- Some top NFL players will be available when free agency opens on March 17
- Receivers Allen Robinson and Chris Godwin and quarterback Dak Prescott will be among the most coveted targets
- All of the top free agents, odds, picks and potential destinations are analyzed in the story that follows
March 17th might be St Patrick’s Day to a lot of folks, but it’s also free agency day for NFL players. That’s the first day unrestricted free agents will be eligible to sign with new teams.
NFL teams can begin to negotiate with free agents 48 hours prior to the launch of the free-agent signing period. This window is known as the legal tampering period.
Those who figure to be looking to catch on with new teams include a number of high-end wide receivers. That list is highlighted by Allen Robinson of the Chicago Bears, TY Hilton of the Indianapolis Colts, Antonio Brown and Chris Godwin of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, JuJu Smith-Schuster of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Kenny Golladay of the Detroit Lions.
Tight end Hunter Henry of the Los Angeles Chargers and quarterback Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys are among the other intriguing UFAs.
Let’s look at the list of top NFL free agents and other disgruntled player, where they might be headed for 2021: Allen Robinson | Antonio Brown | Chris Godwin | Dak Prescott | Hunter Henry | JuJu Smith-Schuster | Kenny Golladay | Rob Gronkowski | TY Hilton | Will Fuller | Derek Carr | Russell Wilson | Deshaun Watson | Carson Wentz
Where Will Allen Robinson Play Game 1 of 2021 NFL Season?
All odds as of Feb. 12th
Robinson Leaving Chi-Town?
The Bears had all season to get Robinson’s name on a contract extension. It never ended up happening, which doesn’t bode well for his future in the Windy City.
According to Robinson, the two sides haven’t even talked in weeks. He insists he’s open to all options. That includes staying with the Bears and surprisingly, a move back to his old team, the NFL-worst Jacksonville Jaguars.
Allen Robinson in red zone last 2 seasons
💰 10 TDs
💰 0 drops pic.twitter.com/ZZtbI3Cltg
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) February 12, 2021
Perhaps getting on the other end of Trevor Lawrence’s throws appeals to Robinson.
Robinson caught 102 passes for 1,250 yards and six touchdowns in 2020. You’d have to think the Baltimore Ravens would see value in adding him to their offense.
Pick: Baltimore Ravens (+750)
Where Will Antonio Brown Play Game 1 of 2021 NFL Season?
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||-550|
|Green Bay Packers||+500|
Brown Staying Put
The oft-troubled Brown looked to be out of NFL chances when the Buccaneers and Tom Brady threw him a lifeline – and it worked.
Antonio Brown says Tom Brady is like a big brother to him:
— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) February 8, 2021
Brown snared 45 receptions for 483 yards and four touchdowns. He appears to be enjoying himself again, so why would Brown seek change?
Pick: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-550)
Where Will Chris Godwin Play Game 1 of 2021 NFL Season?
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||-500|
|New England Patriots||+500|
|New York Giants||+750|
Godwin on a Go Pattern
Everyone wants to stay in Tampa Bay, and who wouldn’t desire to remain with the Super Bowl champions? However, there’s only so much money to go around.
Most receiving yards after contact since 2019: Chris Godwin (484) pic.twitter.com/bPYMtzUlnp
— PFF (@PFF) February 10, 2021
The Bucs are rich in wide receiver depth. You know who doesn’t own such depth? The Miami Dolphins.
Godwin stays in Florida, but moves home addresses.
Pick: Miami Dolphins (+500)
Where Will Dak Prescott Play Game 1 of 2021 NFL Season?
|Washington Football Team||+800|
|New England Patriots||+1200|
Cowboys Learn a Lesson
Is it possible that the best thing to happen to Prescott was a season-ending injury? The Cowboys and Prescott couldn’t finalize a long-term deal before last season.
Dak Prescott red zone stats since '19:
🔹 26 total TDs
🔹 1 turnover (1 INT) pic.twitter.com/h0D3yYqY1k
— PFF (@PFF) February 6, 2021
Then Dallas got a dose of life without Dak, and it was plenty ugly. In this instance, getting injured is going to get Prescott paid.
Pick: Dallas Cowboys (-1000)
Where Will Hunter Henry Play Game 1 of 2021 NFL Season?
|Los Angeles Chargers||-200|
|New York Jets||+400|
|New England Patriots||+400|
Can Henry Stay Healthy?
Henry’s numbers are solid. Imagine what he could do if he remained healthy for an entire season?
He’s never played a full season due to injury. Last year in 14 games, Henry caught 60 passes for 613 yards and four TDs.
Dak Prescott ➡️ Panthers
Trent Williams ➡️ Jaguars
Hunter Henry ➡️ Colts
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) February 9, 2021
With a regime change, the Chargers might not be willing to ante up for an injury-prone TE. But the Indianapolis Colts, in need of upgrade at that position and with plenty of cap space, can afford the risk.
Pick: Indianapolis Colts (+400)
Where Will JuJu Smith-Schuster Play Game 1 of 2021 NFL Season?
|Las Vegas Raiders||+160|
|New York Jets||+325|
Steelers Will Let Smith-Schuster Walk
Pittsburgh has a history of letting top receivers move on rather than pay them big bucks. The Steelers always seem to find another top wideout in the draft.
Juju Smith-Schuster this season:
🔸 143 targets
🔸 3 drops
Smith-Schuster: PFF's 23rd rank free agent pic.twitter.com/F6xfPGJtf1
— PFF (@PFF) February 11, 2021
The thought of a Pittsburgh player jumping to the Raiders would’ve been heresy back in the day. However, consider this possibility – suppose the New York Jets opt to keep Sam Darnold. They could reunite JuJu with his college QB.
Pick: New York Jets (+325).
Where Will Kenny Golladay Play Game 1 of 2021 NFL Season?
|New York Giants||+300|
Golladay an Underrated Pickup
Despite an injury-plagued campaign in which he was limited to 20 catches and four TDs, the Lions can’t afford to let Golladay get away. However, their difficult cap situation might mean that they can’t afford to keep him, either.
Age when Plaxico Burress signed w/Giants: 27
Kenny Golladay is 27.
Both had two 1,000 yd seasons under their belt by the time they were 26.
Plaxico was injured the season before signing with Giants in free agency. Golladay missed 11 games due to injury in 2020. #TogetherBlue
— WBG84 (@WBG84) February 12, 2021
He certainly would be an interesting fit with the Giants.
Pick: New York Giants (+300)
Where Will Rob Gronkowski Play Game 1 of 2021 NFL Season?
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||-650|
|Any Other Team||+375|
Gronk Won’t Pass on the Bucs
This might be the easiest call of all the 2021 NFL free agents. Gronk is either staying in Tampa Bay, or heading back to retirement.
Gronk in his element 🕺 🚤
(via _misstwelve/Instagram) pic.twitter.com/ntVpDJJQGB
— ESPN (@espn) February 10, 2021
After all the fun the Bucs had this season, why would he want to leave?
Pick: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-650).
Where Will TY Hilton Play Game 1 of 2021 NFL Season?
|New York Jets||+600|
|Green Bay Packers||+650|
|New England Patriots||+950|
Hilton Finds New Home
At 31, Hilton’s numbers the past two seasons have dipped below the digits he posted in the six seasons prior. He believes that the Colts want him back, but if they do, it will be at their price.
Just connected with Colts WR T.Y.Hilton, an impending UFA. "I'm 100% focused on my 1st free agency..bc I get to make that decision." On if he wants to return to Indy, Hilton told me, "gotta work both ways." On if he feels the #Colts want him back, he added, "yea I think they do."
— IG: JosinaAnderson (@JosinaAnderson) February 8, 2021
Hilton likely moves on. Jacksonville is going to be willing to overpay him to get Lawrence a reliable target.
Pick: Jacksonville Jaguars (+600).
Where Will Will Fuller Play Game 1 of 2021 NFL Season?
|New York Jets||+190|
|Washington Football Team||+375|
|Green Bay Packers||+650|
Houston Brushes Off Fuller
It’s housecleaning time in Houston. The Texans announced the release of multiple times NFL DPOY JJ Watt on Friday. QB Deshaun Watson is likely to be traded.
PFF Grade/Rank since 2018:
🔹 Will Fuller V – 86.9 (13th)
🔹 JuJu Smith-Schuster – 76.7 (38th)
Which free-agent WR would you rather have? 💰 ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/wsJZBKyEIN
— PFF (@PFF) February 10, 2021
If you’re Fuller, are you hanging around to endure a bottom up rebuild under the new coach David Culley and GM Nick Caserio?
Washington seems a likely landing spot for him, although don’t rule out Fuller going to Indy as Hilton’s replacement.
Pick: Indianapolis Colts (+375).
Several prominent NFL players are also being mentioned in offseason trade talk. There’s already been one blockbuster deal take place. In a swap of starting QBs, the Los Angeles Rams sent Jared Goff to the Lions for Matthew Stafford. A gaggle of draft picks also changed hands in that one.
Other QBs whose names are being bandied about in trade talk are Watson, Carson Wentz of the Philadelphia Eagles, and Derek Carr of the Raiders. Suddenly, there’s also speculation that Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks might be going their separate ways.
It figures to be a real game of QB roulette this spring. As many as 40% of NFL teams could end up with the new starter under center when all is said and done.
Where Will Derek Carr Play Game 1 of 2021 NFL Season?
|Las Vegas Raiders||-375|
|New England Patriots||+750|
Carr Parking In Vegas
There’s been plenty of trade conversations involving a Raiders QB, but Carr isn’t the guy teams are asking about. Las Vegas backup and former Tennessee Titans starter Marcus Mariota is the QB that teams are asking about.
Making one appearance in relief of an injured Carr in a 20-17 loss to the Chargers, Mariota was impressive. He completed 17-of-28 passes for 226 yards and a touchdown. The #2 pick in the 2015 NFL Draft also ran nine times for 88 yards and a score.
— theScore (@theScore) February 10, 2021
It was this performance that evidently wowed rival NFL personnel people. Mariota signed a two-year deal with the Raiders last season. He’s due a 2021 base salary of $10.625 million.
Carr is staying in Vegas. Mariota? Maybe not.
Pick: Las Vegas Raiders (-375).
Where Will Russell Wilson Play Game 1 of 2021 NFL Season?
|Las Vegas Raiders||+700|
|Washington Football Team||+1800|
Is It Rus-Sell Wilson?
Well, that one sure came out of left field. Speculation hit the NFL news cycle earlier this week about the possibility of Wilson and the Seahawks getting a divorce. It all stems from Wilson seeking more input into the direction of the team.
Asked about whether he was seeking a trade, Wilson’s suggestion was that call was up to the Seahawks.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 9, 2021
In point of fact, Wilson hasn’t requested a move. He just agreed to a four-year contract extension last season.
Seahawks management believes the direction the offense will take under new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron is well-suited to the strengths of Wilson’s game. This one seems like a non-starter.
Pick: Seattle Seahawks (-1100).
Where Will Deshaun Watson Play Game 1 of 2021 NFL Season?
|New York Jets||+350|
|San Francisco 49ers||+500|
End Seems Near For Watson In Houston
Friday’s news that the Texans were parting ways with veteran defensive leader Watt would sure seem an indication that Houston is about to blow it all up and start from scratch.
Does Watson really want to stay the course as the ship is rebuilt? At this juncture, any hope that the two sides could find common ground the mend their differences would appear beyond the realm of possibility.
Miami has always made sense as a destination for Watson, because the Dolphins could send Tua Tagovailoa back the other way. That would give Houston a new QB of the future.
J.J. Watt shared an emotional moment with Deshaun Watson after what would be his final game as a Texan ❤️
— ESPN (@espn) February 12, 2021
However, it must be remembered that Watson has a no-trade clause. He can veto any deal he doesn’t like.
Evidently, one locale that does interest him is San Francisco. A team that went to the Super Bowl two years ago, the 49ers were riddled with injuries this season.
The Niners are loaded with talent on both sides of the ball and could bounce right back into contention. As well, they could include QB Jimmy Garoppolo in any package for Watson.
Pick: San Francisco 49ers (+500).
Where Will Carson Wentz Play Game 1 of 2021 NFL Season?
|Washington Football Team||+900|
|New England Patriots||+1700|
|Las Vegas Raiders||+1800|
|San Francisco 49ers||+2200|
|New York Jets||+3500|
Where Will Carson Wentz Be Playing?
Much like the Watson scenario in Houston, the relationship between Went and the Philadelphia Eagles is fractured beyond repair. He’s moving on, that’s a certainty.
Again, similar to the Watson to Miami rumors, there’s been plenty of recent speculation about Wentz going to the Bears. The team that makes the most sense though, on both sides of the equation, has to be the Colts.
“My understanding is that the Colts have offered two 2nd-round draft choices, maybe a 3rd or 4th down the road. That appears to be the best offer I have heard.” pic.twitter.com/W6m4myTvV9
— Locked On Colts Podcast (@LockedOnColts) February 11, 2021
Indy is a QB away from being a legitimate Super Bowl contender. All of the other pieces are in place. And they’ve got plenty of space to absorb the cap hit that Wentz’s arrival would create.
Reports are that the Colts have offered Philly two second-rounders, plus third and fourth-round draft picks for Wentz. Indy head coach Frank Reich was Wentz’s offensive coordinator in Philly, so that should be another enticement for the QB to want to become a Colt.
Pick: Indianapolis Colts (+160).