2021 Fantasy Free Agency Preview

Mar 02, 2021
2021 Fantasy Free Agency Preview

The NFL's free agency period begins on March 17, though teams can legally negotiate with players' agents beginning on March 15. In the table below, I've compiled the "key" free agents at the four primary fantasy positions (QB, RB, WR and TE), sorted by their 2020 per game average (half-PPR). Their status indicates whether the player is unrestricted, restricted, or an exclusive rights free agent. I've also included the Average Annual Value (AAV) of their contract in 2020, which I found at the wonderful site Spotrac.com.

Here's a quick refresher on the NFL's (oftentimes-convoluted) free agency rules.

- An unrestricted free agent (UFA) can sign with whomever he wants with no compensation going to his old team.

- A restricted free agent (RFA) has three years of service in the NFL and an expired contract. He's free to negotiate with other teams, but once he signs an offer sheet, his old team has seven days to match the deal and retain the player. If his old team declines to match, his new team may have to send a draft pick as compensation, depending on what type of RFA tender the old team offered the player.

- A team can apply a franchise tag on a player in order to guarantee that the team retains the player's rights for another season in the hopes that the two sides can work out a long-term deal. The price is steep -- it's a formula based on a certain percentage of the salary cap and the salaries of the top five players at the position.

- Under the franchise tag, a player can be labeled an exclusive or non-exclusive franchise player. Exclusive franchise players cannot negotiate with other teams. Like restricted free agents, a non-exclusive franchise player can sign an offer sheet from another team. If his old team declines to match, they'll receive two first-round picks as compensation.

- If a team doesn't apply a franchise tag, it can elect to apply a transition tag instead. The tender is cheaper because it uses the top 10 salaries at the position, but if another team negotiates a deal and his old team elects not to match, they won't get any draft picks as compensation. In previous years, teams could use both the franchise and transition tags, but under the new CBA, a team can use one or the other, but not both. The transition tag is rarely used in the NFL.

As is my approach with the Draft, I don't spend a lot of time speculating about landing spots for the top players because it's a waste of time since things will typically be solidified in a few weeks. Just tell me where everyone lands and let me start my 2021 projections!

2021 Key Free Agents By Position
PLAYER POS AGE TEAM G 2020 AAV Status 2020 PPG
Dak Prescott QB 28 DAL 5 $ 31,409,000 UFA 24.7
Ryan Fitzpatrick QB 39 MIA 9 $ 5,500,000 UFA 15.9
Cam Newton QB 32 NE 15 $ 1,750,000 UFA 15.8
Mitch Trubisky QB 27 CHI 10 $ 7,258,106 UFA 14.4
Andy Dalton QB 34 DAL 11 $ 3,000,000 UFA 12.2
Aaron Jones RB 27 GB 14 $ 650,484 UFA 16.5
Chris Carson RB 27 SEA 12 $ 616,282 UFA 13.9
Mike Davis RB 28 CAR 15 $ 3,000,000 UFA 11.8
Kenyan Drake RB 27 ARI 15 $ 8,483,000 UFA 11.7
James Conner RB 26 PIT 13 $ 790,381 UFA 11.0
Todd Gurley RB 27 ATL 15 $ 5,500,000 UFA 9.8
Rex Burkhead RB 31 NE 10 $ 3,000,000 UFA 9.5
Leonard Fournette RB 26 TB 13 $ 2,000,000 UFA 8.8
Wayne Gallman RB 27 NYG 15 $ 704,912 UFA 8.3
Gus Edwards RB 26 BAL 16 $ 750,000 RFA 7.7
Jamaal Williams RB 26 GB 14 $ 741,498 UFA 7.7
Carlos Hyde RB 31 SEA 10 $ 2,750,000 UFA 7.5
Marlon Mack RB 25 IND 1 $ 704,912 UFA -
Adrian Peterson RB 36 DET 16 $ 1,050,000 UFA 7.4
Kalen Ballage RB 26 LAC 11 $ 825,000 UFA 7.0
Jerick McKinnon RB 29 SF 16 $ 1,160,000 UFA 6.9
James White RB 29 NE 14 $ 4,000,000 UFA 6.4
Duke Johnson RB 28 HOU 11 $ 5,203,333 UFA 6.2
Frank Gore RB 38 NYJ 15 $ 1,050,000 UFA 6.1
Malcolm Brown RB 28 LAR 16 $ 1,650,000 UFA 6.1
Le'Veon Bell RB 29 KC 11 $ 1,000,000 UFA 5.9
Phillip Lindsay RB 27 DEN 11 $ 575,000 RFA 5.7
Brian Hill RB 26 ATL 16 $ 2,133,000 UFA 5.1
Devontae Booker RB 29 LV 16 $ 1,047,500 UFA 4.7
Mark Ingram RB 32 BAL 11 $ 5,000,000 UFA 4.5
Josh Adams RB 25 NYJ 8 $ 750,000 RFA 4.2
Will Fuller WR 27 HOU 11 $ 2,541,078 UFA 14.8
Allen Robinson WR 28 CHI 16 $ 14,000,000 UFA 13.3
Chris Godwin WR 25 TB 12 $ 821,041 UFA 13.0
Marvin Jones WR 31 DET 16 $ 8,000,000 UFA 11.9
Antonio Brown WR 33 TB 8 $ 1,666,667 UFA 11.9
Corey Davis WR 26 TEN 14 $ 6,348,672 UFA 11.4
JuJu Smith-Schuster WR 25 PIT 16 $ 1,048,945 UFA 11.2
Kenny Golladay WR 28 DET 5 $ 799,081 UFA 11.2
Nelson Agholor WR 28 LV 16 $ 1,047,500 UFA 10.1
Curtis Samuel WR 25 CAR 15 $ 1,613,421 UFA 9.3
Tim Patrick WR 28 DEN 15 $ 750,000 RFA 9.0
T.Y. Hilton WR 32 IND 15 $ 13,000,000 UFA 8.9
Allen Lazard WR 26 GB 10 $ 675,000 ERFA 8.0
Keelan Cole WR 28 JAX 16 $ 3,259,000 UFA 7.6
Rashard Higgins WR 27 CLE 13 $ 910,000 UFA 7.4
DeSean Jackson WR 35 PHI 5 $ 9,300,000 UFA 7.3
Zach Pascal WR 27 IND 16 $ 525,000 RFA 7.2
Sammy Watkins WR 28 KC 10 $ 9,000,000 UFA 7.1
Breshad Perriman WR 28 NYJ 12 $ 6,500,000 UFA 7.0
Kendrick Bourne WR 26 SF 15 $ 3,259,000 UFA 6.9
Adam Humphries WR 28 TEN 7 $ 9,000,000 UFA 6.6
Josh Reynolds WR 26 LAR 16 $ 762,005 UFA 6.0
Danny Amendola WR 36 DET 14 $ 5,000,000 UFA 5.9
David Moore WR 26 SEA 16 $ 825,000 UFA 5.8
Willie Snead WR 29 BAL 13 $ 6,000,000 UFA 5.8
Larry Fitzgerald WR 38 ARI 13 $ 11,500,000 UFA 5.7
A.J. Green WR 33 CIN 16 $ 18,171,000 UFA 5.5
Damiere Byrd WR 28 NE 16 $ 1,600,000 UFA 5.2
Demarcus Robinson WR 27 KC 16 $ 2,297,500 UFA 5.2
Chris Conley WR 29 JAX 15 $ 2,297,500 UFA 5.1
Robert Tonyan TE 27 GB 16 $ 660,000 RFA 9.4
Hunter Henry TE 27 LAC 14 $ 10,607,000 UFA 8.2
Rob Gronkowski TE 32 TB 16 $ 9,000,000 UFA 7.8
Jonnu Smith TE 26 TEN 15 $ 776,572 UFA 7.6
Jared Cook TE 34 NO 15 $ 7,500,000 UFA 7.3
Jordan Reed TE 31 SF 10 $ 1,050,000 UFA 6.0
Dan Arnold TE 26 ARI 16 $ 615,000 UFA 5.0
Trey Burton TE 30 IND 13 $ 910,000 UFA 4.4
Tyler Eifert TE 31 JAX 15 $ 4,750,000 UFA 4.3
Mo Alie-Cox TE 28 IND 15 $ 525,000 ERFA 4.3
Richard Rodgers TE 29 PHI 14 $ 910,000 RFA 4.2
Gerald Everett TE 27 LAR 16 $ 1,511,117 UFA 4.1
Tyler Kroft TE 29 BUF 10 $ 6,250,000 UFA 3.6
Jacob Hollister TE 28 SEA 16 $ 3,259,000 UFA 3.2
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