The past week has seen a major shift in the 2019 free agent market. Several of the top out-of-contract players were given franchise tags by their respective teams, which in turn led to NFL.com naming a new No. 1 free agent this year.
According to NFL.com writers Gregg Rosenthal and Chris Wesseling, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell is the new No. 1 free agent of 2019. Bell did not play in 2018, opting to sit out until the Steelers gave him a new contract that never came.
Following the season, the Steelers announced that they would not be tagging Bell. The move essentially paved the way for him to enter free agency.
This ranking isn’t a prediction of how much guaranteed money Bell will earn. It’s a reflection of his status as one of the transcendent players of this century at his position — and the fact that he just turned 27 years old.
In 2017, Bell had a career-high and league-leading 321 carries, going for 1,291 yards and a career-high nine rushing touchdowns. He also continued his strong form in the passing game, making 85 catches for another 655 yards.
His stellar performance in 2017 earned him Pro Bowl and First-Team All-Pro honors.
As of March 5, the New York Jets are the favorites to sign Bell when free agency officially begins, per OddsShark.
The New York Jets are the new favorite to land Le'Veon Bell this offseason.
You can bet on them to acquire the all-star running back at +500.https://t.co/DUZRxYahJT
— OddsShark (@OddsShark) March 6, 2019
As of February 25, the top three free agents were Dallas Cowboys pass rusher DeMarcus Lawrence, Houston Texans pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney, and Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett.
All three players were given franchise tags by their respective teams.