We have a lot of big names that will be on new teams in 2019, and not just from free agency. In the past season, we have seen a lot of different moves between trades and players being cut. Just based off of the last season, this offseason will have a lot of acquisitions. The pressure is on for so many teams. There’s rarely any teams that are in a re-building process, probably less than 10. That means those other 20 teams or so are wanting to find a way to win as soon as possible. If their current team can’t get it done, they need to find the pieces that can make it happen. The question is, who makes that happen?
Each team has their core players, but they want to find those new players that can help advance their team. Sometimes those core players aren’t part of the future. We saw that this offseason with Khalil Mack, who was a star on the Raiders but was traded to the Bears. Look at how that trade turned out though. Some trades completely change the dynamic of a team.
We’re going to break down 20 players who will find new teams this offseason, and some potential teams that will be interested. While there are always those frontrunners in signing a player, that doesn’t always work out. The Broncos seemed like the frontrunner to sign Kirk Cousins this offseason, but the Vikings landed him. You never know with the NFL. So, who will it be?
20 Robert Quinn - Arizona Cardinals
Football fans shouldn’t expect Robert Quinn to be a Dolphin in 2019. Between Week 13-15, Quinn had three sacks alone. For the first nine weeks of the season though, he only had one sack. This team would make a huge mistake by keeping Quinn on the roster, when they could save nearly $13 million against the cap by cutting him. The Dolphins simply can't have that money tied up for an inconsistent player.
Quinn will likely look to find a team willing to pay a decent amount. Look at the Cardinals as a possible destination. They have cap space and being in a division with the Rams, they'll want to load up on pass rushers. Signing Quinn and drafting someone like Joey Bosa could inject some life into the Cards.
19 Julian Edelman - Detroit Lions
It's no secret that the Patriots receiving corps has been a big disappointment this season, which is a big reason why Tom Brady has started to show some chinks in his armor. Bill Belichick has never been shy about moving on from players once he feels they're declining and there's no doubt Julian Edelman hasn't looked like his old self, coming off a torn ACL in the 2017 season. With the Patriots having explored a trade with Gronkowski last year with Detroit, Edelman could very well be bound for Detroit this offseason, as the Lions. Expect the Pats to look to trade the 32-year-old receiver or to cut him with one year left on his contract.
18 Jay Ajayi - Baltimore Ravens
Jay Ajayi may have hit his ceiling in 2017, averaging 5.8 yards per carry when he was traded to the Eagles. The Eagles have been a great fit for Ajayi, but expect them to move on from him this offseason. There have been reports that the Eagles are interested in Le’Veon Bell and LeSean McCoy. While Bell would be difficult, McCoy seems like a legitimate chance.
It would be a mistake though. Ajayi is only 25 years old. There would be a few teams interested, including the Colts, Ravens and Raiders. His age gives him an advantage over other running backs because he has a lot of gas left in the tank. Ultimately, the Ravens feel like the best fit, as they'll be looking for a physical runner behind Lamar Jackson, without breaking the bank.
17 Tyler Eifert - Dallas Cowboys
It’s a shame that amount of injuries Tyler Eifert has sustained considering his talent. He’s only played more than 10 games in a season twice throughout his six-year career, and has yet to play a full 16 games. The Bengals are almost guaranteed to move on, considering he’s only played in 14 games in the last three seasons. The 2015 season was his best, where he caught for 615 yards and scored 13 touchdowns, which is what led them to hold on.
That 2015 season will also keep teams interested. Expect a team like the Cowboys to be really interested, as they still need a replacement for Jason Witten. His value won’t be high, but he will receive a lot of calls.
16 Clay Matthews - New England Patriots
Expect the Packers to continue the trend they started last season, by moving on from long time stars. Last offseason, the Packers cut Jordy Nelson, and this offseason they will say goodbye to linebacker, Clay Matthews. Matthews was once one of the best pass rushers in the game, but of course age has grown over him. His last best season was back in 2014 where he finished with 11 sacks and an interception.
At the beginning of the 2019 season, Matthews will be 33 years old. Expect him to receive a lot of attention from teams on the verge of winning a championship. The Patriots love their veteran reclamation projects, provided they come cheap, so this seems like a fit.
15 Ndamukong Suh - New York Jets
Ndamukong Suh was strictly a one-year rental to make a Super Bowl push. He’s played well for the team, but they don’t need to give a 32-year-old a big extension. This offseason alone they may have overpaid for him, but it will be worth it if they are able to win a championship. If Suh doesn’t win a Super Bowl, he will want out anyway to make more money. If he does win one, then he has his ring and he can worry about making money elsewhere.
The Colts would be a great fit for Suh, as they have plenty of cap space and an improving young defense. They just need a couple of difference makers and Suh should still have something in the tank.
14 Tyrod Taylor - Washington Redskins
There is no reason why Tyrod Taylor should be back in a Browns uniform in 2019. Baker Mayfield has played better than any rookie quarterback, and clearly has this team under his wing. It’s come to a point where fans probably forget that Taylor began the season as the starter.
Taylor’s market won’t be large considering the amount of teams that already landed their new quarterback last year. He would be looking at a team that needs a rental, unless it comes to a point where no one is interested in him as a starter and he has to take a backup position. One possible fit could be Washington, as they need a contingency plan in case Alex Smith can't return.
13 Latavius Murray - Oakland Raiders
The only thing that should be holding back Latavius Murray from finding a home in free agency this offseason is maybe his age. He will turn 29 years old before the beginning of the 2019 season, but has played really well throughout his career. When Murray signed with the Vikings last season, it came at the same time that they drafted Dalvin Cook. Cook is obviously the starting running back, but Murray came in when Cook went through injuries.
Murray has been a scoring machine though. Through his career, he’s averaged half a touchdown a game. Murray will look for a team looking for a power back. It wouldn’t be a surprise if he reunited with the Raiders, who will likely lose Marshawn Lynch to retirement.
12 Sterling Shepard - New York Jets
This one may be surprising, but the Giants may go ahead and trade Sterling Shepard. Shepard will be expensive to keep on the roster past 2019, and the Giants have other solid receivers behind him. It’s not that Shepard isn’t good enough, it’s almost that he will be too good to pay. The reality is that the Giants have many other positions that they need to address, and an extra draft pick would help.
Shepard could be worth a second or third round pick. Look at the value of wide receivers this trade deadline; Shepard is the same age as Amari Cooper, albeit definitely not worth a first rounder. Look at a possible fit with the New York Jets, who desperately need to provide Sam Darnold some weapons.
11 Vernon Davis - Houston Texans
Vernon Davis has been one of the best tight ends in his time, but age is catching up to him. Davis will be 35-years old heading into the 2019 season. Looking into the future of the Redskins, Davis shouldn’t be a part of it. Great player, but he will be far gone whenever they have any success. Expect the Redskins to begin the re-build process, especially with the chance that Alex Smith’s career could be over. A surprising move will be that they cut Davis.
Davis will likely look to find a Super Bowl contending team. The Texans could look into signing him, as Davis provides some leadership on a young offense. He can help in both blocking for the running game and provide the occasional grab from Watson.
10 Le'Veon Bell - Kansas City Chiefs
You have to be crazy to think there’s a chance Le’Veon Bell remains with the Steelers following this season. Bell’s time with the Steelers is officially over after he held out the entire 2018 season. Despite missing the 2018 season, he will have a lot of interest across the league. Bell already showed interest in signing with the Colts, as he posted on an Instagram picture of Andrew Luck. That may not be likely considering their confidence in Marlon Mack.
The frontrunner should be the Chiefs. After losing Kareem Hunt, this team hasn’t been as dominant. Bell makes this team even better than they were with Hunt.
9 Joe Flacco - Jacksonville Jaguars
It seems like it’s Lamar Jackson time in Baltimore. The Ravens season completely turned around when Joe Flacco got hurt and the team turned to Jackson. It really seemed over when Flacco was cleared to play, but remained benched for Jackson. The Ravens will do whatever benefits them the most financially and that means cutting Flacco. It will help them tremendously because they will then have money to spend elsewhere, and maybe the Ravens could enter the market to sign Le’Veon Bell.
Flacco’s days as a starter could be over, unless he goes to a team really desparate for one. The Jaguars are set to move on from Blake Bortles and while they'll likely draft a QB, landing Joe Flacco could be a good short term fix, while they wait for a young QB to develop.
8 DeSean Jackson - New Orleans Saints
Speaking of the Buccaneers, they may look to trade DeSean Jackson. It’s clear this team needs to re-build. Jackson is 32-years old, and beginning to suffer injuries late in his career. Jackson could still be a legitimate deep threat for many teams. If rumors appear that the Buccaneers are looking to trade Jackson, a lot of teams will call.
Jackson could be worth as high as a third-round pick. A lot of teams will show interest, but a team like the Saints could be an interesting fit. They tried adding another receiver by signing Dez Bryant and Brandon Marshall, but both didn't work out. Assuming Drew Brees is back, the Saints will still be contenders next season that could use a deep threat.
7 Tevin Coleman - San Francisco 49ers
Expect Tevin Coleman to be one of the hottest free agent running backs after Le’Veon Bell. What makes Coleman so dangerous is that he’s a threat in the pass game as well. Through Week 15, Coleman has 704 rushing yards and 267 receiving yards, with eight total touchdowns. On the ground, he’s averaging 4.7 yards per carry. There’s going to be a team that is willing to pay him around $7 million a year. It’s also intriguing to sign Coleman because he will only be 26 years old to start the 2019 season.
Expect Coleman to be the consolation prize for a team that tries to sign Bell and falls short. A reunion with Kyle Shanahan could be beneficial for Coleman, who had a great year in 2016 under Shanahan in Atlanta.
6 Dante Fowler Jr. - New York Jets
The Rams would love to re-sign Dante Fowler Jr., but he may be too expensive to re-sign. Defensive ends are due for expensive contracts, and Fowler Jr. will ask for the same. When the Rams first traded for him, it seemed much like the Suh signing. A simple rental to help boost their Super Bowl chances. The Rams still have other pieces in their receiving corps that they eventually need to pay along with Jared Goff. With a first round pick next year, they could draft a defensive end.
Fowler Jr. seems likely to head to New York. They showed interest this offseason, but didn’t initiate the trade. The Rams got Fowler as a rental and the Jets will have the money to load up on several key free agents.
5 Randall Cobb - Indianapolis Colts
Another Packer bites the dust. Randall Cobb has suffered injuries all season and has been inconsistent, which will give every reason for the front office to part ways with him this offseason. Cobb has been a consistent no. 2 receiver, but the Packers might look to find one in the draft.
The Packers may look to re-build that offense, considering they moved on from Jordy Nelson and Ty Montgomery already. Cobb will find interest from many teams considering his past success, but they’re going to ask him to do more than he can if he tries to get a big contract. A good landing spot for him would be Indianapolis, as teaming up with Andrew Luck could revive his career.
4 LeSean McCoy - Philadelphia Eagles
This is a season that LeSean McCoy would like to forget. With injuries and overall a struggling team, he’s had his worst career season. For the first time in his career, he’s averaging under four yards per carry. The question is, what do the Bills do with McCoy?
McCoy will be 31-years old heading into the 2019 season. He comes off the worst season of his career. The Bills need draft picks so they’re going to try and trade him. It makes too much sense that he returns back to the Eagles, in return for maybe a fifth and sixth round pick. Due to his struggles and injuries this season, don’t expect the Bills to ask for too much.
3 Devin Funchess - Buffalo Bills
Devin Funchess was once the no. 1 receiver for the Carolina Panthers, but not anymore. D.J. Moore has taken over that role, and Funchess has almost become nonexistent on that offense. It’s a shame that the Panthers couldn’t at least utilize him in this offense, but it should show that will be the end for his time in Carolina.
Funchess started the season off right, averaging near 12 yards per catch through the first half of the season. Once he got hurt, the Panthers completely shut him down. His size will get him paid, especially because he’s had success last season. A team like the Bills will look to sign him to a contract for probably more than he's worth, similar to the Sammy Watkins contract.
2 Mark Ingram - Houston Texans
The Saints would love to re-sign Mark Ingram, but he will be too expensive to keep. If they’re going to pay any running back, it will be Alvin Kamara. Expect the Saints to replace Ingram with a running back like Jay Ajayi or Latavius Murray, that won’t cost as much. Ingram, on the other hand, will be looking at teams that are going to pay him.
The Texans would be an interesting fit for Ingram. It seems likely that he will head to the AFC, where many teams have a lot of money to spend. Everything well depend on where Le’Veon Bell ends up, and then Ingram will likely be the next hottest name. But the Texans could use a more physical runner and Ingram fit the bill.
1 Earl Thomas - Los Angeles Rams
Earl Thomas’ time is done in Seattle. The Legion of Boom is pretty much over, and maybe that is a good thing for the Seahawks. It’s been shown this season that the Seahawks young defense has a lot of potential, and they’re going back to the playoffs despite everyone believing they would be done after completely dismantling their defense this past offseason.
Unfortunately, Thomas won’t get the guaranteed money he once wanted due to his injury. Much like Richard Sherman elected to go to the 49ers so he cold face the Seahawks twice a year, look for Thomas to sign a one-year deal with the division rival Rams, which would give Thomas a chance to rebuild his market value before entering free agency again in 2020.