2. Jadeveon Clowney, Baltimore Ravens
We realize that some of you believe Jadeveon Clowney is kind of dirty. That's because he is. It's hard to forget the images of him burning his helmet into Nick Foles' chest or going 'Hulk Smash' on Carson Wentz during that playoff game versus the Seattle Seahawks. He's very talented though. That's the thing, and that makes him one of the NFL's top mercenaries.
Clowney has always been seen as an elite pass rusher even though he's always been more skilled as a run defender. He made the most of an opportunity in Baltimore with the Ravens this season and made good on a reputation he hasn't always earned.
He should gain a raise following a nice showing under Mike Macdonald. Thanks to stellar coaching and some versatility by Clowney while being used in various fronts, he racked up a career high in total pressures but will now hit free agency come March.
1. Jonathan Greenard, Houston Texans
Speaking of 'making the most of an opportunity, welcome to the Jonathan Greenard portion of our discussion. In a contract year, he shined in his first season under new Houston Texans head coach DeMeco Ryans. Houston hasn't extended him at the time of this story's release though.
Like Clowney, he's a better run defender than a pass rusher. What he lacks is an assortment of moves, but his strong first step and football IQ more than make up for his deficiencies. He'll be sought after during the coming free-agency frenzy, but he should also carry a lower price tag than guys like Chase Young, Brian Burns, and Josh Allen.
Honorable mention: Josh Uche, New England Patriots
We wanted to place Josh Uche on this list, but something doesn't sit well with us. Why did Bill Belichick decrease his role despite the Patriots seemingly having a need to do the opposite, especially after Matthew Judon was injured?
Welp. Some things aren't our business, but it's certainly got us thinking. Uche won't make our list of five bargain signings, but he definitely earns honorable mention.