2020 Free Agency Positional Preview – Cornerbacks
Leading up to the beginning of free agency (3/18 at 4pmET), we’ll be looking position by position at the available free agent pool and discussing the state of the pool (for gems, sleepers, busts) and making some throwaway predictions on the landing spots of the top free agents.
Today, we look at: Cornerbacks
We’re lucky if there is one really good corner available in NFL free agency. In 2020, we might have 2-3 higher end cover guys hit the market and another 2-3-4+ really interesting, good, impactful options.
Byron Jones and Chris Harris are the top shutdown corners…and both look like they are fully hitting free agency.
For teams not looking to make a massive investment, corners like Jimmy Smith, Logan Ryan, James Bradberry, and Bradley Roby are among the names that teams will have a high interest in.
Before we predict landing spots on the top names, let’s name the Best, the Bust, the Sleeper and Deep Sleeper of the 2020 CB free agent group…
BEST = Byron Jones…you could argue on who is better today, Jones or Chris Harris -- but Jones is four years younger and an athletic freak who can play safety at a Pro Bowl level if needed.
BUST = Ronald Darby…I’ve never been a fan. His name has outweighed his play and off-field/locker room concerns. He’s more name than reality…especially for the price he’ll try to command.
SLEEPER = Anthony Brown/DAL…the Cowboys might lose two corners in free agency. Brown has showed flashes of being a solid NFL starter and then he’s had some down moments, but they may be more magnified than they should…and Dallas has a lot of DB talent, so Brown had to fight for playing time by circumstance.
DEEP SLEEPER = Mike Ford/DET – I really liked his work in 2018, in the preseason and regular season (forced to play later in the season as a rookie). He was a ghost in 2019, however. Love the size and athleticism…6’0”/196, a 4.47 runner with a sweet 6.63 three-cone and 40” vertical with 11’0” broad jump. There is a lot to work with here, but he may be a handful behind the scenes…something is up because Matt Patricia doesn’t seem to care for the undrafted free agent.
Byron Jones = I’ll predict the Colts…the D-C Eberflus was in Dallas as Jones was ascending. The Colts have the money and the need.
Chris Harris = I’m going to guess that the A.J. Bouye trade was done to walkaway from an expensive Chris Harris, and there are CBs Vic Fangio is going to get to go with Bouye…and I’ll note one potential of who one might be, below.
Trae Waynes = Terribly overrated. This is a Chargers type of corner play.
Jimmy Smith = Goes back to Baltimore where he is most comfortable. The Ravens need him for the Super Bowl run this season.
Logan Ryan = He was so low key good for Tennessee last year, but the ex-Patriots will be after him. Miami could buy him if they wanted. And I predict they do.
Bradley Roby = Only scratched the surface in Houston as an add last season…the Texans want him back.
Ronald Darby = This is a N.Y. Jet…and if not, if the ex-Eagles personnel guy/Jets GM doesn’t want him, then you know there are Darby issues. I say Jets if they want him, but then this is a Bruce Arians guy for sure if not.
Prince Amukamara = Goes to Denver to reunite with Vic Fangio as the Denver-Chicago hybrid defense continues being amalgamated.
James Bradberry = Goes to Washington with Ron Rivera in the easiest prediction on here.
Bashaud Breeland = Was key to the Chiefs late season defensive success in 2019, and since no one ever seems to want him…I assume he goes back to KC.
Anthony Brown = This might be a Dallas corner-to-Indy two-fer as the Colts rebuild their CB room with ex-Cowboys.
Mike Ford = An analytics team will make this cheap gamble. So, let’s assume Cleveland for now. Vic Fangio may have noticed him from playing against him Week 12 of 2018 season (one of Ford’s best games). Denver might snatch him.
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