2020 NFL Free Agency Predictions: The Top 10 Players on the Market This Year

One of the most-eagerly anticipated free agency periods in the NFL's recent history gets officially underway on Wednesday.

However, the legal tampering period, which allows teams and players to discuss and agree terms, begins on Monday, meaning in just over two days some of the most high-profile players in football could have a new team.

Contracts and franchise tags are trivial matters against the almost unprecedented scenario of a global pandemic, but free agency could provide a welcome distraction for fans. Will Tom Brady leave New England after two decades and will the Dallas Cowboys manage to hold onto Byron Jones and Amari Cooper after franchise-tagging Dak Prescott?

Newsweek has listed the 10 top free agents that will grab the headlines this week.

Tom Brady—New England Patriots

There's only place, or rather player, to start. Brady may no longer be the best quarterback in the NFL but him leaving the New England Patriots would nevertheless be a seismic shift for the league. The six-time Super Bowl winner can test the open market for the first time since he entered the NFL and the lack of progress on a deal with the Patriots has fueled speculations he could end his career away from Foxborough—but options are shrinking.

The Tennessee Titans pulled themselves out of the race for Brady after re-signing Ryan Tannehill to a four-year, $118 million deal, while NBC Sports reported the San Francisco 49ers are unlikely to open negotiations with Brady. That is not say Brady will stay in New England, but two of his reportedly preferred destinations are not in the market for a quarterback.

Brady will be 43 in August and last season had the fewest touchdown passes since 2008—when he suffered a season-ending injury in Week 1—and his passing yards total was the second-lowest since 2010.

Tom Brady, New England Patriots
Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots signals to teammates during the AFC Wild Card Playoff game against the Tennessee Titans at Gillette Stadium on January 4 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Maddie Meyer/Getty

Amari Cooper—Dallas Cowboys

Since being traded to Dallas halfway through the 2018 season, Cooper has developed into one of the Cowboys' most devastating offensive options. The 25-year-old racked up six touchdowns and 725 receiving yards on 53 receptions in his first nine games with the franchise.

In his first full season with the Cowboys, Cooper finished with a team-best 1,189 receiving yards with 79 receptions and eight touchdowns. With the Cowboys using the franchise tag on Prescott, Cooper could hit the open market—unless he agrees to an extension with the franchise.

Jadeveon Clowney—Seattle Seahawks

Clowney may have recorded just three sacks last season, but figures alone don't do justice to his wrecking ball-like impact. Since being traded to Seattle from Houston in August, the 27-year-old made an instant difference for his new team, which came agonizingly close to secure a first-round bye last season and probably would have done so had it not been for the injuries that forced Clowney to start only 11 games.

The Seahawks have agreed to not use the franchise tag on their edge rusher, who could land a massive deal as the best defensive disruptor on the market.

Jadeveon Clowney, Seattle Seahawks
Jadeveon Clowney #90 of the Seattle Seahawks looks on against the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 5 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Steven Ryan/Getty

Byron Jones—Dallas Cowboys

With Prescott and Cooper also set to become free agents, something will have to give in Dallas. If, as expected, the Cowboys will use the franchise tag on one of the two and sign the other, Jones is expected to hit the open market. ESPN reported Jones should command in the region of $16-$17 million a year as one of the best cornerbacks in the league, with the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants and Las Vegas Raiders all looking to bolster their secondary.

Shaquil Barrett—Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Barrett led the league in sacks with 19.5 last season, after signing a one-year deal with the Bucs. That kind of production should make the edge rusher a wanted man on the market, as long as Tampa Bay doesn't use the franchise tag on him and the 27-year-old will be desperate to prove he's not a one-season wonder after never exceeding the 5.5 sacks threshold in his career until last season.

Anthony Harris—Minnesota Vikings

Harris has developed into one of the stars of the Vikings secondary, finishing last season as the top-graded safety by Pro Football Focus. The safety led the league with six interceptions and also recorded 11 passes defended and 60 tackles.

Earlier this week, Harris admitted he would like to stay in Minneapolis.

"Looking at the organization from a standpoint top to bottom, from the owners down to the coaches down to the locker room and the culture they have. It's somewhere I'd definitely like to stay," he said on SiriusXM NFL Radio.

Cory Littleton—Los Angeles Rams

A versatile linebacker, Littleton could attract plenty of interest in the open market should the Rams not use the franchise tag on him. The Green Bay Packers have already been mentioned among the potential suitors.

Arik Armstead—San Francisco 49ers

Along with Nick Bosa and Dee Ford, the defensive end was a key component of the devastating defense that carried the 49ers to Super Bowl LIV. San Francisco is desperate to keep hold of Armstead and, according to NBC Sports, was working on a new multi-year deal as late as Sunday.

Should they fail to reach an agreement, expect the 49ers to use the franchise tag.

Jameis Winston—Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Winston led the NFL in passing yards with 5,109 and set a franchise record with 33 touchdowns. Unfortunately for him, he also threw 30 interceptions and the Bucs' patience with him appears to have all but evaporated.

Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians was non-committal last month when asked whether Winston would be brought back and on Monday the Tampa Bay Timesreported the Bucs could indeed be ready to move on from the first overall pick of the 2015 draft.

Philip Rivers—Free agent

Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers parted ways after 16 years last month and the veteran quarterback could have a number of teams knocking on his door, chief among them the Indianapolis Colts.

While Rivers' experience isn't up for debate, his declining mobility could put off any potential suitors.