The best fits for remaining NFL free agents
It’s been a month since the start of NFL free agency, and after a heavy flurry of activity early, there are still big names that remained unsigned.
Cam Newton tops that list. Selected first overall by the Carolina Panthers in 2011, and the 2015 NFL MVP, Newton was released following the 2019 season and is now free to sign with any club.
But which team presents the best fit for Newton? Let's break down the top five remaining free agents, and which team could be the best fit.
Cam Newton (Quarterback, New England Patriots)
There are definitely teams in the market for a quarterback. The New England Patriots, Los Angeles Chargers, Cincinnati Bengals, and Miami Dolphins all have a need.
The NFL Draft offers one avenue for those teams to address that need, but the Patriots would likely have to work some magic through trades to land Tua Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert, the two most touted quarterback prospects after Joe Burrow.
With Tom Brady now in Tampa Bay, Newton could at least provide a short-term fit for the Patriots.
If the Patriots can’t trade up to draft a top quarterback prospect next week, Newton would certainly provide more upside in their offense, compared to current rostered quarterbacks Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer.
Salary cap space may be the biggest problem. The Patriots are tight against the cap, with very little wiggle room.
Official cap space by team (teams 24-32):— Field Yates (@FieldYates) March 30, 2020
24. BAL: 13,513,779
25. GB: 12,966,433
26. MIN: 12,495,443
27. SEA: 11,317,846
28. NO: 9,237,537
29. PIT: 8,667,814
30. ATL: 7,530,188
31. NE: 891,775
32. KC: 177
Eric Reid (Safety, Houston Texans)
Adding another safety to the Texans defense doesn’t seem like a necessary move at this point, but they have been rumored to be a possible destination for Reid.
That stems from reports that Justin Reid, Eric Reid's younger brother, pitched the idea to head coach Bill O’Brien.
Justin Reid finished his second year with the Texans in 2019, with two interceptions, a fumble recovery, and 78 tackles. Houston also has nine-year veteran Tashaun Gipson at free safety. Gipson had three interceptions last season.
Houston's pass defense was among the worst in the NFL last season, so any help would be welcome.
Jadeveon Clowney (Defensive end, Seattle Seahawks)
The window for Clowney’s return to the Seahawks appears be shut.
He became a free agent after his first — and possibly only — year in Seattle, in which he dealt with a sports hernia for a good portion of the season.
He has yet to land a contract for next season, despite his ability to disrupt opposing quarterbacks, play with speed off the edge, and make crucial plays when a defense needs it.
The best fit, however, remains in Seattle.
The Seahawks need all the help they can get on the defensive line.
Clowney had only three sacks last year, but he found other ways to contribute, with a pair of defensive touchdowns — one on an interception, the other on a fumble recovery.
If he can remain healthy, he will have a significant impact on Seattle’s defense, which the Seahawks need if they’re to compete for a championship.
Logan Ryan (Cornerback, Detroit Lions)
No one can blame Ryan for wanting to cash in on his impressive 2019 season with the Tennessee Titans.
At age 28, Ryan posted four interceptions, four forced fumbles, 4 1/2 sacks and a career-best eight hits on the quarterback, which helped the underdog Titans rise up to the AFC Championship Game.
The Detroit Lions could be a good fit for Ryan, considering they had the worst pass defense in the NFL, and it’s likely head coach Matt Patricia will be on the hot seat this year.
Patricia needs to deliver, and Ryan could be an important piece for a lackluster defense.
Jameis Winston (Quarterback, Los Angeles Chargers)
Winston threw for a league-leading 5,109 yards last season, which is impressive until you remember he also threw 30 interceptions.
Tampa Bay decided to move on from the 2015 first overall pick, and Winston remains without a contract for next season.
The Chargers could be an interesting fit.
The Bolts and Philip Rivers have parted ways, but they still have Tyrod Taylor and he is their likely starter.
But the Chargers are in need of a younger quarterback to grow, develop, and eventually take over the offense. They could address this through the draft and rebuild the offense around a new prospect., but Winston may still have something to offer.
He has the ability to push the ball down the field, and the Chargers have a number of inviting targets, like Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and Hunter Henry. Austin Ekeler is a dual-threat running back, as well.