Several local players are unrestricted free agents heading into the 2021 NFL season. Safety Jaquiski Tartt and offensive lineman D.J. Fluker could attract the most interest.
Teams can begin negotiating with players March 15. Free agents can sign with new teams starting March 17.
Tartt has turned in several nice seasons for San Francisco but has been dogged by injuries. Turf toe limited Tarrt to just seven games in 2020 and he missed 19 regular season games between 2017 and 2019. The Davidson and Samford grad earned $6.5 million last year and it is believed the 49ers may go with a cheaper option at strong safety.
30-year-old Fluker, who prepped at McGill-Toolen and Foley before starring at Alabama, had a solid year for the Baltimore Ravens. He started eight games and played both tackle spots and guard. He earned $1,075,000 after signing as a free agent. Fluker has also played for the Seahawks, Giants and Chargers. His experience and flexibility could earn him a raise in 2021.
A.J. McCarron is now 31-years-old. The former St. Paul’s and Alabama quarterback earned $4 million for the Houston Texans this year. Backing-up Deshaun Watson, he took just two snaps, completing a 20-yard pass on a fake punt against Tennessee and taking a 12-yard sack against Chicago. In seven NFL seasons with Cincinnati, Oakland, and Houston. McCarron has started just four regular season games and one playoff game. While his chance to be an NFL starter may have passed, McCarron is expected to attract interest from teams looking for a smart, veteran player to mentor a young QB.
T.J. Yeldon was inactive for most of the Buffalo Bills games this year. He played in three regular season games and two playoff games, while earning $1.6 million. Yeldon joined Buffalo in 2019 after four solid seasons in Jacksonville. The Daphne and Alabama grad may struggle to garner much interest in free agency.
Damarious Randall was a five year NFL starter with Green Bay and Cleveland, but struggled to find work in 2020. He was cut by the Raiders in training camp, after signing as a free agent. Seattle eventually signed the Pensacola High and Arizona State star and he appeared in ten games for the Seahawks. With experience at cornerback and safety, and carrying a 2020 bargain salary of $910,000, the 29-year-old could attract interest in free agency.
Alfred Morris revived his career in 2020, after not playing in 2019. Signed in midseason, he played in nine games for the Giants, rushing for 238 and a touchdown, and adding another receiving score. The former Pine Forest High and Florida Atlantic star played on a prorated $1 million contract in 2020. At age 33, Morris is unlikely to have many suitors.
Taylor Stallworth would have been the seventh local free-agent, but the defensive tackle re-signed with the Indianapolis Colts on January 10. Terms have not been disclosed. The former Murphy and South Carolina standout played in all 16 regular season games and one playoff game for Indianapolis. He will be entering his fourth year in the NFL. He played his first two seasons with the New Orleans Saints.