The 10 best available NFL free agents following the draft
NFL general managers who didn’t plug all their teams’ holes in the draft suddenly have a new mission.
Return to free agency to see who fits a need.
In some cases, a starting job is open. In others, the search is on for a one-year leader.
Here is The Post’s list of the 10 best available free agents (age in parentheses) now that an uptick in movement should happen this week because signings no longer count against teams in the formula for awarding 2021 compensatory draft picks — except in the case of Markus Golden.
1. QB Cam Newton (30)
It’s been all downhill since he won the 2015 MVP and led the Panthers to the Super Bowl. The strength of his injured shoulder is a huge question teams cannot medically investigate during the coronavirus shutdown. Will he be as effective if he plays a safer style to mitigate injury risk? Best fits: Jaguars, Patriots, Broncos.
The 2014 No. 1-overall draft pick wanted $20 million per year over a long-term deal. Not happening. He is coming off a three-sack season with a long injury history. A one-year deal (with tons of motivation) could be his only option. Best fits: Seahawks, Giants, Titans.
3. OLB Markus Golden (29)
If he doesn’t sign elsewhere by July 22, Golden’s only option will be the Giants on the rarely used unrestricted free-agent tag at $4.1 million. He is the only player still available with 10 or more sacks last season. Best fits: Giants, Jets, Lions.
4. DE Everson Griffen (32)
The four-time Pro Bowler’s long road back from reportedly living in a “sober house” in 2018 included eight sacks in 15 starts last season. He is motivated to prove he is not finished, after negotiations fell apart on a return to the Vikings. Best fits: Cowboys, Bills, Titans.
5. CB Logan Ryan (29)
He intercepted former teammate Tom Brady’s final pass with the Patriots during the Titans’ playoff win. But Ryan is much more than a trivia answer. He plays in the slot, doesn’t miss tackles and is coming off a season with four interceptions, four forced fumbles and 4.5 sacks. Best fits: Jets, Eagles, Falcons.
6. LT Jason Peters (38)
Six tackles went in the first round of the draft, narrowing the field for the NFL All-Decade selection. The unknowns: What is his price on a one-year deal? Super Bowl contender or bust? He missed just three games over the past two seasons with the Eagles. Best fits: Chargers, Dolphins, Cardinals.
7. CB Prince Amukamara (30)
The next team will be Amukamara’s fourth, which is odd because he is skilled in perimeter coverage and a great locker-room presence. A team that just drafted cornerbacks would be wise to call him. Best fits: Jets, Broncos, Vikings.
8. S Eric Reid (28)
Reid had a hard time finding a job in 2018, at the height of conversation about national anthem protests. He is coming off a poor season in coverage for the Panthers, but he is the most versatile safety available. Best fits: Raiders, Texans, Bears.
9. DT Mike Daniels (30)
Daniels never got in a rhythm after joining the Lions in late July. He disrupted the run and the pass in his heyday with the Packers because of his ability to gain leverage. Rotational duty could squeeze the last greatness out of him. Best fits: Lions, Ravens, Browns.
10. RB Carlos Hyde (29)
Running backs have a hard time finding work at age 30, but Hyde ran for a career-best 1,070 yards (4.4 per carry) and reportedly declined an offer to re-sign with the Texans before they traded for David Johnson. Best fits: Eagles, Seahawks, Steelers.
Note: Trade candidates like the Jaguars pass-rusher Yannick Ngakoue or players likely to be released soon like Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton were not included.
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