Many of the top NFL free agents joined new teams or re-signed with their old ones at the start of free agency. The free agency negotiating or “legal tampering” period doesn’t allow contracts to be signed, but barring massive Josh McDaniels-style flip-flopping, the biggest reported deals became official at 4 p.m. ET on March 14.
It has been some of the most action we’ve seen prior to the start of free agency. From a slew of trades to some high-profile franchise tagging to Sam Bradford getting another $20 million thrown at what’s left of his ACLs, it’s hard even keeping track of who is still available.
The top quarterbacks (and Bradford) went quickly, while the pass-rushing market dried up immediately with a pair of franchise tags to Demarcus Lawrence and Ezekiel Ansah. Wide receivers are getting paid a whole lot more than anybody expected, and that market is quickly evaporating. Running backs ... well, nobody is signing running backs yet.
We’ve got you covered and there are still plenty of players worth signing, depending on the need.
Signed: Jimmy Garoppolo, Drew Brees, Kirk Cousins, Case Keenum, Sam Bradford, Josh McCown, Teddy Bridgewater, Mike Glennon, Ryan Fitzpatrick, AJ McCarron, Tom Savage, Chase Daniel, Chad Henne, Josh Johnson, EJ Manuel, Brock Osweiler, Blaine Gabbert, Brandon Weeden, Geno Smith, Robert Griffin III
Best Available: Colin Kaepernick, Jay Cutler
McCarron was thought to have a potentially strong market, but it took until the league year actually switched over, and then some, for him to sign with the Bills. Imagine that! Cutler is included because he’s, at times, competent and that just happens to be the bar at this point in the free agent class. The big names, plus Brock Osweiler, are essentially all gone.
Others available: Matt Moore
Signed: Le’Veon Bell (franchise tag), Chris Ivory, Jonathan Stewart, Isaiah Crowell, Dion Lewis, Jonathan Stewart, Carlos Hyde, Jerick McKinnon, Rex Burkhead, Corey Grant (RFA, tendered), Brandon Bolden, Doug Martin, Jeremy Hill, LeGarrette Blount, Damien Williams, Frank Gore
Best Available: DeMarco Murray
When Lewis went off the board, the market dried up quite a bit. Unless you want your team targeting a slew of veterans that may or may not have something left to offer.
Other available: Orleans Darkwa, Alfred Morris, Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles, Alfred Blue, Thomas Rawls
Signed: Jarvis Landry (franchise tag + trade), Allen Robinson, Sammy Watkins, Paul Richardson, Marqise Lee, Danny Amendola, Donte Moncrief, Cameron Meredith (RFA, tendered), Tyrell Williams (RFA, tendered), Quincy Enunwa (RFA, tendered) Albert Wilson, Willie Snead (RFA, tendered), Taylor Gabriel, Michael Crabtree, De’Anthony Thomas, Bruce Ellington, Jarius Wright, Cody Latimer, Ryan Grant, Deonte Thompson, Mike Wallace, Terrelle Pryor, Allen Hurns, Brice Butler, Jordan Matthews, Kendall Wright
Best Available: Eric Decker
The wide receiver market has been STRONG. They’re all getting paid, and fast. Matthews dealt with injuries last year with the Bills, but is still just 25. A couple older veterans, like Eric Decker and Jeremy Maclin, are still available, too.
Other available: Jeremy Maclin, Markus Wheaton
Signed: Jimmy Graham, Trey Burton, Cameron Brate, Derek Carrier, Virgil Green, Niles Paul, Lee Smith, Darren Fells, Tyler Eifert, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Ed Dickson, Eric Ebron, Luke Willson, Logan Paulsen, Ben Watson, Troy Niklas
All the top free agents have been signed. The rest of the pack includes aging veterans or underperforming veterans. Take your pick.
Other available: Antonio Gates, Julius Thomas, Marcedes Lewis
Signed: OT Nate Solder, OT Seantrel Henderson, OT Chris Hubbard, OT Andre Smith, OT Garry Gilliam, G Andrew Norwell, G Brandon Fusco, C Weston Richburg, C Daniel Kilgore, C Matt Paradis (RFA, tendered), C Brett Jones (RFA, tendered), G Zach Fulton, C Spencer Long, G Josh Sitton, C Ryan Jensen, C John Sullivan, G Justin Pugh, C Mike Pouncey, G D.J. Fluker, G Jonathan Cooper, G/C Matt Slauson, G Jack Mewhort OT LaAdrian Waddle, OT Breno Giacomini, G/C Evan Smith, OT Cameron Fleming, C Wesley Johnson, C Travis Swanson
It’s was a strong market for interior linemen — the best LT (Solder), guard (Norwell), and center (Richburg) were all snatched up quickly and very good Paradis was tendered by the Broncos. There aren’t many viable OL left.
Other available: OT Austin Howard, OT Greg Robinson , G Jahri Evans
Signed: Demarcus Lawrence (franchise tag), Ezekiel Ansah (franchise tag), Shaquil Barrett (RFA), Muhammad Wilkerson, Trent Murphy, Dion Jordan (RFA, tendered), Aaron Lynch, Jeremiah Attaochu, Alex Okafor, Tank Carradine, Adrian Clayborn, Derrick Shelby, Marcus Smith, Pernell McPhee, Kony Ealy
Best Available: Junior Galette
One of the most-needed positions in the NFL it seems, and it was hit hard with its top two players getting the franchise tag. The rest of the best soon followed. Curry was released by the Eagles after they failed to get him to take a pay cut — or find a trade partner, and he was quickly scooped up by the Buccaneers.
Other available: Elvis Dumervil, Ahmad Brooks, James Harrison
Signed: Star Lotulelei, Chris Baker, Justin Ellis, Kyle Williams, Haloti Ngata, Chris Baker, David Irving (RFA), DaQuan Jones, Mitch Unrein, Dontari Poe, Sheldon Richardson, Sylvester Williams, Clinton McDonald, Dominique Easley, Tom Johnson, Ndamukong Suh, Bennie Logan
Best Available: Johnathan Hankins
Almost all the big names are off the board, but there’s one left: Johnathan Hankins, who was surprisingly released by the Colts.
Other available: Nick Fairley, Jay Bromley
Signed: Anthony Hitchens, Mason Foster, Avery Williamson, Nigel Bradham, Demario Davis, Todd Davis, Barkevious Mingo, Brock Coyle, Zach Brown, Tahir Whitehead, Jon Bostic, Ramon Humber
Best Available: NaVorro Bowman
It’s a generally strong linebacker class overall, whether your team needs an inside guy or an outside guy. We’ve tried to separate as many edge players out as possible, but linebackers are notoriously versatile. For example, Bowman showed that he still has plenty left in the tank with the Raiders last year.
Other available: Connor Barwin, Lamarr Houston, Brian Cushing, Jerrell Freeman, Derrick Johnson, Kevin Minter, Gerald Hodges, Shea McClellin
Signed: Richard Sherman, Malcolm Butler, Trumaine Johnson, Kyle Fuller (transition tag), Vontae Davis, David Amerson, Brent Grimes, Aaron Colvin, Nickell Robey-Coleman, Bryce Callahan (RFA, tendered), Prince Amukamara, Patrick Robinson, DeShawn Shead, T.J. Carrie, Sam Shields, Tramaine Brock, Johnathan Joseph, Morris Claiborne, Rashaan Melvin, Orlando Scandrick, Tramon Williams, Ross Cockrell, E.J. Gaines, Bene Benwikere, Justin Bethel, Marcus Cooper
Best Available: Bashaud Breeland
A ridiculously strong market at the position, there are still some nice cornerbacks available. Breeland had agreed to a deal with the Panthers, but he failed the team’s physical and is a free agent again. The rest of the list includes a lot of aging players and a lot of players with durability concerns, but it remains a strong class.
Other available: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
Signed: Lamarcus Joyner (franchise tag), Tavon Wilson, Ricardo Allen (RFA, tendered), Bradley McDouglad, Kurt Coleman, Terrence Brooks, Rafael Bush, Cody Davis, Marcus Gilchrist, Tyrann Mathieu, Morgan Burnett, Da’Norris Searcy, Reggie Nelson, Michael Thomas
Best Available: Eric Reid, Kenny Vaccaro, Tyvon Branch
Reid is the most intriguing option remaining. He’s said he wouldn’t be surprised if his protests alongside Colin Kaepernick (he was the first to join Kaepernick) lead to him getting fewer looks in free agency. But he’s a high-level safety with mild injury concerns, and whoever gets him will be getting a very good player. Vaccaro hasn’t been quite as good as advertised, but he was covering well before an injury in 2017.
Other available: Steven Terrell, Tre Boston, Quintin Demps, Ron Parker, Mike Mitchell