We are just days away from the 2018 NFL free agency officially starting on March 14. This year holds a very deep contingent of defensive backs, including some of the best cornerbacks and safeties in the league. There are five defensive backs who will be an outstanding addition to any roster and given the opportunity, a team would not want to miss out on.
Top Five Defensive Back Free Agents
Malcolm Butler– New England Patriots
Butler is hitting the free agency market at a time where his skills and development come with the right combination of experience. At 28, he is still a young enough cornerback to continue to play at a high level for a long time and has the ability make a difference on a team. The 2017 season was an inconsistent year for him but his track record is doing the talking this free agency period.
In 59 career games, he has a combined 205 tackles and eight interceptions. Of course, we cannot forget about his most famous play, the game-clinching interception in Super Bowl XLIX against Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks. Butler would fit in perfectly with a team in need of a Pro Bowl caliber cornerback. Be on the lookout for a quick signing on March 14.
Trumaine Johnson– Los Angeles Rams
Another young cornerback whose contract is up will hit the market on March 14. The Rams have given him the franchise tag the past two seasons and there will not be a third time.
Last year for the Rams, Johnson had a combined 65 tackles and two interceptions. Although it wasn’t his best season, he was still an effective defender against both the run and the pass.
There are teams out there with more available cap space that can offer Johnson a lucrative contract. Seeing which teams compete with one another for Johnson’s services will be interesting.
Lamarcus Joyner– Los Angeles Rams
As if the Rams didn’t have any more negotiations to think about for free agency, they also have to decide whether to give Joyner the franchise tag or let him become a free agent. If he does hit free agency, there is a lot to look forward to in this young man.
Joyner is such a key to the Rams defense that parting ways would make him a great pick up for any other team. Changing from corner to safety this year has made him an even better defender. In 52 games he’s put up 227 total tackles and three interceptions (all coming in 2017).
(Edit: The Los Angeles Rams have placed the franchise tag on Lamarcus Joyner).
Patrick Robinson– Philadelphia Eagles
After signing a one-year deal last year with the Eagles, Robinson came out last season proving to people that he is worth a long-term deal. Not only is he coming off of a Super Bowl win, he also chalked up 45 tackles and four interceptions. Yes, four interceptions in just eight regular season starts. He might not be the youngest, turning 31 in September, but he is one of the most experienced heading into his ninth season in the NFL.
If you didn’t know about him before, you do now. Robinson played exceptionally for the Eagles defense, matching his career high 18 passes defended. The Eagles do not have enough money to offer him a contract that he deserves making him a serious consideration for teams this free agency.
Kyle Fuller– Chicago Bears
Missing the entire 2016 NFL season due to injury can set any player back, but that was not the case for Fuller. He had 69 tackles, two interceptions, and a personal best 22 passes defended last year. Add the fact that he is only 26, Fuller becomes one of the most sought-after cornerbacks on the market.
(Edit: The Chicago Bears have placed a transitional tag on Kyle Fuller).
Morgan Burnett– Green Bay Packers
Tre Boston– Los Angeles Chargers
E.J. Gaines– Buffalo Bills