Top 10 NFL Free-Agents of 2016

Free-Agent Running Back Doug Martin
Free-Agent Running Back Doug Martin

(1) Doug Martin (RB) - Tampa Bay allowed their leading running back to hit the free-agent market by not applying the franchise tag on him before the March 1st deadline. It's possible the Bucs get a new deal worked out with Martin and he remains in Tampa Bay, but there are also a lot of team out there looking for a quality starting running back that may give Martin a better offer than the Bucs. Martin will be one of the the hottest free-agents this offseason.

(2) Malik Jackson (DE) - The Denver Broncos elected to use their franchise tag on OLD Von Miller, allowing Jackson to become a free-agent this offseason. The Broncos have expressed interest in resigning Jackson, who was an integral part of the Broncos NFL leading defense in 2015. However Jackson, a DE, will also be a very sought after player by many teams this offseason and the Broncos, who are currently over the salary cap as of this writing, may have a hard time working out a deal for Jackson, as he will be looking for a moderately large payday.

(3) Bruce Irvin (LB) - Irvin have been one of the best linebackers in the league for one of the top NFC teams in the league for the last four years, and the Seattle Seahawks will almost certainly want to retain the services of Irvin. Right now the Seahawks have over $23 million in salary cap space available, but they also have other key free-agents, most notably Brandon Mebane (DT) and Russell Okung (LT) they will want to consider keeping, and both will command large contracts. However, I expect Irvin will be resigned by the Seahawks to a four to five year deal.

(4) Russell Okung (LT) - Left tackles are highly coveted in the NFL, and many teams will be jumping at the chance to sign Okung. The Seahawks will certainly try to work out a deal with him, but so will many other teams in the NFL, maybe none other will try to steal Okung away from the Seahawks than the Carolina Panthers, who are in desperate need of a LT and have the cap ability to make it happen. With three key free agents the Seahawks must make a decision on, Okung may be the odd man left out in Seattle.

(5) Matt Forte (RB) - Forte, like Doug Martin, will be hitting a free-agent market that will see a lot of teams clamoring for a top-tier starting running back. Many team, such as the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks among many others would covet a RB the caliber of Forte. Do not expect Forte to return to the Chicago Bears and find a good payday elsewhere.

(6) Lamar Miller (RB) - The 2016 running back class will be very deep, and Lamar Miller is definitely a part of that group. The Dolphins have expressed interest in getting Miller resigned, however the Dolphins are currently over $3 million dollars over the salary cap limit for 2016, so it will be difficult for the Dolphins to pay Miller the money he will want. Miller will have a lot of choices, and can probably pick the team he wants to play for. Expect Miller to be somewhere other than in Miami in 2016. If I was a betting man, I would put Miller in Dallas in 2016.

(7) Brock Osweiler (QB) - With Peyton Manning almost assuredly to retire this offseason, Brock Osweiler becomes a very important player for the Denver Broncos to resign, as they only other QB on the Broncos roster is little known Trevor Siemian. Even if Manning decides to not retire the Broncos would be smart to cut him, and start a new era with a very capable Osweiler. The Broncos know they don't need an elite QB, their defense is the power of their team, and Osweiler is more than capable of being the game manager the Broncos need at QB, as he proved that by going 5-2 as a starter in 2015. I would not expect the Broncos to let Osweiler go anywhere, as he is their starting QB of the future it appears.

(8) Prince Amukamara (CB) - Amukamara is an incredibly talented cornerback who has been very productive for the Giants in his first five seasons. Amukamara will be a coveted cornerback, with a lot of teams looking for a corner with great cover and ball skills. The Giants have over $57 millions in salary cap space available for 2016, but Amukamara was thought to be a candidate for the Giants franchise tag, but the team ultimately elected not to use it, giving the appearance they may be ready to let Amukamara hit free-agency to sign with another team. I do not expect Amukamara to be back in New York in 2016 as they are simply too many teams in need of a high-caliber, young cornerback. The Panthers and Rams are likely destinations for Amukamara.

(9) Janoris Jenkins - The Los Angeles Rams had 2015 outstanding cornerbacks in 2015, both were scheduled to be free-agents in 2016, however the Rams elected to franchise tag cornerback Trumaine Johnson, leaving Jenkins to hit the free-agent market. Jenkins had a great year in 2015 with 63 tackles, three interceptions and one forced fumble, and you can beat there will be a long list of teams lining up for Jenkins services. The Rams have over $46 million in salary cap availability for 2016, so they very well may bring Jenkins back on a long-term deal, but they will have to compete with many other teams for Jenkins services.

(10) Chris Ivory - Ivory is another running back that will be part of a very deep, very talented free-agent class of quality running backs in 2016. Currently the Jets only have a little over $6 million in salary cap space for 2016, so it's unlikely he will return to New York. Ivory is only 27 years old, and coming off a 1,070, seven touchdown season for the Jets, so expect Ivory to be offered a starting position with a moderately high payday from a few teams in need of quality starting running back.

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