NFL Free Agents 2021: Latest Rumors on Melvin Ingram, Sammy Watkins, More

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistMarch 24, 2021

NFL Free Agents 2021: Latest Rumors on Melvin Ingram, Sammy Watkins, More

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    Doug Murray/Associated Press

    The NFL offseason moves quickly. The official start of free agency was only a week ago, but the football world has already largely turned its attention to next month's draft.

    However, while pro-day coverage and mock drafts are likely to dominate the media in the coming weeks, teams are still making free-agent moves. Quality players remain available. Even if they aren't as heavily coveted as those who came off the market in free agency's first wave, they can be most impactful.

    Pass-rusher Melvin Ingram, for example, is a three-time Pro Bowler with 49 career sacks on his resume. Injuries limited him to just seven games in 2020 and likely reduced his market value, but that doesn't mean he can't be the missing piece to a team's Super Bowl puzzle.

    Let's dig into the latest buzz surrounding Ingram and some of the other top free agents who remain unsigned.

Ingram Set to Meet with Kansas City

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    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    A knee injury limited Ingram last season, but he produced 24.5 combined sacks in his three previous campaigns. If he can return to pre-injury form, he could become a major contributor for a playoff contender.

    The Kansas City Chiefs seem to agree. Per ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, the Chiefs are set to host the 31-year-old on Wednesday after initially planning a visit for Tuesday. "Logistical issues" were responsible for the delay, according to Fowler. 

    While Kansas City has a pair of Pro Bowl pass-rushers in Frank Clark and Chris Jones, it also logged just 32 sacks as a team in 2020. Adding a third proven sack-artist to the rotation could help it pressure opposing passers with more consistency.

    The Chiefs got a first-hand look at what a dominant pass rush can provide in the Super Bowl, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers pressured Patrick Mahomes all game long.

    Adding Ingram could give Kansas City a similarly dangerous defensive front.

Watkins Drawing Interest from at Least 4 Teams

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    Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

    Wideout Sammy Watkins was with the Chiefs in Super Bowl LV, and he helped Kansas City win the big game two seasons ago. He had five catches for 98 yards in Super Bowl LIV and 288 yards and a touchdown in the 2019 postseason.

    While the 27-year-old hasn't developed into a No. 1 receiver, he has more than proved his worth as a complementary piece.

    Unsurprisingly, multiple teams are interested in the pass-catcher. He has already met with the Baltimore Ravens, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, and is on the radar of at least three other franchises.

    "Free-agent WR Sammy Watkins is scheduled to visit the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday after Tuesday’s trip to Baltimore with the Ravens, per sources. Watkins also has drawn some interest from the Titans and Texans," Schefter tweeted.

    If Watkins doesn't sign with the Colts, Indianapolis may look to re-sign T.Y. Hilton. The four-time Pro Bowler has spent his entire career with the team but remains on the open market.

    Appearing on The Pat McAfee Show, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport said the Colts are "still in talks" with Hilton and a reunion could occur.

Buccaneers, Patriots Interested in Fournette

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    While Tampa Bay's pass rush was arguably the biggest difference-maker in Super Bowl LV, Leonard Fournette's contribution shouldn't go unnoticed.

    The ball-carrier helped put the game away with 89 rushing yards, 46 receiving yards and a touchdown.

    According to Rapoport, the Buccaneers are interested in re-signing the 26-year-old but could have competition.

    "I know the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Fournette have been discussing a deal, there's been several other teams interested," Rapoport said on NFL Network. "I know publicly, the Patriots have been mentioned as a possible other team involved with Fournette, but we'll see if it ends up being something that Tampa Bay gets done."

    The New England Patriots seem like an odd suitor as they have 2018 first-round pick Sony Michel and 2019 third-round pick Damien Harris headlining their backfield. Of course, they love to utilize multiple backs and, given their offseason spending spree, perhaps no free-agent target should be surprising.