NFL free agency is the first big opportunity for teams to overhaul their rosters ahead of next season, with the 2021 NFL draft looming in late April. It's also a rare chance to acquire excellent players without needing to give anything up in return outside of the contract the player signs. Just look at how 2020 signing Daryl Williams helped improve the Bills' offensive line, and how the Raiders' offense was improved by the bargain signing of wideout Nelson Agholor.
Judging the value of the marketplace is always going to be paramount, and some of the best free-agent business is done not in the first mad scramble for big contracts but in the second wave of deals that ink underrated contributors to more modest contracts. Teams can begin to talk to agents of free agents on March 15, and free agents can sign deals beginning on March 17.
Let's run through every position and highlight an overrated and underrated free agent using the Pro Football Focus database, which grades every player on every play. You might just see Williams and Agholor, who played on one-year deals last season, appear again:
Overrated: Dak Prescott
2020 team: Cowboys | Age entering 2021 season: 28
Editor's note: Prescott agreed to a new contract with Dallas on Monday evening.
The landscape isn't flush with overrated quarterbacks this offseason, and Prescott might not even hit the open market, as the Cowboys could franchise-tag him. Still, the fact that it's still a question is because the Cowboys have a firm cap on what they believe his value is.
Prescott wants market-leading money, but Dallas has correctly valued him at a step lower than that. As good as he has been, he has never earned an overall PFF grade higher than the 85.2 he managed in 2020 before getting hurt and missing the final 11 games.
The best quarterbacks in the league regularly top a grade of 90.0 and have done so with far less help from their supporting cast. He's a very good player, but he'll be considered overrated if the market values him as one of the best-paid quarterbacks in the game.
Underrated: Ryan Fitzpatrick
2020 team: Dolphins | Age entering 2021 season: 38