3 Best NFL Linebackers Likely to Hit Free Agency in 2020
The NFL Playoffs are set, with only 12 teams left alive to compete for the Lombardi Trophy. For the 20 other teams, their focus has shifted to the offseason, preparing to make their teams better for next season.
The old saying is that defense wins championships, and the heart of the defense often resides in the linebacking corps. These are three of the best linebackers that are set to hit free agency this offseason, and they could all help anchor a team's defense.
1. Shaquil Barrett, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Arguably the top linebacker available is Tampa's Shaquil Barrett, and he is set for a nice pay day. The undrafted linebacker enjoyed a career year in his lone season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, totaling a league-leading 19.5 sacks and forcing six fumbles. There are plenty of teams that struggle getting consistent pressure, and Barrett can step in and deliver just that.
2. Jamie Collins, New England Patriots
Jamie Collins returned to the New England Patriots on a one-year deal after a brief stint with the Cleveland Browns. Collins seemed to pick up right where he left off, racking up seven sacks, 82 tackles, three forced fumbles and three interceptions. The veteran linebacker flies all over the field as an every-down defender, and he has likely proven himself worthy of another multi-year deal.
3. Bud Dupree, Pittsburgh Steelers
The young outside linebacker has improved in each of his five seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers. This season, Dupree played nearly 91 percent of the defensive snaps while tallying 11.5 sacks, 68 tackles and four forced fumbles. Now that his rookie deal is up with the Steelers, he is in line for a big contract, whether that happens in Pittsburgh or not.
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