The Most Underrated 2020 NFL Free Agents Still Available

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistMarch 18, 2020

The Most Underrated 2020 NFL Free Agents Still Available

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    Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
    Ha Ha Clinton-DixNuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

    It's easy for an NFL free agent to fall into the "underrated" category this year.

    Not only was the league busy with collective bargaining agreement negotiations and speculation of whether free agency would even open on time, but the free-agent class itself had major headliners.

    Here, we'll highlight some guys with minimal name recognition who could end up being major values.


Breshad Perriman, WR

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    Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

    Breshad Perriman was firmly in "bust" territory before 2019, and even though he corrected it, the spotlight wasn't on him with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who had Mike Evans and Chris Godwin putting up massive numbers.

    Still, he went from a guy who had never breached the 500-yard mark, scored more than three times and struggled with drops to someone putting up 645 yards and six scores with his third pro team.

    Most importantly? He wasn't credited with a drop.

    All this on a one-year pact worth $4 million. Perriman finished his turnaround season with three consecutive 100-yard games to boot. It all equates to a 26-year-old with a big frame at 6'2" and good speed who might be on the upswing after a slow start as a first-round pick in 2015.

Markus Golden, EDGE

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    Matt Rourke/Associated Press

    With heavyweights like Jadeveon Clowney at the edge this year, it's easy to see why Markus Golden might fall down the hype ladder.

    His quiet four seasons in Arizona after being a second-round pick in 2015 didn't help, nor did the one-year deal he signed with the New York Giants.

    But what he did in New York certainly helped.

    Now 29, Golden put up 10 sacks last season and took big statistical leaps from the year prior in pressures (44), hurries (16) and quarterback knockdowns (14). The Giants had him play a career-high 83 percent of the defense's snaps.

    It's hard to complain about that sort of production on what should be a team-friendly deal, as past injury concerns will still play a role in negotiations.

De'Vondre Campbell, LB

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    Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

    De'Vondre Campbell isn't a household name, but he's a sound linebacker who put up at least 94 combined tackles his last two seasons while not missing more than 5.1 percent. He's been a rock for a mostly average Atlanta Falcons defense, playing at least 83 percent of snaps in three consecutive seasons.

    He also happens to be quite versatile. He drops into coverages often and has been sent on a blitz 50-plus times the past two seasons.

    With injury red flags like Christian Kirksey reportedly getting $16 million over two years, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Campbell, given his traits and production, is going to be one of those guys who ends up with a "surprising" contract that won't really be all that surprising.

Carlos Hyde, RB

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Carlos Hyde has had a ho-hum career since being a second-round pick in 2014, playing for five teams.

    But the 29-year-old could still break out. He briefly did so over 14 starts with the Houston Texans, drumming up 1,070 yards on a career-high 245 attempts, averaging 4.4 yards per carry with six scores.

    Adding to this, 545 of Hyde's yards came after contact, he broke 22 tackles and picked up 55 first downs. He's going to be a staple on "winner" lists after a team gets him under contract.

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S

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    Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

    Ha Ha Clinton-Dix might have a little name recognition, but he's fallen off the radar a bit recently.

    An offseason ago, the 21st pick in the 2014 draft had to settle for a one-year deal with the Bears after splitting the prior season between the Packers and Redskins.

    Clinton-Dix indeed proved himself, grading at a 74.2 at Pro Football Focus. He registered 78 total tackles and allowed just a 59.1 completion percentage in coverage on 44 targets and picked off two passes.

    Now 27 years old, Clinton-Dix isn't going to break the bank in a deep secondary market ahead of a loaded draft class, but he'll be a productive add for a team seeking value on the back end of its defense.


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