- • Senior analyst at Pro Football Focus
• Contributes regular columns to ESPN Insider
NFL free agency is consumerism at its best, and as with all such enterprises, shopping around is critical because the best value comes not from being first, or spending the most money, but from finding the best player at the lowest price.
Look no further than the league’s 2019 sack leader, Shaquil Barrett. After accumulating 14 sacks in four seasons as a part-time player with the Broncos, Barrett signed on with the Buccaneers ahead of last season for one year at $4 million, plus incentives. He’d go on to post 19.5 sacks as one of best signings of the 2019 offseason. The best signings aren’t always the big names.
With that in mind, Pro Football Focus looks at each position and highlights the most overrated and underrated players heading into 2020 free agency. All stats are from PFF, which grades every player in every game.
Overrated: Philip Rivers
Navigating the quarterback market in free agency is always tricky, since it’s unlikely that several of the top QBs will actually hit the open market, but Rivers seems to be among the most coveted. At his best, Rivers has been among the top quarterbacks in the NFL, but he is coming off a season in which he posted an overall PFF grade of just 74.3, the 17th-best mark in the league. The 2020 season will see him turn 39, and Rivers has already started to show signs of decline, which makes the Chargers lifer a risky acquisition.
Underrated: Case Keenum
Such is the state of the quarterback-driven NFL that none of the available starting-caliber players will truly be underrated. But you could find bargains once you get to the players who will be content with a backup role. Keenum, who spent 2019 with the Redskins, has plenty of poor play on his résumé but is just two seasons removed from an overall PFF grade of 81.4 and a trip to the NFC Championship Game. He may have exhausted starting opportunities but has real value as a backup, and a team wouldn’t have to break the bank to acquire his services.
Overrated: Derrick Henry
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