Free Agency Primer: Top Players Available


NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Only two days remain from the beginning of NFL free agency (March 10), a day that begins a wild process of courting and sales pitches with team execs trying to revamp their rosters.

Titans President and CEO Tommy Smith joined 3HL on 104.5 the Zone this past week and made it clear his team will be a major player in the free agent process.

"We're going to be very active. We need to be," Smith said. "My preference is to build through the draft and supplement through free agency. Right now, with the state of the team, we need some free agent help. We need to be selective. We know the areas we want to improve. Now we just have to see if anyone shows up we feel can come in and make contributions … We are not ruling anything out and never have."

But who is out there for the taking? Many of the league's top free-agent talent has been slapped with a franchise tag – Dez Bryant, Justin Houston, etc., while Green Bay re-signed one of its top playmakers in Randall Cobb – but there's still plenty of intriguing names that will likely change teams over the next week.

Here's a few links with valuable information regarding free agents around the NFL.

Evan Silva of has ranked every free agent by position, with updates on new contracts and franchise tags.

Of note, Silva ranks Jake Locker as the second best quarterback set to hit the market behind only Mark Sanchez. The biggest offensive player available is likely Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray, the NFL's leading rusher in 2014. C.J. Spiller, Ryan Matthews and Mark Ingram round out the top four ball carriers available come Tuesday.

With Dez Bryant and Damaryius Thomas being tagged by the Cowboys and Broncos respectively, Silva has Jeremy Maclin and Torrey Smith as the next two best receivers. There is some belief the Eagles will sign Maclin to a contract extension before free agency begins which would take him off the board as well.

Silva has Bryan Bulaga as the top-ranked offensive tackle that could be an option for the Titans after parting ways with Michael Oher earlier in the offseason.

Ndamukong Suh is obviously the top defensive player available, but Silva has Jerry Hughes as the best edge rusher (behind Houston) available. Hughes is coming off consecutive 10-sack seasons in Buffalo.

Devin McCourty, Rahim Moore, Byron Maxwell and Brandon Flowers are Silva's top-ranked free agents in the secondary.

Greg Bedard of Sports Illustrated ranked the top-100 free agents overall (1-50) (51-100). Suh, McCourty, tight end Julius Thomas and Maxwell are his top-five free agents who have not been tagged.

Bedard also gave a "best fit" for each free agent. Steelers OLB Jason Worilds, who Bedard ranked 11th overall, is a player who would fit well with the Titans.

"With ex-Steelers defensive boss Dick LeBeau now in Tennessee, there's a scheme fit. Perhaps LeBeau has already seen enough of Worilds," said Bedard.

Worilds has accumulated 25.5 sacks in five seasons in Pittsburgh, including eight and 7.5 in 2013 and 2014 respectively.

Eagles OLB Brandon Graham is another player who Bedard tabbed as an option for Tennessee. Graham had 5.5 sacks in 2014 with Philadelphia.

Bedard has three Titans free agents in his rankings – Derrick Morgan 18th, Nate Washington 54th and Jake Locker 70th.

The Around the NFL team at is ranking the top-five free agents at each position group. Gregg Rosenthal says Jake Locker is the best free agent QB available.

Finally, The NFL Nation writers at have a running blog with free agent information that will be continuously updated throughout the process.


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