2. March 2021

NFL Nation

The 2021 NFL Free Agency period officially begins at 4 p.m. AND on March 17. but speculation about which players might switch teams in the offseason began months ago.

With more than half of the league’s 32 teams rumored to be considering a quarterback swap, franchises with lower salary caps and dozens of high-profile players preparing to enter the market, this free agency period promises to be one of the busiest in the NFL in years.

With that in mind, ESPN’s NFL analyzes the needs of each team and its potential free agents.

Skip:
ARI: ATL: BAL: BUF: CAR: CHI: CIN:
CLE: DAL: DEN: DET: GB: HOU: IND:
JAX: KC: LAC: LV: MIA: MIN:
NE: NO: NYG: NYJ: PHI: PIT: SF:
SEA: TB: TEN: WSH

AFFC EAST

After the AFC Championship, the Bills’ future didn’t look so bright since the 1990s. But with only three returning starters on the offensive line and a defense that lacks a consistent passing game, general manager Brandon Beane will be busy strengthening the trenches. More about Marcel Louis-Jacques

The Dolphins are looking for offensive talent to complement quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who is especially reliable as a wide receiver. Chris Godwin (Tampa Bay) and Will Fuller (Houston) are two possible options. Read more about Cameron Wolfe

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1:12

Stephen A. Smith explains why next season and beyond is so important to Bill Belichick.

The Patriots have a lot of salary cap space in the offseason, when many teams are struggling, which gives them a chance to think about how to address their biggest needs. New England’s wish list could include receivers Chris Godwin, Allen Robinson II and Kenny Golladay, as well as tight ends Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith. They also need to negotiate a QB contract with free agent Cam Newton. More about Mike Rice

With an estimated $68 million budget, the Jets are one of the few teams that can spend aggressively, even if that’s not what general manager Joe Douglas prefers. Cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Jason Verrett, who played under Jets coach Robert Saleh in San Francisco, are names to keep an eye on in free agency. More about Rich Cimini

NORTH

The Ravens have focused on improving the supporting cast of quarterback Lamar Jackson this season. The shopping list could include receivers like Allen Robinson or Kenny Golladay, as well as top interior players like guard Joe Thuney or center Corey Linsley. More about Jamison Hensley

If the Bengals can add another dynamic target this season, their offense will be able to take a big step forward in quarterback Joe Barrow’s second season. The offensive line is another area of need. And if they don’t get linebacker Carl Lawson, the Bengals will have to add another baseball player. More about Ben Baby

– Top 100 Free Agent Rankings
– Overrated and Underrated Free Agents
– Free Agent Breakdown by Team
– Franchise Tags | Winning Tags
More information about Free Agents

With the offense in good shape, the defensive pieces are on point for the Browns, who seem to surround pass rusher Myles Garrett with more talent. Finding a linebacker who can play and help the secondary can be a priority in free agency. More about Jake Trotter

Because of the lowered salary cap and their inflated contracts, the Steelers don’t have much money to use in Free Agency. The priority is to keep some of their defensive players, like cornerback Mike Hilton and Cameron Sutton, and find suitable replacements for wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and running back James Conner. Learn more about Brooke Pryor.

SOUTH

It’s been a tumultuous offseason for the Texans, and the most important issue right now is the future of quarterback Deshaun Watson. Houston also has to decide if receiver Will Fuller is in their future plans. And releasing J.J. Watt means they’ll focus on finding talent for the defense – especially the defensive line. More about Sarah Barshop

The Colts have their quarterback situation under control with the contracting of Carson Wentz, but they have other needs. The priorities are deciding on the future of wideout T.J. Hilton, finding a replacement for left tackle Anthony Castonzo, adding help at linebacker and strengthening the pass rush. More about Mike Wells

The Jaguars have the most cap space in the league ($77 million) and need a left tackle, tight end, defensive end and secondary tackle. Possible free targets are tight end Hunter Henry and defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson. More about Mike DiRocco

After ranking 30th in the league with 19 sacks and allowing opponents to score touchdowns in 69% of their visits to the red zone, the Titans need to improve their defense. Obtaining third party support through free agency is critical. More about Turron Davenport

AH TO THE WEST

Denver’s offseason could depend on who remains, as safety Justin Simmons and defender Shelby Harris could enter the open market. The Broncos also have an important decision to make about the option year of linebacker Von Miller, who missed last season with an injury. More from Jeff Legwold

The offensive line will be the focus for the Chiefs, especially with the serious injuries to Mitchell Schwartz and Eric Fisher. You can also look for help in the back seven of the defense. More about Adam Teicher

For the Raiders, finding that elusive game-changing lead and undermining a young and mysterious secondary should be a priority. Other possible targets are running backs who can change space and defensive linemen who can move the pocket. More about Paul Gutierre

The Chargers could appeal to their offensive line to secure quarterback Justin Herbert. They also need to find another good wide receiver and decide what to do with tight end Hunter Henry, who is waiting in the wings as a free agent. More about Shelley Smith

NPC EAST

Although they won’t spend much in free agency because of the negotiations over quarterback Dak Prescott, the Cowboys have needs at every level of the defense. The linebackers and cornerbacks could look very different in the fall, and if Aldon Smith doesn’t return, a grinder may be needed. More about Todd Archer

– Contract within reach, Dak needs to get it done now
– Jets GM has money to spend, score to decide
– With QB decided, what’s next for the Rams offense
– How Bengals can build around Burrow
– FA targets to bolster Browns pass rush

This offseason, the Giants must decide what to do with the defensive line and whether they can afford to keep baseball player Leonard Williams and running back Dalvin Tomlinson. They also need to focus on talent that is highly ranked on the sides and a wide receiver. More about Jordana Ranan

The Eagles are expected to be above the $40 million salary cap for 2021 and are in the midst of a youth movement, so it’s unlikely they’ll play a significant role in Free Agency. A veteran quarterback (Jacoby Brissett?), an assistant at the skill positions and a backup in the secondary could be targets in the second wave of free agency. More about Tim McManus

Washington needs to provide more help to their QBs, starting with the wide receiver and tackle positions. He should also have another tight end. Defensively, he needs a linebacker, a safety and a cornerback. Several receivers will entice Washington with their speed, including Curtis Samuel, Will Fuller and Nelson Agholor. More about John Keim

NFC NORTH

With little space and needs across the board, general manager Ryan Pace will have to get creative to add a veteran QB and retain free agent Allen Robinson II at wide receiver. If the Bears can’t bring in a big-name quarterback, veterans like Alex Smith, Andy Dalton or Ryan Fitzpatrick could be within reach. More about Courtney Cronin

In interviews with former players, coaches, and celebrities, Peyton Manning explores the history of football and its cultural influence. Watch ESPN+

The Lions don’t have much money after trading quarterback Matthew Stafford, and he’s not expected to take over right away; general manager Brad Holmes has made it clear he wants to build through the draft. There could be big changes at receiver, and linebackers Kenny Golladay and Romeo Okwara could test the market. More about Michael Rothstein

The Packers must decide if they can afford to give up two members of their offense: Running back Aaron Jones and center Corey Linsley. There are signs that GM Brian Gutekunst is looking to expand the group of receivers. And cornerback could also be at the top of his wish list if Green Bay doesn’t re-sign Kevin King. More about Rob Demovsky

Coach Mike Zimmer said one of his priorities is to get more pass rushers after the Vikings had just 23 sacks last season. Melvin Ingram, Bud Dupree and Carl Lawson could be targets in free agency. The offensive line could be another area of focus as they need to improve pass protection. More about Courtney Cronin

NPC SOUTH

The Falcons don’t have much room, but they can make a move for a running back like James Conner or Leonard Fournette. Seeking help with overtaking and cornering can also work to your advantage. More about Michael DiRocco

The emphasis is on improving the quarterback position and rebuilding an offensive line with only one starter under contract. Crew is another need, and Hunter Henry could be a target at free agency. More about David Newton

The Saints’ budget is limited by a reduced salary cap. Safety Marcus Williams and defender Trey Hendrickson are the upcoming free agents expected to draw the most interest in the NFL. But quarterback Jameis Winston is likely the Saints’ priority, and Drew Brees is expected to retire. More about Mike Triplett

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3:21

Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman want the Pirates to give Antonio Brown a one-year contract.

The Buccaneers have about $24 million in cap space, which ranks 13th in the NFL. General manager Jason Licht and coach Bruce Arians said the priority was to contract their own players. Receivers Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown and linebackers Shaq Barrett and Lavonte David are among Tampa Bay’s free agents. Learn more about Jenna Lane.

NPC WEST

The Cardinals took a big step Monday by adding All-Pro J.J. Watt to a strong defensive line that already includes baseman Chandler Jones. There are a few other positions, like wide receiver, cornerback and tight end, that could help Arizona turn the corner and make the playoffs. Read more about Josh Weinfuss

The Rams must find creative solutions in free agency, as three key defenders – outside linebacker Leonard Floyd, safety John Johnson III and cornerback Troy Hill – will test the market. Adding a deep threat for quarterback Matthew Stafford – acquired in a trade that will become official early in the league year – is a priority. More about Lindsay Tyrie

The 49ers have pressing needs on the secondary and offensive line, and they could be involved in a constantly rotating quarterback carousel if the right opportunity arises. If leftback Trent Williams leaves, the Niners may turn to pass rushers like Shaq Barrett or Yannick Ngakoue. More about Nick Wagoner

With less than $10 million, the Seahawks will have to free up money through cuts (Carlos Dunlap?), restructuring (Bobby Wagner?) and maybe even salary cap moves to contract some of their own free agents, not to mention adding players. More about Brady Henderson

frequently asked questions

How long is the NFL free market period?

Teams are allowed to negotiate with the agents of prospective free agents during the two-day negotiation period, the period before the free agents are hired (in 2021: from noon on March 15 to 4 p.m. on March 17, Eastern time).

When does the NFL free agency begin?

NFL Free Agency officially kicks off the new year in the league at 4 p.m. and Wednesday the 17th. March.

Who are the other NFL free agents?

The NFL’s top 100 free agents remaining in 2021. | NFL…

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