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March 5th, 2017

Jeffery, Bennett, Charles Headline Top 10 Offensive 2017 NFL Free Agents

Serdar Ismail
2017 NFL Free Agents

Brandon Marshall is among the many players looking for a team this offseason (William Hauser/USA TODAY Sports)

The NFL free agency period is set to hit on March 9th, many players have already been tagged, and re-signed to contract extensions. However, the real fun begins next Thursday when all players not on contract are given the option to sign with a team of their liking. The top 10 offensive 2017 NFL free agents that will be bound to have an impact on a potential suitor for the upcoming years. Needless to say, the next month will be a treat for NFL fans.

Top 10 Offensive 2017 NFL Free Agents

Latavius Murray (Oakland Raiders, Running Back)
Latavius Murray’s rookie contract has now expired which now allows him to be a free agent. Oakland has expressed that they would like to test the market in search of another running back, however, quarterback Derek Carr has publicly come to Murray’s defense in hopes that he would like to see the back return to Oakland. The 2016 season was nothing short of impressive as Murray punched the ball in for a career-best 12 rushing touchdowns, and 788 rushing yards. While the Raiders expect Murray to sign elsewhere, we can anticipate that he will sign a lucrative deal compared to the accumulated $2 million that he received in the four years that he spent in The Bay Area.

Brandon Marshall (New York Jets, Wide Receiver)
The New York Jets have issued a statement on the future of the wide receiver’s career as he is expected to be released to create an additional $7.5 million in cap space. Marshall totaled a respectable 59 passes for 788 receiving yards, and three receiving touchdowns. In Marshall’s 11 seasons in the NFL, he has failed to make the playoffs in his stint with 5 NFL teams. The receiver turns 33 this month with no time to waste this offseason. Marshall is expected to sign with a contending team in hopes of the first Super Bowl of his career.

Kevin Zeitler (Cincinnati Bengals, Guard)
Kevin Zeitler of the Cincinnati Bengals is perceived to be the best offensive lineman in the class of lineman in the upcoming free agency. Zeitler will expectedly sign a contract north of $10 million annually. With lineman in the likes of Kelechi Osemele and Trent Williams previously receiving more than $11 million/year, this will set the market for a player of his caliber. The Bengals are reportedly not willing to spend too much money on free agents this year which could potentially mean that Zeitler will be finding a new home this offseason.

Alshon Jeffery (Chicago Bears, Wide Receiver)
The impending free agent has publicly expressed his feelings that he is looking for a contending team to sign with starting March 9th. The previous season for Jeffery was a rather disappointing season in compliments of being issued a 4-game suspension for the use of PEDs.The Bears are still interested in re-signing the wide receiver, however, have declined to franchise tag him which would have forced them to pay him $17 million/year. With many potential suitors such as the Titans, Eagles, Bucs, etc., Jeffery will decide on the team that provides him the best opportunity to be a winner, all while making top receiver money.

TJ Lang (Green Bay Packers, Guard)
The Green Bay Packers offensive live has been the bread and butter of the Packers success in recent years. TJ Lang intends to test the market come March 9th and hear offers from other teams for the Packers to match any opposing teams deal, his coaches along with his teammates are depending on him to stay to have that Green Bay front five stay intact. The 29-year old has a Super Bowl along with a Pro Bowl under his belt. According to Pro Football Focus, the lineman was recently given the honors of being named a top-10 offensive lineman in the NFL. All signs indicate the free agent to stay, but only time will tell.

2017 NFL Free Agents

Martellus Bennett (Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

Martellus Bennett (New England Patriots, Tight End)
It took little to no time for Martellus Bennett to mark his legacy in the Patriots franchise as he took home a Super Bowl ring in his first year as a New England Patriot. All while totaling a rather impressive first year with 55 catches, 701 receiving yards, and seven touchdowns. This could be a rather interesting situation as the Patriots will have Rob Gronkowski in the lineup back from injury this upcoming season. The team had previously offered Bennett a deal that would pay him $7 million/year in which the tight end promptly refused. While we know a return to New England is possible, it has been evident in the past that Coach Belichick doesn’t like to sign players to large contracts. The Jacksonville Jaguars are now without a tight end which makes them among the many teams who could potentially land Bennett.

Kyle Juszczyk (Baltimore Ravens, Fullback)
In what was once a diminishing position, Kyle Juszczyk of the Baltimore Ravens has completely revigorated the fullback position. The 4th-year back is heading into free agency at a rather opportune time for himself as he is coming off of a Pro Bowl selection year. Juszczyk has matured as an individual and as a player in his years in Baltimore. He is an essential piece to the run game, as well as the passing game due to his effectiveness as a lead blocker, and his versatility as a pass catcher. It is difficult to determine what his market value may be since he is in a class of his own at the niche position. In the case that the Ravens do decide to save him, the front office would not have to pay too much as the highest paid fullback is Ryan Hewitt of the Cincinnati Bengals who earns $2.5 million/year.

Jamaal Charles (Kansas City Chiefs, Running Back)
The Kansas City Chiefs have officially parted ways with Jamaal Charles in what was an injury filled 9-years, but a rather successful one all while accomplishing 7,260 rushing yards, 64 touchdowns, the NFL’s all-time leader in yards per carry at 5.5, five 1,000 yard rushing seasons and 4 Pro Bowls. At 30-years old, the Texas native is ready to look for a new home. Charles will be a welcome option for any team as he can be a dangerous factor in the backfield. Nevertheless, his history with injuries can be a huge risk for any team willing to take a gamble on him.

Terrelle Pryor (Cleveland Browns, Wide Receiver)
The Cleveland Browns have never been an exciting option for any player to sign with in free agency. Terrelle Pryor has been a Cinderella story thus far, all meanwhile being the best young talent that we have seen out of Cleveland since Joe Haden. We saw what he was capable this season with shotty, and inconsistent quarterbacks, in the right scenario, Pryor could shine. He’s a wide receiver who is just starting to figure things out in the NFL, and could potentially be dangerous for opposing defenses just as we saw him do this season. The Browns were unwilling to franchise him as he would have covered almost 10% of their cap space. It could potentially end up as a horrible move by the front office, but then again, they are the Browns. Wherever Pryor ends up, he will be a treat to play alongside due to his versatility, speed, agility, and strength.

Larry Warford (Detroit Lions, Guard)
The emergence of Matthew Stafford this season was greatly due to the adhesive offensive line. The 4-year guard has certainly put up an impressive stint in the NFL, and he is certainly going to be receiving plenty of attention during free agency. In 2013, Warford was given the best-ever rating for an offensive guard for a rookie, along with being named the most consistent offensive lineman on the Detroit Lions, according to Pro Football Focus. The Lions do have depth at the guard position which could ultimately translate letting Warford walk due to his expected $9 million salary. Warford could very well fit in with almost any team that comes knocking; it just comes down to if they’re willing to pay his price tag.

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