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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NFL OTAs: Who To Watch

As the road to Super Bowl 51 in Houston begins to gain some steam, the next step in the NFL’s offseason programs is OTAs, or organized team activities. Here’s who you should be watching as the Indianapolis Colts begin their offseason OTAs.

2016 MastersReview (11)
Offensive Line

The offensive line, as many Colts fans know, underwent a massive reconstruction in the offseason, with general manager Ryan Grigson taking four linemen in the eight picks the Colts held in the 2016 NFL Draft.

All eyes will be on center Ryan Kelly out of Alabama, the Colts 1st-round selection (#18 overall), and how he meshes and bonds with quarterback Andrew Luck. Kelly plays a position that has seemingly been a turnstile of players for the Colts in the past.

How the coaching staff plans to configure the rest of the offensive line remains to be seen. Linemen Anthony Castonzo and Jack Mewhort have their positions virtually guaranteed, but the other two positions remain question marks for the Colts. A slimmed-down Hugh Thornton hopes to contribute, second-year Denzelle Good, and rookies La’Raven Clark and Joe Haeg will fight to be in the mix as well.

Colts fans just hope this means the beginning of a stable offensive line, and a healthy quarterback.

Andrew Luck

After a year in which Luck missed nine games due to various injuries, the Colts quarterback is going to reportedly change his style of play, in a way that protects himself more.

How Luck returns to form after those injuries, however, is what fans should try and sneak glimpses of in the network coverage of Colts OTAs.

Colts fans haven’t seen Andrew Luck throw a football since that week 9 victory over the eventual Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos, and are eager to see the QB return to his original form.

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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.


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.

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Indianapolis Colts: Biggest Offseason Needs

It’s no secret, the Indianapolis Colts have some work to do in the 2016 NFL offseason. And now, with confidence reestablished between owner, coach and general manager, it’s time to see exactly what the Colts plan to do to help fans forget the abysmal 8-8 season and missing the playoffs.

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS(1)Offensive Line help

The Colts cycled through the quarterbacking carousel in the 2015 season. The men who took snaps in live, regular season action for the Colts included: Andrew Luck, Matt Hasselbeck, Charlie Whitehurst, Josh Freeman and Ryan Lindley. Yes, all of those men played real, meaningful football.

Why, you might ask? Andrew Luck was obliterated by opposing defenses throughout the first six weeks of the NFL regular season, sitting on the sidelines due to supposed shoulder and rib injuries before finally suffering a lacerated kidney in a week 9 victory over the eventual-world champion Denver Broncos. Without gaining some bulk and consistency on the offensive line, whether through free agency with someone like Brandon Brooks of the Houston Texans, or through the draft, the Colts could be due for deja vu in 2016.

Andrew Luck extension

Did we mention Andrew Luck suffered a multitude of injuries due to inconsistencies with the offensive line in 2015?

Fans don’t need the anxiousness of wondering whether or not Luck will remain in Indianapolis following the expiration of his rookie contract in 2017. Get Luck locked down to the highest amount of money every guaranteed to an NFL quarterback, and put the city’s mind at ease.

Offensive Line help

What’s that? We already mentioned this? Oh, our bad. Well, they need offensive line help.

Primary help in the secondary

With Greg Toler and Dwight Lowery’s contracts set to expire, the Colts are due for some upgrades back in the secondary. While pro-bowler Vontae Davis will continue to anchor the secondary, Toler and Lowery’s departure make the Colts’ next men up Colt Anderson and Darius Butler. While both men have provided value to the Colts in past years (aside from snapping the ball to Griff Whalen on that fake punt…it’s okay, Colt. We forgive you.), neither seems like a sufficient number-two in the secondary. Some examples? Michael Griffin, formerly of the Tennesssee Titans, might be a safety high on Colts Nation’s wish list.

Re-sign LB Jerrell Freeman

Through all the inconsistencies in this Indianapolis Colts defense, one steady performer has always been captain Jerrell Freeman.

Freeman managed to gather 135 total tackles in 2015, good for T-16th in the NFL, as well as three sacks and an interception. It was Freeman’s leadership throughout the season, however, alongside veteran D’Qwell Jackson, that proved to be his most valuable asset to the Indianapolis Colts.

The defense is already weak enough. Pay the man. Keep the consistency.

Offensive Line help

Yep. It’s still an issue.


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