Breakdowns

Let’s Go Shopping: Five Potential Free-Agent Bargains

It’s easy to identify the top-tier players who will hit the open market when the NFL’s free agency signing period begins at 4 p.m. Wednesday. Of course, it takes big money to sign the big-name stars. No player is cheap in today’s NFL, but there are some available players that will provide excellent value.

 

Now, if more than one team values an underrated player, the pricetag may jump. That said, here are the top five potential bargain free agents:

 

1. Curtis Samuel, Carolina Panthers, UFA

● Caliber: Good Starter

● Age: 25

● 2020 AAV: $1.6M

● 2020 Notable Stats:

○ 77 receptions, 41 carries

○ 11.1 yards per reception, 4.9 yards per carry

○ 5 Total TDs

Curtis Samuel has been described as a player that can line up anywhere on the offense and make an impact. The difference between your typical “Jack of all trades” WR/RB/ST player and Samuel is his incredible route running. Samuel creates separation with his routes to a degree that could make him an impact player. Samuel spent his first four seasons with QBs who could not consistently utilize this skill, and so his second contract will be one in which he needs to prove he can do it. If Samuel goes to a team with a top-10 QB, he could be looking at an All-Pro potential season.

 

2. Marlon Mack, Indianapolis Colts, UFA

● Caliber: Good Starter

● Age: 25

● 2020 AAV: $633K

● 2020 Notable Stats:

○ 4 carries

○ 6.5 yards per carry

○ 3 receptions

Mack topped 1,000 scrimmage yards in both 2018 and 2019, averaging over 4.5 yards per carry in that span. He also scored a combined 18 touchdowns. The reason he might be a steal this offseason is that he tore his Achilles tendon in the first game of the 2020 season. A player recovering from this kind of injury will be looking at a one-year “prove it” deal where he will need to show he was able to recover from such a devastating injury. A team with a strong line could fill in their RB role with Mack for relatively cheap and take the chance to have a top 10 RB for a year to immediately improve their offense.

 

3. Gerald Everett, TE, Los Angeles Rams, UFA

● Caliber: Starter

● Age: 27

● 2020 AAV: $1.29M

● 2020 Notable Stats:

○ 41 receptions

○ 10.2 yards per reception

○ 1 TD

The former second-round pick out of South Alabama never lived up to his draft position with the Rams. Everett seemed to have a mix of bad luck and poor rapport with the coaching staff as he was never able to fully take the starting role from Tyler Higbee. He is a solid receiving threat from the TE position and could thrive with the right system. He will come at a reduced cost due to his exit with the Rams but could exceed expectations quickly.

 

4. Malik Hooker, Indianapolis Colts, UFA

● Caliber: Starter

● Age: 25

● 2020 AAV: $3.15 M

● 2020 Notable Stats:

○ 2 games

○ 7 tackles

○ 0 PDs

Hooker is a former first-round pick out of Ohio State who is a high-risk, high-reward free agent. Hooker has spent a considerable amount of his career battling injuries, which will turn a lot of teams off (understandably). This may force Hooker to take a deal that either fully protects the team financially from his injuries, or is very cheap, to show he can stay healthy. If he can put together a healthy year, he has the skill and ability to be a difference-making safety that can force turnovers and play centerfield.

 

5. K’waun Williams, San Francisco 49ers, UFA

● Caliber: Starter

● Age: 25

● 2020 AAV: $3.15 M

● 2020 Notable Stats:

○ 2 games

○ 7 tackles

○ 0 PDs

Williams is a nickel corner who, though being undersized, plays incredibly physical and close to the line of scrimmage. His play style is aggressive and he is comfortable getting his hands on receivers in press and charging the line of scrimmage on screens or to rush the passer. He is heavily rumored to be following Robert Saleh to the New York Jets, but other teams should take a look at this player’s skill set before letting him sign with his former DC at a discount.

 

SEE ALSO: Free Agent Storylines l Top 5 Free Agents By Position

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