Tyvon Branch, John Brown crack NFL.com’s top 101 free agent list
In a latest ranking of the top free agents in the NFL, two Arizona Cardinals found themselves right in the mix.
With free agency right around corner, NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal and Chris Wesseling broke down the top 101 free agents available, highlighting Cardinals wide receiver John Brown and safety Tyvon Branch.
With 17 Cardinals set to test free agency, Brown and Branch were the only two to make the cut, coming in at No. 52 and No. 72, respectively.
WR John Brown – No. 52
Like so many intriguing free agents, Brown has a history of injuries that makes him a boom-or-bust option. He hasn’t been quite right since his 1,000-yard season in 2015.
Brown saw his production increase from 2014 to 2015, but has since seen a big dropoff in almost every receiving category.
Thanks in part to injuries and the quarterback situation, Brown has’t been able to replicate his 65-catch and 1,003-yard effort from 2015. Last season, he failed to reach 300 yards and played in just 10 games for the Cardinals.
When he did get the ball he averaged 14.2 yards a catch, but saw a career-low in targets with 56 — down 45 from 2015.
His total yards ranked him 147th in the NFL among pass catchers — one spot lower than Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette and tied with Atlanta Falcons running back Tevin Coleman.
His best game of the season came in Week 6, where he caught three balls for 63 yards and a 31-yard touchdown.
S Tyvon Branch – No. 72
Defensive coordinator James Bettcher knew just how to use Branch’s ability to cover tight ends. Don’t be surprised if Branch follows Bettcher to Big Blue.
Like Brown, the injury bug hampered Branch’s availability as the 10-year vet only played in nine games for Arizona after playing in just six in 2016.
But when he was on the field, he made the snaps count, registering at least seven tackles in the first five games and either leading the team or recording the second-most tackles in all but two games in which he played.
In Week 3’s 28-17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, Branch had his best performance of the season, making a game-leading 12 tackles. The next closest Cardinal was Tyrann Mathieu with four tackles.
Looking at the rest of the free agents on the list, much-talked about quarterback Kirk Cousins — who has been the subject of conversation in Arizona — sits atop the rankings, while quarterback Jay Cutler rounds out the list at No. 101.
The free agent frenzy officially begins March 14.