April 18, 2024

NFL teams can start negotiating with incoming free agents at noon (ET) on March 11, with free agency officially beginning at 4 p.m. (ET) on March 13.

NFL teams can begin talking with future free agents at noon (ET) on March 11, with free agency officially beginning at 4 p.m. (ET) on March 13. Indianapolis has the fifth-largest cap space ($58.9 million, according to Over The Cap) and must address each secondary position to emerge as a threat in the AFC.

Kendall Fuller – Cornerback (PFF projected contract: 3 years, $13M per year)

 

Kendall Fuller

 

Cornerback Kendall Fuller is among the most versatile athletes available in free agency. He turned 29 on Tuesday and has experience playing outside the numbers, in the slot, and as a safety. Fuller returned to Washington in 2020, signing a four-year $40 million contract, and he has played over 1,000 snaps in each of the last three seasons. This season, he played 1020 snaps and had the seventh-highest Pro Football Focus Grade (83.1) among 127 cornerbacks. Fuller finished 15 games with 79 tackles, nine pass deflections, and two interceptions.

Fuller can provide a championship-caliber presence in Indianapolis’ locker room. In 2018, he was moved from Washington to Kansas City for former quarterback Alex Smith, and he played a key role in the Chiefs’ first championship in 50 years, including the game-winning interception late in Super Bowl LIV against the San Francisco 49ers.

 

During Fuller’s second term in D.C., Washington won only 26 of 66 games. In the last two seasons, the Commanders have finished dead last in the NFC East. Indianapolis should try to lure the veteran defensive back to a blue chip franchise by offering a three-year, $40 million contract.

Xavier McKinney – Free Safety (PFF projected contract: 3 years, $12.5M per year)

 

Giants' Xavier McKinney Almost Lost Three Fingers in ATV Accident

 

Free Safety Xavier McKinney did not miss a single snap during the 2023 season, setting career highs with 116 tackles, 11 pass deflections, and two fumble recoveries. In 2023, he had the highest PFF coverage grade among safeties, at 91.2. This season, McKinney allowed a passer rating of 53.0, the second-lowest among all safeties with at least 600 snaps in coverage. McKinney rarely missed takedowns in the open field and had 57 tackles on pass plays. He missed only three tackles, the fewest among safeties with at least 600 snaps in coverage.

In the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected McKinney with choice No. 36. The 25-year-old is a highly touted free agent who is expected to earn a large salary this offseason. Since entering the NFL, McKinney has missed only 7.8% of his tackle attempts, ranking 11th among safeties with at least 100 tackles in the last four seasons. The Giants have not won the NFC East since 2011 and have a 29-41 record over the last four seasons.

In the season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles, McKinney intercepted two quarterbacks on consecutive snaps, producing highlight-reel plays. With 1:30 left in the first half, Jalen Hurts blasted a pass meant for receiver Julio Jones on the sideline, but McKinney soared to high-point the deep shot, make a remarkable interception, and land ten toes in bounds to gain possession at the Eagles’ 36-yardline.

 

After New York failed to gain a single yard and chose to pin Philadelphia deep inside its own territory, Eagles coach Nick Siriani substituted Jalen Hurts for backup quarterback Marcus Mariota to end the meaningless Week 18 divisional game. On Mariota’s first snap and McKinney’s next snap, the Giants’ ball hawk read the screen throw and jumped the route to intercept Mariota and reclaim possession inside the red zone.

Indianapolis should enter the competition and offer McKinney a three-year contract worth $37-40 million. The front management should prioritize extending strong safety Julian Blackmon to a long-term contract and establishing the last line of defense in 2024.

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