1 Free Agent Every NFL Team Should Avoid This Offseason

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistJanuary 8, 2021

1 Free Agent Every NFL Team Should Avoid This Offseason

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    Elise Amendola/Associated Press

    For 18 of the NFL's 32 franchises, the 2021 offseason is already here. Executives from every team, however, already have at least one eye on their coming acquisition opportunities, which will start with free agency on March 17.

    The early days of free agency are always an exciting time in the NFL offseason, as big-name players fly off the market at rapid pace. That's likely to be the case again this offseason, even with a reduced salary cap. According to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport, the cap isn't likely to dip all the way to the league's established $175 million floor.

    Of course, while plenty of teams will have loads of draft capital, they shouldn't be quick to make every acquisition possible. Whether it's adding an aging star to a rebuilding roster, overpaying for a fading star or tightening the cap where it's inadvisable, some free-agent moves simply don't make sense.

    Just consider the New York Jets' 2019 decision to break the bank for Le'Veon Bell when contention was very much a distant dream.

    While we may not see a mistake as egregious this offseason, there are still some moves that are best avoided. Here, we'll examine each franchise and one player it shouldn't chase in 2021 free agency. Incumbent free agents are fair game here, but to keep things interesting, we'll be limiting pending free agents to one entry each.

Arizona Cardinals: Kenyan Drake

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    Jennifer Stewart/Associated Press

    The Arizona Cardinals were enamored enough with running back Kenyan Drake that they gave him the transition tag this past offseason. Unfortunately, he didn't quite live up to his $8.48 million price tag.

    Drake was a serviceable starter, finishing with 955 rushing yards, 137 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns. However, his 4.0 yards-per-carry average does not justify a hefty contract. Assuming that Drake is looking to cash in on the open market, he shouldn't be considered a target to bring back.

    The Cardinals should avoid the urge to bring back Drake for another run unless he is willing to sign a far more team-friendly deal. With Chase Edmonds under contract for another season, Arizona should instead look to the draft for its next complementary back.

Atlanta Falcons: Aaron Jones

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    Jason Behnken/Associated Press

    The Atlanta Falcons took a chance on running back Todd Gurley this past offseason, but he failed to regain his Pro Bowl form. That might cause them to go back to the free-agent well to bolster their ground game.

    On paper, Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones should be a prime target. He let the NFL with 16 rushing touchdowns in 2019 and just had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons.

    Unfortunately, Jones isn't likely to come at a bargain-basement price. That's a huge problem for the Falcons, who are projected to be more than $32 million over a $175 million cap.

    If Atlanta wants to restock its backfield, it will be better off looking at budget options or in the 2021 draft.

Baltimore Ravens: Kenny Golladay

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    Tony Ding/Associated Press

    Wide receiver Kenny Golladay seems like a perfect target for the Baltimore Ravens. They lack a legitimate No. 1 receiver, and Golladay has proved he can be one during his tenure with the Detroit Lions.

    Unfortunately, Golladay is also looking at a hefty payday in free agency. While the Ravens are projected to have more than $24 million in cap space, signing him wouldn't make sense financially.

    Baltimore has pending free agents of its own that it should prioritize first, such as pass-rushers Matt Judon and Yannick Ngakoue. Plus, there's the looming issue of Lamar Jackson's next contract. While the Ravens don't have to hand the 2019 NFL MVP a new deal this offseason, Jackson will be eligible for one.

    Even if Baltimore puts off Jackson's extension, it will have to give him a new deal in the near future. Signing a premier receiver like Golladay to a long-term contract could make that increasingly difficult.

Buffalo Bills: Le'Veon Bell

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    Isaac Brekken/Associated Press

    The Buffalo Bills have found their franchise quarterback in Josh Allen. They have their No. 1 receiver in Stefon Diggs. It wouldn't be a surprise to see them next address a rushing attack that ranked 20th in both yards and yards per attempt in 2020.

    Adding a running back in free agency would make sense for Buffalo. Targeting aging veteran Le'Veon Bell would not.

    While Bell seemed capable of regaining some of his Pro Bowl form after joining the Kansas City Chiefs this season, he hasn't. He's averaged a pedestrian 4.0 yards per carry and hasn't broken a run longer than 16 yards.

    The Bills are projected to be tight against the salary cap this offseason. If they're going to use their limited cap space on another running back, it should be on a player with more upside than the soon-to-be 29-year-old Bell.

Carolina Panthers: Ryan Fitzpatrick

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    David Becker/Associated Press

    The Carolina Panthers signed quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to a three-year, $63 million contract this past offseason. While he wasn't a total disaster, he was still arguably their biggest disappointment of the year.

    Bridgewater completed 69.1 percent of his passes, but he threw for only 15 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. There's a good chance that the Panthers look to move on from him sooner than later, but adding an aging veteran like Ryan Fitzpatrick shouldn't be an option.

    Fitzpatrick can be a quality starter for stretches, but he's also 38 years old. While FitzMagic might make for a fun 2021 season, he would leave Carolina looking for a long-term answer.

    The Panthers would be better off looking at quarterbacks with the eighth overall pick or younger free-agent options. Fitzpatrick might be a great target for a team on the verge of contention, but that isn't Carolina.

Chicago Bears: Cam Newton

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    Elise Amendola/Associated Press

    Quarterback Cam Newton could make financial sense for the Chicago Bears. Chicago is projected to be right up against the salary cap, and Newton may be one of the cheaper options on the free-agent market following an up-and-down season with the New England Patriots.

    However, the Bears are smack dab in their playoff window and don't need to waste another season trying to rehabilitate a quarterback's career. They've gone through that with Mitchell Trubisky this season, and it nearly cost them a playoff berth.

    If the Bears are going to roll with a free-agent reclamation project at quarterback, it would make more sense to bring back Trubisky. He already knows Matt Nagy's offense and the personnel on Chicago's roster.

    On the other hand, Newton would be starting over for the second time in two seasons. Assuming that Nagy is back for 2021, the Bears will be in win-now mode. Newton showed in New England that he isn't quite back to a point where winning now is a realistic option.

Cincinnati Bengals: A.J. Green

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    Emilee Chinn/Associated Press

    Sorry, Cincinnati Bengals fans. After 10 years, 9,430 receiving yards and seven Pro Bowls, it's time to move on from wideout A.J. Green.

    Cap space shouldn't be a concern for the Bengals this offseason, but that doesn't mean they should overpay to bring Green back. The only reason they would do so is to further the development of quarterback Joe Burrow.

    However, Green was perhaps more of a liability than an asset this season, as he caught only 45.2 percent of his targets and finished with 523 receiving yards. Cincinnati quarterbacks targeting Green had a passer rating of only 55.1, according to Pro Football Reference.

    Receiver isn't a pressing need for the Bengals, but if they choose to sign one in free agency, it shouldn't be Green.

Cleveland Browns: Jadeveon Clowney

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    Wade Payne/Associated Press

    The Cleveland Browns were interested enough in Jadeveon Clowney last offseason that they made the richest offer he received, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. However, Clowney wasn't keen on joining the Browns, and they made it to the postseason without him.

    While Clowney will again be available this offseason, Cleveland should now be the one without interest. The Browns aren't far away from contention, and they shouldn't overpay to bring in a boom-or-bust player who has mostly busted lately.

    Clowney was a virtual non-factor for the Tennessee Titans this past season, and he has produced only 3.0 sacks in his last two stops. That likely won't be enough to convince him to take a bottom-dollar prove-it deal, and Cleveland should look to spend on players who are more of a sure thing from a contribution standpoint.

Dallas Cowboys: Aldon Smith

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    Ron Jenkins/Associated Press

    Will the Dallas Cowboys try to bring back pass-rusher Aldon Smith in 2021? Owner Jerry Jones hinted back in November that he'd like to.

    "We want to maximize our relationship with him," Jones told 105.3 The Fan. "We've all got a good one with him."

    However, Smith shouldn't be a top target for the Cowboys in free agency. He's 31 years old, his production tapered off after a hot start to 2020—all five of his sacks came in the first eight games—and he's unlikely to accept the market minimum after proving that he can still play.

    For the Cowboys, who are projected to have roughly $18 million in cap space, that's a problem. Even if Dallas can find some more cap room, it's going to need it to re-sign or re-tag quarterback Dak Prescott.

    While it may not sit well with Jones, the Cowboys need to let Smith walk.

Denver Broncos: Von Miller

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    Denver Broncos pass-rusher Von Miller is not a free agent yet. The Broncos have a club option that they can exercise, keeping him out of free agency altogether.

    As a practical matter, though, he's likely to become available. That option would cost Denver more than $22 million—a hefty sum for a 31-year-old coming off of ankle surgery.

    Restructuring Miller's contract or releasing and resigning him could be options—one that team president John Elway would like to see explored.

    "We'd love to have Von finish his career here," Elway said, per Broncos Wire's Jon Heath.

    However, Elway is no longer Denver's general manager, and the team would be better off moving on from Miller. The Broncos aren't close to being a Super Bowl team, and their $16 million in cap space—$38 million they decline Miller's option—would be better spent retaining players like safety Justin Simmons and restricted free agent wideout Tim Patrick.

Detroit Lions: Duron Harmon

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    Kamil Krzaczynski/Associated Press

    Safety Duron Harmon started all 16 games for the Detroit Lions in 2020, but they should not prioritize re-signing him.

    Harmon is a solid and versatile safety, but he can be a liability in coverage. He allowed 597 yards and three touchdowns this past season, per Pro Football Reference.

    There's also no telling whether Harmon will be a fit for Detroit's next defensive coordinator. Acquiring him made sense because Harmon was well-versed in head coach Matt Patricia's defense, but Patricia is no longer with the team.

    The Lions have other free-agent priorities to address—like wideout Kenny Golladay—and only $6.5 million in projected cap space with which to work.

Green Bay Packers: Will Fuller V

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    The Green Bay Packers were heavily criticized this past offseason for not getting Aaron Rodgers more receiving help. While they should continue their search for a reliable No. 2 receiver this offseason, they shouldn't look to spend big in free agency to land him.

    The Packers have some solid contributors in Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. While a speedster like Houston Texans wideout Will Fuller V could add a much-needed deep-threat element on the perimeter, such an addition will not come cheaply.

    Fuller is likely to be one of the most coveted pass-catchers in free agency, which is a problem for Green Bay.

    The Packers are projected to be more than $22 million over the salary cap and should have no thoughts of chasing Fuller on the open market.

Houston Texans: Philip Rivers

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    Zach Bolinger/Associated Press

    A quarterback like Philip Rivers would only be a consideration for the Houston Texans if they trade starter Deshaun Watson. It's a possibility, though, as rumors are circulating that Watson could soon request a change of scenery.

    "We've already heard them from multiple different people, that Watson has quietly broached with teammates the possibility of requesting a trade," Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported Thursday.

    Even if the Texans do trade Watson Rivers should not be on the table for them. While the longtime starter does have experience playing in the AFC South, he's also a 39-year-old with the elusiveness of a tuna can.

    Houston's offensive line allowed 50 sacks in 2020, and pairing it with the statuesque Rivers would be a recipe for disaster.

Indianapolis Colts: Joe Flacco

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    John Cordes/Associated Press

    If the Indianapolis Colts don't find a new franchise quarterback in the draft, their best option for 2021 will be to run it back with Philip Rivers. While the 39-year-old hasn't been stellar in his inaugural Indianapolis campaign, he's played well enough to get the Colts into the postseason.

    However, Rivers had experience with head coach Frank Reich and offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni prior to signing with the Colts. There's no guarantee that bringing in another aging vet like Joe Flacco would pay similar dividends.

    Even if Rivers retires and the Colts don't land a quarterback prospect in the draft, Flacco should be off the table. Reich would be better off with someone who knows his system like Jacoby Brissett or potential trade targets Nick Foles and Carson Wentz.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Dak Prescott

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    Ron Jenkins/Associated Press

    The Jacksonville Jaguars are projected to have the most cap space in the NFL this offseason. If the Cowboys don't retain him, Dak Prescott is going to be the top quarterback on the open market.

    In theory, the Jaguars could outbid every other team to land Prescott if he does become available. Should they? Absolutely not.

    Jacksonville has the No. 1 pick in the 2021 draft, and Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence has already announced he will enter the draft. The Jaguars landing a generational prospect with that pick is now merely a matter of filling out the paperwork.

    While Prescott is a proven NFL commodity, taking a chance on Lawrence is the right call here. The Jaguars can instead spend their mountain of cap space to build around a rookie quarterback contract, potentially setting them up as an AFC contender in the not-too-distant future.

Kansas City Chiefs: Sammy Watkins

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    Wide receiver Sammy Watkins has been a quality contributor for the Kansas City Chiefs when healthy. However, injuries have sidelined him for 14 games in his three seasons with the Chiefs. 

    Targeting Watkins for a return isn't advisable unless he would be willing to take the league minimum. Having Watkins in an offense that also includes Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and Mecole Hardman is a luxury, and the Chiefs should be eying a cheaper and potentially more reliable alternative.

    The Chiefs are projected to be more than $16 million over the salary cap. With standout prospects like Ja'Marr Chase, Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith headlining a talented 2021 rookie receiver class, Kansas City should instead search for Watkins' replacement in the draft.

Las Vegas Raiders: Leonard Williams

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    Corey Sipkin/Associated Press

    An underwhelming pass rush continues to be a problem for the Las Vegas Raiders. The Raiders produced only 21 sacks in 2020 and will likely look to address the issue in free agency and the draft.

    While Giants defensive end Leonard Williams may be one of the best sack artists available in free agency, the Raiders would be better off avoiding him. He's going to be one of the league's hottest commodities, and overpaying to sign him could cripple Las Vegas financially.

    The Raiders are already projected to be more than $17 million over the cap this offseason. Even if they clear enough cap room to be a free-agency factor, they shouldn't blow their entire budget on a single player.

Los Angeles Chargers: Tyrod Taylor

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    Reed Hoffmann/Associated Press

    The Los Angeles Chargers seem to have found their franchise quarterback in Justin Herbert. While it would make sense to retain backup Tyrod Taylor for insurance purposes, re-signing him should not be atop their to-do list.

    Taylor lost his starting job to Herbert because of a medical mishap. It's unlikely that he'd be willing to give the team a discount to return, and the Chargers shouldn't be looking to spend big on an insurance plan.

    Los Angeles does not appear to be on the verge of a Super Bowl. But Herbert has shown himself to be a capable starter, and the Chargers have other offseason priorities.

    The Chargers have to decide on the futures of incumbents like Hunter Henry and Melvin Ingram. While they are projected to have more than $22 million in cap space, they can't afford to splurge on a quarterback who has already lost his job to the current starter.

Los Angeles Rams: Marcus Maye

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    Charles Krupa/Associated Press

    The Los Angeles Rams should want to re-sign safety John Johnson III. However, bringing him back could prove difficult, as they're projected to be more than $21 million over the cap.

    The Rams must avoid the temptation to bring in a veteran to replace Johnson.

    For example, versatile New York Jets safety Marcus Maye could be a perfect fit for defensive coordinator Brandon Staley's system. However, he's likely to be a coveted free-agent target.

    Los Angeles has young safeties such as rookies Terrell Burgess and Jordan Fuller along with 2019 second-rounder Taylor Rapp on the roster. It would behoove the Rams to continue developing their safety room as opposed to chasing a player like Maye to replace Johnson.

Miami Dolphins: Marlon Mack

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    Stephen B. Morton/Associated Press

    Colts running back Marlon Mack has been out since Week 1 with a torn Achilles, but he's a quality No. 1 option when healthy. In 2019, Mack piled up 1,091 rushing yards, 82 receiving yards and eight touchdowns.

    The Miami Dolphins should be interested in upgrading their backfield in the offseason, as they have lacked a reliable top option for the last few years. However, Mack should not be one of their free-agent targets.

    Mack is a relatively one-dimensional back, and the Dolphins already tried that with Jordan Howard. The power-rushing Howard couldn't carve out a role in Miami's offense and was jettisoned during the season.

    Miami needs to find a legitimate dual-threat back to help lead its offense, but preferably one who isn't coming off a significant leg injury. If the Dolphins believe they can function by adding a veteran alongside Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed, they need to find one with a bit more versatility than Mack.

Minnesota Vikings: Richard Sherman

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    Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press

    The Minnesota Vikings parted ways with Trae Waynes, Xavier Rhodes and Mackensie Alexander this past offense, and the defense struggled without them. They finished the regular season ranked 25th in pass defense and 29th in points allowed.

    It could be tempting to bring in a future Hall of Famer like San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman to help address the issues, but that wouldn't make sense for Minnesota.

    Sherman is not likely to take the league minimum on a new contract, but Minnesota is projected to be more than $14 million over the salary cap. Additionally, Sherman will likely be looking to land with a Super Bowl contender.

    Given the Vikings' tough cap situation and the inability of quarterback Kirk Cousins to guide the team deep into the postseason, Minnesota is probably closer to a rebuild than a Super Bowl right now.

New England Patriots: Jacoby Brissett

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    Zach Bolinger/Associated Press

    It certainly feels like Cam Newton won't be back in New England next season. Therefore, the Patriots will be in the market for a new signal-caller, and plenty of folks are likely to connect the dots to Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett.

    Brissett, you may recall, was traded from New England to Indianapolis in 2017. New England isn't opposed to bringing back familiar faces—it has brought back Brian Hoyer on multiple occasions—but this doesn't fit where the Patriots need to go.

    It's time for Bill Belichick to commit to the rebuilding process and roll with a young quarterback-of-the-future—be it Jarrett Stidham or a quarterback-to-be-drafted. If Belichick had any faith in Brissett's ability to be such a signal-caller, he probably wouldn't have traded him in the first place.

    The Patriots tried going with a stopgap veteran in Newton, and they only got to seven wins. While Brissett may be a more capable signal-caller than Newton at this stage of their respective careers, he isn't taking the Patriots to the Super Bowl.

New Orleans Saints: Jameis Winston

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    Gerry Broome/Associated Press

    Jameis Winston is currently the No. 3 quarterback on the New Orleans Saints depth chart. While bringing him back would make some sense on paper, it doesn't seem viable financially.

    Winston is unlikely to sign a team-friendly contract for a team that appears uninterested in giving him a starting opportunity. When Drew Brees went down in the regular season, it was Tayson Hill, not Winston, who got the chance to start.

    It's more likely that Winston will look to either land a starting gig or a sizeable payday as a high-end backup. Seeing as how the Saints are projected to have the least available cap space in the NFL this offseason, the Saints probably won't be able to offer either.

New York Giants: Corey Davis

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    Ben Margot/Associated Press

    The New York Giants could look to spark their 31st-ranked offense with a wide receiver addition this offseason. While Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard are fine complementary pieces, New York lacks a legitimate No. 1 receiver.

    Tennessee Titans wideout Corey Davis—who racked up 984 yards and five touchdowns in 14 games this season—could be a potential new No. 1 for New York. He's just 25 years old and should have the bulk of his playing career ahead of him.

    The issues with targeting Davis are twofold. For one, he has yet to experience a true breakout season and struggled with consistency before Ryan Tannehill's arrival. There's no guarantee that he'd be a functional top target for the uneven Daniel Jones.

    Just as importantly, Davis isn't likely to be a budget option coming off the best season of his pro career—and the Giants are projected to be over the salary cap. If New York is able to free up cap room, it would be better off using it on an incumbent player like Leonard Williams.

New York Jets: Lavonte David

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    Kevin Sabitus/Associated Press

    The New York Jets are projected to have the second-most cap space in the NFL this offseason. They should be able to throw money at virtually any free agent they want, and there are very few players who wouldn't help bolster their 2-14 roster.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David, however, is one of the few free agents that New York shouldn't consider. While the versatile two-time Pro Bowler is still playing at a high level, he's 30 years old and is more of a fit for a potential contender.

    The Jets are about as far away from contention as a team can get in 2020.

    Presumably, the Jets will also get C.J. Mosley back in the lineup after he opted out of the 2020 season. If Mosley is back, New York won't have a drastic need for an inside linebacker like David—even if he is one of the best overall defenders set to hit the open market.

Philadelphia Eagles: Allen Robinson II

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    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    Even though they just used a first-round pick on wideout Jalen Reagor, the Philadelphia Eagles could use wide receiver help. Travis Fulgham was the only wideout to top 500 receiving yards in 2020, and he led the team with just 539 of them.

    Allen Robinson II has the proven production and the skill set of a No. 1 receiver and could help fix Philadelphia's receiving woes. The problem is that as a legitimate No. 1 receiver, he's likely to be the most expensive receiver option on the open market. This, in turn, makes him not an option for the Eagles.

    Philadelphia is in a dire cap situation and is currently projected to be roughly $74 million over the salary ceiling.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Bud Dupree

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    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    Would the Pittsburgh Steelers love to have pass-rusher Bud Dupree back in the fold next season? Absolutely. The 2015 first-round pick has come on strong over the last couple of seasons, with 11.5 sacks in 2019 and 8.0 sacks this season before suffering a torn ACL.

    There's a big difference, however, between wanting a player back and paying the price to make it happen.

    The problem is that the Steelers could be approaching a significant rebuild precipitated by the end of Ben Roethlisberger's playing career. While Big Ben is under contract for 2021, he also knows that his time is running short.

    "I think every player should approach this playoff game like it could be their last playoff game ever," Roethlisberger recently told reporters. "... I know I am."

    If the Steelers are approaching a rebuild, it doesn't make much sense to chase a pricey free agent on the open market—especially one coming off of a significant injury. Pittsburgh is projected to be about $22 million over the cap and should instead look to the draft for more rebuild-friendly options.

San Francisco 49ers: Jason Verrett

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    Alex Gallardo/Associated Press

    Should the San Francisco 49ers want to re-sign cornerback Jason Verrett? Sure. He was healthy for 13 games in 2020 and played extremely well. He had seven passes defended, two interceptions and allowed an opposing quarterback rating of just 76.2, according to Pro Football Reference.

    However, targeting Verrett for a return could be a mistake. He's still a bit of an injury risk, having only played 19 games over the past five years. Now that he's healthy, he's not likely to come back on the league minimum either.

    While the 49eers are projected to have about $15 million in cap space, even signing Verrett to a fair market deal could prove problematic. Their main offseason priority needs to be locking up left tackle Trent Williams.

    As is the case with Richard Sherman's cornerback spot, San Francisco would be better off targeting a replacement in the draft.

Seattle Seahawks: Desmond King

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    Ben Margot/Associated Press

    The Seattle Seahawks could use additional depth in their secondary. Despite showing marked improvement down the stretch, Seattle still finished the regular season ranked 31st in passing yards allowed. 26-year-old Tennessee Titans cornerback Desmond King may seem like a natural free-agent target for Seattle, but there's a problem.

    King is young, he is productive—he's had four interceptions, five fumble recoveries and a defensive touchdown in four seasons—and he isn't likely to come cheaply.

    This is a problem for the Seahawks, who are projected to have roughly $15 million in cap space. Seattle will likely want to bring back incumbent corner Shaquill Griffin and may be forced to grant safety Jamal Adams a contract extension in the offseason.

    While bringing in a fresh, young pass defender like King is enticing, it doesn't make financial sense for Seattle.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Leonard Fournette

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    Mark LoMoglio/Associated Press

    Leonard Fournette has been a fine contributor for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season. While he's split backfield duties with Ronald Jones II, he has still been able to chip in 367 rushing yards, 233 receiving yards and six touchdowns.

    However, targeting Fournette for a return should not be an offseason priority for Tampa. The Buccaneers are in a good spot with the salary cap—they're projected to have more than $27 million in space—but that will quickly change if they bring back Chris Godwin and/or Shaquil Barrett in free agency.

    The reality is that Fournette is merely going to be a role player in Tampa's offense, and the Buccaneers can find cheaper options in the draft. Fournette cost the Buccaneers $2 million for the 2020 season, and it's unlikely that he would take a pay cut to return.

    That's too much for a part-time running back.

Tennessee Titans: Shaquil Barrett

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    Jason Behnken/Associated Press

    The Titans could desperately use some pass-rushing assistance. As a team, Tennessee ranked 29th in pass defense and produced a mere 19 sacks. While a premier pass-rusher like Tampa's Shaquil Barrett would be enticing, the Titans need to consider cheaper alternatives.

    Barrett played on the franchise tag in 2020 and will likely look to cash in during free agency. The Titans are projected to have just under $7 million in cap space and would likely need to free up some money to even have a shot at signing him.

    However, getting into a bidding war likely wouldn't bode well for Tennessee. The Titans took a chance on Jadeveon Clowney at a cost of $13 million this season, and they got virtually nothing in return. While Barrett is a more productive pass-rusher than Clowney—he's had 27.5 sacks over the past two seasons—he was never an elite sack-artist in his five seasons with the Broncos.

    Betting big on a pass-rusher who may or may not flourish in Mike Vrabel's defense is a gamble the Titans shouldn't make two offseason in a row.

Washington Football Team: Chris Godwin

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    Jason Behnken/Associated Press

    The Washington Football Team is going to get a good look at pending free agent Chris Godwin when the two face off this weekend. While Godwin is likely to be the top free-agent receiver available in the offseason, Washington shouldn't be looking to scout him for employment during the game.

    Yes, Washington is projected to have more than $40 million in cap space. Yes, the Football Team needs a reliable receiver opposite Terry McLaurin. However, signing Godwin would eat up a large chunk of the team's cap room, which could hamper its ability to address other positions.

    Washington first needs to settle its quarterback situation. Dwayne Haskins is gone, Alex Smith may or may not return in 2021, and the Football Team may not select highly enough to grab one of the top signal-callers in the draft.

    This could lead to Washington going after a free-agent quarterback like Cam Newton—who spent much of his career under head coach Ron Rivera—Jacoby Brissett or even Dak Prescott. If Washington does also choose to chase a receiver in free agency, it should consider more budget-friendly options and not a potential market-setter like Godwin.

       

    *Cap and contract information via Spotrac.

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