The NFL’s annual free agent frenzy kicks off on March 9. Keep track of where the best players are headed with our handy list.
Thursday, March 9, 4 p.m. ET. Mark it on your calendar. Call in sick to work. Make plans to be on your phone or in front of a computer hitting refresh on your browser because that day is when the opening bell rings on NFL free agency for 2017.
There’s no shortage of optimism for NFL fans in the spring, and nothing says hope springs eternal like a brand new free agent acquisition. The player your team just signed is totally going to be the difference this year; you just know it!
As a responsible media organization, we should probably caution you not to put too much faith in free agency. You don’t have to be a complete Ted Thompson-style skeptic about it, but landing a whole new batch of veteran players is never a panacea for covering up bad management or terrible coaching.
Last year, the Jaguars were lauded for their free agent moves. Unfortunately, a roster loaded with talent wasn’t enough to overcome Gus Bradley’s coaching. The Giants, on the other hand, spent a bundle in free agency to give their defense an injection of talent, and it worked like a charm.
All we’re saying here is not to let the excitement of being an armchair general manager cloud your grip on reality.
To further dampen your enthusiasm, we should make one important note about this list. Many of these names, especially the players near the top, will not actually make it to the open market. Good teams don’t make a habit of letting their best players slip away. Players will get the franchise tag or sign a new deal outright before the tampering window opens on March 7.
Finally, a few notes about our top 100 list.
This list, as with any kind of rankings, is subjective. The SB Nation NFL staff worked together to create it. We put a great deal of thought into it, but you will inevitably disagree with it. That’s fine. Save your tweets. We know. This is merely a guide to help the world keep track of which free agents are signing where.
The final salary cap for 2017 has not yet been set. That’s because the league and the NFLPA have to agree on it before that becomes official. As of mid-February, Spotrac is estimating a cap of $168 million, which would be a jump of $12.3 million over last year’s $155.7 million cap. That’s consistent with the annual bumps we’ve seen since the 2011 collective bargaining agreement went into effect.
We’ll keep this list updated with players who get cut as well as for who’s signing where and for how much. So keep checking back.
OK, enough of the blah blah blah. Let’s get to that list!