2021 NFL Free Agency: Rumors, Predictions for Sammy Watkins, Trai Turner, More

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistMarch 23, 2021

2021 NFL Free Agency: Rumors, Predictions for Sammy Watkins, Trai Turner, More

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    Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

    While the second wave of NFL free agency isn't typically as drama-filled as the first, it's still an exciting time for football fans. With the first week of the open market in the rear view, now is the time when teams go bargain-hunting.

    Bargains are good for teams, especially as it relates to the big picture. Landing a big-name free agent early in the opening week often requires a substantial financial commitment. This can leave a team saddled with an underwhelming player—potentially for years—if he doesn't prove to be a strong fit.

    Second-wave players are generally less expensive but can be just as impactful as their early-target brethren. Take running back Leonard Fournette, for example. He wasn't released until August and wasn't signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers until early September. He joined on a modest one-year, $2 million contract but went on to be a Super Bowl hero.

    While there may not be a playoff surprise still lurking in free agency, there is still value to be had.

    Here, we'll dig into the latest buzz and make some predictions.

Sammy Watkins Drawing Interest from Ravens, Colts

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    Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

    Wideout Sammy Watkins is the sort of role player who could help a team win the big one. That's precisely what he did for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2019, though he certainly wasn't a budget option when he first joined the franchise.

    Two potential Super Bowl contenders are in the mix for Watkins, too. According to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport, the Baltimore Ravens have a meeting set up with the 27-year-old for Tuesday.

    "WR Sammy Watkins, one of the top free-agent pass-catchers is on his way to Baltimore tonight to visit the Ravens tomorrow, source said. The Ravens have been working to add a WR in free agency," he tweeted.

    According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Clemson product will visit the Colts if he makes it out of Baltimore, with the Tennessee Titans and Houston Texans also interested.

    Given Baltimore's sustained interest in adding a receiver—they were also in on JuJu Smith-Schuster before he re-signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers, according to Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio—there's a good chance the Ravens don't let Watkins get away.

    Prediction: Watkins signs with Baltimore

Bengals Haven't Reached out to Trai Turner

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    David Becker/Associated Press

    One of the biggest names remaining on the free-agent market is guard Trai Turner. He was released by the Los Angeles Chargers only a year after being acquired via trade, and the five-time Pro Bowler should be high on the wish list of multiple teams.

    The Cincinnati Bengals should be among them. They need to bolster their offensive line after giving up 48 sacks and allowing Joe Burrow to suffer a season-ending injury. The Bengals also have $23.3 million in cap space, making them one of the few teams that could offer the 27-year-old a top-market deal.

    However, the Bengals don't appear to be as interested in Turner as one might expect.

    "The Bengals have not as of yet reached out to free-agent guard Trai Turner, per a source close to the situation," Tyler Dragon of the Cincinnati Enquirer tweeted.

    This could change in the not-too-distant future. There hasn't been a ton of buzz surrounding Turner since his release. When the market finally does heat up, we'd expect Cincinnati to get involved.

    Prediction: Cincinnati at least makes a play for Turner before he's off the market.

Chiefs, Jets Interested in K'Waun Williams

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    Tony Avelar/Associated Press

    While there hasn't been much confirmed interest in Turner, it's a different story for cornerback K'Waun Williams.

    According to Mike Kaye of NJ.com, the 29-year-old is set to visit with the Kansas City Chiefs on Tuesday. He also reported that the New York Jets have had some interest in Williams.

    The Jets connection is obvious, as former San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh is now New York's head coach. For the Chiefs, the interest likely lies in Williams' ability and the team's defensive needs.

    Kansas City ranked 14th in passing yards allowed and 18th in yards per attempt allowed last season.

    According to Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area, the Detroit Lions are also interested in Williams, as is San Francisco.

    If the Chiefs are hoping to secure Williams, they would be wise to not let him leave without a contract. Our guess is that's exactly what happens.

    Prediction: Williams signs with Kansas City.