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2017 NFL Free Agency: The top 100 unrestricted NFL free agents for 2017. Fullbacks, kickers and punters are excluded. Star rating is out of five. Age listing as of Sept. 1, 2017.
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Le’Veon Bell, RB, Steelers. Age: 25.
Franchised by Steelers
Le’Veon Bell is arguably the best running back in the NFL. He’s a terrific runner, and he’s also very dangerous as a receiver out of the backfield; he caught 75 passes in 2016. He’ll also be just 25 in February. The only concern regarding Bell is his tendency to get suspended for drug tests. Ian Rapoport has reported that Bell will be franchised.
Eric Berry, S, Chiefs. Age: 28.
Re-signed with Chiefs (6 years, $78 million)
It’s astonishing that just recently, Eric Berry was battling for his life against cancer. Now, he’s one of the top safeties in the NFL. Berry should continue to perform at an All-Pro level for at least four more years, as he just turned 28.
Kevin Zeitler, G, Bengals. Age: 27.
Signed with Browns (5 years, $60 million)
Kevin Zeitler is one of the jewels of the 2017 NFL free agency class. He’s been one of the top guards in the league over the past several seasons, possessing no weaknesses in his game. There’s no reason for Zeitler to decline either, as he’ll turn just 27 in March.
Chandler Jones, DE/OLB, Cardinals. Age: 27.
Re-signed with Cardinals (5 years, $83 million)
The Cardinals stole Chandler Jones away from the Patriots, and they’ll be the clear winners of the trade if they manage to re-sign him. Jones is a stellar pass-rusher who routinely records double-digit sacks each year. He’s only 27 in February, so he still has at least four seasons of high play remaining in the tank, so he deserves a huge contract.
Kawann Short, DT, Panthers. Age: 28.
Franchised by Panthers
Kawann Short is an explosive defensive tackle who generates a great pass rush and also happens to be a force against the run. Short registered 11 sacks in 2015, a very high number for a defensive tackle, and while he didn’t get to double digits last year, he was still an extremely potent player.
Calais Campbell, DE/DT, Cardinals. Age: 31.
Signed with Jaguars
Calais Campbell is one of the top defensive linemen in the NFL. He’s outstanding in every regard, placing tons of pressure on opposing quarterbacks and clamping down against the run. He would be a five-star free agent if he were a couple of years younger, but he turns 31 on the first day of September.
T.J. Lang, G, Packers. Age: 29.
Signed with Lions (3 years)
T.J. Lang missed some time with a foot injury this past season, but still performed as one of the top guards in the NFL. The one downside is that he’ll turn 30 at the end of September, but interior linemen can usually play on a high level well into their mid-30s.
Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, Chargers. Age: 28.
Franchised by Chargers
Melvin Ingram is a terrific edge rusher. He’s collected close to 20 sacks over the past couple of years, and he’s also a force against the run. He has about three more years of high-level play, so he’s definitely deserving of a huge contract.
Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, Giants. Age: 28.
Re-signed with Giants (4 years)
Jason Pierre-Paul should be handed lots of praise for performing on a very high level despite his fireworks accident two summers ago. Pierre-Paul logged seven sacks in 12 games, but missed the end of the season when he needed hernia surgery. Pierre-Paul was great in every aspect, and he just turned 28, so he has a few years of high-level play remaining and should receive a contract worth quite a few digits.
A.J. Bouye, CB, Texans. Age: 26.
Signed with Jaguars
A.J. Bouye came out of nowhere to have a Pro Bowl season for the Texans. Bouye was just a reserve/special-teamer prior to 2016, but he inexplicably turned into a shutdown cornerback. I’m hesitant to give him anything more than four stars because he could be a one-year wonder, but Bouye is set to earn a big contract this offseason.
Jamie Collins, OLB, Browns. Age: 27.
Re-signed with Browns (4 years, $50 million)
Jamie Collins is an extremely talented linebacker with no physical liabilities. He excels the most in coverage, but can also blitz effectively and stop the run. The Patriots traded him because he clashed with the coaching staff, which is a concern, but Collins’ overall talent makes up for that.
Trumaine Johnson, CB, Rams. Age: 27.
Franchised by Rams
Trumaine Johnson is an excellent cornerback who has about four more years remaining in his prime, given that he just turned 27. Johnson struggles to tackle, but he’s phenomenal as a cover cornerback.
Larry Warford, G, Lions. Age: 26.
Signed with Saints
Larry Warford had an injury-prone 2015 campaign, but he rebounded this past season, providing Matthew Stafford with some excellent blocking. Warford turns just 26 in June, so the sky is the limit for him.
John Cyprien, S, Jaguars. Age: 27.
Signed with Titans
John Cyprien was a second-round pick in 2013 who had failed to live up to his billing – until this past season. Cyprien had an incredible 2016 campaign, as he performed as one of the top safeties in the NFL. Just 27 in July, Cyprien is going to receive a big contract if he’s allowed to hit free agency.
Tony Jefferson, S, Cardinals. Age: 25.
Signed with Ravens
Tony Jefferson evolved into one of the better safeties in the NFL last season. Given that, as well as the fact that he turns just 25 at the end of January, Jefferson could be offered a huge contract this offseason. The only thing I’d worry about is that Jefferson is a bit of a one-year wonder.
Brandon Williams, NT, Ravens. Age: 28.
Re-signed with Ravens (5 years)
Ozzie Newsome recently said that Brandon Williams is one of the best nose tackles in the NFL. Williams has played like it at times, though he had a bit of a down year in 2016. Still, he’s a terrific, run-stuffing nose tackle.
Chris Baker, DE/DT, Redskins. Age: 29.
Signed with Buccaneers (3 years, $15.75 million)
Chris Baker was the lone bright spot on the Redskins’ dismal defensive line this past year. He was a force against the run and also generated a good amount of pressure on the quarterback, collecting 4.5 sacks, which is a solid number for a player at his position. The downside is that Baker turns 30 in October, but he should be able to play on a high level for at least two more years.
Logan Ryan, CB, Patriots. Age: 26.
Signed with Titans (3 years, $30 million)
Logan Ryan struggled to start the 2016 campaign, but bounced back and performed on a very high level once again down the stretch. Ryan has been great the past two years, and he’s only 26 in February, so he should be able to play well for quite a while.
Andrew Whitworth, OT, Bengals. Age: 35.
Signed with Rams (3 years, $36 million)
Andrew Whitworth would be rated at five stars if it weren’t for his age. He’s been one of the top left tackles in the NFL for a very long time. However, he just turned 35 and could begin to decline at some point in the near future.
Terrelle Pryor, WR, Browns. Age: 28.
Signed with Redskins (1 year, $8 million)
Terrelle Pryor didn’t quite reach Charles Woodson’s projected 1,800-yardage mark, but he established himself as a dynamic weapon and a legitimate No. 1 receiver in the NFL. Pryor is still learning the position and had to deal with pedestrian quarterbacks all year, so he could be even better in the next couple of seasons.
Nick Mangold, C, Jets. Age: 33.
Nick Mangold was once the best center in the NFL. He’s been injured quite a bit the past two years, so he can no longer maintain that status. However, when healthy, Mangold is still a terrific player. He’s 33 now, but interior linemen have been able to play at a high level until their mid-to-late 30s.
Kirk Cousins, QB, Redskins. Age: 29.
Franchised by Redskins
Kirk Cousins is very difficult to grade. Sometimes he plays like a 4.5-star player; over the past two years, he has thrown for 54 touchdowns and just 23 interceptions, completing 68 percent of his passes in the process. However, Cousins occasionally performs like a street free agent, melting down at the worst times possible. The Redskins have a very difficult decision to make regarding his contract, and I have to say that I’m happy I’m not in their shoes.
Alshon Jeffery, WR, Bears. Age: 27.
Signed with Eagles (1 year, $14 million)
Alshon Jeffery is a very talented, big receiver, but he hasn’t been able to stay on the field. Whether it’s an injury or a PED-related suspension, the Bears haven’t been able to trust him very much. The silver lining is that Chicago might be able to retain him at a reduced rate.
Johnathan Hankins, NT, Giants. Age: 25.
Signed with Colts (3 years, $30 million)
Johnathan Hankins is coming off a down year, perhaps because he never recovered from a torn pectoral. Hankins is a very talented defensive tackle who generates pressure on opposing quarterbacks and stuffs the run effectively when healthy.
Dontari Poe, NT, Chiefs. Age: 27.
Signed with Falcons
Dontari Poe had one of the worst seasons in his career in 2016, thanks to a back injury. Poe is still a monstrous presence in the interior of the defensive line, and he’ll only be 27 in August.
Stephon Gilmore, CB, Bills. Age: 26.
Signed with Patriots
Stephon Gilmore had been an excellent cornerback heading into 2016, but he struggled last year. It’s unclear why he regressed, but it’s likely that he’ll rebound. He’s only 26, so it’s not like he has a declining skill set, or anything.
Prince Amukamara, CB, Jaguars. Age: 28.
Signed with Bears
Prince Amukamara signed a 1-year “prove it” deal with the Jaguars last offseason. Prove himself he did, as Amukamara missed just a couple of games. He performed on a high level in 2016 and is certainly worthy of a substantial contract.
Morris Claiborne, CB, Cowboys. Age: 27.
Signed with Jets
It’s almost crazy to recall that Morris Claiborne was considered a colossal bust prior to this past season. Claiborne had done nothing but suck since being chosen sixth overall in the 2012 NFL Draft, but he performed like a shutdown corner this past season before getting hurt. Was that because he was in his contract year, though? Will he stink again if he signs a big deal? Teams thinking about giving Claiborne a ton of money need to be concerned about this.
Dont’a Hightower, ILB, Patriots. Age: 27.
Re-signed with Patriots (4 years, $43.5 million)
Dont’a Hightower is a terrific linebacker, but he’s getting just 3.5 stars because of his extensive injury history. Hightower has played 16 games only once in his career, as he always seems to be banged up. Still, he’s definitely worth it, as he dominates when he’s on the field.
Pierre Garcon, WR, Redskins. Age: 31.
Signed with 49ers (3 years)
Pierre Garcon turns 31 in August, but he should be able to play well for quite a while because of his elite route-running skills. Garcon caught 79 passes for 1,041 yards in 2016.
Russell Okung, OT, Broncos. Age: 28.
Signed with Chargers (4 years, $53 million)
Russell Okung is certainly one of the most physically gifted left tackles in the NFL, but he definitely has an extensive injury history that is weighing his ranking down. Okung did, however, play in all 16 games this past season, and was one of the few bright spots on Denver’s offensive line.
Jeremy Maclin, WR, Chiefs. Age: 29.
Signed with Ravens (2 years)
Jeremy Maclin’s release from Kansas City on Friday night was surprising, to say the least. Maclin struggled in 2016 – he caught 44 balls for 536 yards and two touchdowns – but did so while injured. Maclin snatched 87 receptions for 1,088 yards the year before, and this was despite being paired with the pedestrian Alex Smith. Maclin hauled in 85 passes for 1,318 yards and 10 touchdowns in Philadelphia in 2014, so this is the sort of potential he has, if healthy. All indications are that he’s close to 100 percent. Maclin, just 29, is still a passable No. 1 receiver and an extremely strong No. 2 option. Teams that make the most sense for Maclin are the Redskins, Cowboys, Ravens and Bills. All four teams have solid quarterbacks and are in need of receiving help.
Barry Church, S, Cowboys. Age: 29.
Signed with Jaguars
Barry Church had always been an above-average starting safety, but not in 2016. He was outstanding this past season in all regards. He did miss four games with an arm injury, but was excellent when on the field. This could’ve been a fluky year, so I’m hesitant to give him four stars, but he certainly performed like a four-star free agent.
J.C. Tretter, C/G, Packers. Age: 26.
Signed with Browns (3 years, $16.75 million)
J.C. Tretter began the year as Green Bay’s starting center, but lost his job when suffering a sprained MCL. It’s a shame for Tretter because he had been performing on a high level, especially in pass protection. The other center, Corey Linsley, has just been better.
Ricky Wagner, OT, Ravens. Age: 27.
Signed with Lions
Ricky Wagner looked lost when taking over for Michael Oher in the 2013 premiere. He’s come a long way since then. The former fifth-round pick played very well at right tackle this past season and should be able to obtain a substantial contract as a result.
Tony Romo, QB, Cowboys. Age: 37.
Tony Romo has announced his retirement – check out the Disaster Grades page for more – but I’m still listing him here in case he changes his mind. Romo would be a higher-rated player if he could stay healthy, but he hasn’t been able to do that. He has played just two full games the past two years, and he has proven to be very brittle. That said, Romo looked great in his lone appearance last year, and if he can remain on the field, he can be a top-10 NFL quarterback. Signing him comes with great risk, but with great reward as well.
Evan Mathis, G, Cardinals. Age: 35.
Evan Mathis was the top guard in the NFL a few years ago, but he’s been bothered by injuries the past couple of seasons. Age is also a factor, as he’ll turn 36 in November. However, Mathis is still a solid blocker, especially when it comes to opening up running lanes. If he can stay healthy, he’ll be a quality starter for someone next year.
Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings. Age: 32.
Signed with Saints
Adrian Peterson’s $18 million option wasn’t picked up, meaning he’ll be a free agent on March 9. Peterson looked extremely worn down last year, especially when returning from his injury; he gained just 1.9 yards per carry. However, Peterson was hurt while playing behind an anemic offensive line. He’ll be better in 2017, and even though he’ll turn 32 in March, he can’t be counted out because he’s made miraculous comebacks before. It’s possible that Peterson could have two strong seasons remaining in the tank, though it’s also possible that he could be close to done.
Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Bengals. Age: 27.
Re-signed with Bengals (5 years, $52.5 million)
Dre Kirkpatrick has been a disappointment for most of his career, but he finally performed on a high level in 2016. Kirkpatrick certainly has the talent to keep playing well, and he’s only 27.
DeSean Jackson, WR, Redskins. Age: 30.
Signed with Buccaneers
DeSean Jackson produced the fifth 1,000-yard season of his 9-year pro career in 2016, but turned 30 in the process. Jackson will continue to be a downfield threat in 2017, but he’ll lose his deep speed soon enough, so he shouldn’t be signed to a long-term deal. The scuttlebutt is that Jackson is headed back to Philadelphia.
T.J. McDonald, S, Rams. Age: 26.
Signed with Dolphins (1 year)
T.J. McDonald had a rough offseason leading into 2016, coming off shoulder surgery and then being arrested for a DUI. However, none of this affected his play this season, as McDonald put together another decent campaign.
Bennie Logan, DT, Eagles. Age: 27.
Signed with Chiefs
Bennie Logan doesn’t put much pressure on opposing quarterbacks, but he’s a tremendous run defender. Logan has been excellent in past years, but struggled in 2016 because he’s been bothered by a groin injury since early October. Logan is likely to bounce back next year.
Gerald Hodges, ILB, 49ers. Age: 26.
Signed with Bills
A former fourth-round pick of the Vikings, Minnesota somehow let Gerald Hodges get away, as Hodges carved out a role for himself in San Francisco’s defense. Hodges has played the run well and hasn’t been a liability in coverage. He’ll be only 26 in January.
Nick Fairley, DT, Saints. Age: 29.
Re-signed with Saints (4 years)
Nick Fairley has signed back-to-back 1-year contracts because teams don’t trust him to stay motivated. Fairley has played well for the Rams and Saints over the past couple of years, especially when rushing the passer. He should continue to sign 1-year “prove it” deals.
Zach Brown, ILB, Bills. Age: 27.
Signed with Redskins
Zach Brown was selected in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft, but had done nothing in his career prior to 2016. Teams thought so little of him that the Bills managed to get him for a 1-year, $1.25 million contract. Brown responded with a terrific 2016 campaign, even winning AFC Defensive Player of the Week once.
Captain Munnerlyn, CB, Vikings. Age: 29.
Signed with Panthers
Captain Munnerlyn has been a quality slot cornerback for quite some time now. Munnerlyn actually had a bit of a down year in 2016, but he’s only 29, so he could bounce back next season and play well into 2019.
Perry Riley, ILB, Raiders. Age: 29.
Perry Riley was once a good player for the Redskins, but he regressed because he wasn’t a good fit in the 3-4. Thus, it was not a surprise that Riley thrived in Oakland’s 4-3. Riley is a well-rounded player who is solid against the run and also not a liability in coverage.
Charles Johnson, DE, Panthers. Age: 31.
Re-signed with Panthers (2 years, $9.5 million)
Charles Johnson was re-signed to a 1-year deal last offseason, as there were some injury concerns with him. Johnson didn’t appear to be the same, dominant force in 2016, as he lost some of his pass-rushing burst, recording only four sacks. Johnson was very good versus the run, but given the numerous maladies he’s suffered over the years, Johnson may never be the same player again, especially given that he’ll be 31 in July.
Micah Hyde, S/CB/KR, Packers. Age: 26.
Signed with Bills
Micah Hyde, a solid return specialist, is very good in run support, but could stand to improve as a coverage safety/nickel corner. He won’t be 27 until New Year’s Eve, so he’ll have plenty of time to improve that facet of his game.
Nick Perry, DE/OLB, Packers. Age: 27.
Re-signed with Packers (5 years)
With Julius Peppers declining a bit at the end of the year, and Clay Matthews hobbled with an injury throughout the season, Nick Perry was Green Bay’s best edge rusher in 2016. It’s a concern that Perry had struggled prior to his contract year, but he’s a former first-round pick and obviously has lots of talent.
Brian Winters, G, Jets. Age: 26.
Re-signed with Jets (4 years)
Brian Winters was arguably the Jets’ top offensive lineman last year not named Nick Mangold. That’s not saying a lot, but Winters is a quality pass protector who happens to be just 26 until July.
Martellus Bennett, TE, Patriots. Age: 30.
Signed with Packers
Martellus Bennett turns 30 in March, but he’s still a very effective player. He caught 55 passes for 701 yards and seven touchdowns this past season, as he’s had to be the primary tight end with Rob Gronkowski injured. He also blocked well.
Ronald Leary, G, Cowboys. Age: 28.
Signed with Broncos (4 years, $35 million)
Ronald Leary was once the weakest link on Dallas’ offensive line, but that’s no longer the case. Leary has developed into a quality starting guard with no weaknesses.
Kelvin Beachum, OT, Jaguars. Age: 28.
Signed with Jets
Kelvin Beachum is a talented left tackle who would be rated a bit higher than this if he were healthy. Beachum tore his ACL in 2015 and struggled this past season because he wasn’t 100 percent. However, he should provide solid value this spring. He figures to be closer to 100 percent now that he’s two years removed from his knee injury. Plus, he’s only 28. Beachum could be one of the better signings this offseason.
Mike Adams, S, Colts. Age: 36.
Signed with Panthers (2 years)
Mike Adams has played on a very high level for a long time, and this includes this past season. Adams, however, turns 36 in March, so he could begin to decline as soon as this upcoming year.
Gary Barnidge, TE, Browns. Age: 31.
The Browns drafted David Njoku, but that didn’t mean that they had to cut Gary Barnidge. Njoku isn’t ready to play, while Barnidge is still a very effective player. He caught 79 passes for 1,043 yards and nine touchdowns in 2015. His production dropped to 55-612-2 last year, but that was because of poor quarterback play. Barnidge could be a solid addition for a team needing talent at tight end to make a playoff push. Teams that fit are the Steelers, Texans, Dolphins, Lions and Broncos.
Mario Addison, DE, Panthers. Age: 29.
Re-signed with Panthers (3 years)
Mario Addison had always been a decent rotational player, but never a key starter. That changed this past season, as he approached double-digit sacks. Addison is a late bloomer, but the problem is that he’ll turn 30 during the first week of September.
Lorenzo Alexander, DE/OLB, Bills. Age: 34.
Re-signed with Bills
What should we make of Lorenzo Alexander? The edge rusher had always been a marginal player throughout his career, never recording more than 2.5 sacks in any season. Lo and behold, Alexander notched double-digit sacks in 2016. He’s a late bloomer, but turns 34 in May. He’ll need to be signed to a 1-, or 2-year prove-it contract.
Jahleel Addae, S, Chargers. Age: 27.
Re-signed with Chargers
Jahleel Addae missed half the season in 2016 because of a broken collarbone, but he has played very well since his return. Addae has a history of being flagged for too many penalties, but has performed well when under control.
Jason McCourty, CB, Titans. Age: 30.
Signed with Browns
Jason McCourty was once an excellent cornerback for the Titans, as they got the most out of their sixth-round pick from the 2009 NFL Draft. However, McCourty struggled through a groin injury in 2015 and never fully recovered last season. He didn’t perform poorly this past year, but he wasn’t back to pre-2015 form either. It’s possible, however, that McCourty could rebound. He may have a couple of decent seasons remaining in the tank, as he’s 29 until the middle of August.
Brandon Flowers, CB, Chargers. Age: 31.
Brandon Flowers was released because of his $9 million salary, but he can still play very well when healthy. His durability is a big concern, however. He played just six games in 2016 and has a history of concussions. Still, he could provide great value on a 1-year “prove it” deal.
D.J. Swearinger, S, Cardinals. Age: 26.
Signed wih Redskins (3 years, $13.5 million)
The Texans gave up on D.J. Swearinger after spending a second-round pick on him back in 2013. Perhaps they did so prematurely, as Swearinger performed well for the Cardinals in 2016. He missed some tackles, but was generally decent in coverage.
Jay Cutler, QB, Bears. Age: 34.
Signed with Dolphins
It’s difficult to rate Jay Cutler, as he has all the talent in the world, but suffers from severe mood swings. When Cutler is focused, he’s great, but he sometimes appears to be lethargic and disinterested, likely stemming from his diabetes. Still, Cutler has thrown 53 touchdowns to 34 interceptions the past two years, and he can still be a capable starter if a coaching staff knows how to deal with his condition.
Elvis Dumervil, DE/OLB, Ravens. Age: 33.
Signed with 49ers
Elvis Dumervil was once one of the NFL’s top edge rushers, racking up 17 sacks in a season twice in his career. He hit 17 sacks back in 2014, but has regressed lately. He had just six sacks in 2015, and played only eight games this past season because of a foot injury. Dumervil just turned 33, so he’ll never be the same player, but he could be an effective pass-rusher for a team as long as his snap count is reduced.
Alan Branch, DT, Patriots. Age: 30.
Re-signed with Patriots (2 years)
Alan Branch just turned 32, but he’s a terrific run-stuffer. He was set to be suspended for violating the substance-abuse policy late in the year, but he won the appeal.
Isa Abdul-Quddus, S, Dolphins. Age: 28.
Isa Abdul-Quddus is a terrific safety when healthy, but the Dolphins cut him for medical reasons. He has a nerve problem in his neck and may not be cleared anytime soon.
Darius Butler, CB, Colts. Age: 31.
Re-signed with Colts (1 year)
With Vontae Davis banged up, Darius Butler was Indianapolis’ top cornerback in 2016. Butler has been pretty inconsistent over his career, so he could regress next year. The fact that he turns 31 in March also needs to be considered.
Bradley McDouglad, S, Buccaneers. Age: 26.
Signed with Seahawks
Bradley McDouglad is solid in run support, but could stand to improve in coverage. Still, he’s not a liability, and he makes for a fine starting safety.
Kenny Britt, WR, Rams. Age: 28.
Signed with Browns (4 years, $32.5 million)
Kenny Britt eclipsed 1,000 yards for the first time in his career this past season despite playing with some terrible quarterbacks. Britt possesses very good physical talent, but has always battled horrible cases of lethargy. Perhaps he’s grown up, but it’s difficult to rely on him.
Joe Hawley, C, Buccaneers. Age: 27.
Re-signed with Buccaneers (2 years)
Joe Hawley had a rocky start to his career in Atlanta, but has since improved. He was solid for the Buccaneers this past season, though slightly toward the end of the year, perhaps because of a knee injury he suffered in Week 9.
J.J. Wilcox, S, Cowboys. Age: 26.
Signed with Buccaneers (2 years)
J.J. Wilcox played well after struggling for several seasons, though he missed four games with a thigh injury. He missed some tackles, but did well in coverage. Wilcox is just 26 in February and could continue to play well.
James Harrison, DE/OLB, Steelers. Age: 39.
Re-signed with Steelers
James Harrison is a freak of nature. How does he continue to dominate despite being in his late 30s? Harrison recorded five sacks in 2016, but that number is misleading because Harrison played about half the team’s defensive snaps. This was done to keep him fresh, and it worked out, as Harrison was very effective when on the field.
Jared Cook, TE, Packers. Age: 30.
Signed with Raiders
Jared Cook has teased everyone with his high talent level over the years, but he’s ultimately disappointed everyone – at least until the divisional round of the playoffs. He dominated the game, and he made one of the greatest catches in NFL history to set up the win for Green Bay. Cook, however, turns 30 this offseason, so time is running out for him.
Connor Barwin, DE/OLB, Eagles. Age: 30.
Signed with Rams (1 year)
Connor Barwin collected 14.5 sacks in 2014, and he tallied seven sacks the year after. His production fell off a cliff this past season, however, as he was miscast as a 4-3 defensive end. That, and the near-$8 million cap savings are the two reasons Barwin was released. Barwin can still play though, and he would be wise to sign with a 3-4 team.
DeAndre Levy, OLB, Lions. Age: 30.
DeAndre Levy is one of the top linebackers in the NFL when healthy. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been able to stay on the field very often. Levy has played just six games the past two years because of knee injuries. He’ll be worth taking a shot on for a 1-year “prove it” contract.
Sen’Derrick Marks, DT, Jaguars. Age: 30.
Sen’Derrick Marks used to be a very effective defensive tackle. He recorded nine sacks in 2014. However, he tore his ACL and has struggled ever since. Marks will be a couple of years removed from that injury though, so he could potentially offer some value as a potential Comeback Player of the Year.
Dan Williams, NT, Raiders. Age: 30.
Dan Williams has been a solid nose tackle over the years, and he even played well in 2015, but he dropped off last year. Williams is coming off the worst season of his career, and there are lethargy concerns with him. Perhaps he’ll rebound with a new team.
Jared Odrick, DE/DT, Jaguars. Age: 29.
Jared Odrick proved that he valued money over his football career when he took a $42.5 million contract with the Jaguars two years ago. Odrick was horrible in Jacksonville, playing poorly in 2015 and then missing 10 games this past season. Odrick isn’t 30 until December, so there’s still time for him to rebound and once again become the player who earned that big contract in the first place.
Eddie Lacy, RB, Packers. Age: 27.
Signed with Seahawks
Eddie Lacy looked like he was going to eat himself out of the league in 2015, but slimmed down a bit this past season. He averaged 5.1 yards per carry before suffering an ankle injury. Lacy told the media that he plans on doing a P90X workout this offseason, so perhaps he’ll continue to lose weight.
Datone Jones, DE, Packers. Age: 27.
Signed with Vikings
Datone Jones was drafted to be a five-technique, but was moved to outside linebacker. He did well there in 2015, but regressed a bit in 2016. He still has a ton of talent as a former first-round pick, however, and perhaps he’ll improve once his role becomes fully defined.
Jabaal Sheard, DE, Patriots. Age: 28.
Signed with Colts (3 years, $25.5 million)
Jabaal Sheard had an up-and-down season, but he was ultimately New England’s top pass-rusher outside of Trey Flowers. He was also decent in run support.
John Sullivan, C, Redskins. Age: 32.
Signed with Rams
John Sullivan was once a very skilled center for the Vikings. I don’t know why he was a backup this past year, but Sullivan should be someone’s starting center. He turns 32 in August, but interior blockers can perform on a high level well into their mid-30s.
Stefen Wisniewski, C/G, Eagles. Age: 28.
Re-signed with Eagles (3 years, $9 million)
Stefen Wisniewski has been a very good backup for the Eagles, as he performed very well when asked this past season. Wisniewski is too good to remain a reserve, as he can be a somewhat decent starter at guard or center for someone else.
Zach Orr, ILB, Ravens. Age: 25.
Zach Orr led the Ravens in tackles with 132 despite being a first-year starter in 2016. He was highly impressive in coverage. Orr is undersized – 6-0, 225 – and thus struggled against the run, but he’s only 25 in June, so he has plenty of time to improve his game.
Quintin Demps, S, Texans. Age: 32.
Signed with Bears (3 years, $13.5 million)
Quintin Demps has improved steadily over the past couple of years. He was a journeyman for a while, but he found a home in Houston. He’s coming off a great year, but he turns 32 in June, so a decline could be coming soon.
Lardarius Webb, S, Ravens. Age: 31.
A former cornerback, Lardarius Webb transitioned to safety last year and did well at his new position. However, Webb became expendable when the Ravens signed Tony Jefferson to pair with Eric Weddle. Webb can still be a solid starter, but he turns 32 in October, so his best days are behind him.
Brandon Marshall, WR, Jets. Age: 33.
Signed with Giants (2 years, $12 million)
Brandon Marshall had posted 1,000-plus yards in eight of nine seasons heading into 2016, but he saw his production drop last year, as he caught 59 balls for 788 yards and three touchdowns. Some of that had to do with age – Marshall turns 33 at the end of March – but he dealt with terrible quarterbacking, and he also suffered multiple injuries. Marshall will rebound at least a bit in 2017, but there’s no telling how much he has left in the tank.
Latavius Murray, RB, Raiders. Age: 27.
Signed with Vikings
Latavius Murray was one of the worst starting running backs in the NFL this past season. He somehow scored 12 touchdowns, but he averaged only 4.0 yards per carry despite running behind one of the top offensive lines in the league. No wonder Oakland’s coaching staff didn’t even give him 200 attempts.
A.Q. Shipley, C, Cardinals. Age: 31.
Re-signed with Cardinals (2 years)
A.Q. Shipley is a late bloomer, finally developing into a solid center this past season after bouncing around the league for a while. Unfortunately for Shipley, he turns 31 in May, but could still play well for a while.
Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs. Age: 30.
Signed with Broncos
Jamaal Charles is a tough free agent to rate. He has played just eight games in the past two years because of dual knee injuries. He also turned 30 in December. However, when healthy, Charles is a dynamic player. He may have lost some explosion because of his injuries, but he can at the very least serve as a potent receiver out of the backfield.
Kevin Minter, ILB, Cardinals. Age: 26.
Signed with Bengals (1 year)
Kevin Minter had been a disappointment as a former second-round pick, until this past season when he played well. Minter is a one-year wonder, but he has upside, and he’s also still young, having turned 26 prior to the end of the 2016 campaign.
Riley Reiff, OT, Lions. Age: 28.
Signed with Vikings
Riley Reiff was moved to right tackle this season after the Lions spent their 2016 first-round pick on Taylor Decker. Reiff has been a pretty average blocker throughout his career despite being a former first-round selection himself.
Sam Shields, CB, Packers. Age: 29.
Sam Shields is difficult to rate. He was considered the Packers’ top cornerback heading into 2016, and while that’s not saying much, he’s worth a four-star rating at least under normal circumstances. Shields, however, missed all but one game last year with a concussion. As of this writing (Feb. 8), he still hasn’t been cleared. Shields may never play again, and even if he’s cleared, another concussion could knock him out of the league forever. However, his upside makes him worth signing to a 1-year “prove it” deal.
Cordarrelle Patterson, WR/KR, Vikings. Age: 26.
Signed with Raiders
It’s difficult to grade Cordarrelle Patterson. On one hand, he’s been an absolute failure as a receiver. He was a first-round pick from the 2013 NFL Draft, and he just set a career-high in receptions with only 52. On the other hand, Patterson, just 26, still has tons of potential, and he’s also a dynamic kick returner.
DeMarcus Ware, DE/OLB, Broncos. Age: 35.
DeMarcus Ware will be in the Hall of Fame one day, but he struggled this past season. An ailing back forced him to miss six games, and he accumulated just four sacks. Perhaps he’ll rebound a bit in 2017, but he turns 35 in July, so it’s not looking very good.
Ryan Clady, OT, Jets. Age: 31.
Once the 12th-overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, Ryan Clady was enjoying a great career in Denver until suffering a string of injuries. He’s played in just 27 of 64 possible regular-season games the past four years, and he struggled while he was on the field last season. Clady could get healthy and rebound, but teams can’t trust him enough to give him anything outside of 1-year “prove it” contracts going forward.
Rolando McClain, ILB, Cowboys. Age: 28.
How to rate Rolando McClain? He’s an extremely talented linebacker, but he missed all of 2016 because of a suspension for violating the substance abuse policy. It’s unclear if he’ll ever be able to play again.
Jahri Evans, G, Saints. Age: 34.
Signed with Packers
Jahri Evans has been a terrific guard for the Saints since 2006. Unfortunately, he’s 34 now, and he’s slowing down. Evans is still a quality blocker, but he’s not on a Pro Bowl level anymore. Guards can play well into their mid-30s though, so Evans should still have a couple more solid seasons.
Leon Hall, CB/S, Giants. Age: 32.
There’s so much cornerbackng talent on the Giants that Leon Hall didn’t get to play very much at the position. Hall should still be a decent corner – or, at the very least, a decent safety – though he’ll turn 33 in December.
Sebastian Vollmer, OT, Patriots. Age: 33.
Sebastian Vollmer has missed 38 games the past six years, including all of 2016. He’s been great when healthy, but that hasn’t been very often. He’ll also be 33 in July, so his skills are eroding as well.
Corey Graham, S, Bills. Age: 32.
A former cornerback, Corey Graham has played well at safety in recent years, but he was expendable once Buffalo signed Micah Hyde to a big contract. Graham, 32 in July, is on the decline, but can still be a capable starter.
Darrelle Revis, CB, Jets. Age: 32.
Darrelle Revis signed a big contract two years ago. He struggled a bit in 2015 and then regressed into one of the worst cornerbacks in the NFL. Revis played like a one-star free agent in 2016, but he’s just 32 (in July) and could rebound. He was once the best cornerback in the NFL, so I find it hard to believe that he’s completely done. Perhaps Revis can move to safety.
Jairus Byrd, S, Saints. Age: 30.
The Saints made Jairus Byrd the highest-paid safety in the NFL in 2014 when he signed a $54 million contract. Byrd was awful for the most part, and he was ultimately benched this past season. Byrd is very talented and could rebound if motivated. Perhaps getting benched and released will serve as a wake-up call.
Tramaine Brock, CB, 49ers. Age: 29.
Tramaine Brock has had an up-and-down career. The 2016 campaign was a high, as he played extremely well. Unfortunately, he has reached a new low. Brock was arrested for domestic violence, as his girlfriend reportedly had “visible injuries.” It’s difficult to rank Brock for this reason, as he’d be much higher if he had no off-the-field issues. If the allegations are true, he’s not going to be playing for a very long time.
(The top 100 will be rounded out once some cuts are made.)
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