Free agency is almost upon us! Let’s fantasy book the top 2020 IDP free agents and where they will end up for the 2020 season.
In less than a week, the 2020 NFL season will officially kick off with the franchise tag deadline and the opening of free agency. We are already hearing teams make decisions to let players test free agency and club options being refused. Let’s fantasy book where I’d like to see these top IDP free agents end up to maximize their value to your fantasy team.
Jadeveon Clowney, DE/OLB – New York Jets
The Seahawks, with Clowney, finished tied for last in the NFL in sacks. While he could still end up with Seattle, it’s not likely with Clowney’s salary demands. In comes Adam Gase to swoop in and meet the salary demands and overpay for an edge rusher. This landing spot will allow Clowney to return to a 3-4 base defense and get paid. The Jets, despite their ambulance crew at linebacker last season, still managed to finish 23rd in sacks. Both their starting edge players are free agents and Gregg Williams needs some help on this defense. Clowney could get to double-digit sack production if he lands the huge payday with the Jets.
Blake Martinez, LB – Las Vegas Raiders
The Packers have essentially told Martinez that they are not paying what he wants in a contract. They have issued statements about not being active in free agency (though they have an interest in Austin Hooper and Joe Schobert?). Martinez has been a dominant IDP tackler for the past three seasons and will feast on tackles anywhere he goes. Oakland was signing and cutting linebackers all last season. Mike Mayock would like to solidify the defense and make a splash to open their shiny new Darth Vader home in Las Vegas. Honestly, it doesn’t really matter where Martinez goes for your fantasy team, as he will start and play every snap and eat up tackles.
Joe Schobert, LB – Green Bay Packers
So the Packers don’t want to pay Blake Martinez, but will pay Joe Schobert? This sounds an awful lot like last season when they were involved in the safety roulette wheel with the Redskins and Bears. Who could replace Martinez’s tackle production? Another tackle leader of the last three seasons, Joe Schobert. Schobert could return to Wisconsin where he played his college ball and continue to eat up tackles. It certainly looks like the Browns have moved on from Schobert based off this tweet:
It's no longer Scho-time in Cleveland: LB Joe Schobert will hit the free agent market and won't be back with the #Browns, who aren't willing to meet his $10M-plus market price, source says https://t.co/XSupyDhHBo
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) February 29, 2020
Yannick Ngakoue, DE – Miami Dolphins
The Jaguars have made their intentions known that they will apply the franchise tag to Ngakoue. Ngakoue has made his intentions known that he will not play another down in Duval, unless it’s as a visitor. This situation could get messy. There are 31 teams that would probably love to add a pass rusher. However, paying a 1st round pick or working out a deal with players and picks involved could be difficult the longer the situation goes on.
Yannick Ngakoue: I don’t want to play in Jacksonville anymore.
Three minutes later …
Jacksonville: You’re not leaving (unless we get something out of it too) pic.twitter.com/z5Yy29TtZE
— Sarah Ellison (@sgellison) March 2, 2020
I look at last year’s franchise tags for defensive ends Dee Ford and Frank Clark as a benchmark for trade. Dee Ford was traded for a 2nd round pick. Ford signed an $87.5 million contract for 5 years. Frank Clark was dealt for a 2019 1st round pick, 2020 2nd round pick and a swap of 3rd round picks. Clark was given a 5-year contract worth $105.5 million and $63.5 million guaranteed. I would expect the Jaguars to explore a Frank Clark-like deal to build their roster towards the future. Miami could definitely use the help on the edge, and has the draft capital and cap space if they want to gain a building block on defense.
Shaquil Barrett, OLB – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sometimes staying put is the best bet for a player. Barrett is a perfect example of landing spot mattering. He was considered a bust by the Denver Broncos and let go. Barrett went on to have a career year on a one-year prove-it contract and is going to cash in this off-season. The Bucs are considering the franchise tag, but working out a more reasonable long-term deal would be in the best interest of both sides. The 19.5 sack season may not be able to be replicated, but double-digit sacks would be reasonable for 2020 with the same defensive scheme in place.
Cory Littleton, LB – Cleveland Browns
The linebacker roulette continues as Schobert, Martinez, and Littleton go round and round. The Browns may be moving on from Schobert, but they still need a linebacker. Mack Wilson and Sione Takitaki could fill in those roles, but the Browns have a lot of key players in their prime. They could actually make the leap this year that they couldn’t last season. Baker Mayfield gets a lot of blame for the Browns’ struggles last season, but the defense did not hold up their end of the bargain either. They will look to upgrade their offensive line and adding a defensive leader for possibly cheaper than Joe Schobert could help make that happen.
De’Vondre Campbell, LB – Jacksonville Jaguars
Campbell had his best season in 2019 and the Falcons need to make a push to bring him back, but that doesn’t seem likely. The Jaguars would be a great fit as they have Myles Jack returning from injury and it doesn’t seem like Telvin Smith is walking through that door again. They tried to piece together linebacker last season, but it was a failure despite the IDP production from the position. Campbell plays well in tandem and Jack and Smith were quite a pair. The Jaguars are clearing house on defense. They could make Campbell one of their pillars on defense and probably won’t have to pay more than $10 million a year.
The #Falcons are planning to allow starters TE Austin Hooper and De’Vondre Campbell to test free agency, GM Thomas Dimitroff said today. The likelihood is that both players receive large deals in free agency, but Atlanta hasn’t ruled out keeping them for the right price.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 25, 2020
The 2020 IDP free agents frenzy will begin officially on March 16th. In the meantime, we can dream about where we want these top IDP assets, and more, to end up. If you liked this article check out @WaltonSpurlin‘s take on where the free agents will end up here: Dream Landing Spots for 2020 IDP Free Agents.
Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed the article. You can find me on Twitter @seahawksdan8. If you like podcasts you can catch me on the IDP Nation podcast and DIG: Devy IDP Grind podcast. If you want to talk about all things fantasy football, feel free to reach out or tag me in your questions!