NFL free agency is open! Gregg Rosenthal and Chris Wesseling have combined forces (and their own personal rankings) to come up with NFL.com's Top 101 Free Agents. These are the best players -- across all positions -- to hit the open market in 2017.
We'll continue to update our Top 101 Free Agents below, removing the listed players who are signed and adding certain guys who get released. The rankings are based on answering one simple question: Which player would we want to sign most?
1) Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears wide receiver: Despite injury concerns, a PED suspension and a somewhat incomplete skill set, Jeffery could become the highest-paid receiver in football. No. 1 receivers with an uncanny ability to come down with 50-50 balls don't become available often in their prime.
2) Calais Campbell, Arizona Cardinals defensive end: There's no other player quite like Campbell, as thoughtful and savvy as he is physically overwhelming at 6-foot-8, 300 pounds. Still only 30 years old and able to play in any system, he would make a great "get over the hump" piece for a team looking for a title.
3) Brandon Williams, Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle: Teams can look for a one-man run-stopping solution in the draft, or they can pay Williams money similar to what Damon "Snacks" Harrison earned from the Giants last year.
UPDATE: The Ravens announced that they have agreed in principle on a five-year deal with Williams.
- 2017 NFL DRAFT
▹ Nine biggest draft questions
▹ Teams that could make trades
▹ Overvalued/undervalued prospects
▹ Sidelines: How Desmond King made it
▹ Ways teams uncover real draft intel
▹ How Patriots attack the draft
▹ Future All-Pros, Pro Bowlers in '17 class
▹ Draft Do-overs:
▸ 2008 | 2011 | 2014 | 2015
▹ AFC Draft Needs:
▸ West | North | South | East
▹ NFC Draft Needs:
▸ West | North | South | East
- MARSHAWN LYNCH TRADE
▹ Lynch, Raiders poised for run
▹ Raiders boast NFL's best offense?
4) Dont'a Hightower, New England Patriots linebacker: Author of two of the most important plays in the Patriots' last two Super Bowl victories, Hightower also has emerged as the best blitzing inside linebacker in football and a leader on New England's defense.
UPDATE: Hightower is staying with the Patriots, signing a four-year deal worth $43.5 million (with $19 million guaranteed), Rapoport reported.
5) A.J. Bouye, Houston Texans cornerback: No NFL player raised his value more in 2016 than Bouye, who started the season as Houston's fourth cornerback and finished as a Pro Bowl-caliber starter on the league's stingiest total defense. He will emerge from the shadows to become a household name once he gets a mega contract.
6) Stephon Gilmore, Buffalo Bills cornerback: Gilmore has the reputation of a shutdown cornerback but was too often exploited in coverage last season. He boasts the starting experience and physical gifts to break the bank on the open market.
UPDATE: Gilmore signed with the Patriots.
8) Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings running back: Peterson is free agency's Rorschach test. He has played in just 20 games in the past three years, but he's bringing fresh legs and extra motivation to his next team. He eked out 1.9 yards per carry last year, but can the 2015 NFL rushing leader be blamed for a microscopic sample size and a pathetic offensive line? On the wrong side of age 30, he's still an obvious candidate for the best age-32 season in history.
9) Terrelle Pryor, Cleveland Browns wide receiver: It speaks to Pryor's monstrous upside that he was already giving fits to established cornerbacks -- such as Darrelle Revis, Josh Norman and Janoris Jenkins -- in his first season as a full-time wide receiver.
UPDATE: Pryor signed with Washington on a one-year, $8 million deal, per Rapoport.
10) Dontari Poe, Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle: One of the most athletic big men in the game, Poe's effectiveness waned last season as he was outplayed by rookie teammate Chris Jones. Is he reaching the stage of his career where he's best served as a two-down run-plugger?
UPDATE: Poe has reached a one-year deal with the Falcons.
11) Johnathan Hankins, New York Giants defensive tackle: Hankins will never be an explosive pass rusher, but he teamed with Damon "Snacks" Harrison to shut down opposing rushing attacks in 2016. Few defensive tackles crash the backfield as consistently as Hankins.
12) DeSean Jackson, Washington Redskins wide receiver: Still in his prime, Jackson led the league with 17.9 yards per catch as a dangerous deep threat. In addition to the Redskins, he's expected to draw interest from the Buccaneers, Rams and Eagles.
UPDATE: Jackson has agreed to a three-year, $33.5 million deal (including $20 million in guarantees) with the Buccaneers, according to Rapoport.
13) Tony Jefferson, Arizona Cardinals safety: One of the league's unsung stars, Jefferson outplayed the more ballyhooed Tyrann Mathieu last season, consistently making impact plays at the line of scrimmage as well as in coverage.
UPDATE: Jefferson is heading to the Ravens on a four-year deal.
14) T.J. Lang, Green Bay Packers guard: A foot injury and a "minor" hip surgery complicates free agency for the No. 2 guard in this free agency class. Some team should still invest big in one of the better right guards in football over the last few years.
UPDATE: Lang is signing with the Lions on a three-year deal.
15) Nick Perry, Green Bay Packers linebacker: Perry was a more consistent pass-rush threat than teammates Clay Matthews or Julius Peppers last season, and he showed great toughness playing through a broken hand in the playoffs.
16) Martellus Bennett, New England Patriots tight end: Bennett impressed the Patriots by playing through injury and has the rare versatility to excel in the running game or as a receiver. He will be difficult for New England to retain.
17) Andrew Whitworth, Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle: It could be hard for Whitworth to get fair market value because he's 35 years old and there's an expectation he won't leave the Bengals. Despite his age, he's playing better than ever.
18) T.J. McDonald, Los Angeles Rams safety: Teams looking for a tone-setting presence in the secondary could do a lot worse than McDonald, whose de-cleating darts into opposing backfields make up for his allowing the occasional big play.
UPDATE: McDonald signed a one-year deal with the Dolphins on March 31. Earlier, he was suspended without pay for the first eight games of the 2017 regular season for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse.
19) Riley Reiff, Detroit Lions offensive tackle: Reiff is pushed up this list by the scarcity at tackle. He can play on either side of the line and would upgrade plenty of blind-side situations around the league.
UPDATE: Reiff has signed with the Vikings.
20) Zach Brown, Buffalo Bills linebacker: It's unlucky for Brown that Rex Ryan is out of the league just after Brown's breakout season playing in the Ryan brothers' system. There is a big drop-off in the inside linebacker market after Brown.
UPDATE: Brown signed a one-year deal with the Redskins.
UPDATE: Warford is expected to sign with the New Orleans Saints, according to Rapoport.
22) Pierre Garcon, Washington Redskins wide receiver: It's just Garcon's luck that he's coming off a 1,000-yard season and two of his former coordinators (Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay) just got head-coaching jobs.
UPDATE: The San Francisco 49ers have agreed to terms with Garcon.
23) Logan Ryan, New England Patriots cornerback: One of the best tackling cornerbacks in football, Ryan has the versatility and smarts to play inside and out. A monstrous postseason run will raise his price.
24) Alan Branch, New England Patriots defensive tackle: A behemoth earth-mover at 6-foot-6 and over 320 pounds, Branch was the linchpin of a stingy Patriots run defense that didn't allow a single running back to top 90 yards last season. At age 32, he's playing better than ever.
25) Micah Hyde, Green Bay Packers defensive back: Hyde has been overshadowed on Green Bay's defense, but he's one of the league's most versatile defensive backs, capable of playing cornerback and safety as well as returning punts.
UPDATE: Hyde is signing with the Bills on a five-year deal worth $30 million (with $14 million guaranteed), Rapoport reported.
UPDATE: Baker is signing a three-year deal with Buccaneers, according to Rapoport.
27) Ricky Wagner, Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle: Strictly a right tackle, Wagner improved significantly during last season's contract run, keeping heat off Joe Flacco in a pass-heavy Ravens attack.
UPDATE: Wagner signed with the Lions.
UPDATE: Church joined the Jaguars on a four-year deal, Rapoport reported.
29) Jabaal Sheard, New England Patriots defensive end: Sheard's consistency slipped from its 2015 heights, but he bounced back from a November benching to team with Trey Flowers as an effective edge tandem during New England's Super Bowl run.
30) Nick Fairley, New Orleans Saints defensive tackle: A prime example of Bill Parcells' planet theory, Fairley is one of the few humans alive capable of exploding through offensive lines with freakish power and speed at 6-foot-4 and more than 300 pounds. He did an excellent job of rebuilding his value last season.
31) Kenny Britt, Los Angeles Rams wide receiver: Perennially a tease, Britt succeeded in reversing his reputation, recording the Rams' first 1,000-yard receiving season in a decade. Not bad for a wideout corralling errant passes from Case Keenum and Jared Goff.
32) Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers running back: The good news: Lacy averaged a career-high 5.07 yards per carry in a small sample size of work before a season-ending ankle surgery. The bad news: Through a series of weight fluctuations, his footwork has not returned to the preternaturally nimble form that sparked his success in 2013 and '14.
UPDATE: Lacy signed a one-year deal for $5.55 million with the Seahawks, per Rapoport.
35) Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears quarterback: He's not going to save your team. He might not even play football again if he doesn't find a good landing spot. Yet he still is better than other starting quarterbacks out there and, at worst, could be one of the best backups quarterbacks in the league.
36) Mike Glennon, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback: Glennon was close to a league-average starting quarterback in his first two NFL seasons, which is especially impressive considering his coordinators were Mike Sullivan, Jeff Tedford and Marcus Arroyo. Glennon represents an intriguing blend of youth, experience and accuracy.
UPDATE: Logan is signing a one-year contract with the Kansas City Chiefs, Rapoport reported.
UPDATE: Minter is signing a one-year contract with the Cincinnati Bengals, Rapoport reported.
40) Prince Amukamara, Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback: Amukamara strangely didn't inspire much interest in free agency last year, then provided his usual above-average starting cornerback play. Guys like this usually get paid.
UPDATE: Smith has agreed to a three-year, $15 million deal with the Eagles.
42) Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs running back: Battling lingering knee problems, Charles has managed just 404 yards on 83 carries over the past two seasons. He boasted difference-making talent in his prime, but will have to accept a one-year, incentive-laden contract to prove he can still play at a Pro Bowl level at age 30.
43) Dre Kirkpatrick, Cincinnati Bengals cornerback: Kirkpatrick has what NFL teams pay for at cornerback: length and pedigree. Even though the former first-rounder's play has been uneven as a pro, he's likely to strike it rich.
UPDATE: Kirkpatrick is staying in Cincinnati, Rapoport reported.
44) Morris Claiborne, Dallas Cowboys cornerback: (See: Kirkpatrick blurb.) Claiborne played the best ball of his career before getting hurt in Dallas last season, but the injuries are not a new trend. He's missed 30 games since 2013.
UPDATE: Cyprien is expected to join the Titans, Rapoport reported.
46) Russell Okung, Denver Broncos offensive tackle: Okung was signed to solve the Broncos' pass-protection woes. Instead, he was mistake-prone, contributing to another season of disappointment up front in Denver. He still has a chance to get paid in a weak tackle market.
47) Julius Peppers, Green Bay Packers linebacker: Peppers has notched at least seven sacks in 14 of 15 NFL seasons, an unbelievable mark of consistency. Will he return to Carolina to close out a Hall of Fame career?
UPDATE: Peppers is returning to the Carolina Panthers, who drafted him second overall in 2002.
48) Ronald Leary, Dallas Cowboys guard: Leary was an upgrade over La'el Collins as a powerful run blocker, but it remains to be seen how he will hold up in pass protection without the benefit of All-Pro performers on either side of him.
49) DeMarcus Ware, Denver Broncos linebacker: Ware remains a dominant pass-rushing force when healthy, but he's seeing fewer and fewer snaps with each season. With Shane Ray and Shaquil Barrett showing promise opposite Von Miller, will Denver welcome Ware back for another campaign?
UPDATE: Ware announced he plans to retire from the NFL.
50) Jared Odrick, Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end: The versatile defensive lineman lived up to his mega contract in his first season with the Jaguars, but he struggled to play through an elbow injury in 2016.
UPDATE: Stills is returning to Miami on a four-year, $32 million contract, Rapoport reported.
54) Brandon Carr, Dallas Cowboys cornerback: The Cowboys kept trying to replace Carr, and the veteran cornerback kept fighting off the competition. Against all odds, he started all 80 games of the five-year, $51 million contract signed in 2012.
56) LeGarrette Blount, New England Patriots running back: Even the Patriots didn't expect Blount to pound out 334 carries and 19 touchdowns, including the playoffs. He isn't likely to languish on the market for a month like he did a year ago.
57) Mario Williams, Miami Dolphins defensive end: If you look past the name and the inflated price tag last season, Williams was a decent part-time player. But will he be willing to take a massive pay cut for a second straight year?
UPDATE: Warmack has agreed to a one-year deal with the Eagles.
59) Kendall Wright, Tennessee Titans wide receiver: Wright hasn't been the same since catching 94 passes in his second season, but he has the short-area quickness to be a terrific slot receiver if he finds the right fit.
61) Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts tight end: Doyle emerged out of nowhere as a sure-handed receiving option for Andrew Luck last season. Only 26 years old with good after-the-catch skills, Doyle's upside ranks with that of any free-agent tight end.
UPDATE: Doyle is staying in Indy on a three-year deal, per Garafolo.
UPDATE: Kalil is joining his brother, Ryan, in Carolina, signing a deal with the Panthers.
UPDATE: McDougald signed with the Seahawks.
UPDATE: Simon is signing a three-year deal with the Colts, according to Rapoport.
65) Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota Vikings wide receiver: Patterson finally gained enough trust to assume a significant role in the passing game, but his poor feel for the nuances of the position limits him to manufactured touches on shorter routes near the line of scrimmage.
67) Kelvin Beachum, Jacksonville Jaguars offensive tackle: Beachum was too often overpowered in the running game last season, but he should get another crack at a starting job with so many teams in need of experienced veterans at left tackle.
UPDATE: Beachum announced on Twitter that he is signing with the Jets.
UPDATE: Branch is headed back to Miami on a long-term deal, per Rapoport.
UPDATE: The Vikings announced they've signed Jones.
70) JC Tretter, Green Bay Packers center: The second-best center on the market showed promise as a seven-game stand-in for starter Corey Linsley early last season. He's athletic enough to succeed on a pass-heavy team with a zone-blocking scheme.
UPDATE: Tretter has agreed to sign with the Browns.
71) Lorenzo Alexander, Buffalo Bills linebacker: How improbable was Alexander's age-33 breakout campaign? He was the oldest player ever to record his first 10-sack season. Teams have to be skeptical that he can duplicate that aberrant success outside of Rex Ryan's defense.
UPDATE: Alexander agreed on a two-year deal to remain with Buffalo.
72) Rex Burkhead, Cincinnati Bengals running back: A bit of a factor back/slot receiver hybrid, Burkhead outplayed Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill in Cincinnati's backfield last season. His game is well-suited to today's offenses, where spread looks proliferate. He could be sneaky effective on the right team.
UPDATE: The Patriots announced they have signed Burkhead.
73) Brian Hoyer, Chicago Bears quarterback: Taking over for an injured Jay Cutler, Hoyer reeled off four consecutive 300-yard performances before going down with a season-ending arm injury in late October. The ideal backup, he can move an offense with more proficiency than many starters, only to have his limitations come to the forefront when he's overexposed.
UPDATE: Hoyer has agreed on a deal with the San Francisco 49ers.
74) Robert Woods, Buffalo Bills wide receiver: Between injuries and a lack of big-play ability, Woods has yet to top 700 yards in a season. In a best-case scenario, he'll cash in like Mohamed Sanu did last offseason.
76) Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers quarterback: Kaepernick will have a market, per Rapoport, but he's going to have to compete for a starting job. Although Kap showed promising flashes last season, he still struggles with accuracy, touch and field vision.
UPDATE: Woodhead is heading to the Ravens on a three-year deal.
80) D.J. Swearinger, Arizona Cardinals safety: The "Hard Knocks" instigator bounced around the league before the Cardinals showed what an asset he can be. He could wind up taking Tony Jefferson's job.
81) D.J. Fluker, Los Angeles Chargers guard/tackle: Fluker is a massive man with position flexibility. Although he's been a subpar pass protector, he's started 59 games over four seasons with a nasty edge in the running game.
UPDATE: Fluker is joining the Giants on a one-year deal, according to Garafolo.
UPDATE: Addae has agreed to a deal to stay with Chargers, per Rapoport.
UPDATE: Munnerlyn is headed back to Carolina, where he began his career.
UPDATE: Smith is expected to sign with the Giants, per Rapoport.
87) Brandon LaFell, Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver: LaFell exceeded expectations as the No. 2 receiver on the 2014 Patriots and 2016 Bengals, but he seems to leave his teams with a burning desire to upgrade at his spot.
UPDATE: LaFell is re-signing with the Bengals, his agents announced.
89) Christine Michael, Green Bay Packers running back: Michael's explosive running talent is obvious, but he's been undone by subpar footing, inconsistent vision and a poor mastery of the fundamentals in the passing game.
UPDATE: Michael is staying with the Packers.
UPDATE: Smith is signing a five-year, $26.5 million deal (with $13 million guaranteed) with the 49ers, Garafolo reported.
UPDATE: Washington is set to sign McClain to a four-year contract, Rapoport reported.
94) Nickell Robey-Coleman, Buffalo Bills cornerback: One of the smallest corners in the league, Robey-Coleman is limited to slot duty. He earned a contract extension prior to the 2015 season only to be benched by the Bills last November.
UPDATE: Robey-Coleman signed with the Rams, the team announced.
UPDATE: Klug has agreed to terms to return to Tennessee, the team announced.
96) Ted Ginn Jr., Carolina Panthers wide receiver: Ginn has averaged nearly 750 yards and seven touchdowns as Cam Newton's drop-prone, hit-averse deep threat the past two years. He's been a disappointment outside of Carolina throughout his 10-year career.
UPDATE: Long is headed to the Eagles.
99) Antoine Bethea, San Francisco 49ers safety: Only one season removed from performing at a Pro Bowl level, Bethea played nearly every snap last year for the 49ers. He can still help a team even though he'll be 33 when the season starts.
UPDATE: Bethea has agreed to terms on a three-year deal with the Cardinals.
100) Darius Butler, Indianapolis Colts defensive back: The veteran cornerback increased his market value by flashing versatility in the Colts' depleted secondary last season, spending some time at safety and acquitting himself well.
UPDATE: Butler is returning to the Colts on a one-year deal with a maximum value of $4.5 million, per Rapoport.