019.

45. Andrew Whitworth, OT, Rams (38)

Whitworth plugged along well on the left side again, proving to be ultra durable with his savvy blocking presence. But at his age, he’s a short-term solution, in or out of Los Angeles.

46. Ndamukong Suh, DT, Buccaneers (33)

The Bucs got more than enough out of Suh replacing his 2010 first-round draftmate Gerald McCoy with 2.5 sacks on top of being the anchor for a much-improved run defense, which ended up No. 1 in the league. He’s likely looking at another one-year deal.

47. Blake Martinez, ILB, Packers (26)

Martinez is an active tackler but he’s still not a plus against the run. His coverage and ability to get to the quarterback when called upon to blitz give him greater appeal as a pass defense asset.

48. Greg Zuerlein, K, Rams (32)

Given the field-goal and extra-point woes around the league, even Greg the Leg/Not So Young GZ wasn’t immune, battling through a foot injury. He missed 9 FG tries (24-of-33) but was perfect on PATs (42-for-42). He would be a reliable upgrade for many teams outside of L.A.

49. Eric Ebron, TE, Colts (26)

The No. 10 overall pick of the Lions in 2014 busted out with his 13-TD season with Andrew Luck as a free-agent flyer in ’18, followed by a injury-marred fade with Brissett to 31 catches for 375 yards and 3 TDs in 11 games. Ebron won’t return to Indianapolis behind Pro Bowler Jack Doyle and needs to go somewhere where he can be unitized purely as a move tight end/slot receiver.

50. Jimmie Ward, S, 49ers (28)

The 2014 first-rounder has had a shaky three-season run of injuries, but when healthy, he’s a valuable, versatile starter because he does a little bit of everything well.

2020 NFL free agents: Tracking top players by position

Tom Brady


  1. Dak Prescott, Cowboys
  2. Drew Brees, Saints
  3. Tom Brady, Patriots
  4. Ryan Tannehill, Titans
  5. Jameis Winston, Buccaneers
  6. Philip Rivers, Chargers
  7. Teddy Bridgewater, Saints
  8. Marcus Mariota, Titans
  9. Case Keenum, Redskins
  10. Blake Bortles, Rams
  11. Colt McCoy, Redskins
  12. AJ McCarron, Texans
  13. Matt Moore, Chiefs
  14. Chase Daniel, Bears

Running backs

  1. Derrick Henry, Titans
  2. Melvin Gordon III, Chargers
  3. Kenyan Drake, Cardinals
  4. Jordan Howard, Eagles
  5. Carlos Hyde, Texans
  6. Peyton Barber, Buccaneers
  7. Lamar Miller, Texans
  8. Chris Thompson, Redskins
  9. DeAndre Washington, Raiders
  10. Isaiah Crowell, Raiders
  11. Ty Montgomery, Jets

Wide receivers

  1. Amari Cooper, Cowboys
  2. A.J. Green, Bengals
  3. Breshad Perriman, Buccaneers
  4. Robby Anderson, Jets
  5. Emmanuel Sanders, 49ers
  6. Rashard Higgins, Browns
  7. Phillip Dorsett, Patriots
  8. Randall Cobb, Cowboys
  9. Danny Amendola, Lions
  10. Devin Funchess, Colts
  11. Nelson Agholor, Eagles
  12. Tajae Sharpe, Titans
  13. Chester Rogers, Colts
  14. Geronimo Allison, Packers
  15. Demarcus Robinson, Chiefs
  16. Damiere Byrd, Cardinals
  17. Cody Latimer, Giants

Tight ends

  1. Hunter Henry, Chargers
  2. Austin Hooper, Falcons
  3. Eric Ebron, Colts
  4. Tyler Eifert, Bengals
  5. Darren Fells, Texans
  6. Charles Clay, Cardinals
  7. Logan Thomas, Lions
  8. Nick O’Leary, Jaguars
  9. Nick Vannett, Steelers
  10. Vernon Davis, Redskins
  11. Jason Witten, Cowboys

Offensive tackles

  1. Anthony Castonzo, Colts
  2. Jack Conklin, Titans
  3. Bryan Bulaga, Packers
  4. Andrew Whitworth, Rams
  5. Jason Peters, Eagles
  6. D.J. Humphries, Cardinals
  7. Darryl Williams, Panthers
  8. Demar Dotson, Buccaneers
  9. Chris Clark, Texans
  10. Mike Remmers, Giants
  11. Kelvin Beachum, Jets
  12. Greg Robinson, Browns
  13. Germain Ifedi, Seahawks


  1. Joe Thuney, Patriots
  2. Brandon Scherff, Redskins
  3. Austin Blythe, Rams
  4. Graham Glasgow, Lions
  5. Richie Incognito, Raiders
  6. Andrus Peat, Saints
  7. Quinton Spain, Bills
  8. Ereck Flowers, Redskins
  9. Mike Iupati, Seahawks


  1. Connor McGovern, Broncos
  2. Ted Karras, Patriots

Defensive tackles

  • Chris Jones, Chiefs
  • Arik Armstead, 49ers
  • D.J. Reader, Texans
  • Leonard Williams, Jets
  • Javon Hargrave, Steelers
  • Shelby Harris, Broncos
  • Jarran Reed, Seahawks
  • Michael Pierce, Ravens
  • Ndamukong Suh, Buccaneers
  • Gerald McCoy, Panthers
  • Jordan Phillips, Bllls
  • David Onyemata, Saints
  • Maliek Collins, Cowboys
  • Derek Wolfe, Broncos
  • Michael Brockers, Rams
  • Danny Shelton, Patriots
  • Mike Daniels, Lions
  • Andrew Billings, Bengals
  • Tim Jernigan, Eagles
  • Beau Allen, Buccaneers
  • A’Shawn Robinson, Lions

Edge rushers 

  • Jadeveon Clowney, Seahawks
  • Shaquill Barrett, Buccaneers
  • Yannick Ngaukoe, Jaguars
  • Matthew Judon, Ravens
  • Bud Dupree, Steelers
  • Dante Fowler Jr., Rams
  • Robert Quinn, Cowboys
  • Shaq Lawson, Bills
  • Vic Beasley, Falcons

Outside linebackers

  • Kyle Van Noy, Patriots
  • Jamie Collins, Patriots

Inside linebackers

  • Cory Littleton, Rams
  • Joe Schobert, Browns
  • Blake Martinez, Packers
  • Nick Kwiatkoski, Bears
  • Danny Trevathan, Bears
  • Patrick Onwuasor, Ravens
  • Josh Bynes, Ravens


  • Byron Jones, Cowboys
  • Chris Harris Jr., Broncos
  • Bradley Roby, Texans
  • James Bradberry, Panthers
  • Trae Waynes, Vikings
  • Logan Ryan, Titans
  • Jimmy Smith, Ravens
  • Kendall Fuller, Chiefs
  • Troy Hill, Rams
  • Ronald Darby, Eagles
  • Darqueze Dennard, Bengals
  • Brian Poole, Jets
  • Eli Apple, Saints
  • Mackensie Alexander, Vikings
  • Johnathan Joseph, Texans
  • Anthony Brown, Cowboys
  • Kevin Johnson, Bills
  • Javien Elliott, Panthers


  • Anthony Harris, Vikings
  • Justin Simmons, Broncos
  • Devin McCourty, Patriots
  • Vonn Bell, Saints
  • Jimmie Ward, 49ers
  • Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Bears
  • Adrian Phillips, Chargers
  • Tre Boston, Panthers
  • Tavon Wilson, Lions
  • Damarious Randall, Browns
  • Jayron Kearse, Vikings
  • Will Parks, Broncos
  • Rodney McLeod, Eagles
  • Eric Murray, Browns
  • D.J. Swearinger, Saints


  • Greg Zuerlein, Rams
  • Ka’imi Fairbairn, Texans
  • Mason Crosby, Packers
  • Dan Bailey, Vikings
  • Nick Folk, Patirots
  • Adam Vinatieri, Colts


  • Matt Bosher, Falcons
  • Sam Martin, Lions

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  • February 20, 2020 at 3:28 pm

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