When ranking the top CBs, we’re looking at more than raw talent. Josh Norman is the best 2016 Free Agent CB, but he’s not number one on our list. We’re also evaluating probable price tag, fit, and potential impact over the next three to five years. We generally favor younger players with high potential versus an aging star with one or two years left. Charles Woodson is a notable exception but guys like him rarely come along. Of course, if your team if making a viable run at the Super Bowl, than the whole equation changes.
We feel the same way about salary. Unless a team is a player away from making the Super Bowl we don’t favor getting into egregious price wars. Use that money instead to fill as many holes as possible. That’s why Josh Norman drops to number two on our list. If Carolina doesn’t resign or tag him, we’re expecting a feeding frenzy among teams bidding for his services.
Trumaine Johnson, Los Angeles Rams
Top 2016 Free Agents – CB
Name, Team, Years in League
Trumaine Johnson, Rams, 4
Trumaine is often given second consideration behind teammate Janoris Jenkins. While Jenkins is flashier and a better athlete, Trumaine is the better Cornerback and has more potential. He has good size (6-2, 208) and his 40 time is a mid 4.4. We also like his long reach. He recorded 7 interceptions and 24 PD in 2015. He won’t come cheap but he will come at a far lower salary than Josh Norman. Johnson had a DUI conviction in 2013 but has stayed out of trouble since. Franchise Tagged by the Rams. Would have been a great addition to the Oakland Raiders. Will make between $13M & $14M.
Josh Norman, Panthers, 4
Rare talent to compete with top receivers in the league. There’s no way the Carolina Panthers let him go. If they do, expect a full blown price war. No surprise the Panthers are using the Franchise Tag. Will make $13M-$14M.
Sean Smith, Chiefs, 7
Big physical Cornerback with above average talent. Not the fastest DB but is consistent and reliable against the pass. Sat out the start of the 2015 season after being suspended for a DUI conviction. Posted 2 interceptions and 14 PD in 2015. Chiefs will most likely resign. 2015 salary was $3.5M. Looks like the Raiders got him. Improves the Raider secondary while hurting the Chiefs.
Sean Smith, Kansas City Chiefs
Janoris Jenkins, Rams, 4
Has 5 defensive touchdowns in his career. Has instincts and a nose for the ball that can’t be taught. Posted 3 interceptions, 18 PD, and 1 forced fumble in 2015. Like Trumaine Johnson, looking for a big payout after rookie contract. Has a tendency to gamble and give up big plays. To the Giants.
Patrick Robinson, Chargers, 6
Former number one pick for the Saints. He was an average player for New Orleans that didn’t live up to the expectations of a first rounder. Signed a one year contract with San Diego in 2015. He had a decent season for a Chargers team that was lacking on defense. Not a top 10 CB, but can be an upgrade for many teams at a favorable salary. 2015 salary was $1M.
Prince Amukamara, Giants, 5
Former first rounder that has been plagued by injuries. Not the playmaker the Giants were hoping for but very capable defender when on the field. Salary was $6.9M in 2015. Signed a one year deal with Jacksonville.
Jerraud Powers, Cardinals, 7
Reliable veteran often noted for his leadership. Didn’t put up big stats last year but was key part of Cardinal’s defense. $4.3M salary in 2015.
Neiko Thorpe, Raiders, 3
Young player starting to show potential. Good size (6-1, 200). 1 interception and 7 PD in 2015. Will most likely be a role player in 2016.
Neiko Thorpe, Oakland Raiders
Jeremy Lane, Seahawks, 4
Lane is infamously remembered for breaking his arm in Seattle’s Super Bowl loss to New England. He’s another young player with potential. He had 2 interceptions and 8 PD playing as a role player in 2015. Resigned with Seattle.
Casey Heyward, Packers, 4
The Packers were excited about Heyward early on but he just hasn’t been able to break into that next level. A large part of that is due to injuries. Signed with San Diego.