Top free agents available at official start of new league year
To all Giants fans out there, happy new league year!
The 2021 league year officially begins at 4:00 p.m. ET today.
Starting on Monday, teams were permitted to contact -- and enter into contract negotiations with -- the certified agents of players who will become Unrestricted Free Agents upon the expiration of their 2020 player contracts. They cannot sign until the start of the new league year.
With the negotiating period kicking off nearly 48 hours ago, many players on NFL.com's top 101 free agents list have agreed to new deals already. However, there are a lot of talented players still available and set to hit the open market.
Here are some of NFL.com's top remaining free agents, along with comments from NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal:
WR Kenny Golladay (No. 6), Detroit Lions: "An injury-marred 2020 season won't erase memories of Golladay skying over defenders and winning 1-on-1 matches on the outside, a difficult skill set to find."
EDGE Jadeveon Clowney (No. 7), Tennessee Titans: "His stock is at a low, but I'm still taking Clowney's snap-to-snap ferocity upside over players like Yannick Ngakoue and Matt Judon. Still just 28, Clowney remains capable of a strong second phase to his career."
WR Will Fuller (No. 12), Houston Texans: "Finally healthy and on his way to a monster season, Fuller's 2020 campaign was cut short by a PED suspension that will also sideline him for Week 1 of next season. The NFL equivalent of a plus-minus NBA standout, Fuller's speedy presence on the field has proven to make everyone around him better."
WR Curtis Samuel (No. 14), Carolina Panthers: "It took Panthers coach Matt Rhule to show Samuel's full value, helping him to top 1,000 yards from scrimmage with a mix of route trees and surprisingly potent inside runs. He's a perfect weapon for today's wide-open offenses."
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (No. 15), Pittsburgh Steelers: "He's known for his social media, yet JuJu's game is decidedly old school. A perfect No. 2 receiver who can do all the dirty work with incredible toughness over the middle."
OT Mitchell Schwartz (No. 26), Kansas City Chiefs: "Schwartz made first- or second-team All-Pro in four consecutive seasons before missing most of 2020 with a back injury that required surgery in February. He is almost impossible to rank without better medical info. He would be a top-five free agent if healthy, but the Chiefs' release of him and retirement whispers make it difficult to guess whether he can return to previous form."
EDGE Justin Houston (No. 29), Indianapolis Colts: "Professionalism ages well. One of the most productive pass rushers of the last decade can still get it done, albeit in a reduced role."
EDGE Haason Reddick (No. 30), Arizona Cardinals: "In one year, Reddick went from a potential roster cut to a contract-year revelation. I'd be wary of expecting 2020 production from Reddick again, but his first-round pedigree will help him get paid."
View NFL.com's updated rankings of the top 101 free agents of 2021 ahead of the new league year, which begins March 17.
Leonard Williams reportedly agrees to new contract with Giants
In doing so, the Giants have secured the multi-year services of one of their most productive players and grant themselves salary cap relief.
Last week, for the second consecutive year, the team placed a non-exclusive franchise tag on Williams, who had the finest season of his six-year career as the Giants' most dominant defender in 2020. Without a multi-year agreement, Williams' 2021 salary would be a calculation based on the average of the top five salaries from his position or 120% of his previous year's salary, whichever is greater.
In 2020, Williams, 26, led the team and was seventh in the NFL with 11.5 sacks, the highest total by a Giants player since Jason Pierre-Paul's 14.5 in 2014. No other Giants defender had more than 4.0 sacks. Williams' previous high total was 7.0 sacks in 2016. He had just one half-sack in 2019.
In addition, Williams was third in the NFL with 30 quarterback hits and tied for sixth with 14 tackles for loss. Williams was fifth on the Giants with 57 tackles (29 solo).
In the season's final five weeks, Williams was twice named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week.
Mock Draft Tracker: Latest predictions for Giants
John Schmeelk rounds up the latest expert predictions for the Giants, who hold the No. 11 overall pick.
Check out the video below to view updated predictions for the Giants' first-round pick.