We know defense wins championships. One of the most important positions in defense is the cornerback. Cornerbacks can make the long yardage plays come to a halt by either detering the quarterback from throwing, swatting the ball, and even using timely pass interferences to stop a definite touchdown. Every team needs a superstar at the position. This year these are the best cornerbacks available in free agency.
Byron Jones - Dallas Cowboys, 27
Playing at a small school like Connecticut, one might have expected Byron Jones to have been overlooked. But he was picked in the first round of the 2015 draft by the Dallas Cowboys and has since spent his career with the Cowboys. He made the Pro Bowl in 2018 in a great season where he defended 14 passes. He regressed a bit to the mean in 2019. It will be interesting to see what happens to Jones in the offseason, as the Cowboys will want to keep them but they have a lot of other free agents to try to sign. As one of the youngest, most talented corners available, Byron Jones should see a lot of interest throughout the league.
Chris Harris - Denver Broncos, 31
Chris Harris joined the Broncos in 2011 as an undrafted free agent. He plays with a huge chip on his shoulder and has been one of the best finds for the Broncos defense. He won the Super Bowl with them as one of the leaders of that team and went to the Pro Bowl four times for the Broncos, including three years in a row from 2014-2016 and also in 2018. Chris Harris is one of the emotional leaders of the defense and continues to play a key role despite his age. It is hard to know how much longer Harris will play at a high level but there is likely interest both from him and the Broncos in keeping him around.
James Bradberry - Carolina Panthers, 27
James Bradberry played college ball at Samford and was drafted in the second round of the 2016 draft by the Carolina Panthers. He has been a consistent starter for the Panthers over the last several years. As one of the youngest members of their defense, who has played a consistent role for them, we would expect the Panthers will try to keep Bradberry around. Expect him to get some looks from other teams around the league too.
Bradley Roby - Houston Texans, 28
Bradley Roby was drafted in the first round of the 2014 draft by the Denver Broncos. He won the Super Bowl while playing with the Broncos and they exercised his 5th year option, but overall he was relatively inconsistent during his time in Denver. In 2019 Roby signed a one year deal with the Texans and has been one of the better players in their secondary. We would expect this time around Roby is probably looking for more long term security and will look to sign a multi-year deal with more guarantees. He should get real interest as a young talented player in a thin market.
Trae Waynes - Minnesota Vikings, 28
Trae Waynes was picked 11th overall by the Minnesota Vikings in the 2015 draft. He played his college football at Michigan State where he won the Rose Bowl and the Cotton Bowl. Waynes competed for playing time in his first two years with the team, becoming the third cornerback in 2016 and finally becoming one of the two starting cornerbacks in 2017. Waynes has been the second cornerback in one of the top corner pairings in the league with Xavier Rhodes. The Minnesota Vikings exercised Waynes 5th year option and likely want to keep him around long term. Waynes should get a large amount of interest in the open market. Expect to see him sign a large, multi-year deal and to potentially be one of the most pursued cornerbacks on the open market in 2020.