10 best offensive players about to hit free agency
The 2016 free agent group isn’t the most balanced one, but as we look at the 10 top offensive players about to cash in, it’s easy to see where the strength of this “class” lies.
While there are a few QBs hitting the free agent market (Kirk Cousins, Sam Bradford, and Brock Osweiler), their grades and overall season performance don’t quite stack up on a positional basis, compared to the 10 players listed below.
(Editor’s note: Each players’ 2015 overall grade is noted in parenthesis. To see the top 10 defensive free agents in 2016, click here.)
1. Alshon Jeffery, WR, Bears (94.4)
He missed some time earlier in the year, but the Bears’ Jeffery has been nearly unstoppable since returning, earning the third-highest grade of all wideouts. Given Jeffery is averaging the most yards per route run (3) of any receiver in the league, it’s not hard to see why.
2. Cordy Glenn, LT, Bills (88.7)
Forever under the radar, the former second-round pick is destined to cash in with a big deal next year after a season that has only served to highlight how talented he is. Allowing just one sack and 16 quarterback disruptions, Glenn has never been the best of run blockers, but he’s what you’d love to have in a left tackle.
3. Kelechi Osemele, LG, Ravens (89.0)
The long-time Raven is entering the prime of his career—and playing as well as ever after a slow start to 2015. Osemele has already proved to be one of the best run blockers in the entire league, with his ability to win at the point of attack setting him apart from other NFL guards.
4. Doug Martin, RB, Buccaneers (91.5)
What do we make of Martin? Two years in the relative wilderness mean he’s a free agent-to-be, but his rookie season and his fantastic efforts this year are that of a back who has few peers. Our second-highest graded runner, Martin has been the spark behind the Buccaneers’ surprisingly impressive season.
5. Kelvin Beachum, LT, Steelers (79.4)
The Steeler would be higher up on this list, but tearing your ACL in a contract year is never advantageous for the bank balance. It might make a short-term contract in his best interest, as he builds upon his excellent start to life in the NFL. The 26-year-old finished 2015 as a top five left tackle, and his career was only pointing one way before the injury.
6. Donald Penn, LT, Raiders (87.1)
Discarded by Tampa Bay, Penn has used the last two years to show the Buccaneers just how wrong they were, playing some of the best football of his career. Our seventh-ranked left tackle this season, Penn has allowed just 21 quarterback disruptions in 2015. He might not be the youngest guy on this list, but he’s a sure thing in the short term.
7. Evan Mathis, G, Broncos (88.2)
Mathis might be the oldest guard in the league, but age is but a number, especially for a player who spent his earlier years on the bench instead of on the field. Injuries the past two season are a reason for concern, but he’s provided the kind of injection of immediate talent the Broncos desperately needed on their offensive line, and his ability to do the same elsewhere can’t be overlooked.
8. Lamar Miller, RB, Dolphins (82.4)
It’s hard to get positive press in Miami when you’ve got so many distractions stealing media attention. Perhaps that’s why Miller is so underrated, with his ability to maximize what a sub-standard line gives him impressive, to say the least.
9. Richie Incognito, G, Bills (91.6)
One of the comeback stories of the year, none of us are qualified to examine the incidents that led to Incognito taking an enforced year sabbatical, or whether he can stay out of off-field controversies. But we are qualified to say that Incognito, at 31 years of age, is playing the best football of his career, and has plenty of good moments on the field ahead of him.
10. Michael Crabtree, WR, Raiders (80.7)
We’ve seen something of a career renaissance for Crabtree, who has found himself rejuvenated in Oakland with seven touchdowns and a healthy 760 yards. Always one of the best receivers after the catch, he’s fifth in the league with 14 forced missed tackles after the reception. It’s not the deepest group of receivers, which should only help to vindicate Crabtree’s decision to take a short term contract.
(Editor’s note: Michael Crabtree signed an extension with the Raiders shortly after the publishing of this article.)
For the 10 best 2016 defensive free agents, click here.