2016 NFL Free Agents: Cornerbacks

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2016 NFL Free Agency: Star rating is out of five. Age listing as of Sept. 1, 2016.
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  1. Josh Norman, CB, Panthers. Age: 28.
    Signed with Redskins (5 years, $75 million)

    Josh Norman gets a ton of hype as one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL. There’s no denying that he’s great, as he’s excellent in coverage, but he has some tackling issues. Having said that, Deion Sanders also struggled to tackle, so it’s not the worst weakness for a corner to have. Update: The Panthers have rescinded Norman’s contract, making him an unrestricted free agent.

  2. Janoris Jenkins, CB, Rams. Age: 27.
    Signed with Giants (5 years, $62.5 million)

    Janoris Jenkins is one of the better cornerbacks in the NFL. He didn’t play all that well in 2014 because of a lingering knee injury, but he bounced back with a very strong 2015 campaign. Just 27, Jenkins has a very bright future ahead of him.

  3. Leon Hall, CB, Bengals. Age: 31.
    Signed with Giants

    Pacman Jones was better than Leon Hall in 2015, but Hall is rated higher here because he’s a year younger and has been dominant for so much longer. Regardless, losing both would be crushing for Cincinnati.

  4. Trumaine Johnson, CB, Rams. Age: 26.
    Franchised by Rams

    After a solid 2014 campaign, Trumaine Johnson improved markedly and performed exceptionally well this past season. He completely erased some of the stud receivers he covered.

  5. Casey Hayward, CB, Packers. Age: 26.
    Signed with Chargers (3 years, $15.3 million)

    Casey Hayward is a terrific cover corner, but struggles mightily when it comes to tackling. He’s only 26 though, so he has plenty of time to improve that aspect of his game.

  6. Pacman Jones, CB, Bengals. Age: 32.
    Re-signed with Bengals (3 years)

    In my season preview heading into 2015, I listed Pacman Jones as just a solid depth player at cornerback. As it turns out, Jones blossomed into a shutdown cornerback. He won’t have many more years like that, given that he’ll turn 33 in late September, but he’s still going to command a ton of money this offseason.

  7. Sean Smith, CB, Chiefs. Age: 29.
    Signed with Raiders (4 years, $40 million)

    A big reason why Kansas City’s defense improved in the second half of the year was Sean Smith’s play down the stretch. Smith was suspended for three games to kick off the year and struggled in his return, but he was prolific during the team’s winning streak.

  8. Prince Amukamara, CB, Giants. Age: 27.
    Signed with Jaguars (1 year)

    Prince Amukamara is talented; there’s no question about that. However, he would have a much higher rating than this if he could just stay healthy. Amukamara has missed 25 games in his 5-year career, including 13 contests in the past two seasons.

  9. Brandon Boykin, CB, Panthers. Age: 26.
    Signed with Bears

    The Steelers had one of the top nickel corners in the NFL at their disposal, yet they inexplicably didn’t use him for most of the year. Overwhelmed defensive coordinator Keith Butler finally began utilize him in December, and it paid off big time, as Brandon Boykin performed extremely well.

  10. Jeremy Lane, CB, Seahawks. Age: 26.
    Re-signed with Seahawks (4 years)

    Jeremy Lane struggled a bit off a knee injury to start the 2015 season, but he performed well in his final couple of games. Lane is a solid nickel.

  11. William Gay, CB, Steelers. Age: 31.
    Re-signed with Steelers (3 years)

    Not that there’s anything wrong with William Gay, but he struggled at the beginning of the 2015 campaign. He improved as the year progressed and was playing well to close out the season. Unfortunately, he turned 31 in early January.

  12. Patrick Robinson, CB, Chargers. Age: 28.
    Signed with Colts (3 years, $12 million)

    Patrick Robinson has gone through a roller-coaster career thus far. He was a first-round pick in 2010 and played well at times, but he also struggled enough to get benched in New Orleans. Robinson performed well for the Chargers in 2015.

  13. Sterling Moore, CB, Buccaneers. Age: 26.
    Signed with Saints

    Not that it’s saying much, or really anything, but Sterling Moore was Tampa’s best cornerback in 2015. Just 26 in February, Moore has plenty of room for growth.

  14. Keenan Lewis, CB, Saints. Age: 30.
    Keenan Lewis is great when he’s healthy. Unfortunately, he has suffered countless injuries over the past few years. Lewis is dealing with a hip issue, so some team will try to sign him when he recovers.

  15. Nolan Carroll, CB, Eagles. Age: 29.
    Re-signed with Eagles (1 year)

    Nolan Carroll was the best cornerback on Philadelphia’s roster this past season, but that’s like picking a fat chick in a room full of them and calling her the most attractive one. Carroll missed the final five games of the year with a broken ankle.

  16. Morris Claiborne, CB, Cowboys. Age: 26.
    Re-signed with Cowboys (1 year, $3 million)

    Morris Claiborne was the sixth pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, but he has never lived up to his talent. Claiborne has struggle throughout his brief career thus far, and he dealt with numerous leg injuries throughout 2015.

  17. Kyle Wilson, CB, Saints. Age: 28.
    Re-signed with Saints (1 year)

    After struggling in New York, Kyle Wilson wasn’t on the field much for the first month of the season. He began playing more in October and actually turned out to be surprisingly effective. It’s fair to be skeptical that he can maintain this level of play, however.

  18. Shareece Wright, CB, Ravens. Age: 29.
    Re-signed with Ravens (3 years, $16 million)

    To show you how incompetent the 49ers are, they didn’t play Shareece Wright during the early portion of the 2015 season and released him as a consequence. The Ravens picked him up and were rewarded for doing so, as Wright was solid for them down the stretch.

  19. Chris Culliver, CB, Redskins. Age: 28.
    Signed with Dolphins (1 year, $5 million)

    Chris Culliver has played in only 20 games the past three seasons, thanks to multiple ACL tears. He signed a 4-year, $32 million contract with Washington last spring, but he’ll now have to travel elsewhere. Fortunately for him, he’s only 28, so he still has a future in this league.

  20. Bene Benwikere, CB, Panthers. Age: 25.
    Claimed by Dolphins

    Bene Benwikere wasn’t as bad as he looked when Julio Jones torched him mercilessly last week. Benwikere wasn’t horrible last year, and I have to think his struggles have to do with a leg injury he endured over the offseason. Perhaps he’ll bounce back once he gets fully healthy.

  21. Brent Grimes, CB, Dolphins. Age: 33.
    Signed with Buccaneers (2 years, $16.5 million)

    Brent Grimes has been a great cornerback for some time, but he declined last year. He wasn’t terrible, but was his 2015 regression a sign of things to come? Grimes turns 33 in July, so it’s possible that he won’t be able to start for much longer. Then again, if he had another solid year, it wouldn’t surprise anyone.

  22. Tracy Porter, CB, Bears. Age: 30.
    Re-signed with Bears (3 years, $16.5 million)

    Tracy Porter played well at the beginning of the season, but really fell off toward the end of the year, which was predictable given how the rest of his career has gone. Porter turns 30 in August, so things are looking bleak for him going forward.

  23. Terence Newman, CB, Vikings. Age: 37.
    Re-signed with Vikings (1 year, $3 million)

    Terence Newman turns 38 in early September, yet he’s still playing on a decent level. He has discussed moving to safety in the future, which should extend his career.

  24. Coty Sensabaugh, CB, Titans. Age: 27.
    Signed with Giants

    Coty Sensabaugh was one of Tennessee’s top cornerbacks this year, though that’s not saying much. Sensabaugh, who has been OK in the nickel before, is coming off a down year.

  25. Jerraud Powers, CB, Cardinals. Age: 29. — Signed with Ravens
  26. Leodis McKelvin, CB, Bills. Age: 31. — Signed with Eagles (2 years)
  27. Cortez Allen, CB, Steelers. Age: 27.
  28. Greg Toler, CB, Colts. Age: 31. — Signed with Redskins
  29. Deshawn Shead (RFA), CB, Seahawks. Age: 28.
  30. Trumaine McBride, CB, Giants. Age: 30.
  31. Alan Ball, CB, Bears. Age: 31. — Signed with Cardinals
  32. A.J. Bouye (RFA), CB, Texans. Age: 25. — Re-signed with Texans (1 year)
  33. Charles Tillman, CB, Panthers. Age: 35. — Announced retirement
  34. Brandon Browner, CB, Saints. Age: 32.
  35. E.J. Biggers, CB, Eagles. Age: 29. — Signed with Patriots
  36. Josh Gordy, CB, Giants. Age: 29.
  37. Brice McCain, CB, Dolphins. Age: 29. — Signed with Titans
  38. Josh Wilson, CB, Lions. Age: 31.
  39. Marcus Sherels, CB, Vikings. Age: 28. — Re-signed with Vikings (2 years)
  40. Darrin Walls, CB, Jets. Age: 28. — Signed with Lions
  41. Antonio Cromartie, CB, Colts. Age: 32.
  42. Tarell Brown, CB, Patriots. Age: 31.
  43. Antwon Blake, CB, Steelers. Age: 26. — Signed with Titans (1 year)
  44. Sherrick McManis, CB, Bears. Age: 28. — Re-signed with Bears
  45. Phillip Adams, CB, Falcons. Age: 28.
  46. Mike Jenkins, CB, Buccaneers. Age: 31. — Signed with Cardinals
  47. Jalil Brown, CB, Colts. Age: 28.
  48. Chris Lewis-Harris (RFA), CB, Bengals. Age: 27.
  49. Jamell Fleming, CB, Chiefs. Age: 27. — Re-signed with Chiefs
  50. Ron Brooks, CB, Bills. Age: 27. — Signed with Eagles (3 years, $6 million)
  51. Tavon Wilson, CB, Patriots. Age: 26. — Signed with Lions (2 years, $2.2 million)
  52. Leon McFadden (RFA), CB, Giants. Age: 25.
  53. Josh Robinson, CB, Vikings. Age: 25. — Signed with Buccaneers (1 year)
  54. Brandon Harris, CB, Titans. Age: 26.
  55. Leonard Johnson, CB, Patriots. Age: 26.
  56. Darryl Morris (RFA), CB, Texans. Age: 25.

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