NFL: Free agency fits for the top 10 teams in terms of cap space
With the NFL Scouting Combine less than a week away and more than a month of intense draft coverage ahead we decided to at least put together one piece about free agency. To do so, we took a look at the top ten teams in terms of cap space for 2019 according to spotrac.com and found the one player we think would fit well with them. This could be due to personal connections, scheme fit or simply a combination of need at the position and the money to spend.
While often times, it is all about the small moves a team makes during the offseason and how it builds depth (also through the draft), it should be interesting to see some pairings that would make sense. This list does not include likely franchise tag candidates such as DeMarcus Lawrence, Jadeveon Clowney and Nick Foles – who the Eagles will look to trade once they have secured his rights.
Even with that, we still think we have a strong class of edge rushers plus three safeties who were among the very best at the position just two years ago. On the other hand, there is no big fish at quarterback out there, assuming Foles will be tagged, such as Kirk Cousins was last offseason.
So here are some of the fits found when looking at who is available and also where these ten teams could use some help.
(Check back next week for combine standouts and following that the positional rankings in the draft)
#1. Indianapolis Colts – Landon Collins
The Colts ran plenty of split-safety looks on defense last season, to defend the deep ball and rally to anything underneath. However, they drafted Malik Hooker out of Ohio State two years ago as a center-fielding free safety and that would fit well with the cover-three based scheme defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus wants to run.
While I think the reason they used more two-high safety shells is the fact that Eberflus didn’t trust his corners to play man-ball and stay on their islands, I also believe he didn’t have the right strong safety to play the shallow zones, act as a robber and complement the run game as a box-player.
That’s why I believe Giants four-year veteran Landon Collins would make a lot of sense in Indianapolis. Collins was put in some bad spots as a rookie, as Big Blue asked him to cover the deep middle and make open field tackles racing up from 15 yards. He looked much more comfortable in 2016 & 17 seasons, when they left those responsibilities to Darian Thompson and allowed Collins to play more freely. In ’16 Collins had a Defensive Player of the Year-type season, as he intercepted five passes, deflected another 13 and recorded 100 solo tackles. Last year however, the Giants defense fell apart to a large degree and all players on that unit were pretty underwhelming.
I think the Colts could use the versatile defensive back in a role that features him heavily in the box, and even if they do want to play quarters, Collins has actually graded his best in that role according to Pro Football Focus. In connection to this signing I would expect Chris Ballard to find another quality cover-guy or two, such as former Bronco Bradley Robey or Eagle Ronald Darby. Indy already has a deep defensive line and two excellent young linebackers, so with some help on the back-end they could really turn this around quickly.