Top-10 Upcoming Free Agent Defensive Linemen for the 2021 NFL Offseason
Building a top-tier defense starts with the defensive line. Teams rarely let elite-level defensive linemen get away, but sometimes contracts, injury issues or a top new draft pick force teams to part with players.
There are some names and players to watch as teams head into the offseason and free agency approaches in March. Here are the top-10 defensive linemen and edge rushers likely to hit free agency this offseason
10. Ryan Kerrigan, Edge - Washington Football Team (UFA)
9. Yannick Ngakoue, Edge - Baltimore Ravens (UFA)
8. Justin Houston, Defensive End - Indianapolis Colts (UFA)
7. Jadeveon Clowney, Defensive End - Tennessee Titans (UFA)
6. Bud Dupree, Edge - Pittsburgh Steelers (UFA)
A torn ACL at the end of the 2020 season hurts the former 2015 first-round pick. So did his stats and fall off from his career-best year and Pro Football Focus ranking in 2019.
5. Matt Judon, Edge - Baltimore Ravens (UFA)
4. Shaquil Barrett, Edge - Tampa Bay Buccaneers (UFA)
Few players have had the rise of Buccaneers edge rusher Shaq Barrett. Undrafted out of Colorado State in 2014, Barrett saw limited playing time with Denver playing alongside stars Von Miller and Bradley Chubb. Barrett has flourished as a starter in his two seasons in Tampa, and 2020 saw him register 8 sacks and 41 QB pressures. He's in line for some serious cash as he hits the free-agent market.
3. Melvin Ingram, Defensive - Los Angeles Chargers (UFA)
2. Von Miller, Edge - Denver Broncos (UFA)
A future Hall of Famer, Miller began his career with eight-straight seasons with PFF elite grades over 90.0 before slipping to just 79.0 in 2019. The 2011 No. 2 overall draft pick and eight-time pro bowler missed the 2020 season in Denver with an ankle injury. Miller turns 32 on March 26, and he'll be in pursuit as a free agent if the Broncos don't exercise his option. Denver could save $17.5 million in base salary by letting Miller go. Teams like the Dolphins, Jets or Colts as a contender have cap space and the money to spend.
1. Leonard Williams, Defensive Tackle - New York Giants (UFA)
Leonard Williams ranked Top 20 on Pro Football Focus' top defensive interior linemen ahead of the 2020 season. He now has his first chance at a massive contract and the Giants may not be the top team willing to dough out the money. Williams had a strong 2020 season with 11.5 sacks and a whopping 41 quarterback pressures to rank top-7 in both categories. Williams is now a coveted free agent. The No. 6 overall pick in the 2015 draft was traded by the Jets to the Giants in 2019.
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