Where Things Stand In NFL Free Agency

Things move fast in NFL free agency, so it should come as no surprise that just five days after the new league year began, the majority of 2016’s top free agents have come off the board. Olivier Vernon, Malik Jackson, and Brock Osweiler – the first three players on our list of this year’s top 50 free agents – are among those that have signed new mega-deals already.Brock Osweiler (vertical)

[RELATED: Full list of available free agents by position]

Our top 50 list was intended – at least in part – to predict which players would sign the biggest contracts of the offseason, and while we did pretty well at the top of our list, there were missteps further down. Our rankings appear to have underestimated the apprehension that teams would have for free agents with health questions. That’s why our No. 7 free agent, Jason Pierre-Paul, only managed a one-year deal, while others in our top 20, such as Russell Okung and Kelvin Beachum, remain unsigned.

Here’s a breakdown of the top 10 biggest deals signed so far, in terms of fully guaranteed money (per Over The Cap):

  1. Olivier Vernon, DE (Giants): Five years, $85MM. $40MM fully guaranteed.
  2. Brock Osweiler, QB (Texans): Four years, $72MM. $37MM fully guaranteed.
  3. Malik Jackson, DE (Jaguars): Six years, $85.5MM, $31.5MM fully guaranteed.
  4. Janoris Jenkins, CB (Giants): Five years, $62.5MM. $28.8MM fully guaranteed.
  5. Kelechi Osemele, G/T (Raiders): Five years, $58.5MM. $25.4MM fully guaranteed.
  6. Damon Harrison, DT (Giants): Five years, $46.2MM. $20MM fully guaranteed.
  7. Alex Mack, C (Falcons): Five years, $45MM. $20MM fully guaranteed.
  8. Brandon Brooks, G (Eagles): Five years, $40MM. $17MM fully guaranteed.
  9. Mark Barron, LB (Rams): Five years, $45MM. $15MM fully guaranteed.
  10. (tie) Sean Smith, CB (Raiders): Four years, $38MM. $15MM fully guaranteed.
    (tie) Doug Martin, RB (Buccaneers): Five years, $35.7MM. $15MM fully guaranteed.

The Giants and Raiders dominate that list, combining for five players, and those two teams, plus the Jaguars, have been among the biggest free agent spenders so far.

In addition to their three signings noted above, the Giants also re-signed Pierre-Paul ($8.5MM fully guaranteed). The Raiders complemented their Osemele and Smith signings by adding Bruce Irvin ($14.5MM fully guaranteed). And the Jaguars landed Jackson, plus Tashaun Gipson ($12MM fully guaranteed), Chris Ivory ($10MM fully guaranteed), and Prince Amukamara ($3MM fully guaranteed).

Additional big spenders have included the Eagles (Brooks, Rodney McLeod, Chase Daniel), Texans (Osweiler, Lamar Miller, Jeff Allen), and Falcons (Mack, Mohamed Sanu).

While many of the big-name players have signed, there are still many players in our top 50 without deals. Some of these players, such as Eric Weddle, appear to be simply taking their time to weigh all their options, and could still land fairly lucrative deals. Others may not be generating as much interest as expected. Here’s a breakdown of those players:

As our list of notable remaining free agents shows, the tackle market has been somewhat slow to develop. Okung and Beachum are both coming off injuries, Penn will turn 33 next month, and Smith isn’t a left tackle, so it makes some sense that there hasn’t been a ton of action on them, but I expect that will be one position that gains steam this week.

We should also see more movement at cornerback – which features players like Brandon Boykin, Leon Hall, and Patrick Robinson – and inside linebacker, where Zach Brown and James Laurinaitis are among the veterans available. You can find our complete, up-to-date list of available free agents right here.

This week’s action won’t be quite as fast-paced as last week’s, but things will still be busy, with teams continuing to focus on the second and third waves of free agency. After next week’s owner’s meetings, draft coverage steadily begins to dominate the NFL news cycle, but we’ve still got plenty of free agent signings to track before then, so check PFR frequently for the latest.

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