Community Tailgate: Top Free Agents Of 2016

As the NFL regular season nears its home stretch, there are plenty of topics and storylines to discuss, and PFR’s Community Tailgate is designed to address those stories. What’s the Community Tailgate all about? Well, it’s pretty simple. We’ll highlight one of the top stories going on in the NFL. Then, in the comment section below, we want you to weigh in and let us know what you think.

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Earlier this week, two AFC clubs with plenty of future cap room took advantage of that long-term flexibility by locking up their leading receivers. The Browns signed tight end Gary Barnidge to a three-year extension, while the Raiders locked up wideout Michael Crabtree for four years. The moves took a pair of intriguing free-agents-to-be off the market for 2016, and in the coming weeks, we’ll likely see several more potential free agents taken off the board, having signed extensions with their current teams.

That doesn’t mean that there won’t still be plenty of intriguing free agents available this winter, however. In our first installment of our 2016 free agent power rankings last night, we had a hard time narrowing down the options to just 10. These were the 10 players we chose, ranked by how much guaranteed money we think they could land on long-term deals this offseason:

  1. Von Miller, OLB (Broncos)
  2. Alshon Jeffery, WR (Bears)
  3. Josh Norman, CB (Panthers)
  4. Muhammad Wilkerson, DL (Jets)
  5. Russell Okung, T (Seahawks)
  6. Kelechi Osemele, G (Ravens)
  7. Cordy Glenn, T (Bills)
  8. Eric Berry, S (Chiefs)
  9. Brock Osweiler, QB (Broncos)
  10. Kirk Cousins, QB (Washington)

We noted at the bottom of the list that players like Kelvin Beachum (T, Steelers), Mike Daniels (DL, Packers), Malik Jackson (DL, Broncos), Olivier Vernon (DE, Dolphins) Eric Weddle (S, Chargers), and Derek Wolfe (DL, Broncos) just missed out. However, those weren’t the only other players we considered.

There are a pair of talented defensive ends set to reach free agency, and based on talent alone, you could make the case that Greg Hardy and Jason Pierre-Paul should be on the list. Still, Hardy has become toxic in Dallas, as more details about his domestic violence case have surfaced, and it’s hard to imagine any team signing him to a big, long-term contract. As for JPP, any potential suitor would have to seriously consider how his injured hand will affect him going forward. He has been solid since returning to the Giants, but he has yet to record a sack in four games this year.

There are at least a couple talented running backs set to hit the market, in Lamar Miller and Doug Martin. But running backs typically don’t make out too well in free agency, so it’s hard to imagine either player landing a DeMarco Murray-type contract — especially after the league has seen how that Murray deal has worked out this year for the Eagles.

What do you think? Does our list look about right to you, or are there changes you’d make? Are there other players on our list of 2016 free agents that you think deserve more consideration for the top 10 or 15 FAs available this winter? Weigh in below with your thoughts!

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