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2021 Free Agency

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2021 NFL Free Agency Preview: Current QB/RB depth and who's available


The new league year is right around the corner.

The NFL calendar officially flips to 2021 on March 17, when all 2020 player contracts expire and thus free agency begins. The league has finally set the salary cap at $182.5 million, down from $198.2 million in 2020 as the league deals with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the placement of the franchise tag on Leonard Williams, the Giants now have 15 players set to become free agents next week.

In anticipation of what has already been a wild offseason for player movement, ranked the top 101 free agents of 2021. A few players' names have been crossed off the list, as several free agents have already agreed to deals with new teams. However, other big names remain.

While we wait to see what the team does, broke down the roster as it currently stands in the "2021 Free Agency Position Preview" series. Here you will find the Giants' current depth, the team's pending free agents, and the top players available from across the league at each position with analysis from's Gregg Rosenthal.

Now let's dive into the quarterbacks and running backs.


Current depth: Daniel Jones, Clayton Thorson (reserve/future deal), Joe Webb (reserve/future deal)

Pending free agents: Colt McCoy

The Giants drafted Daniel Jones with the sixth overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, and head coach Joe Judge has reiterated that Jones is their franchise quarterback. Colt McCoy was brought in last offseason to serve as the backup QB and a mentor for Jones, but wound up leading the Giants to their biggest win of the season against Seattle while Jones was out with an ankle injury. McCoy is now set to become a free agent. Clayton Thorson spent most of the 2020 season on the Giants' practice squad, and was signed to a reserve/future contract following the completion of the season. Joe Webb was signed to the practice squad in December and elevated to the active roster for Weeks 15 and 16. He signed a reserve/future deal in early January.

View the Giants' depth on the roster at the quarterback position.

Top quarterbacks available according to (comments from's Gregg Rosenthal):

Jameis Winston (No. 13), New Orleans Saints: "It will take the right coach, but Winston could improve a handful of starting quarterback situations. Don't be surprised if it happens in New Orleans."

Ryan Fitzpatrick (No. 19), Miami Dolphins: "You could argue Fitz's peak started around age 37. Why stop now?"

Andy Dalton (No. 35), Dallas Cowboys: "Great backup quarterbacks were weirdly undervalued in last year's market, receiving less money than mediocre situational pass rushers. Dalton is settling into the phase of his career where he's one of the best backups in football."

Jacoby Brissett (No. 53), Indianapolis Colts: "See my note on Andy Dalton for the relative value of backup quarterbacks. The last time Brissett played with a healthy shoulder, in the first half of the 2019 season, he played quite well."

Tyrod Taylor (No. 75), Los Angeles Chargers: "It's a shame that the Chargers' medical staff mishap cost Taylor a chance at being a Week 1 starter in 2021. He can still help a team as a backup."

Mitchell Trubisky (No. 101), Chicago Bears: "Remember that week when everyone wondered if the Bears would have to re-sign Trubisky to a big contract? That was weird."

View's updated rankings of the top 101 free agents of 2021 ahead of the new league year, which begins March 17.

Running Backs

Current depth: Saquon Barkley, Elijhaa Penny, Jordan Chunn (Reserve/Future deal), Taquan Mizzell (reserve/future deal)

Pending free agents: Wayne Gallman, Dion Lewis, Alfred Morris

Saquon Barkley was drafted with the second overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft and put up historic numbers in his first two seasons. His third season was derailed by a torn ACL in Week 2 of the 2020 season, but he is expected to make a full recovery in time for the start of the upcoming season. Wayne Gallman has spent the last four seasons with the Giants after being drafted in the fourth round of the 2017 draft. He started a career-high 10 games following Barkley's injury and registered career marks in carries (147), rushing yards (682), touchdowns (six) and yards per attempt (4.6). Dion Lewis signed with the Giants last offseason and gained 115 yards on 29 carries (4.0 avg.) with two touchdowns. He also caught 19 passes for 127 yards and an additional score. Alfred Morris was signed to the practice squad in the middle of the 2020 season and wound up playing in nine games for the Giants, recording 238 yards on 55 attempts (4.3-avg.) with one touchdown. He also caught the first receiving touchdown of his career. Gallman, Lewis and Morris are all set to become free agents. Elijhaa Penny signed with the Giants a few weeks into the 2018 season and has served as the team's fullback over the last 2.5 seasons. Jordan Chunn signed a reserve/future deal with the Giants in early January after sitting out the 2020 season. Taquan Mizzell signed a reserve/future deal after spending part of the 2020 season on the Giants' practice squad.

Top running backs available according to (comments from's Gregg Rosenthal)::

Chris Carson (No. 40), Seattle Seahawks: "It's not cool to value tackle-breaking running backs like Chris Carson, but it is exceedingly cool to watch Chris Carson play football."

Kenyan Drake (No. 59), Arizona Cardinals: "He had to work harder in 2020, but Drake topped 1,000 yards from scrimmage for the third straight season. His best role would be as a dangerous tag-team partner, rather than as a lead back."

Duke Johnson (No. 71), Houston Texans: "I remain convinced Johnson can be one of the best third-down backs in football, even after landing in two straight tricky situations for running backs."

Marlon Mack (No. 77), Indianapolis Colts: "One of the league's most underrated running backs would be worth a flier, even coming off a torn Achilles."

James Conner (No. 90), Pittsburgh Steelers: "The Pittsburgh offensive line didn't help Conner's decisiveness over the last two seasons."

James White (No. 92), New England Patriots: "A reunion with Tom Brady would make a lot of sense after both players appeared to miss one another in 2020."

Mike Davis (No. 100), Carolina Panthers: "Panthers coach Matt Rhule helped a whole lot of players reach career highs last year, including Davis, who topped 1,000 yards from scrimmage."

View the current depth on the roster at the running back position.


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