Top Free Agents: 2017 NFL Offseason

As teams dive into the 2017 NFL offseason, focuses begin to shift toward bettering their overall rosters and pursuing Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis. After the combine, the all important offseason free agency begins, leaving teams and un-signed players the opportunity to negotiate with one another. Here are some of the top free agency names of the 2017 NFL offseason.

  • Le’Veon Bell, Running Back, Pittsburgh Steelers

Although the Pittsburgh Steelers are expected to use the franchise tag on Bell, the electrifying running back would undoubtedly be the biggest name to hit the free agency market this offseason. Past suspensions and injuries aside, when healthy and active, Bell adds a dimension to the Steelers offense that is a rarity across the landscape in today’s NFL. With the franchise tag, Bell will be subject to either a long-term extension once again in 2018, or face testing the free agency market.

  • Kirk Cousins, Quarterback, Washington Redskins

Playing under the Washington Redskins’ franchise tag designation from the 2016 offseason, Cousins was on a one-year, “prove it” type of deal. In today’s NFL that is proving to be a quarterback-driven league, the Redskins will likely use the franchise tag on Cousins for the second consecutive season if a long-term deal is not agreed upon before free agency.

  • Eric Berry, Safety, Kansas City Chiefs

Berry might be one of the most coveted free agents of this 2017 offseason period, as seemingly every team in the NFL is looking for a playmaker at one of the safety positions. Coming off one of the best statistical seasons of his short career thus far, Berry is a locker-room leader who played under Kansas City’s franchise tag in 2016. If the Chiefs and Berry do not come to an agreement on a long-term deal, Berry could have his pick of teams come free agency.

  • Alshon Jeffery, Wide Receiver, Chicago Bears

Jeffery is most likely to be the prize of the 2017 offseason, as it does not appear the Chicago Bears will be utilizing the franchise tag on the star wide receiver for the 2017 season. Despite his undoubted skill set and statistical feats, Jeffery has faced an injury and suspension riddled 2015 and 2016 seasons, so teams might be hesitant to give the receiver No. 1 money.

  • Melvin Ingram, Linebacker, San Diego (now Los Angeles) Chargers

Ingram rose to the top of the edge rushing categories in the 2016 season, making him one of the more coveted defensive options this upcoming free agency period. Should the Los Angeles Chargers choose to let Ingram test the free agency market, Ingram will find himself commanding 2016 free agent linebacker Olivier Vernon-type money. In the 2015 and 2016 seasons, Ingram started all 32 games, recording 125 tackles, 18.5 sacks and seven forced fumbles.

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2016’s Top NFL Free Agents

The free agency negotiations period for the NFL offseason begins on March 7, with unrestricted free agents free to sign with any team on March 9 at 4 p.m. ET. And with a raise in the salary cap, teams are looking to spend. Here are some of the top picks from 2016’s free agency class.

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Eric Berry, S, Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs starting safety returned from his cancer scare playing an elite level, something that many teams in the league will be looking for in their secondary. Berry finished his 2015-16 campaign with 61 tackles, two interceptions and 10 pass deflections.

Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The 5th-year running back will be coming off of his best year as a starter in terms of yards per-carry. Martin averaged 4.9 YPC, gaining 1,402 yards and reaching the end zone six times.

For a team in dire need of a feature back, Martin showed his worth in 2015 in Tampa Bay, finishing second in the league in rushing.

Matt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears

While not the back he used to be, Forte showed no signs of slowing down due to age in the 2015-16 season. Forte, despite missing three games in weeks 9-11 and being limited in the second half of the season, finished with 898 yards, four touchdowns and averaged 4.1 YPC.

Although not the backfield threat he once was, Forte could offer a value upgrade at a key position to a lot of teams looking for rushing help.

Russell Okung, OL, Seattle Seahawks

Okung, though not great, has been a solid starter at tackle for the Seattle Seahawks since being drafted in 2010. And in a league where protecting your quarterback has become the key component to winning, and a market low on talented line help, Okung would be a great pickup for anyone looking to upgrade their offensive protection.

The road to Super Bowl LI in Houston begins in free agency. The road to the 2017 Players Tailgate in Houston, begins today. Look back at what you missed at the 2016 Players Tailgate in San Francisco, and see just a glimmer of the VIP experience coming to Houston next February!

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