Le’Veon Bell is on the headlines of five notable NFL free agents still in the market; predict their ideal landing points

Even though we’re in the off-period of the NFL calendar, there are still a few important free agent shoes to drop. A number of popular names are still on the hunt for NFL homes as we move closer to training camp and are expected to seek ink deals ahead of the start of the preseason. While these players may not be at the same Pro Bowl level as they started their careers, they are still expected to help a franchise throughout the 2021 regular season as a complementary piece to the roster.

Below, we’ll highlight some of the more well-known free agents, dive a bit into their free agency experience at this point in the offseason, and identify a destination where they might be a good fit.

Suggested landing place: Saints of New Orleans

Bell was once considered the best running back in the NFL. As recently as 2017, the 29-year-old hosted an All-Pro season where he totaled 1,946 scrum yards and 11 touchdowns while scoring a career-high 85 receptions. His ability to sit patiently behind the Pittsburgh offensive line and quickly find a hole has been amazed by the rest of the league. However, he did not participate in the 2018 campaign due to a contract dispute and eventually found his way to the New York Jets where it only lasted a season and a half before forcing its way out of town. After his release he signed with the Kansas City Chiefs but was largely put in a reserve role behind the then rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire. These frustrations related to the lack of playing time seemed to have repercussions on this offseason where he said he would never play for head coach Andy Reid again.

With a reunion with the Chiefs seemingly out the window, the affair with the New Orleans Saints could be an interesting pairing. Of course, Bell wouldn’t be the best dog in that backfield because Alvin kamara would be the starter, but there might be some clich├ęs to be achieved, especially if it may turn out to be a better option than Latave murray. With retired Drew Brees and either Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill set to take the reins as a new New Orleans starter, Sean Payton could use any offensive weapon he can get his hands on to help anyone under center. If Bell is ready to take on a supporting role, that could be all he thought KC would provide him last year.

Suggested landing place: The Los Angeles Rams

You don’t have to look too far back to find a time when Ingram was considered one of the best players in his job. As last season approaches, the long Chargers The defensive end had just played three straight Pro Bowl games and five straight regular season campaigns with at least seven sacks. In 2020, however, Ingram was limited to just seven games due to a knee injury. While he wasn’t able to compile sacks in that limited time, he was still able to get past the quarterback, totaling 12 pushes, seven rushes and five knockdowns.

Should Ingram be seen as an anchor for the defense that he will join next? No. That said, as long as the 32-year-old is in good health, he can be a solid piece for a unit looking to fight for a championship. Who corresponds to this bill? The Los Angeles Rams make sense. Ingram could be seen as a low risk, high potential addition that could evolve into a powerful rotating element within their pass rush unit. Bringing in a veteran of his caliber would also fit the mold of what the Rams seem to be building this offseason, especially since they’ve firmly opened their super bowl window after acquiring the quarterback Matthew Stafford in a trade with the Longs. Ingram would also be able to stay local as he would simply play for the other team that currently resides at SoFi Stadium.

Don’t take our word for it, however, as the Rams’ superstar. Aaron Donald also seems to like this possible marriage as well as.

Suggested landing place: Dallas Cowboys

Sherman is best known for his days as a key part of the defense of the Seattle Legion of Boom which regularly contested the Super Bowl, but his tenure with the San Francisco 49ers over the past few years has continued to show that he is still a more than solid wedge when in good health. He was the second All-Pro team in 2019 as the Niners reached Super Bowl LIV, but Sherman was limited to just five games in 2020 due to calf strain. He was released in February and has been patiently waiting for the right opportunity to present itself ever since.

While it was tempting to project a storybook ending Sherman’s career with a return to Seattle, the Cowboys also present an interesting landing spot. Dallas has invested in high school the past two seasons with second-round picks Kelvin Joseph (2021) and Trevon Diggs (2020), but they could use a veteran piece like Sherman to help shape the still-developing unit over the next season. It also doesn’t hurt that Sherman has some familiarity with Dallas’ defensive plan with the former. Seahawks Defensive Coordinator Dan Quinn now leads this unit for Head Coach Mike McCarthy

Suggested landing place: Los Angeles Chargers

Similar to Bell, Gurley is another back who was once considered one of the best in the NFL. In recent years, however, knee problems have slowed the production of the triple Pro Bowler. After a career with the Rams that saw him finish sixth on the franchise’s all-time rushing list and tied for first with Marshall Faulk as the club’s all-time rushing leader , Gurley was released in the spring of 2020 and later signed a one-year deal with the Atlanta Falcons. As Gurley led the team in the race, it was his least productive season in the league to date.

This offseason, the Detroit Lions have reportedly been in pursuit of Gurley, but no deal has yet been reached. If it doesn’t end up in Motor City, the Chargers could be a fun landing spot. He would have something of a homecoming after playing in Los Angeles – albeit for the Rams – for four seasons of his career and could be a welcome addition to the Chargers backfield. While Austin Ekeler is clearly the No.1 back, the Chargers may not want him to go between tackles like a bruise on his back week to week and open him up to injury. This is where Gurley could step in and provide some relief with his 6-foot-1, 224-pound frame. Would the Chargers expect 2017 Offensive Player of the Year when Gurley is acquired in this scenario? Of course not. Rather, he would be a complementary piece to an attack that could take a big leap as a quarterback. Justin herbert is heading into the second year of his career.

Suggested landing place: New England Patriots

Tate has rebounded in the league over the past few years. In the middle of the 2018 season, he was traded from the Detroit Lions to Philadelphia Eagles and later signed with the New York Giants until after the off-season. He spent the previous two seasons with the Giants before being released earlier this offseason. In his final season in New York City, Tate was limited to just 12 games (four starts) and caught 35 passes for 388 yards and two scores. Those receptions and receiving yards were the lowest totals Tate has produced since his sophomore year in the league with Seattle in 2011. With that in mind, the veteran wide receiver isn’t the Pro Bowler we’ve seen in recent years, but should definitely still be able to provide some depth to a pass catching unit.

Tate recently made the list its first three landing places, but we come out of the script with our selection in the New England Patriots. It’s no secret that the players in Bill Belichick’s skill post didn’t leave much to be desired last season and they made an effort to fix this by causing a sensation at the start of the agency. free this offseason. Headliners include the introduction of tight ends Hunter Henri and Jonnu Smith with receivers Nelson agholor and Kendrick bourne. While these additions should help, Tate could be another savvy addition to make and fight for a place on the list. After all, there would have been of some interest in New England when he was a free agent in 2019, it is therefore questionable whether this interest is still present to some extent.

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