The Highest-Rated Defensive Free Agents In 2021

Even though the Super Bowl is still a month away, it’s never too early to start looking to next year. The 2021 free-agent class is going to be here before we know it and there are some very productive players taking up space on this list. We will continue to update the top players, but as we head closer to March, these players are going to be the best defensive free agents. 

Anthony Harris, Safety

This is a solid offseason when it comes to safeties. When it comes to Harris, he has been one of the best safeties in all of football. Those watching on free NFL streaming sites have seen Harris consistently make a big-time play when the Minnesota Vikings are playing. After starting the season 3-5, the Vikings defense has been revitalized and Harris is a huge piece of that puzzle. He is a perfect free safety that shines in Mike Zimmer’s defense, so resigning with the Vikings would be the best career move. The question is will the Vikings pay a safety close to $15 million in annual salary. There is somebody out there that will pay that type of money for Harris if the Vikings don’t. 

Justin Simmons, Safety

The top two defensive players in the offseason will be safeties. Simmons is a top-5 safety in the league after two solid seasons with the Denver Broncos. He is a great defender against the run but has finished with at least four interceptions for two consecutive seasons. There is no surprise that Simmons is thriving in Denver. Head coach Vic Fangio coached Chicago Bears safety Eddie Jackson. In 2018, Jackson finished with six interceptions on route to a First-Team All-Pro nod. Fangio’s long term future with the Broncos is questionable given the team’s play the last two seasons, so Simmons could look to contend elsewhere. If not, the Broncos can offer close to four years and $80 million. That’s a steep price for safety, but Simmons has been their best defensive player this year with Von Miller missing all of 2020. 

Lavonte David, Linebacker

David is one of the main reasons why the Tampa Bay Buccaneer defense is ranked No. 1 in the league in rushing yards allowed per game. The defense allows less than 80 yards per contest. He has just one Pro Bowl appearance on his resume, but he is playing at an incredibly high level even after the age of 30. David has exceptional speed, coverage skills, and is a reason why teams have to throw more screen passes. The Bucs defense is a wall and prevents other teams from playing smash-mouth football. The Bucs can offer David around $40 million over three years. He will likely ask a team for $15 million in annual salary. He could ask for a similar contract to Akiem Hicks (Bears) who signed a four-year, $48 million contract. Either way, you want David on your team for at least three or four seasons the way he is playing these days. 

Shaquile Barrett, EDGE

If the Bucs have to choose between two players, then Barrett has the better chance. In 2019, Barrett finished with 20 sacks. While that number was inflated compared to other seasons, he is still the best pass-rusher that will be on the market in 2021. Barrett turned a one-year, $4 million contract into a $15 million franchise tag for a reason. Barrett is guaranteed to earn that type of money annually as he creeps towards finishing 2020 with double-digit sacks. 

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