PFF’s 2015 Top 75 Free Agents

PFF ranks the 75 free agents that stand atop the list of available veteran talent for 2015.

| 2 years ago

PFF’s 2015 Top 75 Free Agents

2015-top75-FAsFree agency is just around the corner and that means we’re joining in the fun of naming our Top 75 Free Agents. Of course these lists come with a degree of subjectivity as you find yourself cross comparing positions, examining potential, and trickiest of all, deciding what kind of impact injury and age are likely to have on a player.

We’ve given it a go after watching every snap from the past year (as well as the seven that preceded it) in painstaking detail. So let’s see who sits atop our list for 2015.

(We’ll be updating this list going forward but you can find the initial list here.)

Last Updated: 03/12 23:00

  1. Greg Hardy, Edge Defender: Would be higher but for his much documented off-the-field issues that will likely see a league mandated suspension. Still, his upside is so high (No. 2 in our 2013 defensive end rankings) that someone will pay him in the short term.
  2. Tramon Williams, Cornerback: Six years as a starter and six years worth of positives grades in coverage. Never kicked on after his sublime 2010 to be a truly elite corner, but is one of the most dependable in the league.
  3. Stefen Wisniewski, Center: Consistently impressive run blocker who struggled in pass protection in 2014. Wisniewski has previously shown to be better than that and is the kind of center you can hand a long-term deal to and be comfortable you’re set there.
  4. Rolando McClain, Linebacker: Question marks about McClain are largely of an off-the-field variety, though it’s important we don’t let one excellent year in Dallas rob us of our memories of his time in Oakland. Still in “prove-it” mode and likely to have to settle for incentive-laden deals.
  5. Brandon Spikes, Linebacker: Born in the wrong era, this two-down terror is as good as it gets disrupting the run game. Limited value, though, because he’s not a guy you’re likely to leave on the field on passing downs.
  6. Chris Myers, Center: For a team operating a zone block heavy scheme he’s an ideal fit and exceptionally good in the run game. Declining in pass pro and lack of scheme versatility limit value.
  7. Charles Clay, Tight End: Versatile weapon who divided opinions on the PFF staff. The feeling is that wherever he lands will give a true impression of just how good he is.
  8. Stevie Johnson, Wide Receiver: Going to San Fran hasn’t done much to create a buzz for Johnson with opportunities for targets limited. But when the ball was thrown his way he did impress and is not that far removed from a 1,000 yard season in 2012.
  9. Jake Long, Offensive Tackle: Big question marks if he returns and what player he does after tearing the same ACL twice. But he’s a proven commodity and a very talented tackle.
  10. Rashean Mathis, Cornerback: The end may be near, but if Mathis can creak one year out similar to what he did in 2014 then he’s a good get for near enough any team.
  11. Justin Blalock, Guard: The definition of a solid guard. Far from a liability but never really catches your eye with bulldozing displays. Shortage of guards make his dependability sought after.
  12. Lance Briggs, Linebacker: Not the player he once was, but had such a head start that he could afford to drop off and still be better than most. Still Father Time remains undefeated and coming off an injury shortened year he won’t have the market he might have hoped for if he continues playing.
  13. Sterling Moore, Cornerback: Something of an afterthought as part of a Dallas defense expected to be historically bad, was a pleasant surprise as the unit surpassed the wildest expectations.
  14. Dwight Freeney, Edge Defender: Might be nearing the end but he’s still got the kind of burst to the edge (and spin inside) that means he will get pressure. Best ticketed for a sub-package role.
  15. Randy Starks, Defensive Interior: Younger than you might think at 31, Starks is just a year removed from a top 10 grade at the defensive tackle position.
  16. Brian De La Puente, Center: Wherever he has played has always done a good job. An extremely solid center that deserves a shot at being the starter.
  17. Steven Jackson, Running Back: Got more than his line gave him in Atlanta, showing he has something left in the tank even if he isn’t the athlete he once was.
  18. Dawan Landry, Safety: Landry’s time in Jacksonville wasn’t the success he was hoping for, but he rebuilt himself replacing his brother in New York. A stop gap at this stage of his career.
  19. James Harrison, Edge Defender: His time in Cincinnati pushed him towards retirement, but he found himself in a better spot back in Pittsburgh he was back to making plays. Plenty of teams would benefit from what he brings on a one-year deal.
  20. Michael Crabtree, Wide Receiver: Feels like an awful long time ago (2012) that Crabtree was one of the league’s most promising receivers, with a scary ability after the catch to do damage. Is he still that guy? Can a team more committed to passing find him?
  21. Dwayne Bowe, Wide Receiver: It’s seems like ages ago that Bowe was coming off
  22. C.J. Mosley, Defensive Interior: Every team needs a Mosley. Not an ideal starter but a quality backup who can fill in for a guy missing for any number of reasons.
  23. Bradley Fletcher, Cornerback: Another one of those guys the staff was in different places on. There was a feeling that Philadelphia left him on an island more than they should have and he got beat an awful lot more than you’d like.
  24. Patrick Robinson, Cornerback: First-rounder who has struggled to find playing time after not living up to the tag. Looked better at times in 2014 with less pressure on him.
  25. James Casey, Tight End/ Full Back: Seems a long time ago when Casey was a dynamic backfield weapon in Houston. Landing in a spot that utilizes his skill set could see him returning to that level.
  26. Knowshon Moreno, Running Back: His injury-plagued year in Miami made you forget about his year in Denver quicker than a hiccup. So the question is can he bounce back from his injuries woes, and how much of his success was down to the Denver line?
  27. Kenrick Ellis, Defensive Interior: Always played well when healthy and given the opportunity, Ellis could be a valuable two-down run stopper at nose tackle while contributing about 400-500 snaps per season.
  28. Anthony Spencer, Edge Rusher: Returned from injury last year but wasn’t quite back to his brilliant best. He’s something of a gamble because if last year was him finding his feet, he could really step up in 2015.
  29. Barry Cofield, Defensive Interior: Injuries have really limited Cofield but you only have to go back to 2013 to see how good a pass rusher he is. The question is can he still be that guy, even in a situational role?
  30. Nate Allen, Safety: Much maligned, Allen did get beat for five touchdowns and has a lot of bad tape out there. But he did make some plays in a defense that could hang it’s secondary out to dry.
  31. Matt Moore, Quarterback: Does he want to start? He’s more capable than a number of starters in the league even if his ceiling is limited. Last significant action was in 2011 (where he played very well) so how much rust does he have.
  32. Dwight Lowery, Safety: Won’t be the most flashy signing your team makes but he is the kind of hired gun who can go in without much fuss and play to a good, if not great, level. Just like he did in Atlanta.
  33. George Selvie, Edge Defender: Proved he can be a solid number two edge rusher in Dallas even if he is going to blow you away with his production. You need guys like that in your rotation.
  34. Anthony Collins, Offensive Tackle: Had a terrible time in Tampa Bay but perhaps failure will be the making of him. Clearly has talent as evidenced by his play in Cincinnati.
  35. Vince Wilfork, Defensive Interior: Still a good defender but for the fantastic reputation he has earned, it doesn’t get any easier on Sundays. Best suited to more of a situational role unless he can prove 2014 was him coming back from injury.
  36. Terence Newman, Cornerback: May retire and if he does he goes out playing well. Still has something left to offer if he wants to put himself through it.
  37. Stevan Ridley, Running Back: For all the talent there’s the injuries and fumbles that dogged his time in New England. High upside.
  38. Red Bryant, Edge Defender: By now you know what you’re going to get from Bryant: great run defense, no pass rush. Might provide more value from the interior.
  39. Joe Barksdale, Offensive Tackle: Likely to get paid more than he deserves, Barksdale had some issues in pass protection this year after being a pleasant surprise since landing in St Louis. Pure right tackle.
  40. Tarrell Brown, Cornerback: Solid in San Fran, Brown didn’t light it up in Oakland but proved durable and dependable enough. Will have value for teams looking for a number two cornerback.
  41. Chris Canty, Defensive Interior: Didn’t really deliver during his time in Baltimore and at 32 years of age its reasonable to wonder if he can hold up under an extensive role.
  42. Pat Sims, Defensive Interior: Has always been a little more potential than production, but Sims is a bog body who flashes big plays.
  43. Louis Delmas, Safety: Has been dealing with a lot of physical issues, limiting his practice time, but can still play at a high level on Sundays.
  44. Kevin Williams, Defensive Interior: A shadow of his former self, still a capable player in a rotation in the defensive interior, likely a one-year rental.
  45. Usama Young, Safety: Young is a vaguely frustrating player. Almost very good at almost all of the time, ends up performing above average when he can stay on the field.
  46. B.J. Raji, Defensive Interior: Miscast as a nose tackle or run stuffer, Raji has shown in the past he’s a big-bodied 3-tech. Long time since his best play.
  47. Pierre Thomas, Running Back: No team is out there looking for a 30 year old back, but Thomas is still on top of his game. A do it all back, he owned our third highest receiving grade at the position a year ago.
  48. Rob Sims, Guard: Struggled much of last season but ended the year well enough to dispel the idea that he is done.
  49. Bernard Pollard, Safety: Only played 351 snaps in 2014 before injury, but was performing well when he went down.
  50. John Abraham, Edge Defender: A question mark to play again with concussions hanging over him, but even at his age can still bring heat off the edge.
  51. Cecil Shorts, Wide Receiver: Was the focus of a lot of hype not long ago in Jacksonville, but his play has cooled that since.
  52. Greg Jennings, Wide Receiver: Effort looked questionable at times last season in Minnesota, but the good news is that means there could be more in the tank than he showed.
  53. Hakeem Nicks, Wide Receiver: At one point looked like one of the most dominant receivers in the game. Now just a role player.
  54. Denarius Moore, Wide Receiver: Has speed to burn but will never be a complete player. Can make an impact in a balanced receiver corps.
  55. Alan Ball, Cornerback: Played very well in 2013 in his first year in Jacksonville, but couldn’t replicate that in 2014. Will intrigue some teams.
  56. Jacquizz Rodgers, Running Back: Squat, shifty running back, Rodgers does everything pretty well if nothing fantastic.
  57. Nate Irving, Linebacker: Has shown impressively in limited snaps in Denver, crying out for a bigger role elsewhere.
  58. Zach Miller, Tight End: Still a solid tight end in a market that isn’t blessed with too many of them.
  59. Osi Umenyiora, Edge Defender: Was never the most complete defensive player in football, so his situational role actually benefits him. Sub package only at this point.
  60. Will Montgomery, Center: Showed his best form in the past as a part of a zone blocking scheme, doesn’t have the size or strength to match that in a power system.
  61. Ryan Harris, Tackle: Can be an average starting tackle, but will always have poor games and has an injury history that will put teams off. Valuable backup.
  62. Daniel Fells, Tight End: Has been a blocking tight end for his past few seasons but has performed well in that role, can improve a team as a second tight end.
  63. Geno Hayes, Linebacker: Run defense has always been his Achilles heel, but Hayes is a solid coverage corner you’d feel comfortable playing in sub packages.
  64. Byron Bell, Tackle: Was a disaster at left tackle for the Panthers but had performed much better on the right side in the past. A genuine ‘right tackle only’, but one who may be worth a look.
  65. Stevie Brown, Safety: Not his best showing last season after a 2013 ACL injury. Was a solid starter in 2012 and is worth the risk to see if he can get back to that level.
  66. Leger Douzable, Defensive Interior:  Almost always produced as a career backup. Can provide solid depth for a 3-4 or 4-3 team.
  67. Mike Pollak, Guard: Solid guard who has seen time at both left and right guard and graded positively every season from 2010 onwards. Capable player who can be the top backup at both guard spots for a team.
  68. Ben Tate, Running Back: Was on of our top backs last season before a disastrous 2014. Still talent there, but a lot of question marks.
  69. Lyle Sendlein, Center: Had a dreadful 2013, but graded positively in four of the five seasons prior. Not sure you can trust him to start, but would be a nice backup option. 
  70. Kroy Biermann, Edge Defender: Had a few good games last season, but was mostly ineffective after an Achilles injury. Could produce in a limited.
  71. Charles Tillman, Cornerback: Injuries ruined back-to-back seasons for Tillman, but would be interesting to see what the 34-year-old still has.
  72. Tarvaris Jackson, Quarterback: A competent backup with starting experience, Jackson has performed well in the preseason the last couple years.
  73. Robert McClain, Cornerback: Struggled in 2014 but was solid in 2013 and very good as a slot corner in 2012. Still young enough that it’s not out of the question for him to get back to what we saw in 2012.
  74. Danny Gorrer, Cornerback: Played for both the Baltimore Ravens and Detroit Lions and looked solid for both. Not likely to be a full time starter, but someone who can help out as a depth signing.
  75. Paul McQuistan, Guard: Struggled in limited action in 2014, but has shown solid stints at guard in the past so still has something to offer.

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  • Tyler Ferree

    I think you want pass blocker not pass rusher in Roos’ description.

    And I’d say the Jets would be a good landing spot for McPhee, last i checked calling Bowles creative is like calling the sky blue.

    • a57se

      McPhee wouldn’t break the Jets starting line-up…why would he go there???

      • Tyler Ferree

        He actually plays the edge in the ravens base 3-4 (when he gets snaps in base) he moves inside for Nickel and Dime looks.

        • a57se

          The Jets already have plenty of guys who do that…

          • Tyler Ferree

            Pace and Babin are both part time players (in Pace’s case this is at best) and beyond them its really just Couples who doesn’t exactly fill 2 starting spots.

      • Tim Edell

        McPhee is better then Coples, Pace, and Babin all put together

        • a57se

          You must be McPhees’ cousin or agent.

      • Rick S.

        McPhee is really good, and benefits from the “what if he was a full time player” argument. He will get paid, and deserves to be paid. The players mentioned are all good. It seems that there are a glut of quality OLB/edge rushers in the league right now.

  • Randy0101

    Where’s Gostkowski? No kicker love!

    • Riffle,Rod&Fly

      KICKER!? Did somebody say KICKER!?

    • bmbc1310

      Best kicker in the league. Clutch kicker. Kicks well in bad weather.

    • Ed Sanchez

      Correct me if I wrong, but Gostkowski isn’t a FA because NE tagged him

      • Randy0101

        When I wrote this, he wasn’t tagged yet. But yes he is currently tagged.

  • Nick

    Where would Revis be?

    • a57se

      Under contract in NE?

  • Malachi

    hey, a virgil green sighting, well deserved. that kid could flourish given an oppurtunity (hopefully in denver, bigger and faster than julius thomas at the 2011 combine

    • Rick S.

      If Virgil Green stays in Denver, he will be a breakout star. He’s developed into a great blocker, but was known as a receiving TE in college and is very fast. He has (almost) Vernon Davis type potential. He should be affordable. Elway needs to get this done before free agency…

  • Kramer

    James Carpenter?

  • davathon

    Devon McCourty at #2? Pretty weak FA class.

  • Frederik Rosenquist


  • Jbonez

    C.J. Mosley is not a free agent.

  • Namik

    Rodney Hudson, Jaabal Sheard and Andre Johnson already signed teams.