There is set to be a slew of high-profiles names ready to hit the free agent market for the National Football League's 2017 offseason and it's always fun to figure out where each will land based on every team's needs.
In all likelihood, some of these players will get locked up by their own teams before hitting the open market and talking to other teams. For others, the murky waters of free agency are inevitable, which could lead to a new home for these players for years to come.
Not only do we have some nice role players on this list who can help an offense or defense, but there are also some real studs who can change a franchise simply by suiting up. A perfect example of a guy with star ability that could jump ship is wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, who may want out of Chicago with the franchise in rebuild mode.
Other players like running backs Terrance West and Latavius Murray, as well as tight end Martellus Bennett are pieces that can help put an offense that is close to being great over the top. Unfortunately for teams looking for a quarterback, only Kirk Cousins made the top 15 - unless your team wants to convert Terrelle Pryor back to quarterback - and is likely to be locked up by the Washington Redskins at season's end
Let's find out if your team is one of the lucky ones to snatch a player off this list, as we not only look at the top-15 free agents next year but also where they will land.
15 Jason Pierre-Paul - Indianapolis Colts
The Indianapolis Colts have one of the worst defenses in the NFL this season, which has become a common trait for the franchise for years. Opposing passing attacks are lighting the Colts up again in 2016, mostly because of a weak pass rush that doesn’t put pressure on the quarterback. That has got to change if the Colts hope to improve their defense next season.
14 Terrance West - Minnesota Vikings
The future of Adrian Peterson with the Minnesota Vikings may not extend past this season and that will leave a hole at running back. The Vikings have been using Matt Asiata and Jerick McKinnon to fill the void, however, but neither has gotten the job done as Minnesota sports one of the worst rushing attacks in the NFL.
13 Isaiah Crowell - Oakland Raiders
As you’ll find out later, a certain team is going to pluck Latavius Murray away from the Oakland Raiders, leaving head coach Jack Del Rio’s team without a no. 1 back. While both DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard have gotten plenty of reps this season behind Murray, Washington hasn’t proven to be an effective every-down back and Richard is no more than a third down player.
12 Eddie Lacy - Cleveland Browns
Once the Cleveland Browns lose out on Crowell, they’ll make a typical Browns move by signing a risky player like Eddie Lacy. The Green Bay Packers are likely done with the 26-year-old after he was once again out of shape to start the season and suffered another serious injury. It has been the story of Lacy’s time in Green Bay and will likely lead to his exit.
11 LeGarrette Blount - New England Patriots
At age 29 (30 in December), LeGarrette Blount won’t command an expensive, long-term deal on the open market. That makes him a perfect fit for the New England Patriots, a team not looking to break the bank for a position that has been devalued over the years. Whether it’s Dion Lewis or James White as the scat back, Blount is the kind of punishing runner that goes nicely with either player.
10 Latavius Murray - New York Giants
The New York Giants’ ground game has been non-existent in 2016, a problem that extends back a few seasons for head coach Ben McAdoo’s squad. A combination of Rashad Jennings and Paul Perkins remains ineffective, leading the Giants to a bottom-five rushing attack that no opposing defense has to respect.
9 Martellus Bennett - Green Bay Packers
Ever since the retirement of Jermichael Finley, the Green Bay Packers have been lacking at the tight end position. Green Bay tried to finally shore up that problem in 2016 by signing Jared Cook, but as is normally the case with the injury-prone tight end, he has spent most of the season on the shelf. It isn’t likely the Packers are going to waste another season on Cook as he simply can’t stay healthy.
8 Terrelle Pryor - San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers might have the worst group of receivers in the NFL. A combination of Torrey Smith and Jeremy Kerley have been dreadful, no matter who has been behind center. The 49ers are in the midst of a rebuilding period and what better way to start that than to sign a no. 1 receiver like Terrelle Pryor.
7 Kirk Cousins - Washington Redskins
The Washington Redskins were hesitant to give Kirk Cousins the big money during the offseason, so the team decided to stick the franchise tag on him instead. During a season in which he’s playing for a contract, Cousins has delivered solid numbers after a slow start. He’s on pace to break his career-high in passing yards and should match or better his touchdown total from a season ago. More importantly, the Redskins are in the thick of things for a playoff spot and would be challenging for the division if not for a sensational season from the Dallas Cowboys.
6 Josh Gordon - New England Patriots
Easily the most troubled player on this list, Josh Gordon desperately needs a change of scenery and the Browns will likely allow that to happen. Things have gone from bad to worse for Gordon, who has been suspended multiple times for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. The 25-year-old’s 2016 season ended after he checked himself into rehab after serving yet another suspension.
5 Dont’a Hightower - New England Patriots
Normally when the Pats know they won’t be bringing back an impending free agent, the trades start flying and we saw that recently with linebacker Jamie Collins, and before him, there was Chandler Jones. Considering the Pats have yet to trade Hightower means they will work to keep him on the team.
4 Chandler Jones - Indianapolis Colts
As the Arizona Cardinals move to a rebuilding phase in the next couple of years, a player like Chandler Jones won’t be in their plans. Instead, the Colts will look to add the talented linebacker in what will be a defensive coup for the inept Indy defense. Jones would not only help Indy with its pass rush, but he’d also be a huge upgrade against opposing rushing attacks trying to turn the corner.
3 Alshon Jeffery - Los Angeles Rams
The Los Angeles Rams have next to no talent at the wide receiver position, with veteran Kenny Britt being the team’s best option. Sure, Britt is having a career season in 2016, however, he is going to be 29 when next season starts and the Rams would be better suited spending their money on a younger option.
2 A.J. Bouye - Houston Texans
Rated as Pro Football Focus’ no. 1 cornerback in 2016, A.J. Bouye will be the top defensive player on the market in the offseason. Shutdown corners are hard to come by and Bouye is quickly establishing himself as one of those guys. With a lackluster pass rush that is missing J.J. Watt due to injury, Houston still ranks in the top-five against passing attacks, mostly due to the sensational play of its top corner.
1 Le’Veon Bell - Pittsburgh Steelers
There are few running backs in the NFL right now - or even in the history of the game - who have a more complete skill set than Le’Veon Bell. Not only does the Pittsburgh Steelers running back have great vision and breakaway speed to make big plays, he is also likely the best receiving back in the NFL and can even line up at receiver when the offense calls for it. On a team with a messy situation at receiver with the exception of Antonio Brown, Bell’s value becomes even more apparent.
Bell won’t come cheap, though, and the Steelers also have to extend Brown at some point. While he’s likely to be expensive, it’ll be worth it to keep Bell in Pittsburgh and continue making him one head of the three-headed monster that is the Steelers offense. No team in the NFL has a better quarterback-running back-receiver combo than Mike Tomlin’s, so expect Bell to remain in Pittsburgh to help keep the Steelers’ offensive identity.
Leave A Comment
Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheSportster?Get Your Free Access Now!