2019 NFL Free Agents: Defensive Ends

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2019 NFL Free Agency: Star rating is out of five. Age listing as of Sept. 1, 2019.
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  1. Jadeveon Clowney, DE/OLB, Texans. Age: 26.
    Franchised by Texans

    Jadeveon Clowney is one of the top edge players in the NFL. He’s a fearsome pass rusher, and he’s even better in run support. He’s also just 26, so he’ll continue to improve as long as the motivation is there.

  2. DeMarcus Lawrence, DE, Cowboys. Age: 27.
    Franchised by Cowboys

    DeMarcus Lawrence is an exceptional defensive end, as both a pass rusher and a run defender. He has logged a combined 25.5 sacks in the past two seasons. He’s also young enough to keep making improvements to his game.

  3. Trey Flowers, DE, Patriots. Age: 26.
    Signed with Lions (5 years)

    If you want proof that Trey Flowers was crucial to New England’s defense last year, consider that he missed the Jacksonville and Detroit games (was knocked out on the opening drive versus the Jaguars), and New England lost both contests despite those opponents failing to make the playoffs. Flowers is an exceptional talent as both a pass rusher and a run stopper. He’s just 26 (in August), so he should continue to improve his game.

  4. Frank Clark, DE, Seahawks. Age: 26.
    Franchised by Seahawks

    Frank Clark is coming off his best season as a pro, logging 13 sacks. He’s only 25 (26 in June), so he’s expected to make big strides in the coming years. The sky is the limit for him.

  5. Brandon Graham, DE, Eagles. Age: 31.
    Re-signed with Eagles (3 years)

    Though Brandon Graham has never notched double-digit sacks, he has been one of the better defensive ends in the NFL over the past decade. He’s been tremendous in all facets. Unfortunately for Graham, he turns 31 this offseason, so regression is coming soon.

  6. Ezekiel Ansah, DE, Lions. Age: 30.
    Signed with Seahawks (1 year)

    Ezekiel Ansah is an extremely talented edge rusher, but he can’t stay healthy. He hasn’t played a full season since 2015. He also turns 30 this offseason, which is not ideal.

  7. Preston Smith, DE/OLB, Redskins. Age: 26.
    Signed with Packers (4 years, $52 million)

    Jay Gruden sung Preston Smith’s praises in training camp, and Smith delivered. He accumulated half the sacks from 2017, seeing the number drop from eight to four, but he generated lots of pressures and stopped the run very well. Just 26, Smith should continue to improve.

  8. Derrick Morgan, DE/OLB, Titans. Age: 30.
    Announced retirement

    Derrick Morgan had his worst year as a pro since his rookie campaign in 2018. He had just half of a sack. However, he was slowed down by a shoulder injury all year, so it’s likely that he’ll bounce back next year. The downside is that he turns 30 this offseason.

  9. Adrian Clayborn, DE, Patriots. Age: 31.
    Signed with Falcons (1 year)

    Adrian Clayborn is a rock-solid defensive end with no weaknesses. He logged a career-high 9.5 sacks in 2017, though six of them came in one game where Dallas’ inept coaching staff didn’t adjust for Tyron Smith being injured. He predictably saw that number dip to 2.5 in 2018, but still played well overall. Unfortunately, Clayborn turns 31 in July, so he’ll regress rapidly in the near future.

  10. Nick Perry, DE/OLB, Packers. Age: 29.
    Nick Perry was released in the wake of the Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith signings. The move saves the Packers $3.3 million. Perry is a decent edge rusher when healthy, but he has missed 11 games the past two seasons. He’s only topped double-digit sacks once in his career.

  11. Randy Gregory, DE, Cowboys. Age: 26.
    Randy Gregory is an exceptionally talented edge rusher, and he won’t turn 27 until November. He has the skill to be a four-star player at the very least. Unfortunately, he’s not reliable. He could be suspended for yet another off-the-field transgression at any moment.

  12. Cameron Wake, DE, Dolphins. Age: 37.
    Signed with Titans (3 years, $23 million)

    Cameron Wake played very well last year, but despite this, he was a half-step slower than usual. This isn’t much of a surprise, as Wake is now 37. He could begin regressing rapidly soon.

  13. Vinny Curry, DE, Buccaneers. Age: 31.
    Signed with Eagles (1 year)

    The stats don’t show it, but Vinny Curry was a very talented player for the Eagles. He hasn’t recorded more than 3.5 sacks since 2013, but he has provided a consistent pass rush prior to 2018. He’s also very effective in run support. This past season was different, as Curry struggled, but he could rebound in 2019.

  14. Markus Golden, DE/OLB, Cardinals. Age: 28.
    Signed with Giants (1 year)

    Markus Golden collected 12.5 sacks two years ago, but hasn’t been productive since. Perhaps he needs more time to recover from the knee injury that had him sidelined for 12 games in 2017. The change to the 4-3 could’ve impacted him as well. Golden should be better in a 3-4 once he’s healthier in 2019.

  15. Romeo Okwara (RFA), DE/OLB, Lions. Age: 24.
    Re-signed with Lions (2 years)

    Romeo Okwara has shown some nice improvement as a former UDFA. He tallied 7.5 sacks last year and played well versus the run. He’s only 24 in June, so he has some major potential.

  16. Shelby Harris (RFA), DE, Broncos. Age: 28.
    Tendered by Broncos (2nd round)

    Shelby Harris is coming off an excellent season for the Broncos as a defensive lineman who generated good pressure on the quarterback and stuffed the run well.

  17. William Hayes, DE, Dolphins. Age: 34.
    William Hayes is a very well-rounded defensive end. He was missed last year when he tore his ACL in September. Turning 34 this offseason, Hayes could struggle to return to 100-percent form.

  18. Julius Peppers, DE, Panthers. Age: 39.
    Announced retirement

    Julius Peppers still played well last year, recording five sacks and stopping the run well. However, he’s now 39, so it’s only a matter of time before he becomes useless.

  19. Kerry Hyder, DE, Lions. Age: 28.
    Signed with Cowboys

    Kerry Hyder had a strong 2016 campaign, logging eight sacks. He missed all of 2017 with a torn Achilles, then struggled last year because he didn’t fit into the new 3-4 system. Hyder should bounce back next season if he moves on to a team with a 4-3 defense.

  20. Kony Ealy, DE/OLB, Raiders. Age: 27.
    Kony Ealy performed very well for the Jets in 2017, at least in the first half of the season. He slowed down toward the end, but it was a reminder that Ealy once dominated in the Super Bowl. Ealy barely played this year, but he still has some potential.

  21. Chris Long, DE, Eagles. Age: 34.
    Announced retirement

    Chris Long was a viable rotational edge rusher in 2018 once again, racking up 6.5 sacks. He’s been solid in his role, but that may not last much longer, given that he turns 34 this offseason.

  22. Dante Fowler, DE, Rams. Age: 25.
    Re-signed with Rams (1 year)

    Dante Fowler has tremendous talent, but is a lazy person and thus has never been able to live up to his No. 3 overall status from the 2015 NFL Draft. Perhaps Fowler will grow up and develop a love for the game, but no one should be holding their breath.

  23. Brooks Reed, DE, Falcons. Age: 32.
    Signed with Cardinals (1 year, $2 million)

    Brooks Reed, 32 in February, has lost some of his pass-rushing skills recently, but he’s still a very solid player in run support.

  24. Kerry Wynn, DE, Giants. Age: 28. — Signed with Bengals (1 year)
  25. Benson Mayowa, DE, Cardinals. Age: 28. — Signed with Raiders
  26. Brennan Scarlett (RFA), DE/OLB, Texans. Age: 26. — Tendered by Texans (original)
  27. Dion Jordan, DE, Seahawks. Age: 29.
  28. Cassius Marsh, DE, Seahawks. Age: 27. — Re-signed with Seahawks
  29. Andre Branch, DE, Dolphins. Age: 30. — Signed with Cardinals
  30. Frostee Rucker, DE, Raiders. Age: 35.
  31. Mario Edwards, DE, Giants. Age: 25. — Signed with Saints (2 years, $5 million)
  32. Wes Horton, DE, Panthers. Age: 29. — Signed with Saints
  33. Steven Means, DE, Falcons. Age: 28.
  34. Derrick Shelby, DE, Falcons. Age: 30.
  35. Shilique Calhoun (RFA), DE/OLB, Raiders. Age: 27.
  36. Lerentee McCray, DE/OLB, Jaguars. Age: 29.
  37. Geneo Grissom, DE, Colts. Age: 27.
  38. Jacquies Smith, DE, Raiders. Age: 29.
  39. Damonte Moore, DE, Raiders. Age: 26.
  40. Morgan Fox (RFA), DE, Rams. Age: 24.

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