NFL Free Agency 2019: Predictions for Top Players Based on Latest Rumors

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistMarch 10, 2019

New England Patriots defensive lineman Trey Flowers #98 in action against the Philadelphia Eagles at Super Bowl 52 on Sunday, February 4, 2018 in Minneapolis. Philadelphia won the game 41-33.(AP Photo/Gregory Payan)
Gregory Payan/Associated Press

In mere days, the NFL landscape is going to undergo some big changes. At 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday, the 2019 league year will begin. At that time, teams can sign unrestricted free agents and complete trades involving players who are already under contract for 2019.

The flurry of early activity should be a lot of fun to follow, as several notable players are set to hit the open market. The big question, of course, is where will the top players land?

Below, you will find predictions for some of the top pending free agents, based on the latest rumors.


DE Trey Flowers

New England Patriots defensive end Trey Flowers is one of the top defenders entering free agency. He isn't a traditional edge-rusher, but he is capable of pressuring the quarterback. He's also great at stopping ball-carriers at the point of attack. In 2018 alone, Flowers racked up 57 total tackles and 7.5 sacks.

Flowers is also just 25.

It's unlikely, though, that the Patriots will bring Flowers back now that they have traded for defensive end Michael Bennett.

This means Flowers will likely play for a different team in 2019. CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora believes that the Detroit Lions and Tennessee Titans could battle to be that team. This makes sense, as Lions head coach Matt Patricia and Titans head coach Mike Vrabel all have recent ties to Flowers and New England.

If Tennessee and Detroit get into a bidding war for Flowers, as La Canfora believes, the former could have the edge. The Titans are only projected to have about $4 million more in cap space than the Lions, but it would be significant if that $4 million is put toward Flowers' 2019 salary.

Prediction: Flowers signs with Tennessee.


LBs C.J. Mosley & Terrell Suggs

Nick Wass/Associated Press

Another rumor put out by La Canfora involves Baltimore Ravens linebackers C.J. Mosley and Terrell Suggs.

"Some of C.J. Mosley's Ravens teammates believe both he and Suggs could be headed to the [Arizona] Cardinals," La Canfora wrote.

As La Canfora points out, Suggs is an Arizona native, and the Cardinals are looking for a pass-rusher to pair with Chandler Jones. If the Ravens don't bring him back, this pairing makes sense. The Cardinals could certainly use Mosley as well, but he isn't going to be the type of value option that the 36-year-old Suggs could be.

Mosley is one of the most productive inside linebackers in the league—he had 105 tackles in 2018—and he's just 26. The Cardinals, who are projected to have around $39 million in cap space, could struggle to outbid teams with more.

The Oakland Raiders, for example, could use a young linebacker like Mosley and are expected to have around $60 million in cap space. If they wanted to target Mosley with a heavily front-loaded deal, the Raiders could probably win out over Arizona.

Prediction: Suggs signs with Arizona; Mosley signs elsewhere.


WR Adam Humphries

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Adam Humphries is emerging as the big name at wide receiver this offseason. It makes sense, as he's just 25 and is a productive slot receiver. He had 76 catches, 816 yards and five touchdowns in 2018.

The Buccaneers would probably love to have Humphries back. However, the Buccaneers are projected to have just over $1 million in cap space, so it would take some creative planning to retain Humphries. The market for him should be robust.

Terez A. Paylor @TerezPaylor

Hearing some of the leading slot receivers in this year’s free agent class (Golden Tate, Adam Humphries) are asking for $10 to $14 million a year on the open market, per league sources

There are a few different teams that do make sense as destinations for Humphries, though. The Cleveland Browns have an obvious connection, as former Buccaneers offensive coordinator Todd Monken holds the same position in Cleveland. However, the Browns also have Jarvis Landry manning the slot and earning $15 million per year.

It's more likely that Humphries lands with a different receiver-needy team, though obviously still one with ample cap space.

Mike Klis of 9 News Denver reported that the Denver Broncos have interest in Humphries, based on combine chatter. Denver is also projected to have more than $33 million in cap space, so Humphries could be both a scheme fit and a financial fit.

Prediction: Humphries signs with Denver.