The Top NFL Street Free Agents of 2021

With the main slate of preseason games about to get underway and teams begin looking at their strengths and weaknesses I wanted to take a quick look at the top players who were released this offseason and signed to another team. More often than not street free agents do not make the big impact that some expect but it is always a fun “what if” game to see which teams may have made the biggest mistakes for their decision to cut the players.

Here is the list of the top 15 players who were cut and then signed with another team.

NamePositionPrior TeamCap SavedNew TeamYearsNew APY
J.J. WattDETexans$17,500,000Cardinals2$14,000,000
Adoree’ JacksonCBTitans$10,244,000Giants3$13,000,000
Kyle FullerCBBears$11,000,000Broncos1$9,500,000
Eric FisherLTChiefs$11,968,750Colts1$8,380,000
Kevin ZeitlerRGGiants$12,000,000Ravens3$7,500,000
Riley ReiffLTVikings$14,950,000Bengals1$7,500,000
Janoris JenkinsCBSaints$7,000,000Titans2$7,500,000
Kyle Van NoyEDGEDolphins$9,775,000Patriots2$6,000,000
Emmanuel SandersWRSaints$5,900,000Bills1$6,000,000
Kyle RudolphTEVikings$6,487,500Giants2$6,000,000
Jarran ReedDTSeahawks$8,975,000Chiefs1$5,500,000
DeSean JacksonWREagles$4,857,000Rams1$4,500,000
Tyrell WilliamsWRRaiders$10,600,000Lions1$4,000,000
Charles Leno Jr.LTBears$9,300,000Football Team1$4,000,000
John BrownWRBills$7,931,250Raiders1$3,750,000

Of all the names on the list Adoree’ Jackson might be the most interesting, but mainly from the Giants perspective. Usually, the contract value for a SFA is considered a “bargain” but here it clearly was not with the Giants seeing Jackson as a cornerstone player. If he plays well and the Titans struggle in the secondary it will look bad for them but this is the one name that is more about the signing team than cutting team.

The Bears cut Kyle Fuller and Charles Leno due to cap concerns and these may be two of the most watched players for this year. Chicago is expected to compete for the playoffs and made the decision to purge these two key positions in order to keep cap compliant. Their cap was constrained by using the franchise tag on Allen Robinson and one would think at least one of the two would be on the team if they had extended Robinson.

Minnesota also had two players on the list with the primary name being Riley Reiff. Reiff had a good season last year for Minnesota, but they had pretty much made the decision last summer to move on from Reiff when they strong armed him into a pay cut in the summer so they could trade for Yannick Ngakoue. Ngakoue only lasted a few weeks before being traded out but this put a relationship with Reiff at a bad point where extending him even if they wanted to was likely not an option, so they needed to cut him.

The Saints have needs at both corner and wide receiver but had to cut Janoris Jenkins and Emmanuel Sanders because of salary cap issues. Both players had some guaranteed salary in their contracts but the amount of that was minor compared to the salary cap savings.

Questions about this article? Reach Jason Fitzgerald on Twitter at @Jason_OTC