NFL free agents 2021: Best players still available at each position, including Alex Smith, Richard Sherman

NFL free agency has been fast and furious again in 2021. In the first week, most of the key signings and re-signings were made across the league. But there are plenty of players still available who are capable of contributing well to a team.

For some of these remaining unrestricted free agents, there will be a much longer wait for a landing spot for next season. For many, they will see their time in the NFL — because of age, injuries or other reasons — come to an unceremonious end on the open market.

Here's looking at the best of who's left looking for jobs, including several big-name veterans.

NFL FREE AGENCY 2021: Tracking the top 50 signings, all the best by position

NFL free agents 2021: The best players still available at each position


    Alex Smith, WashingtonAJ McCarron, TexansChase Daniel, Lions (signed with Chargers)Colt McCoy, Giants (signed with Cardinals)Matt Barkley, BillsRyan Griffin, BuccaneersBlaine Gabbert, BuccaneersNate Sudfeld, Eagles (signed with 49ers)Sean Mannion, Vikings

    The viable backup market dried up quickly with Mitchell Trubisky (Bills), Tyrod Taylor (Texans), Jacoby Brissett (Dolphins) and Joe Flacco (Eagles) among those notable names getting No. 2 jobs. Smith did start for Washington, but he would valuable as a seasoned No. 2, as well.

    Running backs

      Leonard Fournette, Buccaneers (re-signed)James Conner, Steelers (signed with Cardinals)Todd Gurley, FalconsMatt Breida, Dolphins (signed with Bills)Duke Johnson, TexansBrian Hill, FalconsT.J. Yeldon, BillsChris Thompson, JaguarsDion Lewis, GiantsRex Burkhead, PatriotsAdrian Peterson, LionsLe'Veon Bell, ChiefsWayne Gallman, GiantsCorey Clement, EaglesJerick McKinnon, 49ers

      The Buccaneers and Steelers look like they're headed toward addressing running back in the draft. Fournette has gotten more interest than Conner. Otherwise, once again the ample supply is hurting the demand.

      Wide receivers

        Antonio Brown, BuccaneeersLarry Fitzgerald, CardinalsSammy Watkins, Chiefs (signed with Ravens)Demarcus Robinson, Chiefs (re-signed)Danny Amendola, LionsAdam Humphries, Titans (signed with Washington)Willie Snead, Ravens (signed with Raiders)Golden Tate, GiantsDamiere Byrd, PatriotsMarqise Lee, PatriotsCordarrelle Patterson, BearsDez Bryant, RavensTavon Austin, PackersDede Westbrook, JaguarsAlshon Jeffery, EaglesTrent Taylor, 49ersMohamed Sanu, Lions (signed with 49ers)Marvin Hall, BrownsMarquise Goodwin, 49ers

        Brown is still a good bet to return to the Bucs at the right price. Watkins will likely land as a complementary wideout somewhere. Then there are a bunch of underwhelming, limited slot options here and faded veterans such as Bryant and Jeffery.

        Tight ends

          Tyler Eifert, JaguarsVirgil Green, ChargersDemetrius Harris, BearsMyCole Pruitt, TitansRichard Rodgers, EaglesSeth DeValve, CardinalsJordan Reed, 49ersLuke Willson, SeahawksNick O'Leary, RaidersJeremy Sprinkle, WashingtonRicky Seals-Jones, Chiefs

          Eifert was a surprise pass by the Jaguars, who need to think more about that position as a key target for Lawrence. There's not much else to see here anymore except aging journeymen.

          Offensive tackles

            MItchell Schwartz, ChiefsEric Fisher, ChiefsRussell Okung, PanthersAlejandro Villanueva, SteelersCameron Fleming, GiantsDennis Kelly, TitansBobby Massie, BearsJason Peters, EaglesDemar Doston, BroncosJared Veldheer, PackersSam Young, RaidersBobby Hart, Bengals (signed with Bills)Le'Raven Clark, ColtsCedric Ogbuehi, SeahawksJulie'n Davenport, Dolphins (signed with Colts)Marshall Newhouse, Titans

            Schwartz has more appeal from the Chiefs' former starting duo, but age and injuries are concerns with both. Okung and Villanueva are the only real left-side plug-and-play options with their experience. The rest are mostly swing tackles for depth.


              Lane Taylor, PackersJames Carpenter, FalconsTrai Turner, ChargersJ.R. Sweezy, CardinalsD.J. Fluker, RavensBrian Winters, BillsJermaine Eluemenor, PatriotsKelechi Osemele, ChiefsForrest Lamp, Chargers (signed with Bills)Tom Compton, 49ersStefen Wisniewski, ChiefsJames Ferentz, Patriots

              The Packers didn't keep Corey Linsley inside and seem OK moving on from Taylor with Elgton Jenkins and Lucas Patrick as their best options. Turner and Fluker can still be OK starters if a team needs them. As injuries happen, some of these guys will be signed for pure depth.


                Austin Reiter, ChiefsBrett Jones, VikingsBen Garland, 49ersJoe Looney, Cowboys

                Reiter has a good chance to rebound in a good spot. Jones and Looney might end up starting somewhere in the end.

                Defensive tackles

                  Jarran Reed, Seahawks (signed with Chiefs)Tyrone Crawford, CowboysJurrell Casey, BroncosGeno Atkins, BengalsDanny Shelton, LionsDaQuan Jones, TitansCorey Peters, CardinalsAbry Jones, JaguarsDeMarcus Walker, BroncosSteve McLendon, Buccaneers (re-signed)Christian Covington, BengalsDamon Harrison, Packers

                  Ndamukong Suh returning to the Buccaneers has made this group mostly aging former standouts. After Crawford, it's hard to see much activity here.

                  Edge rushers

                    Melvin Ingram, ChargersJadeveon Clowney, Titans (signed with Browns)Justin Houston, ColtsAldon Smith, CowboysCarlos Dunlap, Seahawks (re-signed)Adrian Clayborn, BrownsRyan Kerrigan, WashingtonOlivier Vernon, BrownsEverson Griffin, LionsTrent Murphy, BillsKyler Fackrell, Giants (signed with Chargers)John Simon, PatriotsAlex Okafor, ChiefsTaco Charlton, ChiefsTanoh Kpassagnon, Chiefs (signed w

                    ith Saints)

                    Ingram and Clowney can still bring it, but they have been plagued by durability issues later in their careers. Houston, Smith and Dunlap should get a little more interest, at least, as situational pass rushers. Age is a big limiting factor here, too.


                      K.J. Wright, SeahawksVince Williams, Steelers (re-signed)Avery Williamson, SteelersDamien Wilson, Chiefs (signed with Jaguars)Sean Lee, CowboysDe'Vondre Campbell, CardinalsTahir Whitehead, PanthersB.J. Goodson, BrownsElandon Roberts, Dolphins (re-signed)Eric Wilson, Vikings (signed with Eagles)Bruce Irvin, SeahawksDeone Bucannon, BuccaneersDylan Cole, TexansPatrick Onwuasor, JetsJosh Bynes, BengalsKyle Wilber, RaidersMychal Kendricks, WashingtonNeville Hewitt, Jets

                      Wright, a long-time strong starter who didn't lose much in 2020, might end up returning to the Seahawks with no big outside offers. The issue is that he's going into his age 32 season and coming off a shoulder injury. There are some decent rotational guys at this point and not much else.


                        Richard Sherman, 49ersQuinton Dunbar, SeahawksMalcolm Butler, TitansMackensie Alexander, Bengals (signed with Vikings)Brian Poole, JetsNickell Robey-Coleman, EaglesBreshaud Breeland, ChiefsSteven Nelson, SteelersCasey Hayward, ChargersGareon Conley, TexansA.J. Bouye, Broncos (signed with Panthers)Buster Skrine, BearsJosh Norman, BillsJason McCourty, PatriotsD.J. Hayden, TexansDaryl Roberts, Lions (signed with Washington)

                        Sherman still could end up back in a familiar scheme, such as with Robert Saleh's Jets, Gus Bradley's Raiders or Dan Quinn's Cowboys. Dunbar had a disappointing stint in Seattle after coming over from the other Washington. The slot options such as Alexander, Poole, Skrine and Hayden have some appeal for nickel depth. The older outside guys will have a tougher time.


                          Malik Hooker, ColtsXavier Woods, Cowboys (signed with Vikings)Tre Boston, PanthersBradley McDougald, JetsDuron Harmon, LionsDaniel Sorenson, Chiefs (re-signed)Karl Joseph, Browns (signed with Raiders)Anthony Levine, Ravens (re-signed)Andrew Sendejo, BrownsWill Parks, BroncosD.J. Swearinger, SaintsDamarious Randall, Seahawks (re-signed)Sean Davis, Steelers (signed by Colts)Josh Jones, Jaguars (re-signed)

                          Safety tends to be a slow market because after the special guys such as Justin Simmons, Marcus Williams, Marcus Maye and Anthony Harris get their deals, then it's about interchangeable veterans tied to landing in the right scheme. Hooker and Woods make enough plays when healthy to get more consideration.


                            Zane Gonzalez, CardinalsStephen Gostkowski, TitansDan Bailey, VikingsMike Nugent, Cardinals

                            The Cardinals moved on with Matt Prater. The Titans and Vikings look like they're going for younger options. The kicking carousel never stops.


                              Jordan Berry, SteelersThomas Morstead, SaintsChris Jones, Cowboys

                              There's not much to see here with Morstead and Jones being expected cuts. Berry has a good chance to end up competing elsewhere in camp.