NFL Free Agents 2016: Surveying Top 50 Players Post-Super Bowl

Richard JanvrinFeatured ColumnistFebruary 8, 2016

NFL Free Agents 2016: Surveying Top 50 Players Post-Super Bowl

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    Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

    Congratulations to the Denver Broncos on winning Super Bowl 50!

    Although the 2015 NFL season may be over, the offseason is just getting started.

    From here, teams will continue scouting college football players, gearing up for the combine, forming their draft boards and becoming more and more acclimated with the 2016 NFL free-agent class.

    This class is headlined by guys such as Broncos linebacker Von Miller, Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman and New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson.

    Looking at the list of free agents, there is a plethora of talent to choose from, and as the salary-cap casualties start to come in, even more talent will become available.

    Ranking the top 50 free agents was especially difficult because of the depth and how fantastic this class is.

    Let's kick it off with six honorable mentions, then get into the top 50.

Honorable Mentions

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    Matt Rourke/Associated Press

    Here are a few guys that just missed the cut but are still quality free agents: 

    • Rishard Matthews, WR, Miami Dolphins
    • Anquan Boldin, WR, San Francisco 49ers
    • Alex Boone, G, San Francisco 49ers
    • Andre Smith, T, Cincinnati Bengals
    • Antonio Gates, TE, San Diego Chargers
    • Nick Fairley, DT, Los Angeles Rams
    • Rashad Johnson, S, Arizona Cardinals

50. Reggie Nelson, S, Cincinnati Bengals

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    John Minchillo/Associated Press

    Age: 32

    2015 Salary: $4.1 million 

    2015 Team: Cincinnati Bengals

    At age 32, Cincinnati Bengals safety Reggie Nelson did not appear to skip a beat in 2015, posting his best PFF grade since 2012. Nonetheless, Nelson showed he's still one of the best safeties in football in terms of coverage skills, tying for fourth with Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas. While age may be a factor, Nelson is still one of the better safeties in the NFL.

    Possible Suitors: Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, New York Giants, San Diego Chargers, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons

49. Brandon Brooks, G, Houston Texans

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    Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

    Age: 26

    2015 Salary: $1.542 million 

    2015 Team: Houston Texans

    Although his Pro Football Focus grades plummeted in 2015 as opposed to 2013 and 2014, Houston Texans guard Brandon Brooks has shown he can be one of the better run-blockers in the league. Before the regular season began, the Texans expressed interest in locking Brooks into a long-term extension, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. Brooks is still one of the league's better young offensive linemen and should be in line to be paid handsomely this offseason.

    Possible Suitors: Houston Texans, San Diego Chargers, Baltimore Ravens, New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles, Miami Dolphins, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks  

48. Junior Galette, 3-4 OLB, Washington Redskins

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    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Age: 27

    2015 Salary: $745K

    2015 Team: Washington Redskins

    Having not played a snap of football since Week 17 of 2014, Washington Redskins linebacker Junior Galette has two glaring issues facing him heading into free agency this offseason: an Achilles injury and off-field concerns. According to Mike Jones of the Washington Post, Galette has expressed interest in re-signing with the Redskins this offseason. Galette and fellow linebacker Ryan Kerrigan would make for a fierce linebacking core in 2016.

    Possible Suitors: Washington Redskins, Baltimore Ravens, New York Jets, Indianapolis Colts, Arizona Cardinals, Pittsburgh Steelers  

47. Tashaun Gipson, S, Cleveland Browns

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    Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

    Age: 25

    2015 Salary: $2.356 million

    2015 Team: Cleveland Browns

    Cleveland Browns safety Tashaun Gipson essentially had a "360" of a year in 2015 as opposed to 2014.

    After holding out for most of last season's offseason programs, Gipson reluctantly signed a second-round tender. Whether it was motivation or something else, Gipson is still poised to be one of the top free-agent safeties this offseason. And oh yeah, he's still only 25 years old.

    Possible Suitors: Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, New York Giants, San Diego Chargers, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers , Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons

46. George Iloka, S, Cincinnati Bengals

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    Gary Landers/Associated Press

    Age: 25

    2015 Salary: $1.542 million

    2015 Team: Cincinnati Bengals

    Cincinnati Bengals safety George Iloka is another young safety that is set to hit the open market this offseason. While he didn't post a top-20 cornerback grade in 2015, Iloka has posted positive grades in all three of his NFL seasons. With fellow Bengals safety Reggie Nelson sit to hit free agency, the Bengals need to make some critical decisions in their secondary.

    Possible Suitors: Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, New York Giants, San Diego Chargers, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers , Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons

45. Derrick Shelby, 4-3 DE, Miami Dolphins

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    Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

    Age: 26

    2015 Salary: $2.356 million

    2015 Team: Miami Dolphins

    After fellow defensive end Cameron Wake tore his ACL in Week 8, Derrick Shelby took over for the remainder of the season. Ironically, from Weeks 1-8, Shelby had actually played more snaps than Wake and was used on early downs and against the run. With Wake on the roster and fellow defensive end Olivier Vernon also hitting free agency, Shelby could be on the move in 2016. 

    Possible Suitors: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New York Giants, Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions, Carolina Panthers

44. Jaye Howard, DL, Kansas City Chiefs

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    Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press

    Age: 27

    2015 Salary: $660K

    2015 Team: Kansas City Chiefs

    Among all Kansas City Chiefs interior defensive linemen playing in 50 percent or more of the team's snaps, Jaye Howard had a better overall grade than linemates Dontari Poe and Allen Bailey. In addition to that, Howard led the team's interior defensive linemen in almost every major defensive stat in 2015. With the Chiefs being tasked with retaining safety Eric Berry, linebacker Derrick Johnson, cornerback Sean Smith and possibly linebacker Tamba Hali, the Chiefs may be forced to use the transition tag on Howard to prevent him from getting away. 

    Possible Suitors: Kansas City Chiefs, Cleveland Browns, San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, Jacksonville Jaguars

43. Kelvin Beachum, LT, Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Don Wright/Associated Press

    Age: 26

    2015 Salary: $1.542 million

    2015 Team: Pittsburgh Steelers

    Pittsburgh Steelers left tackle Kelvin Beachum is set to hit free agency for the first time in his career.

    Unfortunately, Beachum tore his ACL in Week 6 of the NFL season, which could not have come at a worse time. 

    However, Beachum has showed he is a legitimate left tackle, playing in 100 percent of the team's snaps in 2014 and earning a top-five grade among all tackles. He was second to only Cincinnati Bengals tackle Andrew Whitworth in terms of pass blocking. 

    Because of his injury, the Steelers turned to tackle Alejandro Villanueva for the remainder of the season, which prompted speculation that the Steelers, if they re-sign Beachum, would make him a guard. Beachum has other plans, though, saying he will not make the switch to guard, according to Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

    Possible Suitors: Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Carolina Panthers, Detroit Lions, Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens, Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks

42. Evan Mathis, G, Denver Broncos

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    Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    Age: 34

    2015 Salary: $1.5 million

    2015 Team: Denver Broncos

    What an addition guard Evan Mathis was for the Denver Broncos. In 2015, Mathis finished as the third-highest graded left guard in the NFL, and finished as the top run-blocking guard. At the ripe age of 34, Mathis' age will play a factor, but he should be in for a solid payday this offseason. 

    Possible Suitors: Baltimore Ravens, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers, Buffalo Bills, Minnesota Vikings, Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks

41. Richie Incognito, G, Buffalo Bills

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    Reed Hoffmann/Associated Press

    Age: 32

    2015 Salary: $900K

    2015 Team: Buffalo Bills

    After not playing at all in 2014 due to the bullying debacle in Miami, Buffalo Bills guard Richie Incognito enjoyed one of, if not the best season of his career, posting the highest grade among left guards and second-best grade among all guards. Where Incognito excelled the most was run blocking, finishing with the second-best grade at the position. Incognito has certainly gotten many team's attention after his 2015 audition. 

    Possible Suitors: Baltimore Ravens, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers, Buffalo Bills, Minnesota Vikings, Indianapolis Colts, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks

40. Travis Benjamin, WR, Cleveland Browns

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    Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

    Age: 26

    2015 Salary: $660K

    2015 Team: Cleveland Browns

    After a hot start to the 2015 season, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Travis Benjamin cooled down mightily, posting just one receiving touchdown from Week 4 on. Benjamin showed he can be a deep threat with plus speed, and according to Zac Jackson of Pro Football Talk, it sounds like he doesn't want to play anywhere else in 2016. 

    Possible Suitors: Cleveland Browns, Seattle Seahawks, New England Patriots

39. Prince Amukamara, CB, New York Giants

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    Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

    Age: 26

    2015 Salary: $6.898 million

    2015 Team: New York Giants

    Highly touted coming out of college, New York Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara has been a solid NFL cornerback. In 2015, he finished with the second-best grade among Giants cornerbacks behind Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Nonetheless, Amukamara can still provide a team with top-25 cornerback play moving forward. He is still fairly young at 26 years old, so he could improve as he ventures into his prime. 

    Possible Suitors: New York Giants, Baltimore Ravens, Tennessee Titans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Oakland Raiders, Los Angeles Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints

38. Haloti Ngata, DT, Detroit Lions

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    Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

    Age: 32

    2015 Salary: $8.5 million

    2015 Team: Detroit Lions

    In his first season with the Detroit Lions, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata posted four sacks and 17 tackles.

    According to Tim Twentyman of Lions.com, Ngata would "love to stay" in Detroit. Ngata went on to say, “I love what coach (Jim) Caldwell has done here. I love playing under him and coach Kris (Kocurek). I feel like I got in a groove at the end of the season and hopefully I can play a full season understanding the system.”

    Possible Suitors: San Francisco 49ers, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, San Diego Chargers, Chicago Bears, New England Patriots 

37. Marvin Jones, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

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    John Minchillo/Associated Press

    Age: 25

    2015 Salary: $660K

    2015 Team: Cincinnati Bengals

    With Chicago Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery all but a franchise tag away from returning to Chicago, Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Marvin Jones becomes the top available free-agent wide receiver. In 2015, Jones saw 99 targets and caught 69 passes for 848 yards and four touchdowns, including the playoffs.

    Possible Suitors: Cincinnati Bengals, Detroit Lions, Los Angeles Rams 

36. Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, New York Jets

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    Bill Wippert/Associated Press

    Age: 33

    2015 Salary: $3.25 million

    2015 Team: New York Jets

    Wow. What a year for New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. In 2015, Fitzpatrick threw for nearly 4,000 passing yards and 31 touchdowns—31 touchdowns! He threw 31 touchdowns in 2013 and 2014 combined. Fitzpatrick is a top priority for the Jets, but if he gets away, he will be of interest to several quarterback-needy teams. 

    Possible Suitors: Washington Redskins, Houston Texans, San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Rams, New York Jets, Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, Philadelphia Eagles 

35. Greg Hardy, 4-3 DE, Dallas Cowboys

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    Roger Steinman/Associated Press

    Age: 27

    2015 Salary: $750K

    2015 Team: Dallas Cowboys

    According to Bleacher Report NFL Insider Jason Cole, the Dallas Cowboys will not re-sign free-agent defensive end Greg Hardy. He reportedly partied throughout the season and simply isn't worth the headache despite his good play. Hardy has some internal adjustments to make, but a team will still have interest in him. 

    Possible Suitors: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New York Giants, Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles

34. Aldon Smith, 4-3 OLB, Oakland Raiders

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    Don Wright/Associated Press

    Age: 26

    2015 Salary: $1.25 million

    2015 Team: Oakland Raiders

    Oakland Raiders outside linebacker Aldon Smith was one of the hardest players to rank. Two things that played huge factors were his yearlong suspension (from this past November) and his otherworldly talented.

    Before his suspension, Smith accrued four sacks, one multisack game and 16 solo tackles. Missing most of the season coupled with the narrative that one more slip-up could result in ending his career, interest in Smith will differ among all 32 NFL teams. 

    Possible Suitors: Jacksonville Jaguars, Baltimore Ravens, Oakland Raiders

33. Jerrell Freeman, ILB, Indianapolis Colts

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    Age: 29

    2015 Salary: $2.356 million

    2015 Team: Indianapolis Colts

    After finishing 2015 with the second-best grade among all inside linebackers, 29-year-old Indianapolis Colts inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman will look to get paid this offseason. According to Kevin Bowen of Colts.com, Colts owner Jim Irsay "wants to get younger on defense." With that narrative, Freeman will likely get a crack at the open market. 

    Possible Suitors: Oakland Raiders, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Arizona Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, Atlanta Falcons

32. Casey Hayward, CB, Green Bay Packers

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    John Cordes/Associated Press

    Age: 26

    2015 Salary: $841K

    2015 Team: Green Bay Packers 

    After beginning his career as a slot corner, Green Bay Packers cornerback Casey Hayward posted a respectable 2015 season playing mostly on the outside. His Pro Football Focus grade will not blow you away, but many teams will be seeking cornerback help this offseason. Hayward is a serviceable option.

    Possible Suitors: Jacksonville Jaguars, Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Titans, Los Angeles Rams, Kansas City Chiefs, Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints

31. Trumaine Johnson, CB, Los Angeles Rams

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    Michael Zagaris/Getty Images

    Age: 26

    2015 Salary: $1.542 million 

    2015 Team: St. Louis (Los Angeles) Rams

    Trumaine Johnson will hit the open market this offseaosn along with fellow Los Angeles Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins. According to Pro Football Focus, Johnson ranked inside the top 20 among cornerbacks and was second in the league in interceptions, trailing only Marcus Peters of the Kansas City Chiefs. A team with cornerback needs could do plenty worse than Johnson. 

    Possible Suitors: Oakland Raiders, Baltimore Ravens, Los Angeles Rams, Detroit Lions, Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, Chicago Bears, Pittsburgh Steelers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints

30. Bruce Irvin, 4-3 OLB, Seattle Seahawks

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    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    Age: 28

    2015 Salary: $1.664 million

    2015 Team: Seattle Seahawks

    While Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bruce Irvin won't change the complexity of a team's defense, he is still a solid starter. In 2015, Irvin finished just behind fellow 4-3 outside linebackers Thomas Davis of the Carolina Panthers and Jamie Collins of the New England Patriots with five sacks. 

    Possible Suitors: Seattle Seahawks, Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings

29. Russell Okung, OT, Seattle Seahawks

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    Mike McCarn/Associated Press

    Age: 28

    2015 Salary: $4.8 million

    2015 Team: Seattle Seahawks

    In 2015, Seattle Seahawks tackle Russell Okung played in 13 games. In those 13 games, Okung was a middle-of-the-road tackle, but did manage to end the regular season with a positive Pro Football Focus grade. Due to the demand for quality tackle play, and the transition for college tackles to the NFL, Okung will be in for a quality payday this offseason. 

    Possible Suitors: Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Carolina Panthers, Detroit Lions, Seattle Seahawks

28. Sean Smith, CB, Kansas City Chiefs

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    Charles Krupa/Associated Press

    Age: 28

    2015 Salary: $4.25 million

    2015 Team: Kansas City Chiefs

    Like the division rival Denver Broncos, the Kansas City Chiefs also have a ton of decisions to make this offseason when it comes to their own free agents. One of those free agents is cornerback Sean Smith.

    In 2015, Smith finished with a grade that put him inside the top 20 among all cornerbacks in the NFL.

    Smith will be an above-average fallback option for team's that miss out on Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman and Los Angeles Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins. 

    Possible Suitors: Jacksonville Jaguars, Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Titans, Los Angeles Rams, Kansas City Chiefs, Dallas Cowboys, Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Philadelphia Eagles

27. Chris Ivory, RB, New York Jets

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    Marco Garcia/Associated Press

    Age: 27

    2015 Salary: $2 million

    2015 Team: New York Jets

    With the New York Jets' focus likely to be on fellow free agents Muhammad Wilkerson, Damon Harrison and Ryan Fitzpatrick, running back Chris Ivory will likely be playing elsewhere in 2016.

    Ivory, a Pro Bowler in 2015, enjoyed the best season of his career, posting career highs in carries, rushing yards, touchdowns, receptions and receiving yards. 

    Possible Suitors: Houston Texans, Dallas Cowboys, Tennessee Titans, New England Patriots

26. Donald Penn, OT, Oakland Raiders

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    Eric Risberg/Associated Press

    Age: 32

    2015 Salary: $4.6 million

    2015 Team: Oakland Raiders

    Wrapping up the season graded slightly lower than Buffalo Bills left tackle Cordy Glenn, Oakland Raiders veteran left tackle Donald Penn was one of the best in the business in 2015. According to Guy Haberman of the Haberman and Middlekauff radio show on 95.7 The Game, Penn said it's time for the Raiders to pay up.

    With his performance in 2015, the Raiders will need to retain Penn's services, as he is arguably the second-best left tackle in this free-agent class. 

    Possible Suitors: Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Carolina Panthers, Detroit Lions, Oakland Raiders, Seattle Seahawks

25. Sam Bradford, QB, Philadelphia Eagles

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    Julio Cortez/Associated Press

    Age: 28

    2015 Salary: $12.985 million

    2015 Team: Philadelphia Eagles

    According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Philadelphia Eagles do not plan to use the franchise tag on quarterback Sam Bradford, though they still have some interest in re-signing him. After turning down what sounded like a respectable offer last offseason, it seems like it's back to square one for Bradford.

    Fortunately for the former No. 1 overall pick, there are several other teams with quarterback needs.

    From Week 13 to the conclusion of the season, Bradford was the No. 7 quarterback in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus. 

    Possible Suitors: Washington Redskins, Houston Texans, San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Rams, New York Jets, Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, Philadelphia Eagles

24. Brock Osweiler, QB, Denver Broncos

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    Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

    Age: 25

    2015 Salary: $660K

    2015 Team: Denver Broncos

    According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Denver Broncos are planning to use the franchise tag on linebacker Von Miller, thus making Brock Osweiler available to the open market. With fellow quarterback Peyton Manning likely playing his last game in the NFL, Osweiler will be a priority for the Broncos this offseason. However, with doubts about the 2016 draft's quarterback class, a quarterback-needy team may drop big money on Osweiler this offseason. 

    Possible Suitors: Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans, Denver Broncos, New York Jets, Washington Redskins, Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles

23. Danny Trevathan, ILB, Denver Broncos

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    Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

    Age: 25

    2015 Salary: $1.542 million

    2015 Team: Denver Broncos

    Along with several other key defensive pieces that helped lead the Denver Broncos to a Super Bowl victory, linebacker Danny Trevathan will also hit the free-agent market. In 2015, Trevathan finished just outside the top 10 among all linebackers to play in at least 25 percent of their respective team's snaps. Interestingly enough, Trevathan was one of three linebackers that received positive grades from Pro Football Focus that concluded the regular season without a sack. Trevathan will most likely end up being one of the odd men out in Denver. 

    Possible Suitors: Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins, Atlanta Falcons

22. Ian Williams, DT, San Francisco 49ers

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    Jose Juarez/Associated Press

    Age: 26

    2015 Salary: $1 million

    2015 Team: San Francisco 49ers

    For those unfamiliar with San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Ian Williams, he has had one heck of a career to this point. For the first time in his career, Williams played in all 16 games in 2015 after having had his seasons cut short in 2013 and 2014 due to major injuries. Not only did he grade within the top 10 of all defensive tackles, but he posted the highest grade among all defensive players on the 49ers roster. The young Williams is in for a nice payday this offseason. 

    Possible Suitors: San Francisco 49ers, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, San Diego Chargers, Chicago Bears, Jacksonville Jaguars

21. Tamba Hali, 3-4 OLB, Kansas City Chiefs

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    Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

    Age: 32

    2015 Salary: $870K

    2015 Team: Kansas City Chiefs

    After voiding the final four years of his contract, Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Tamba Hali came out and put up a Pro Bowl season. In addition to that, Hali is one of just 11 3-4 outside linebackers to play in at least 75 percent of his team's snaps. Among those that played in at least 50 percent of their respective team's snaps, Hali finished with the fifth-best grade, the fourth-best pass-rush grade and the ninth-best run defense grade.

    According to Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Starthe veteran linebacker is not considering retirement, but wants to retire a Chief. Hali is a top priority for the Chiefs this offseason. 

    Possible Suitors: Kansas City Chiefs, Indianapolis Colts, Arizona Cardinals

20. Brandon Marshall, ILB, Denver Broncos

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    Age: 26

    2015 Salary: $585K

    2015 Team: Denver Broncos

    Like teammate Danny Trevathan, Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall finished as one of the better linebackers in the NFL. While Trevathan finished outside the top 10, Marshall finished just inside the top 10 and excelled in run defense. After teammates Von Miller and Malik Jackson, Marshall will be next on the list of defensive players that the Broncos will look to lock up long term. 

    Possible Suitors: Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, Atlanta Falcons

19. Damon Harrison, DT, New York Jets

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    Al Pereira/Getty Images

    Age: 27

    2015 Salary: $2.356 million

    2015 Team: New York Jets

    New York Jets defensive tackle Damon Harrison is the top free agent at his position. Not only is he the best in this class, he's one of the best in the entire league, posting the sixth-best grade among all defensive tackles and the second-best in terms of run defense. According to Rich Cimini of ESPN.com, Harrison believes he is the league's best 3-4 defensive tackle and wants to be paid. Cimini also eludes to Harrison is seeking "at least" $5 million annually. He deserves it. 

    Possible Suitors: New York Jets, Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers, Cincinnati Bengals, Chicago Bears, Jacksonville Jaguars

18. Derrick Johnson, ILB, Kansas City Chiefs

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Age: 33

    2015 Salary: $4 million

    2015 Team: Kansas City Chiefs

    What a season for Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson. In 2015, Johnson finished with the sixth-best grade among all linebackers that played at least 25 percent of their respective team's snaps. It's well-documented that the Chiefs have numerous free agents to sign this offseason, and the team will have to figure out who to franchise tag: safety Eric Berry or Johnson. 

    Possible Suitors: Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, Cleveland Browns, Atlanta Falcons

17. Mitchell Schwartz, OT, Cleveland Browns

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    Ron Schwane/Associated Press

    Age: 26

    2015 Salary: $1.095 million

    2015 Team: Cleveland Browns

    Brother of New York Giants guard Geoff Schwartz, Cleveland Browns tackle Mitchell Schwartz has set himself up for a hefty payday this offseason. In 2015, Schwartz was ranked as the top right tackle in the NFL, notably excelling in pass blocking. Schwartz is the second-best tackle in this class behind Buffalo Bills tackle Cordy Glenn. 

    Possible Suitors: San Francisco 49ers, San Diego Chargers, Cleveland Browns, New York Giants, Seattle Seahawks

16. Lamar Miller, RB, Miami Dolphins

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    Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

    Age: 24

    2015 Salary: $1.542 million

    2015 Team: Miami Dolphins

    If I were to bet on whether or not Miami Dolphins running back Lamar Miller would be back with the team next season, I'd bet "no." Plain and simple: Miller was severely underutilized by the Dolphins, carrying the ball less than 200 times and still tallying nearly 900 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns. Look for fellow running back Jay Ajayi to be the guy in Miami in 2016. 

    Possible Suitors: New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, Houston Texans

15. Matt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    Age: 30

    2015 Salary: $7.05 million

    2015 Team: Chicago Bears

    Oh no. Age 30 for a running back—you know what that means!

    Regardless of being 30 years old, Forte finished just outside the top 10 in terms of rushing at 898 rushing yards in 13 games this season. 

    Going forward, Forte will still be a valuable asset to a team that could utilize a pass-catching running back.

    Possible Suitors: Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans, New York Giants, New England Patriots

14. Kelechi Osemele, G, Baltimore Ravens

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    Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

    Age: 26

    2015 Salary: $846,255

    2015 Team: Baltimore Ravens

    In 2015, 26-year-old Baltimore Ravens left guard Kelechi Osemele finished the season with the seventh-best grade among all left guards and 13th-highest grade among all guards. With youth on his side, Osemele is developing into one of the best young guards in the NFL. 

    Possible Suitors: Baltimore Ravens, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers, Seattle Seahawks

13. Kirk Cousins, QB, Washington Redskins

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    Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

    Age: 27

    2015 Salary: $660K

    2015 Team: Washington Redskins

    After a rocky start to begin the season, Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins silenced almost all of his haters this season, leading the Redskins to a playoff berth. In addition to a playoff berth, Cousins threw at least one touchdown in every game he played this season. The franchise tag is an extremely likely possibility for Cousins. 

    Possible Suitors: Washington Redskins, Houston Texans, San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Rams, New York Jets, Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, Philadelphia Eagles

12. Eric Weddle, S, San Diego Chargers

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    Denis Poroy/Associated Press

    Age: 31

    2015 Salary: $7.5 million

    2015 Team: San Diego Chargers

    According to Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune, San Diego Chargers safety Eric Weddle will never figure out why the last few weeks of the season went the way they did because, as he said, "I probably won't ever speak to them again." Toward the end of the season, Weddle watched his daughter during a halftime show instead of going in with the Chargers for a halftime meeting; a rift seemed to appear afterward. In 2015, Weddle ranked inside the top seven in terms of coverage grades, according to Pro Football Focus. After Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry, it's safe to say that Weddle will be the best available safety. 

    Possible Suitors: Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, New York Giants, Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Atlanta Falcons

11. Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Chris Keane/Associated Press

    Age: 27

    2015 Salary: $1.315 million

    2015 Team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    Remember when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers declined running back Doug Martin's fifth-year option last May?

    Yeah, so do we, and man did Martin respond. After rushing for over 1,400 yards in 2015, Martin is in line for a hefty payday. According to Curtis Crabtree of Pro Football Talk, Martin went on the record saying, “I love Tampa and Tampa loves me. I’ve got a house out there so I do wish I’ll go back to Tampa.” Worst-case scenario, Martin will be slapped with the team's franchise tag if they are unable to reach a long-term extension. 

    Possible Suitors: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Tennessee Titans

10. Malik Jackson, 3-4 DE, Denver Broncos

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    Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

    Age: 26

    2015 Salary: $1.542 million

    2015 Team: Denver Broncos

    A staple for the Denver Broncos defense, defensive end Malik Jackson will be one of the Broncos' many defensive cornerstones to hit free agency. In 2015, Jackson finished in the top 10 among 3-4 defensive ends, posting the third-best pass-rush grade among all 3-4 defensive ends to play in at least 25 percent of their team's snaps. With defensive teammates Von Miller, Danny Trevathan and Brandon Marshall also set to hit the open market, it will be "pick your poison" for the Broncos this offseason. 

    Possible Suitors: Denver Broncos, Chicago Bears, San Diego Chargers

9. Janoris Jenkins, CB, Los Angeles Rams

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    Age: 27

    2015 Salary: $660K

    2015 Team: St. Louis (Los Angeles) Rams

    With Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman all but off the market, Los Angeles Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins will take over as the top cornerback in this free-agent class. Jenkins was notorious for shutting down the opposing team's No. 1 wide receiver in the majority of games this season. With fellow cornerback Trumaine Johnson on the market as well, the Rams have some decisions to make in the secondary. 

    Possible Suitors: Jacksonville Jaguars, Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Titans, Los Angeles Rams, Chicago Bears, Philadelphia Eagles

8. Jason Pierre-Paul, 4-3 DE, New York Giants

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    Julio Cortez/Associated Press

    Age: 27

    2015 Salary: $1.5 million

    2015 Team: New York Giants

    Per his Twitter account, New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul underwent another hand surgery in mid-January. Regardless of the injury, Pierre-Paul still showed he can be a productive pass-rusher. However, there could be concerns about whether he can finish plays, or if wrapping up a shifty running back could be an issue in the future. 

    Possible Suitors: Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New York Giants, Atlanta Falcons

7. Olivier Vernon, 4-3 DE, Miami Dolphins

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    Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

    Age: 25

    2015 Salary: $1.532 million

    2015 Team: Miami Dolphins

    According to Andrew Abramson of the Palm Beach Postthere is "no doubt" that the Miami Dolphins will re-sign their No. 1 priority free agent, defensive end Olivier Vernon. Like the remaining guys on this list, the worst-case scenario is that the Dolphins will franchise tag the third-year player before inking him to a monster deal. Vernon will be back in Miami in 2016. 

    Possible Suitors: Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New York Giants

6. Eric Berry, S, Kansas City Chiefs

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    Age: 27

    2015 Salary: $5.155 million

    2015 Team: Kansas City Chiefs

    After being named the 2015 NFL Comeback Player of the Year, Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry will hit the open market. Berry's battle with cancer has been a remarkable story, and he'll look to add a chapter involving a huge payday this offseason. While the franchise tag is a possibility, the Chiefs have linebacker Derrick Johnson to consider as well. 

    Possible Suitors: Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers, New York Giants, Oakland Raiders, Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings, Atlanta Falcons

5. Alshon Jeffery, WR, Chicago Bears

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    Age: 25

    2015 Salary: $960K

    2015 Team: Chicago Bears

    While his desire to stay in Chicago long-term is unknown, Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery is almost a lock to be back in 2016. After letting fellow wide receiver Brandon Marshall go last offseason, the Bears would essentially have no one at the receiver position if Jeffery gets away.Regardless of injuries, Jeffery is one of the more talented receivers in the league. Expect him back in Chicago in 2016. 

    Possible Suitors: Chicago Bears, Baltimore Ravens, San Diego Chargers, New York Giants, Los Angeles Rams, Detroit Lions, New England Patriots, Dallas Cowboys

4. Cordy Glenn, OT, Buffalo Bills

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    Bill Wippert/Associated Press

    Age: 26

    2015 Salary: $1.003 million

    2015 Team: Buffalo Bills

    Grading out as the No. 7 overall left tackle in 2015, re-signing Cordy Glenn is a top priority for the Buffalo Bills. Excelling in pass protection, the Bills are one of three teams in the NFL that are over the cap. However, the Bills are likely to work the cap situation out and franchise tag Glenn, according to Tyler Dunne of the Buffalo News

    Possible Suitors: Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Carolina Panthers, Detroit Lions, Seattle Seahawks

3. Muhammad Wilkerson, 3-4 DE, New York Jets

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    Bill Wippert/Associated Press

    Age: 26

    2015 Salary: $6.969 million

    2015 Team: New York Jets

    Although he broke his leg at the end of the season, New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson should be back with the Jets in 2016, and the team expects him to be ready for training camp, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. Cimini also notes there is "virtually no chance" that Wilkerson reaches the open market. 

    Possible Suitors: New York Jets, any team with cap space

2. Josh Norman, CB, Carolina Panthers

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    Age: 28

    2015 Salary: $1.542 million

    2015 Team: Carolina Panthers

    Arguably the NFL's best cornerback in 2015, Josh Norman of the Carolina Panthers will likely be franchise tagged by the team. The Panthers will not let Norman get away. 

    Possible Suitors: Carolina Panthers, any team with cap space

1. Von Miller, 3-4 OLB, Denver Broncos

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    Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

    Age: 26

    2015 Salary: $9.754 million

    2015 Team: Denver Broncos

    With Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reporting that the Denver Broncos will use the franchise tag on linebacker Von Miller, it's clear that Miller is not going anywhere, especially after winning Super Bowl MVP. 

    Possible Suitors: Denver Broncos, any team with cap space

     

    Stats courtesy of Pro Football Focus. Contract details and numbers courtesy of Over the Cap.

    Follow me on Twitter @RichardJanvrin