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Armando Salguero: Top 20 Free Agents Still Available On Day 2 Of NFL Negotiating Period

There are still big names available after the first day of the NFL’s legal tampering period came and went on Monday.

And, yes, we’re talking names beyond quarterback Deshaun Watson, who is expected to be traded within the next couple days, as teams continue to try to get permission to meet with him — the Houston Texans allowed the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers to meet with him Monday and the Cleveland Browns are scheduled to meet with him Tuesday, per a source.

Anyway, Watson will be moved in a trade soon.

Other big name unrestricted free agents are available for the right contract, and despite multiple deals being struck on Monday, more are on the way on Tuesday.

Here is my list of the top 20 available unrestricted free agents:

  1. Edge Chandler Jones: He’s said that scheme fit is what’s most important to him, so if that’s the case, he should be interested in a return to the New England Patriots because they know how to use him. He’s likely best as a true 4-3 end.
  2. Edge Von Miller: He’s got two Super Bowl wins under his belt and would love a return to Los Angeles if things don’t work out exactly right, but he’s been flirting with Broncos fans on his social media for weeks. At 32, Miller is an outstanding pass rush option for a year or two.
  3. OT Terron Armstead: Were it not for his injury history, he’d be at the head of the class. But the history is real, as he missed nine games last year and has played a full schedule of games, well, never in his nine-year career.
  4. Edge Randy Gregory: Another great talent who sometimes struggles to stay healthy, but he’s 29 and coming into his prime years. After the Cowboys restructured DeMarcus Lawrence’s contract to save cap space Monday, it makes sense for them to prioritize Gregory.
  5. WR Odell Beckham Jr.: When his mind is right, he’s still a playmaker of great potential. But he’s coming off ACL surgery now and may not be ready for the start of the season.
  6. S Marcus Williams: He’s playing great and at age 25 still hasn’t hit his prime. He makes any defense he’s on better, but his best fit is in New Orleans.
  7. WR Allen Robinson: Was last year, when he delivered a disappointing 38 receptions and 1 TD in 12 games, the sign of what’s ahead? Most teams won’t think so because he’s big and knows how to play, as his history indicates.
  8. TE Rob Gronkowski: He’s likely headed back to Tampa Bay because Tom Brady, but until that’s done, it’s not done. He’s still an excellent complete tight end.
  9. OLB Za’Darius Smith: Injuries were the problem in 2021, but he’s healthy now and might be the best stand-up edge rusher on the market. Baltimore makes a ton of sense for him, if the Ravens can afford him.
  10. QB Jameis Winston: He is probably the fallback position in New Orleans if the Saints don’t land Deshaun Watson. Winston has been rehabilitating after ACL surgery three months ago and should be ready for the start of training camp.
  11. RB Leonard Fournette: Why is he unsigned on Day 2 of legal tampering? Only two possible answers: he’s pricing himself out of the market because he’s really, really good, or he’s headed back to Tampa Bay.
  12. LB Bobby Wagner: Not the dominant three-down linebacker in the middle of a defense he once was, but he’s a smarter player than he once was and still does not miss many tackles.
  13. CB Stephon Gilmore: Is he still a premier lockdown man-to-man corner? No. Is he still very good at that? Absolutely.
  14. WR Jarvis Landry: The Saints have been aggressive in trying to land him and so have the Chiefs, which everyone kind of expected. Landry once played at LSU. He also makes sense in Buffalo.
  15. S Tyrann Mathieu: Great tone setter and always around the football.
  16. OG Connor Williams: He’ll be 25 in May and has the experience of starting for the Cowboys each of the past two years. He gave up one sack in 2021. One.
  17. S Marcus Maye: He’s had some issues with his driving habits, including a DUI arrest in February 2021 that won’t go to trial until June. So, yeah, issues. But when he’s healthy and on the field, all he does is make plays.
  18. LT Duane Brown: Fine, so he’s not 28 anymore but instead will be 37 in August. Despite the advanced age, he’s started every game in three of the past four years and each of the past two years. Is he as dominant as he was once was? No. Dominant left tackles don’t hit free agency. But good ones about to turn 37 do.
  19. CB Darius Williams: That wasn’t him getting beat for the TD in the Super Bowl. He was on the other side. He believes he can be a top corner, but that has yet to be proven because he’s played on the other side of Jalen Ramsey. But he’s smooth, confident, and the tape is good.
  20. RT Trent Brown: So he’s not a great left tackle. Fine. In today’s NFL, the right tackle is nearly as important because most good teams come after the quarterback with two accomplished rushers. And when they don’t have two accomplished rushers, they move their best rusher to the side versus the right tackle. Brown played well at right tackle for the Patriots in 2021, despite dealing with injuries. He is basically a house at 6-foot-6 and 360 or so pounds.

Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

Written by Armando Salguero

Armando Salguero has covered the NFL since 1990 for the Palm Beach Post, Miami Herald and ESPN. He was a 2016 Associated Press Sports Editors Top 10 columnist. He is a Pro Football Hall of Fame selector and AP All-Pro team voter.

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