2018 NFL Free Agent guide: Top players available in free agency

By Howard Balzer, The Sports Xchange
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees runs off the field after the first half of the NFC Divisional round playoff game against the Minnesota Vikings on January 14, 2018 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Photo by Brian Kersey/UPI
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees runs off the field after the first half of the NFC Divisional round playoff game against the Minnesota Vikings on January 14, 2018 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Photo by Brian Kersey/UPI | License Photo

If the first two months of the 2018 NFL offseason are any indication, expect the action to be dizzying when the new league year begins at 4 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday.

That's when free agents can begin signing contracts and trades that have been consummated become official. A number of trades have been agreed to, with the Los Angeles Rams involved in four as they work to reshape their defense in the image of coordinator Wade Phillips.


There is no other explanation for the decision to jettison linebackers Robert Quinn and Alec Ogletree, while acquiring cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib. The Rams also placed a franchise tag on safety Lamarcus Joyner. Ogletree had signed a lucrative contract extension last October.

Friday saw more change in Seattle when cornerback Richard Sherman was released with a failed physical designation and cornerback Jeremy Lane was also released. Lane was traded to Houston during the 2017 season only to head back to the Seahawks after failing his physical.


The Cleveland Browns reportedly acquired quarterback Tyrod Taylor for a third-round draft pick after the team acquired wide receiver Jarvis Landry from Miami earlier in the day. The Browns also sent quarterback DeShone Kizer to Green Bay for cornerback Damarious Randall.

Meanwhile, teams and agents can begin negotiating agreements Monday although no contracts can be signed until after 4 p.m. Wednesday. But please, everyone, cease referring to it as legal tampering. It's not tampering if it's allowed.

Following is The Sports Xchange's top 75 free agents. Just don't expect Saints quarterback Drew Brees actually to be available. Below the elite 75 are our free-agent rankings by position with players in the top 75 in bold.

The lists will be updated as developments occur.

*Indicates player released. FFA are franchise players, TFA transition player and RFA restricted free agents.

1. QB Drew Brees, New Orleans

2. DE DeMarcus Lawrence, Dallas (FFA)

3. CB Trumaine Johnson, L.A. Rams

4. RB Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh (FFA)


5. DE Ezekiel Ansah, Detroit (FFA)

6. T Nate Solder, New England

7. G Andrew Norwell, Carolina

8. QB Kirk Cousins, Washington

9. DT Sheldon Richardson, Seattle

10. CB Kyle Fuller, Chicago (TFA)

11. DT Dontari Poe, Atlanta

12. WR Sammy Watkins, L.A. Rams

13. WR Allen Robinson, Jacksonville

14. DT *Muhammad Wilkerson, N.Y. Jets

15. QB Case Keenum, Minnesota

16. WR Jarvis Landry, Miami (FFA)

17. CB Rashaan Melvin, Indianapolis

18. S Lamarcus Joyner, L.A. Rams (FFA)

19. CB Brent Grimes, Tampa Bay

20. CB Malcolm Butler, New England

21. C Weston Richburg, N.Y. Giants

22. QB Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota

23. RB *Doug Martin, Tampa Bay

24. T/G Justin Pugh, N.Y. Giants

25. QB AJ McCarron, Cincinnati

26. RB Carlos Hyde, San Francisco

27. CB Patrick Robinson, Philadelphia

28. CB Aaron Colvin, Jacksonville

29. G Alex Boone, Arziona

30. LB Avery Williamson, Tennessee

31. LB Nigel Bradham, Philadelphia


32. DT Star Lotulelei, Carolina

33. WR Terrelle Pryor Sr., Washington

34. TE Jimmy Graham, Seattle

35. TE Trey Burton, Philadelphia

36. S Kenny Vaccaro, New Orleans

37. G Jack Mewhort, Indianapolis

38. DE Adrian Clayborn, Atlanta

39. T Chris Hubbard, Pittsburgh

40. WR Paul Richardson, Seattle

41. CB Bashaud Breeland, Washington

42. C Ryan Jensen, Baltimore

43. RB Dion Lewis, New England

44. C/G Zach Fulton, Kansas City

45. WR Danny Amendola, New England

46. S Tre Boston, L.A. Chargers

47. LB Zach Brown, Washington

48. TE Ed Dickson, Carolina

49. Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati

50. *RB DeMarco Murray, Tennessee

51. WR Donte Moncrief, Indianapolis

52. LB NaVorro Bowman, Oakland

53. G Nick Easton, Minnesota (RFA)

54. WR Marqise Lee, Jacksonville

55. RB Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland

56. DE Julius Peppers, Carolina

57. CB Prince Amukamara, Chicago

58. LB Demario Davis, N.Y. Jets

59. LB Todd Davis, Denver


60. DT Bennie Logan, Kansas City

61. CB E.J. Gaines, Buffalo

62. G Josh Sitton, Chicago

63. WR Tyrell Williams, L.A. Chargers (RFA)

64. TE Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay (RFA)

65. G Josh Kline, Tennessee

66. WR Mike Wallace, Baltimore

67. S Morgan Burnett, Green Bay

68. DL David Irving, Dallas (RFA)

69. RB Jerick McKinnon, Minnesota

70. C John Sullivan, L.A. Rams

71. G Quinton Spain, Tennessee (RFA)

72. WR Albert Wilson, Kansas City

73. RB Frank Gore, Indianapolis

74. C Matt Paradis, Denver (RFA)

75. CB *Richard Sherman, Seattle


Drew Brees, New Orleans

Kirk Cousins, Minnesota

Case Keenum, Minnesota

Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota

AJ McCarron, Cincinnati

Josh McCown, N.Y. Jets

Sam Bradford, Minnesota


Sammy Watkins, L.A. Rams

Allen Robinson, Jacksonville

Jarvis Landry, Miami (FFA)

Terrelle Pryor Sr., Washington

Paul Richardson, Seattle

Danny Amendola, New England

Donte Moncrief, Indianapolis

Marqise Lee, Jacksonville

Tyrell Williams, L.A. Chargers (RFA)

Mike Wallace, Baltimore

Albert Wilson, Kansas City


Brice Butler, Dallas

Willie Snead IV, New Orleans (RFA)

John Brown, Arizona

Jaron Brown, Arizona

Kendall Wright, Chicago

Taylor Gabriel, Atlanta

Jordan Matthews, Buffalo

Eric Decker, Tennessee

Matthew Slater (ST), New England


Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh (FFA)

*Doug Martin, Tampa Bay

Carlos Hyde, San Francisco

Dion Lewis, New England

*DeMarco Murray, Tennessee

Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland

Jerick McKinnon, Minnesota

Frank Gore, Indianapolis

LeGarrette Blount, Philadelphia

Alfred Morris, Dallas

Rex Burkhead, New England

Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati

*Jonathan Stewart, Carolina

Darren Sproles, Philadelphia

Eddie Lacy, Seattle


Jimmy Graham, Seattle

Trey Burton, Philadelphia

Ed Dickson, Carolina

Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati

Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay (RFA)

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, N.Y. Jets

Luke Willson, Seattle

Benjamin Watson, Baltimore

*Martellus Bennett, New England


Nate Solder (T), New England

Andrew Norwell (G), Carolina

Weston Richburg (C), N.Y. Giants


Justin Pugh (T/G), N.Y. Giants

Alex Boone (G), Arizona

Jack Mewhort (G), Indianapolis

Chris Hubbard (T), Pittsburgh

Ryan Jensen (C), Baltimore

Zach Fulton (C/G), Kansas City

Nick Easton (G), Minnesota (RFA)

Josh Sitton (G), Chicago

Josh Kline (G), Tennessee

John Sullivan (C), L.A. Rams

Quinton Spain (G), Tennessee (RFA)

Matt Paradis (C), Denver (RFA)

Brandon Fusco (G), San Francisco

Russell Bodine (C), Cincinnati

Joe Berger (G/C), Minnesota

Senio Kelemete (G), New Orleans

Brett Jones (C), N.Y. Giants

Luke Joeckel (G/T), Seattle

Kenny Wiggins (G), L.A. Chargers

Spencer Long (C), Washington

Shawn Lauvao, Washington

Jermon Bushrod (G/T), Miami


DeMarcus Lawrence, Dallas (FFA)

Ezekiel Ansah, Detroit (FFA)

Adrian Clayborn, Atlanta

Julius Peppers, Carolina

DaQuan Jones, Tennessee

Dion Jordan, Seattle (RFA)

William Hayes, Miami

Alex Okafor, New Orleans

*Derrick Shelby, Atlanta

*Charles Johnson, Carolina


Sheldon Richardson, Seattle

Dontari Poe, Atlanta

*Muhammad Wilkerson, N.Y. Jets

Star Lotulelie, Carolina

Bennie Logan, Kansas City

David Irving (DE), Dallas (RFA)

Beau Allen, Philadelphia

Kyle Williams, Buffalo

Frostee Rucker, Arizona

Haloti Ngata, Detroit

Clinton McDonald, Tampa Bay

Ahtyba Rubin, Atlanta


Avery Williamson, Tennessee

Nigel Bradham, Philadelphia


Zach Brown, Washington

NaVorro Bowman, Oakland

Demario Davis, N.Y. Jets

Todd Davis, Denver

Preston Brown, Buffalo

Anthony Hitchens, Dallas

Connor Barwin, L.A. Rams

Derrick Johnson, Kansas City

*Brian Cushing, Houston

*Pernell McPhee, Chicago

Tahir Whitehead, Detroit

Junior Galette, Washington

Paul Posluszny, Jacksonville

Trent Murphy, Washington


Trumaine Johnson, L.A. Rams

Kyle Fuller, Chicago (TFA)

Rashaan Melvin, Indianapolis

Brent Grimes, Tampa Bay

Malcolm Butler, New England

Patrick Robinson, Philadelphia

Aaron Colvin, Jacksonville

Bashaud Breeland, Washington

Prince Amukamara, Chicago

E.J. Gaines, Buffalo

*Richard Sherman, Seattle

Dontae Johnson, San Francisco

Nevin Lawson, Detroit

Jeremy Lane, Seattle

TJ Carrie, Oakland

Johnson Bademosi, New England

Morris Claiborne, N.Y. Jets

DeShawn Shead, Seattle

Nickell Robey-Coleman, L.A. Rams

Justin Bethel, Arizona


Lamarcus Joyner, L.A. Rams (FFA)

Kenny Vaccaro, New Orleans

Tre Boston, L.A. Chargers

Morgan Burnett, Green Bay

*Quintin Demps, Chicago

Eric Reid, San Francisco

Tyvon Branch, Arizona

*Kurt Coleman, Carolina


Chris Boswell (K), Pittsburgh (RFA)

Dustin Hopkins (K), Washington

Chandler Catanzaro (K), N.Y. Jets


Pat O'Donnell (P), Chicago

Sebastian Janikowski (K), Oakland

Kevin Huber (P), Cincinnati

Dustin Colquitt (P), Kansas City

Cairo Santos (K), Chicago

Blair Walsh (K), Seattle

Mike Nugent(K), Chicago

*Nick Folk (K), Tampa Bay

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