NFL free agency is underway, and many of the best players already have been taken off the market. The top four players on our original Top 99 free agents received the franchise tag, and seven of our initial top 12 also were tagged. There has never been this much salary-cap room for teams.
We'll continue to update our top 99 free agents below as players get released and remove players as they sign. The rankings are based on answering one simple question: Which player would we want to sign most?
UPDATE: Jackson signed a six-year contract with the Jaguars. Per Rapoport, the deal is worth $90 million with $42 million in guarantees.
2. Olivier Vernon, Miami Dolphins defensive end: Vernon has dialed up a lot of pressure over the last four years, even if he doesn't finish with as many sacks as Cameron Wake. Miami might have to cut Wake or other players to keep Vernon.
4. Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back: He won't make the same money as the guys listed above (and below) him here because of the position he plays, but no one helped their value more last season. Martin went from an afterthought to the No. 2 rusher in the NFL.
7. Mario Williams, Buffalo Bills defensive end: Williams, 31, took too many plays off and grumbled about Rex Ryan's scheme. On the other hand, he's just one year removed from a first-team All-Pro selection and the best year of his career in Jim Schwartz's defense.
UPDATE: Weddle has agreed to join the Ravens, per Rapoport.
9. Danny Trevathan, Denver Broncos linebacker: Trevathan is a three-down linebacker entering his prime that can hold up in pass coverage. We're big fans of his skill set and he's just the type of above-average starter that gets paid like a superstar in free agency. Perhaps by old coach John Fox?
10. Janoris Jenkins, Los Angeles Rams cornerback: He's steadily improved each season in the NFL and now is a playmaking starter. After Trumaine Johnson received the franchise tag, Jenkins is set up to score big money.
11. Matt Forte, Chicago Bears running back: One of the NFL's most complete backs has not shown many signs of age, yet. Perhaps he should be paired with another quality option, but there's no doubt he could upgrade many backfields.
13. Brock Osweiler, Denver Broncos quarterback: He displayed some positive traits (pocket movement, arm strength) in seven starts. The Broncos should have seen enough in practice the last four years to know if he's worth huge money.
UPDATE: Smith has agreed to terms with the Raiders on a four-year, $40 million deal ($20 million guaranteed), per Getlin and Rapoport.
15. Jaye Howard, Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle: One of our favorite value picks in free agency, Howard was a terror for the Chiefs last season. Can the Chiefs afford to keep all their great talent on defense?
UPDATE: Okung has signed a five-year deal worth $12 million per season with the Denver Broncos, a source told Rapoport.
19. Alex Mack, Cleveland Browns center: Two years removed from signing an offer sheet with the Jaguars after being transition tagged, Mack is back on the market after voiding his contract with the Browns. He passed up $8 million with Cleveland, so it's safe to say he'll make more than that despite coming off a down year at age 30.
21. Tamba Hali, Kansas City Chiefs pass rusher: It's rare to see a player take a pay cut like Hali, then enjoy one of his best seasons. So the Chiefs decided to re-sign Hali to a three-year deal, per Rapoport.
UPDATE: Nelson agreed to a two-year contract with the Oakland Raiders, per Rapoport.
UPDATE: Iloka signed a five-year, $30 million deal to stay in Cincy, per Rapoport.
Starters with questions
25. Chris Long, Los Angeles Rams defensive end: He only has four sacks over the last two injury-ravaged years, yet Long should still have some quality seasons left. He was a top-20 defensive end as recently as 2013.
UPDATE: Long agreed to a one-year deal with the Patriots, a source informed of his thinking told Rapoport.
26. Nick Fairley, Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle: He stayed out of trouble and quietly was effective as a rotational player in St. Louis. Can he be effective playing more? There is boom or bust potential here.
27. Derrick Shelby, Miami Dolphins defensive end: An improving player that has performed well with his opportunities, Shelby could be a steal this offseason. The Dolphins could wind up keeping Shelby to replace Olivier Vernon.
28. Charles Johnson, Carolina Panthers defensive end: Cut because of a monster cap figure, Johnson still played like an above average starter when healthy last season. (Including an excellent performance in the Super Bowl.)
UPDATE: Boone signed with the Vikings.
30. Arian Foster, Houston Texans running back: The downside: He has missed 23 of his last 40 games. The upside: He ran harder than just about any running back in the league in 2014, when he was a top-five player at his position. He's worth a shot to see if you get one last big year.
31. Marvin Jones, Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver: Jones is the top receiver in the entire market in the wake of Alshon Jeffery being franchise tagged. He has a terrific skill set, but is a candidate to get overpaid because of the thin market.
UPDATE: Ayers agreed to a three-year deal with the Bucs worth $21 million with $10 million guaranteed, Rapoport reports.
UPDATE: Rapoport reports Williams is staying in San Francisco on a five-year deal.
39. Ladarius Green, San Diego Chargers tight end: He never quite broke out behind Antonio Gates, but Green put together some terrific tape in 2015. He has excellent hands, incredible speed for a tight end and is a solid blocker. He's still a Making the Leap candidate!
UPDATE: Gipson signed a five-year, $35.5 million deal with the Jaguars, sources told Rapoport and Getlin.
UPDATE: Getlin reports Hayward reached a deal to join the Chargers.
45. Aldon Smith, Oakland Raiders pass rusher: He is suspended until at least the middle of November and it's possible he won't be reinstated (or signed) until 2017. With all that said, Smith is eligible to sign with a new team and represents a rare top-10 pass rusher talent available at a reduced price. Someone will give him a third chance.
UPDATE: Raji said in a statement he is taking a hiatus from the NFL and will not play during the 2016 season.
49. Adam Jones, Cincinnati Bengals cornerback: Pacman played better than all but roughly 20 players on this list last season. But can he keep up that high level as an outside cornerback turning 33 this year? Would his act play outside of Cincinnati?
51. Greg Hardy, Dallas Cowboys defensive end: Based purely on talent and 2015 play, Hardy would be in the top ten of this list. But you have to sign the person that goes with the talent, and most teams will smartly decide Hardy isn't worth the trouble.
UPDATE: Barron signed a five-year, $45 million deal with the Rams, a source told Rapoport.
- Remaining free agents
- NFC free agency grades
- AFC free agency grades
- Free agency winners and losers
- Seven riskiest free-agent signings
- Robert Griffin III signs with Cleveland Browns
- Wesseling: Which franchises are on the rise?
- Collateral damage: Players hurt by free agency
- Collateral benefits: Players aided by free agency
UPDATE: The Steelers have agreed to terms on a three-year deal with Foster, the team announced.
UPDATE: Knighton has agreed to a deal with the Patriots, he announced on Twitter.
UPDATE: Getlin reported that Johnson has agreed to terms with the Titans on a one-year deal, per a source informed of the move.
UPDATE: The Eagles signed a five-year deal with Brooks, the team announced.
61. Evan Mathis, Denver Broncos guard: Mathis is an accomplished veteran two years removed from All Pro-caliber play, but he's nearing his mid-30s, coming off of surgery and limited to zone-blocking schemes.
Needs the right role
62. Mike Wallace, Minnesota Vikings wide receiver: Wallace has a limited skill set but getting deep in the NFL is still worth something. He's been overpaid the last few years but makes sense as a role player.
UPDATE: Daniel is joining his old offensive coordinator, Doug Pederson, in Philly. Daniel and the Eagles have agreed to a deal.
UPDATE: Thornton signed a four-year deal with the Cowboys. His deal is worth $18 million, a source informed told Rapoport.
66. Rishard Matthews, Miami Dolphins wide receiver: In and out of Joe Philbin's doghouse for the majority of his Miami career, Matthews finally hit the starting lineup, posting career-highs across the board in just 11 games. There are certainly worse No. 3 receivers around the league.
67. Jermaine Kearse, Seattle Seahawks wide receiver: The Seahawks prefer physical, well-rounded wide receivers willing to block and contribute on special teams, which is where much of Kearse's value lies.
UPDATE: Kearse agreed to terms on a re-signing with the Seahawks on a three-year deal, Rapoport reports.
UPDATE: Bradham signed a three-year deal with the Eagles, the team announced.
UPDATE: Galette has agreed to a one-year deal with the Redskins that could be worth up to $4.1 million, a source informed of the deal told NFL Media's Albert Breer.
72. Percy Harvin, Buffalo Bills wide receiver: It's easy to forget that Harvin outplayed Sammy Watkins early last season before injuries resurfaced, begetting thoughts of early retirement. With his football future in question, Harvin won't land a contract commensurate with his talent level.
73. William Hayes, Los Angeles Rams defensive end: Hayes has been one of the premier rotational defensive ends of the past half-decade. As a Jeff Fisher favorite going back to their time together in Tennessee, he's a good bet to re-sign with the Rams as Chris Long's replacement in the starting lineup.
74. Dwight Freeney, Arizona Cardinals pass rusher: Freeney is purely a situational edge rusher at a stage of his career in which he will only play for a Super Bowl contender. His last two months in Arizona were his most effective in nearly half a decade.
UPDATED: Upshaw signed with the Atlanta Falcons, according to the team.
UPDATE: Perry is re-signing with the Packers on a one-year deal, per Rapoport.
UPDATE: Robinson has agreed to a three-year deal with the Colts, according to Rapoport.
UPDATE: The Lions are re-signing Whitehead to a two-year deal worth more than $8 million, Rapoport reports.
UPDATE: Griffin will sign a one-year, $3.5 million deal with the Vikings, a source told Rapoport.
UPDATE: Rapoport reports Powell is re-signing with the Jets.
UPDATED: Grimes agreed to terms with the Bucs on two-year deal worth $16.5 million, Getlin reports.
91. Brian Quick, Los Angeles Rams wide receiver: Quick might have been the most physically gifted wideout on the Rams' roster, but he lost the majority of the past two seasons to a severe shoulder injury. Given the Rams' history of failing to develop wide receivers, he's an interesting flier for teams seeking a size/speed reclamation project.
UPDATED: Quick re-signed with the Rams on Wednesday.
92. Rueben Randle, New York Giants wide receiver: Drawing single coverage opposite Odell Beckham, Randle had one of the cushiest gigs in the league last season. Rather than establishing himself as the long-term Robin to Beckham's Batman, he remained frustratingly inconsistent.
UPDATE: The Eagles announced that the team has signed Randle to a one-year deal.
93. Zach Miller, Chicago Bears tight end: A quarterback at Nebraska-Omaha, Miller has always been among the league's most athletic receiving tight ends. He just couldn't the injury bug since entering the league with the Jaguars all the way back in 2009. That changed in the second half of last season, when he emerged as a reliable playmaker for Jay Cutler.
UPDATE: Miller has agreed to a two-year deal with the Bears worth $6 million, a source told Rapoport.
UPDATE: Jenkins agreed to a three-year deal with the Jets worth $2 million per year, per RapSheet.
95. Benjamin Watson, New Orleans Saints tight end: Watson might be 35 years old, but he's coming off an impressive season, nearly matching Jimmy Graham's receiving output from his last season in New Orleans.
96. Rolando McClain, Dallas Cowboys linebacker: McClain is one of the league's most physical run-stuffing linebackers when healthy and motivated. Will his checkered track record limit his market, though?
UPDATE: McClain's agent announced his client will return to the Cowboys for the 2016 season.
98. Chris Johnson, Arizona Cardinals running back: A more patient and physical Johnson was second in the league in rushing before hitting the wall in November. David Johnson's emergence as one of the NFL's best backs suggests Chris' initial success may have been a byproduct of Arizona's pick-your-poison offense.
UPDATE: Johnson has agreed to a one-year deal to stay with the Cardinals, Rapoport reported.