20 Major NFL Signings Of 2017: How Will They Fare?

The free agency period of the NFL offseason always promises to deliver on surprises, massive contracts and cutthroat bidding wars between teams. As always, the most recent one did not disappoint, and there were plenty of players who were inked to new deals, with new teams all over the league. It's a very optimistic time for many fanbases; everyone is convinced that the player their team landed is going to be the catalyst for success in the upcoming season. It's a nice energetic boost just before the draft, giving everyone the idea, or sometimes the illusion, that their roster is in good shape.

However, the reality is that the results produced by these free agents will be all over the map in terms of quality. As is the case during every free agency period, some players signed to teams that provide them with an ideal situation. Likewise, there were some players who opted for more money, but will be forced to play under questionable circumstances. Some of these players will ride the wave of success with their new franchise, and others will crash and burn almost immediately. Let's take a look at how the 2017 NFL free agency class stacks up.

Ranked below are 20 major NFL signings during the free agency period, and predicting how they will fare on their new teams.

20 Kenny Britt

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Previous Team: Los Angeles Rams

New Team: Cleveland Browns

Britt has been unfortunate throughout his career, mainly playing on teams with poor offensive personnel, and bad quarterbacks. Last year was his best season yet, and his first campaign where he notched 1,000 yards receiving. He ended up taking a big payday from the Browns, and he should immediately become the number one wide receiver on the roster, and the top target for whomever the quarterback ends up being in Cleveland. Because of this high target volume, Britt should have a good season, but he seems to be more of a stopgap at his age than a player that figures to stick around for the entirety of the rebuild.

19 Logan Ryan

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Previous Team: New England

New Team: Tennessee Titans

One of the most anticipated names on the cornerback market this offseason, Ryan ended up taking his talents to Tennessee, where he'll look to give the Titans an identity in their secondary. They've been on the rise for the past two seasons, and were a stone's throw away from the playoffs last year, so adding a quality player like Ryan is an immediate upgrade to what may be their worst position group. It's a good signing, and Ryan should have a good season, but whether or not it's enough to improve the secondary as a whole remains to be seen. In a vacuum though, Ryan will play well for the Titans.

18 Mike Glennon

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Previous Team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

New Team: Chicago Bears

With a free agent quarterback market that was all over the map this offseason, combined with a lack of quality options in this year's draft, the Bears opted to sign Glennon as their starter for 2017, and maybe beyond. Sitting behind Jameis Winston in Tampa Bay for the last few seasons means Glennon is fresh, and should be anxious to finally get back in a starting role. There are some who believe that he could have built upon his rookie season with the Buccaneers, and turned into a true NFL-caliber starting quarterback. He'll have that opportunity now in Chicago. It may be a bit of a reach, but expect Glennon to post some good numbers this year, and put in a bid to become the permanent starter.

17 Brandon Marshall

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Previous Team: New York Jets

New Team: New York Giants

The Giants were able to land Marshall on a fairly modest deal, and this move could do wonders for their receiving corps, and offense as a whole. Despite a down year last season (on a terrible Jets team), Marshall still has some gas left in the tank. Pairing him with superstar Odell Beckham, while supplemented by second-year man Sterling Shepard, should make the New York offense one of the best in the league. It's just a good addition all the way around, and if Marshall can re-establish his game to the level it was at a few years ago, he could be the catalyst to a deep playoff run for the Giants.

16 Barry Church

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Previous Team: Dallas Cowboys

New Team: Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars signed Church to further bolster their secondary, and he should be the other starter at the safety position alongside Tishaun Gipson for next season. There's no denying that Church was up and down during his time with the Cowboys, so this move does carry an element of risk. Ultimately though, he should find success with young stars like Jalen Ramsey in the secondary, and a quality second safety in Gipson playing in the same space. Church won't post All-Pro numbers, but he'll do his job, and give Jacksonville someone they can automatically slot in as a starter for the next two to three seasons.

15 Pierre Garcon

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Previous Team: Washington Redskins

New Team: San Francisco 49ers

New 49ers general manager John Lynch wasted no time in spending money in free agency this year. The team is squarely in the midst of a rebuild, and Garcon is the kind of veteran receiver that is needed on their corps of receivers, who were one of the worst groups in the league last season. They definitely paid Garcon a premium, but San Francisco had the money to do so, so it's probably not going to be of much consequence. Most likely, Garcon will have a fine season, even with a quarterback as mediocre as Brian Hoyer throwing him the ball. He'll certainly get the targets necessary to do so. The question is whether he's able to stick around for the entirety of the rebuild, and if he's able to prove he can maintain his status as top target on the 49ers.

14 Tony Jefferson

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Previous Team: Arizona Cardinals

New Team: Baltimore Ravens

This is one of the more overlooked signings of the offseason. The Ravens were able to land a very good run-stopping safety in Jefferson, who has played very well in Arizona for the past four seasons. He's an immediate upgrade over Matt Elam, who was released in the offseason by Baltimore, and should work out swimmingly in tandem with Eric Weddle. All of a sudden the Baltimore secondary is looking formidable, and should be a unit of strength for them in 2017. The Jefferson signing will pay dividends, and he'll have his best NFL season yet.

13 Robert Woods

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Previous Team: Buffalo Bills

New Team: Los Angeles Rams

There were numerous wide receivers who racked up some nice paydays, but one of the most surprising was Woods, who was paid a premium by the Rams. Almost nobody saw this one coming. Woods had previously been a ho-hum receiver in Buffalo, and there wasn't an assumed bidder that would be willing to go that high in price. It turns out that his value was higher than anybody had predicted. It's a questionable deal on Los Angeles' part, but for Woods he should be thankful that any team was willing to pay that kind of money. Overall, it will probably end up being an underwhelming acquisition, as the Rams offense hasn't impressed recently.

12 Matt Kalil

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Previous Team: Minnesota Vikings

New Team: Carolina Panthers

The Panthers will be counting on Kalil to start at offensive tackle for them in the upcoming season, and he received a massive contract to fulfill this important role of protecting Cam Newton. It's fair to wonder how much success he'll actually have, however. As the years went on, Kalil was increasingly inconsistent, and at times he really did struggle. Newton's inherent athleticism should help Kalil, and allow him some room for error, but given how his play has been trending, it's unlikely he's worth the price paid by Carolina. The offensive tackle market was certainly inflated this year, and Kalil was able to take advantage of it.

11 Eddie Lacy

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Previous Team: Green Bay Packers

New Team: Seattle Seahawks

After his first two years in the NFL marking him as one of the best young running backs in the sport, the two seasons that proceeded showed just how inconsistent Lacy's game can be. Injuries, as well as a well-documented issue with weight gain, have left him as a major question mark heading into the 2017 season. The Seahawks decided to take a chance on him, and while they might be hoping to get the same kind of runner as Marshawn Lynch, it's more likely that Lacy falls to the level of Trent Richardson. With a surplus of running backs on the Seahawks, there's a decent chance that Lacy doesn't even end up making the team. It would be a considerable fall from grace, and probably signal his retirement.

10 Terrelle Pryor

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Previous Team: Cleveland Browns

New Team: Washington Redskins 

Pryor was picked up by the Redskins after he converted to wide receiver on the Browns last season. He ended up having a very good year, as he remained the number one receiver target in Cleveland for most of the year. There's a bit of risk with this because he's so new to playing the position, but Pryor definitely showed the kind of ability that could make him a number one receiver for the long haul. Unfortunately, the Redskins have just lost Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson, so there will be more pressure on Pryor to succeed with minimal help on the outside. It's not impossible, but it could prove to be an uphill battle.

9 Ronald Leary

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Previous Team: Dallas Cowboys

New Team: Denver Broncos

A fixture on the Dallas offensive line for the past few seasons, Leary should have a great season ahead of him in 2017. He's shown himself to be one of the best guards in the league, and the Broncos will be the benefactors of that dominance, as they signed him to a multi-year contract. He'll go a long way in solidifying the interior of their offensive line, and is one of the safer signings from this offseason at any position. Leary still has plenty of peak years left in the league, and Denver was smart to shell out the money for him. He will excel there for a long time.

8 DeSean Jackson

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Previous Team: Washington Redskins

New Team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jackson probably only has a few peak years left, but he hasn't shown to have lost the first step that's made him the best deep ball threat in the league. He still has the speed necessary to burn secondaries on a regular basis, and the Buccaneers were willing to pay out for him on a multi-year deal. His presence will help the entire offense by opening up other routes, and gives Jameis Winston a premium deep threat that pairs well with his big arm. The only risk comes from Jackson sustaining another injury, as has been the case in some recent seasons. But if he can stay on the field for the majority of the time, Tampa Bay has the opportunity to have a lethal offense this season. In fact, in 2017 Jackson could be producing his best numbers since his days in Philadelphia.

7 A.J. Bouye

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Previous Team: Houston Texans

New Team: Jacksonville Jaguars

Bouye was one of the most sought-after names on the cornerback market, and he indeed did receive a massive contract. All in all, it's a complete overpay though, and while Bouye has shown distinct flashes of brilliance, he hasn't proven that he can perform at a high level on a consistent basis. He may have a nice few seasons for the Jaguars in their up-and-coming secondary, but he still wasn't worth the kind of premium contract that he ended up getting. In all likelihood, Bouye will end up being "good" not "great" when he's put in a starting role full-time, which was never the case while he was with the Texans.

6 Kyle Juszczyk

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Previous Team: Baltimore Ravens

New Team: San Francisco 49ers

While Juszczyk is one of the more talented "do it all" fullbacks in the game right now, most players at the position don't warrant being paid such a high price tag. However, 49ers general manager John Lynch thought it was a worthwhile signing, and Juszczyk will be in the San Francisco backfield this fall. He's proven himself to be a quality blocker, as well as a pass-catching threat out of the backfield, so there is some layered upside to his game. He's probably not the kind of player who's going to make a difference in wins and losses on a weekly basis, but if the 49ers really wanted the best fullback in the sport today, they probably got that in Juszczyk.

5 Martellus Bennett

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Previous Team: New England Patriots

New Team: Green Bay Packers

The Packers are renowned for usually laying low in free agency, but they did decide to add an upper-tier tight end in Bennett this offseason. Fresh off a Super Bowl victory with the Patriots, Bennett is still one of the best receiving tight ends in football, and should become a favorite target of Aaron Rodgers' in due time. The Packers have a variety of receiving weapons on their offense, so Bennett won't necessarily be expected to shoulder the load, and it could also open up his routes for some big gains when the defense least expects it. While Green Bay usually plays free agency conservatively, this was a signings that will end up being worth the money.

4 Kevin Zeitler

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Previous Team: Cincinnati Bengals

New Team: Cleveland Browns

Zeitler is one of the best guards in the game today, and squarely in the prime of his career. It's fair to question if the Browns should have paid him such a monstrous contract given the position he plays, but they had more cap space than anyone in the league, and didn't have to break the bank to do so. Zeitler immediately gives them a dominant presence on the interior of their offensive line, and will probably end up being one of the best offensive line signings of the offseason. He excelled for years with the Bengals, and even if he isn't able to win games on his own in Cleveland, he could prove to be an important piece to the puzzle as they continue their rebuild.

3 Stephon Gilmore

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Previous Team: Buffalo Bills

New Team: New England Patriots

The usually quiet Patriots made several big free agency splashes this year, and Gilmore was by far the biggest. He was the best cornerback available on the market, and immediately gives New England a shutdown cornerback, and replaces the presence of Logan Ryan is one fell swoop. The Patriots secondary will be a formidable unit just because Gilmore is on the field. He's already proven that he's one of the league's best corners, and he could stake his claim for being the best if he can play up to his potential for this season. A great signing for the Patriots, who had a good amount of cap space to work with.

2 Ricky Wagner

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Previous Team: Baltimore Ravens

New Team: Detroit Lions

As mentioned, the offensive tackle market was inflated heavily, but Wagner may be one of the few who will turn out to be worth the money. He was absolutely stellar for the Ravens over the past three seasons. Squarely in the prime of his career now, he has the potential to provide the Lions with protection on the blind side for the long-term, and will give Matt Stafford plenty of time to throw the ball handling blitzers off the edge. It came at a hefty price, but Detroit was smart to make the move, as Wagner was probably the best player available at the position for this free agency class.

1 Alshon Jeffery

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Previous Team: Chicago Bears

New Team: Philadelphia Eagles

After Carson Wentz's first season as an NFL quarterback last year, it was abundantly clear that the Eagles had not provided him with enough weapons on the offensive side of the ball. That issue was addressed in free agency when the Eagles were able to land Jeffery, a top-ten receiving talent, on a team-friendly deal that mitigates much of the risk associated with a player like this. While it's not a forgone conclusion that Jeffery will succeed in Philadelphia, it's also what will likely happen as long as he's able to stay on the field. The combination of a big-armed young quarterback in Wentz, and a dynamic receiving threat like Jeffery could be one of the hallmark duos in the NFL over the next five years. Only time will tell, but this does seem like an ideal fit for Jeffery's skill set.

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