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NFL free agency 2020: Top 35 targets and where they will land – New York Post

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Sports action is on near-total hiatus because of the coronavirus outbreak, but competition still has its outlet.

Barring an 11th-hour change in a suddenly fluid sports calendar, NFL free agency kicks off with the legal tampering period at noon Monday, and players officially can change teams Wednesday. The first 72 hours always are wild, but will be even more so this year for three reasons:

The unprecedented number of quarterbacks available, the limited preparation window and the increased spotlight in the absence of other events.

The NFL Players Association’s vote on the new collective bargaining agreement wrapped as Saturday turned to Sunday. So, teams are just learning if they can franchise tag or transition tag one or two of their own players by the 11:59 a.m. Monday deadline, which technically leaves the rest of the league one second’s notice if a free-agent target actually is available.

Here is The Post’s list of the top 35 free agents, with players who are expected to be tagged (a high-paying one-year contract that essentially negates free agency) marked by an asterisk. Predictions are based on background conversations with informed NFL personnel as well as an attempt to think along with clubs and players.

1. QB Tom Brady: The 43-year-old GOAT could transform any team into a Super Bowl contender and end the Patriots’ dynasty. Expected suitors: Chargers, Titans, Patriots, Raiders, Dolphins, Buccaneers. Prediction: Chargers.

2. QB Dak Prescott*: If the Cowboys don’t tag him, he will be the rare 26-year-old, two-time Pro Bowl quarterback on the open market. Expected suitors: Chargers, Titans, Patriots, Raiders, Dolphins, Buccaneers. Prediction: Cowboys.

3. QB Drew Brees: Brees, 41, announced Feb. 18 he is returning for a 20th season and only wants to play for the Saints. But he is unsigned. Expected suitors: Saints. Prediction: Saints.

4. DE Jadeveon Clowney: Injury-plagued and had just three sacks for the Seahawks last season, but still could command $20 million per year because of his potential to wreck games. Expected suitors: Giants, Colts, Bills, Eagles. Prediction: Colts.

5. WR Amari Cooper: Trade to the Cowboys in 2018 rebranded Cooper as a top receiver. Expected suitors: Cowboys, Eagles, Jets, Broncos, Cardinals, Broncos. Prediction: Cowboys.

6. OLB Shaq Barrett*: Might not be available off 19.5-sack first season with the Buccaneers. Previous career high was 5.5. Expected suitors: Buccaneers, Giants, Cardinals, Colts, Bills. Prediction: Buccaneers.

7. DL Chris Jones*: Chiefs can’t keep all their young stars under the salary cap. Can they? Expected suitors: Chiefs, Cardinals, Seahawks, Giants, Buccaneers. Prediction: Chiefs.

8. RB Derrick Henry: Titans’ 238-pound battering ram carried 303 times for a NFL-best 1,540 yards, but a light workload earlier in his career means fresh legs at age 26. Expected suitors: Titans, Dolphins, Texans, Chiefs. Prediction: Titans.

9. CB Byron Jones: Consensus top defensive back available can play safety or cornerback but had just two interceptions in five seasons with the Cowboys. Expected suitors: Eagles, Redskins, Giants, Raiders. Prediction: Redskins.

10. QB Philip Rivers: Rivers, 38, is top-six all-time in passing yards and completions. But is he playing more on will than on skill to reach his first Super Bowl? Expected suitors: Buccaneers, Colts, Titans. Prediction: Colts.

Derrick Henry, Tom Brady and Jadeveon Clowney
Derrick Henry, Tom Brady and Jadeveon ClowneyUPI; Getty Images (2)

11. LB Cory Littleton: Rare three-down linebacker who can cover. Expected suitors: Packers, Patriots, Giants, Lions. Prediction: Giants.

12. QB Ryan Tannehill*: Dolphins gave up on their former top-10 pick after five seasons, but he salvaged his career with the Titans. Expected suitors: Patriots, Titans. Prediction: Titans.

13. OT Jack Conklin: Conklin’s turn to benefit from one team overpaying to make up for thin offensive tackle market. Expected suitors: Titans, Giants, Browns, Jets. Prediction: Browns.

14. DE Arik Armstead*: Was his 10-sack season a sign of things to come or the result of extra attention paid to teammates? Expected suitors: 49ers, Panthers, Ravens, Seahawks. Prediction: 49ers.

15. G Joe Thuney: He has not missed a start in four seasons. Expected suitors: Bengals, Chiefs, Jets, Patriots, Broncos. Prediction: Jets.

16. OLB Bud Dupree*: Mutual interest in returning to the Steelers to prove he is not a one-year wonder. Expected suitors: Steelers, Giants, Cardinals, Jaguars. Prediction: Steelers.

17. S Devin McCourty: After 10 seasons in New England, the two-time All-Pro could return home to New York. Expected suitors: Patriots, Giants, Dolphins, Eagles. Prediction: Patriots.

18. S Anthony Harris: Vikings’ undrafted find in 2015 had a NFL-best six interceptions. Expected suitors: Vikings, Redskins, Dolphins, Browns, Patriots. Prediction: Dolphins.

19. CB Chris Harris: His agent reportedly met with at least 24 teams at the combine. Expected suitors: Eagles, Chiefs, Redskins, Cowboys, Texans, Panthers. Prediction: Eagles.

Dante Fowler
Dante FowlerAP

20. WR A.J. Green: A Hall of Fame-caliber career has been derailed by serious injuries, but he would be important for presumptive rookie quarterback Joe Burrow. Expected suitors: Bengals, Patriots, Packers, Saints, 49ers. Prediction: Packers.

21. OT Anthony Castonzo: He wants to play again after mulling retirement. Expected suitors: Colts, Jets, Vikings, Redskins. Prediction: Colts.

22. OLB Dante Fowler: Time to cash in on a long-term contract after notching 11.5 sacks on a one-year deal with the Rams. Expected suitors: Giants, Jets, Titans, Seahawks. Prediction: Jets.

23. DL Leonard Williams*: In a lost season, the Giants traded two draft picks for Williams, who holds negotiation leverage. Expected suitors: Giants, Lions, Jaguars, Colts, Cardinals. Prediction: Giants.

24. RB Melvin Gordon: Tried to force the Chargers’ hand on an extension, but cut short his in-season holdout. A top option at a devalued position. Expected suitors: Bills, Falcons, Cardinals, Dolphins, Texans. Prediction: Texans.

25. WR Robby Anderson: He literally dreams of playing with Brady, but said there is mutual interest in a return to the Jets, who probably won’t be his highest bidder. Expected suitors: Jets, Dolphins, Patriots, Raiders, Bengals. Prediction: Dolphins.

26. QB Jameis Winston: Boom-or-bust for five years with the Buccaneers. Change of scenery, please. Expected suitors: Buccaneers, Raiders, Panthers, Chargers, Saints. Prediction: Raiders.

27. TE Austin Hooper: Falcons are cap-strapped. Hooper’s numbers improve every year. Expected suitors: Redskins, Jaguars, Patriots, Bengals. Prediction: Jaguars.

28. CB James Bradberry: Panthers opted against the franchise tag on a career 60-game starter. Expected suitors: Jets, Giants, Redskins, Eagles. Prediction: Jets.

29. OLB Markus Golden: Classic high-motor player coming off 10 sacks with Giants. Expected suitors: Cardinals, Giants, Seahawks, Browns. Prediction: Seahawks.

30. DT Javon Hargrave: More than just a 305-pound run-stuffer. Expected suitors: Texans, Broncos, Rams, Steelers. Prediction: Rams.

31. NT D.J. Reader: As happened to fullbacks, nose tackles are finding fewer and fewer teams in the bidding war because of schematic fits. Expected suitors: Rams, Bills, Broncos, Texans. Prediction: Bills.

32. OLB Kyle Van Noy: It is common for players to follow former coaches to a new place. Van Noy wants to be a team’s priority. Expected suitors: Patriots, Dolphins, Lions, Giants, Seahawks. Prediction: Giants.

33. S Vonn Bell: Safety market dried up in 2018 then exploded around Landon Collins in 2019. Bell is good in the box and coverage. Expected suitors: Bears, Bengals, Giants, Saints. Prediction: Bears.

34. OT Bryan Bulaga: With 111 career starts (16 last season for Packers), he is a good fit for a win-now team. Expected suitors: Titans, Jets, Giants, Chargers, Rams. Prediction: Chargers.

35. QB Teddy Bridgewater: Pro Bowler in 2015. Catastrophic leg injury in 2016. Backup ever since. Now is his chance to complete the comeback as a starter. Expected suitors: Buccaneers, Patriots, Chargers, Bengals. Prediction: Buccaneers.

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