NFL Free Agency technically opens on Thursday, March 9th at 4:00 PM Eastern. However, news is already surfacing that players from Kenny Stills to Brandon Marshall have re-signed with their current teams or re-signed elsewhere.
Things are getting interesting. The Fantasy Football Effect (FFE) from a quality free agent signing can vary greatly. We take a look at the most likely top free agent signing for each NFL team, whether on offense or defense.
Arizona Cardinals: Torrey Smith, WR
With Michael Floyd gone and Larry Fitzgerald reaching the age of 34, the Cardinals could really use a deep threat on the outside that could open up the middle of the field for John Brown and Fitzgerald to do their thing. With J.J. Nelson starting to bloom, it doesn’t need to be a top wideout. Torrey Smith with his 4.43 speed (85th-percentile) and 132.7 Burst Score (92nd-Percentile) would be a nice fit here.
Atlanta Falcons: T.J. Lang, OL
Hard to see an offensive acquisition needed for the Falcons, but protecting Matt Ryan is always a priority. Packers guard T.J. Lang is recovering from injury but would be an improvement and solidify a strong offensive line.
Baltimore Ravens: Danny Woodhead, RB
With Steve Smith’s retirement and Kamar Aiken’s free agency, the Ravens are in need of wide receiver help. However, a running back hat specializes in catching passes also fills a glaring need. The Ravens emphasized short and intermediate routes in 2016, evidenced by a 7.8 (No. 28) average attempt depth. Joe Flacco would be best-supported by Danny Woodhead, who would provide Flacco with the first truly impactful satellite back of his career.
Buffalo Bills: Kamar Aiken, WR
The Bills lost Chris Hogan last year at wide receiver, and now face the potential of losing both Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin. If that happens, an upgrade at the position is a must. Kamar Aiken would be a perfect fit. He’s 27 years old, would play the slot position vacated by Woods, and has experience in a cold weather city (Baltimore) already. The 106.2 Height-Adjusted Speed Score (HaSS) (84th-percentile) is the perfect slot receiver metric.
Carolina Panthers: Victor Cruz, WR
Chicago Bears: Mike Glennon, QB
The Bears will lose Alshon Jeffery, but Cameron Meredith can step right in and fill that role. But they really need a quarterback, and baby giraffe Mike Glennon provides a solid game manager option for the conservative John Fox.
Cincinnati Bengals: Steve Johnson, WR
Cleveland Browns: Jimmy Garoppolo, QB
The Browns need a quarterback in the worst way, and the NFL draft will not provide them a viable option for 2017. Assuming they don’t trade for Jimmy Garappolo (which is a clear option number one), don’t rule out a Brian Hoyer return to tread water over the next year.
Dallas Cowboys: Kenny Britt, WR
The rumor mill is flying about Kenny Britt, but he would be the perfect compliment to Dez Bryant. Britt’s 72nd-percentile Burst Score and 73rd-percentile HaSS would allow him to feast on single coverage. Added bonus? Playing with the best quarterback of his career in the young Dak Prescott.
Denver Broncos, Tyrod Taylor, QB
Sorry Tony Romo fans, I’d much rather see Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor in orange and blue. He is a mobile quarterback that will open running lanes for Devontae Booker, and a deep ball passer to rejuvenate Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. Throw in his 60.4 percent red zone completion percentage in cold weather as a huge plus.
Detroit Lions: Donta Hightower, LB
The Lions need defensive upgrades, badly. Here’s hoping for Donta Hightower to be attracted to the blue carpet as a legit linebacker/pass rusher upgrade.
Green Bay Packers: Jared Cook, TE
Aaron Rodgers has never had a healthy quality tight end receiving option. Jared Cook came on strong at the end of the year. Re-signing the athletic Cook, and his 4.50 40-yard dash (98th-percentile), is the top priority.
Houston Texans: Tony Romo, QB
All the pieces are in place except for the most important one. The Texans need a quarterback, and Brock Osweiler clearly isn’t the answer. It is here that Tony Romo, the Jay Leno of football, is the best fit. Quality offensive line, defense and a top flight wide receiver in DeAndre Hopkins.
Indianapolis Colts: Melvin Ingram, LB
The Colts can acquire offensive lineman in the draft, but really need a veteran defensive presence at linebacker. Plug in Melvin Ingram from San Diego, who should bolster the Colts pass rush on their home carpet.
Jacksonville Jaguars: A.J. Bouye, CB
Jalen Ramsey good, opposite cornerback bad. The Jaguars biggest need is to sure up their pass defense against the Colts’ Andrew Luck. The best fit is right in their own division. Former Texans cornerback A.J. Bouye.
Kansas City Chiefs: Eddie Lacy, RB
Not many people are sold on the every down use of Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West is the stereotypical “JAG” (Just A Guy) player. In the biting cold of Kansas City, how about former Packers running back Eddie Lacy to punish opposing AFC West defenses in late December?
Los Angeles Chargers: Riley Reiff, OL
The Chargers offense is a weapons bonanza, so the need is to protect their 35 year old franchise quarterback, Philip Rivers. The best quick fix is Riley Reiff, who is 28-years old, and would be reasonably priced for the Chargers.
Los Angeles Rams: DeSean Jackson, WR
The Rams are in need of wide receiver help, with Kenny Britt and Brian Quick leaving. Money talks, and that would certainly attract DeSean Jackson and his 4.35 (97th-percentile) 40-yard dash time to sunny Los Angeles.
Miami Dolphins: Kevin Zeitler, OL
Having already acquired an ultra-athletic tight end in Julius Thomas, the Dolphins will now turn their attention to maintaining their best offensive weapon: their offensive line. With the news of Branden Albert’s release, the Dolphins should look at former Bengals guard Kevin Zeitler, who would fit in nicely if Miami moved Laremy Tunsil from guard to tackle.
Minnesota Vikings: Ricky Wagner, OL
The easiest and most obvious need is offensive line. Workout metric freak Jerick McKinnon needs running lanes. The vote here is the Vikings spend for former Ravens tackle Ricky Wagner.
New England Patriots: Datone Jones, DE
The Super Bowl champions don’t rebuild that just reload. While 30 year old LeGarrette Blount is expected to leave via Free Agency, the running back position is one that is easily replaced via free agency. The Patriots biggest need is the interior of the defensive line. The vote here is for defensive end Datone Jones, a typical solid player that becomes even better in the Patriots system.
New Orleans Saints: Stephon Gilmore, CB
New York Giants: Brandon Marshall, WR
New York Jets: Jay Cutler, QB
With the recent announcement of Brandon Marshall signing with the crosstown rival New York Giants, and Jalin Marshall’s four game suspension for a positive Adderall test, the Jets are now in need of a quarterback more than ever. They still have Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson and Eric Decker at the receiver position but need someone to get them the ball. With familiar faces like Matt Forte and quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates, the thinking is that the Jets somehow get Jay Cutler on their roster for September.
Oakland Raiders: Adrian Peterson, RB
Philadelphia Eagles: Kenny Stills, WR
Pittsburgh Steelers: Alterraun Verner, CB
The first step was franchise tagging Le’Veon Bell. Check. Now the focus becomes the defense as Pittsburgh has fortified the offense with over $100 million in salary-cap commitments. Cornerback is the biggest focus, especially when the main obstacle to a Super Bowl is the New England Patriots. Best fit would be former Bucs cornerback Alterraun Verner.
San Francisco 49ers: Kirk Cousins, QB
The San Francisco 49ers were a complete dumpster fire in 2016, and have already begun to overhaul their roster with the release of players like Torrey Smith and Colin Kaepernick. Rumors have already started swirling around a Kirk Cousins and Kyle Shanahan reunion in the Bay Area. While this would come via trade and not free agency, the move would still be huge, and a great start to John Lynch’s General Manager career. I’ll take Cousins in San Francisco, and buck the free agent trend just this once.
Seattle Seahawks: Chance Warmack, OL
When you have one of the worst run blocking and pass blocking lines in the league, what better way to fix that than by going to the offensive line? Offensive guard Chance Warmack is a 25-year old bulldozer who still has plenty of time to develop, and would at least make an immediate impact in the run blocking game.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Robert Woods, WR
The Buccaneers run game struggled last season, and it’s hard to see that drastically improving in 2017. The ball will be in Jameis Winston hands, so it is imperative for the Buccaneers to find a compliment Mike Evans. Best fit? Slot man Robert Woods who is only 25-years old.
Tennessee Titans: Alshon Jeffery, WR
While quarterback Marcus Mariota is the quintessential robot, giving him a field stretcher is long overdue. If the Titans finally spend the necessary money and sign Alshon Jeffery, they become immediate AFC Title contenders.