NFL Free Agents 2021: Rounding Up Rumors and Predictions for Market's Top Names

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistMarch 20, 2021

NFL Free Agents 2021: Rounding Up Rumors and Predictions for Market's Top Names

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    The 2021 edition of NFL free agency continues with the first weekend of the open-market period. While the market unofficially opened on Monday, it's far from reaching its conclusion.

    Several big-name free agents remain available, and there are many value signings to be had as we enter the market's second wave. The free-agent pool is fluid, too, as teams are beginning to release players for cap-saving purposes.

    The Chicago Bears, for example, are expected to release Pro Bowl cornerback Kyle Fuller—though the move wasn't official as of Friday evening, according to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport.

    What notable moves might occur over the weekend? Let's examine the latest buzz and make some predictions.

Broncos in on Fuller

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    Gary McCullough/Associated Press

    While Rapoport reported on Friday that the Fuller release isn't yet official, that could be a mere matter of paperwork. He previously reported that Chicago was making the move, and it seems that other teams are expecting it to become official.

    The Denver Broncos are one team that is expected to chase Fuller if he is indeed available.

    "The Broncos continue seeking more cornerback help, and have turned their attention to Kyle Fuller, released by the Bears on Thursday night," Troy Renck of ABC 7 Denver wrote.

    A Broncos-Fuller pairing would make sense for a couple of reasons. For one, Fuller is a quality starter. Secondly, he has a connection with Broncos head coach Vic Fangio. The two were in Chicago together for four seasons, as Fangio served as the Bears' defensive coordinator from 2015-2018.

    The Broncos have $37.8 million in cap space and can make a heavy play for Fuller if the opportunity presents itself. If it does, there's a good chance that Fuller calls Denver home sooner than later.

    Prediction: Denver Signs Fuller to a multi-year deal.

Golladay's Visit with the Giants Went "Well"

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    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    Wide receiver Kenny Golladay is one of the most notable names left on the open market. With JuJu Smith-Schuster re-joining the Pittsburgh Steelers on Friday, he's unquestionably the top wideout still available.

    The New York Giants, who lack a legitimate No. 1 receiver, are hot on Golladay's trail. They've spent time with the Detroit Lions pass-catcher in recent days.

    According to Paul Schwartz of the New York Post, the meetings have gone well:

    "Golladay arrived at the Giants’ facility Thursday afternoon for a visit that included dinner. That visit extended into Friday evening, with Golladay meeting Judge, members of the offensive staff and also general manager Dave Gettleman. By all accounts, the get-to-know-you went well enough for Golladay, 27, to spend the night in the area while his representatives and the Giants continued to negotiate and set parameters on a contract."

    The issue for New York is its cap space. The Giants are currently $13.9 million over the cap and not in a position to make Golladay a high-end offer immediately. According to Schwartz, Golladay turned down an extension worth roughly $18 million per year from the Lions in 2020. If that's indeed the sort of money that he is seeking, Golladay is unlikely to sign with New York or any other team in the next few days.

    Prediction: Golladay remains unsigned through the weekend.

Cowboys Set to Go Safety Shopping Next Week

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    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    Safety Malik Hooker was a first-round draft pick of the Indianapolis Colts in 2017. While he never quite lived up to expectations in Indy—and didn't get a fifth-year option—he still has plenty of upside as a pro.

    Hooker could potentially pursue that upside with the Dallas Cowboys. He is one of two free-agent safeties expected to meet with the Cowboys next week. According to Michael Gehlkin of the Dallas Morning News, the Cowboys will host Hooker and fellow safety Damontae Kazee in the coming days.

    Both safeties are coming off Achilles tears, which is likely why they remain available in the second wave of free agency.

    "They're expected to undergo physicals when in town," Gehlken tweeted. "Team can gauge recoveries, proceed from there."

    Obviously, the medicals are going to determine which, if either, of the safeties that Dallas signs. It would be a mild surprise, though, if the Cowboys didn't walk away from the meeting with at least one new contributor for their 23rd-ranked defense.

    Prediction: Dallas signs either Hooker or Kazee before the end of next week.


    *Cap information via Spotrac.