Greg Salas

Top 2017 Free Agents By Position 3.0: Offense

The initial wave of NFL free agency is now complete, and while many of the league’s top available players are now off the board, there are still plenty of quality options still on the open market.

Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each offensive position. These rankings aren’t necessarily determined by the value of the contracts – or the amount of guaranteed money – that each player is expected to land in free agency. These are simply the players we like the most at each position, with both short- and long-term value taken into account.

Restricted and exclusive-rights free agents, as well as players who received the franchise tag, aren’t listed here, since the roadblocks in place to hinder another team from actually acquiring most of those players prevent them from being true free agents.

We’ll almost certainly be higher or lower on some free agents than you are, so feel free to weigh in below in our comments section to let us know which players we’ve got wrong.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by offensive position for 2017:

Quarterback:

  1. Jay Cutler
  2. Chase Daniel
  3. Ryan Fitzpatrick
  4. Colin Kaepernick
  5. Josh McCown
  6. Robert Griffin III
  7. Case Keenum
  8. Matt McGloin
  9. Mark Sanchez
  10. Christian Ponder
  11. Blaine Gabbert
  12. Ryan Nassib
  13. Shaun Hill
  14. Kellen Moore
  15. Austin Davis

Tony Romo is not a free agent…at least not yet. If the Cowboys do not find a suitable trade and release him, you’ll find him at the top of this list.

Laugh if you must, but Cutler is far and away the best quarterback available on the open market. While most of this year’s QB-needy teams are done with their free agent shopping, the Jets are still searching for their 2017 starter and no one would make more sense for them than Cutler. He’s not all that far removed from playing solid football and he’s a logical transitional option for the Jets until they can isolate a better, younger option for 2018. Jay Cutler (Vertical)

Kaepernick’s reps wisely told the press that he will be standing for the National Anthem this year. Still, Kaepernick is an outspoken guy who wants to use his platform to discuss hot button issues, so there’s no guarantee that the media circus around him will cease. Jets owner Woody Johnson loves seeing his team on the back pages of the New York tabloids, but even he has to have more sense than to entertain Kaepernick. McCown, who has been contact with the team, would be an okay choice if they can’t get something done with Cutler. Chase Daniel could be an option too, but there isn’t much game film on him.

Needless to say, the No. 3 ranked player on this list isn’t an option in New York.

Running back:

  1. Adrian Peterson
  2. LeGarrette Blount
  3. Jamaal Charles
  4. Rashad Jennings
  5. Tim Hightower
  6. DeAngelo Williams
  7. Chris Johnson
  8. Christine Michael
  9. Benny Cunningham
  10. Bobby Rainey
  11. Brandon Bolden
  12. Denard Robinson
  13. James Starks
  14. Matt Asiata
  15. Kenjon Barner

Honorable mention: DuJuan Harris, Antonio AndrewsKhiry Robinson

Adrian Peterson (vertical)The Vikings have moved on and Peterson will not be back in Minnesota. Where he goes from here is anyone’s guess. When Peterson’s option was declined by the Vikings earlier this month, there were tons of stories (likely sourced by Peterson’s camp) about interest from a litany of contenders. Since then, each team – through anonymous sources – has denied being in the mix for the veteran. It would be easy to doubt Peterson at this juncture, but he has come back from serious injuries multiple times in his career and he is only one year removed from his stellar 2015 campaign. He gets the top spot over the bruising Blount as well as Charles, who hasn’t been healthy in a long while.

Jennings was brought to New York with the idea that he would be the team’s workhorse. Unfortunately, two of his three seasons with the G-Men were marred by injury. Jennings is currently putting his agility to good use on Dancing With The Stars and it remains to be seen how committed he is to football. After that, we have a trio of vets (Hightower, Williams, CJ2K) who could still advance the ball in limited spurts.

In case you’re wondering – Mike Gillislee is not listed here because he is a restricted free agent.

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Bills Waive Greg Salas From IR

The Bills have waived wide receiver Greg Salas with an injury settlement, according to Adam Caplan of ESPN. This won’t necessarily end Salas’ tenure in Buffalo, though, as Mike Rodak of ESPN notes the team could re-sign him when it’s eligible to in three weeks (Twitter links).

Greg Salas (featured)

Salas recorded four catches, 89 yards and his first career receiving touchdown in a 37-31 loss to the Jets in Week 2, but that might go down as his final game of 2016. The 28-year-old suffered a groin injury in practice prior to Week 3 and ended up landing on IR on Oct. 7. Salas joined the Bills last year and was previously a member of the Rams and Jets, with whom he combined for 43 receptions and 574 yards from 2011-14.

Given that Salas has barely played this year, his exit from the organization won’t affect the offense going forward. Injuries at wideout – including to No. 1 option Sammy Watkins – have beset the Bills all season, which is why the club brought Percy Harvin out of retirement Tuesday.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bills Activate Marcell Dareus

Fresh off two straight wins to even their record at 2-2, the Bills will welcome back one of their cornerstone players in time for a road game against the Rams on Sunday. The team has activated two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, whom the NFL suspended for the season’s first four games for a substance abuse violation. In corresponding moves, the Bills have placed wide receiver Greg Salas on injured reserve with a groin issue and cut guard Terran Vaughn from their practice squad.

Marcell Dareus

Dareus is now coming off his second suspension in as many years, though his ban in 2015 only lasted one game. After the league handed him his latest suspension, the 26-year-old claimed it was the result of a missed drug test. Dareus also declared he’d check into rehab. Neither of those statements proved true, however, as Tim Graham of the Buffalo News reported Wednesday that Dareus did not miss a test – he instead violated the league’s drug program multiple times dating back to his one-game suspension last year. And, in lieu of rehab, Dareus received treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to Jarrett Bell of USA Today. He also sought counsel from Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive lineman Bruce Smith, the Bills’ all-time greatest defender.

Going forward, the Bills will now hope Dareus’ off-field troubles are behind him. The club signed the ex-Alabama star and 2011 third overall pick to a massive extension 13 months ago, but Dareus then had somewhat of a disappointing season as part of an underachieving defense. Dareus posted a career-low sack total last season (two) after piling up 10.5 the previous year and a combined 28.5 from 2011-14. He could now bolster a unit that ranks fourth in the league in sacks, 14th in DVOA and 16th in total defense.

Meanwhile, although Salas missed the Bills’ wins over the past two weeks, his loss is another blow to the depth of a team that’s perilously thin at receiver. With Salas and the highly talented Sammy Watkins on IR, the Bills are left with Robert Woods, Marquise Goodwin and Walter Powell as their top three options. Salas hauled in four catches for 89 yards and a touchdown over the season’s first two weeks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bills Sign Greg Salas To Contract Extension

The Bills announced that they have signed wide receiver Greg Salas to a contract extension. In addition to Salas, cornerback Mario Butler, running back Mike Gillislee, and punter Colton Schmidt have all been given new deals.

A fourth-round pick in 2011, Salas has spent time with several teams, recording a total of 46 regular-season receptions for the Rams, Jets, and Bills. Salas joined the Bills in late December and apparently made enough of an impression on team brass to get a second look for 2016. In two games for the Bills, Salas drew five targets and three receptions, good for 41 total yards. Salas was a fourth-round pick of the Rams in 2011 after he enjoyed a 1,889-yard, 14-touchdown campaign in his final collegiate season. He is still looking to make an impact of a similar magnitude at the NFL level.

Bills Announce Several Roster Changes

It has been a busy day of transactions for the Bills, who are turning over four spots on their 53-man roster today. Here’s a breakdown of Tuesday’s moves by Buffalo, via a team release:

Signed:

Promoted from practice squad:

Waived:

Placed on injured reserve:

Placed on reserve/non-football illness list:

The Bills’ receiving corps has undergone a significant overhaul, with three of the new additions to the roster coming at that position, while Woods heads to IR and Thigpen lands on waivers.

Among the most noteworthy moves today for the Bills is Henderson being placed on the reserve/NFI list — a report last week suggested that the team’s starting right tackle had been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel condition, though the club has yet to confirm that.

North Notes: Packers, Ball, Bears, Lions

After having rounded up some Friday items out of the NFL’s West divisions earlier today, let’s turn our attention to the North divisions….

  • After not getting much production from their three running backs last night, the Packers had former Bronco Montee Ball in for a workout today, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Eddie Lacy has been disappointing this year, and James Starks only had 15 yards on nine carries on Thursday night, with the team giving rookie John Crockett – promoted earlier in the day from the practice squad – five carries as well. While there’s no deal at this time with Ball, Green Bay’s backfield situation could be worth keeping an eye on.
  • The Packers also tried out a wide receiver today, bringing in J.J. Worton for an audition, tweets Wilson. The former UCF wideout is about a year removed from a torn ACL. Quarterback Zac Dysert auditioned for Green Bay as well, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
  • After publishing the first part of his conversation with George McCaskey earlier this week, Dan Pompei has part two available today, in which he talks to the Bears chairman about increasing the regular season to 18 games (McCaskey’s not in favor) and asks whether the team would be willing to give up a home game to play an international contest (McCaskey’s really not in favor).
  • In addition to working out a handful of kickers this week, in case Matt Prater was unable to play on Thursday night, the Lions also took a look at wide receiver Greg Salas, tweets Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post. A fourth-round pick in 2011, Salas has spent time with several teams, recording a total of 43 regular-season receptions for the Rams and Jets.
  • The Browns worked out former Southern Utah punter Brock Miller, according to Wilson (Twitter link).

Workout Notes: Pats, Saints, Seahawks

Earlier tonight, we learned that the Ravens hosted former Browns first-round pick Phil Taylor for a workout on Tuesday. However, he wasn’t the only notable NFL veteran auditioning today. Here’s a roundup of today’s workouts from around the league:

Workout Notes: Patriots, Texans, Chargers

The latest workouts from around the NFL:

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/14/15

Today’s minor signings, cuts, and other moves…

  • The Packers have removed wide receiver Larry Pinkard from their IR with an injury settlement, and the Chiefs have done the same with tight end Richard Gordon, per Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post (Twitter links).

Earlier updates:

  • Not long after claiming him off waivers from the Bears, the Cowboys have cut offensive tackle Jordan Mills, according to Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (via Twitter). Per Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter link), taking Mills’ spot on the roster is another offensive tackle, Charles Brown, who worked out for Dallas last week.
  • The Bears have made a change on defense, re-signing outside linebacker Sam Acho and placing defensive end Cornelius Washington on injured reserve, according to Caplan (Twitter links). Acho was cut by Chicago on Saturday with a non-football illness designation, but it didn’t take him long to make his way back to the roster.
  • The Saints are signing safety Kenny Phillips, according to Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Phillips was with New Orleans all summer before being released last week as a late cut. After free safety Rafael Bush suffered a chest injury on Sunday, Phillips will help provide New Orleans with additional depth.
  • The Saints have also re-signed two players they cut on Saturday, adding running back Tim Hightower and offensive lineman Mike McGlynn back to their roster, tweets Evan Woodbery of the Times-Picayune. New Orleans waived fullback Toben Opurum and wide receiver Seantavius Jones to accommodate the returning players.
  • In a reversal of the team’s weekend transactions, Washington signed defensive end Frank Kearse and cut linebacker Houston Bates, as John Keim of ESPN.com writes.
  • The Jets have officially activated backup offensive lineman Oday Aboushi from their reserve/suspended list after he missed Week 1 due to a substance abuse violation, tweets Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com. For now, the Jets have a roster exemption for Aboushi, but they’ll have to decide this week whether to cut him or to move him to their 53-man roster, removing someone else.
  • According to Caplan (Twitter links), the Raiders have released safety Brandian Ross off their injured reserve list, and the Lions have done the same with wide receiver Greg Salas, giving him an injury settlement.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Lions Reach 53-Man Roster

The Lions slashed their roster to the 53-man regular-season limit and included a couple of notable names in their cuts.

Veteran defensive lineman Corey Wootton did not make the roster after joining the Lions this offseason. The 28-year-old made 22 starts for the Bears in 2012-13 before serving as a Vikings backup last season.

To make room for Zach Zenner and Tim Wright, respectively, Detroit waived George Winn and Joseph Fauria. After releasing former Boise State star Kellen Moore, the Lions also will go into a season with just two quarterbacks for the first time since 2009.

The remainder of Detroit’s cuts are as follows:

  • Al Bond, OL
  • Crezdon Butler, DB
  • Braxston Cave, OL
  • Jermelle Cudjo, DL
  • Kerry Hyder, DL
  • Emil Igwenagu, RB
  • Isaiah Johnson, DB
  • Joe Madsen, OL
  • Nate Ness, DB
  • Casey Pierce, TE
  • Xavier Proctor, OL
  • Jeremy Ross, WR
  • Greg Salas, WR (placed on IR)
  • Julian Stanford, LB
  • Brian Suite, DB
  • Larry Webster, DL
  • Torrian Wilson, OL
  • Jerel Worthy, DL