10 best offensive players about to hit free agency

RB Doug Martin is set to hit free agency at the end of the season, along with these nine other offensive stars.

| 12 months ago
(AP Photo/Steve Nesius)

(AP Photo/Steve Nesius)

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.

  • chris

    Forte…?

    • Mike Riley

      This is only looking at the top 10 rated offensive players that will hit free agency. Forte may not be in the top 10 per PFF rankings although I’ve seen players not make their weekly top 10 even w/ higher scores.

      • Tim Edell

        Huh?!?!!

        • Mike Riley

          It means they likely pulled this list from their asses.

    • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

      pretty old for a running back, but damn i love that dude. borderline hall of fame statistics actually, probably held back by lack of team success tho

      • anon76returns

        Old? He won’t be 30 for like another 65 minutes!

        • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

          haha!

  • anon76returns

    Climb that ladder, Evan Mathis! Just yesterday in the “best FA signings” article he was only carrying an 85.6 player grade (https://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2015/12/08/pro-10-best-free-agent-signings-through-week-13/), but in less than 24 hours he’s popped up to an 88.2, with no football played in the intervening time! That’s what I call progress!

    I’m guessing sales of the “Player Grades” option are low enough that PFF writers no longer fear readers double-checking their work. Incidentally, the only way to avoid this level of commenting snark is to bring back the premium stats for us peons.

    • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

      lol! best. comment. ever.

      • crosseyedlemon

        Actually his comment makes no sense. If he thinks the grades are bogus and made up on the fly why would he care about premium stats? Wouldn’t they be just as bogus?

        • anon76returns

          Where did I say I thought the grades were bogus? And there was a lot more in the premium stats than just the grades.

        • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

          more appreciative of the articulation and use of ‘peons’ than the point itself, tbh

    • crosseyedlemon

      When reading an explanation of the grading procedure I seem to recall that the initial grades are analyzed by a second team of graders to see if corrections may be required. That could explain the adjustment that anon is making reference to.

      • anon76returns

        That could potentially explain it. But imagine what you’re talking about: Mathis has played 737 snaps on the year, with 69 (9.4%) of those coming Sunday vs. the Chargers. For those 69 plays to account for a change in his season total grade from 85.6 to 88.2 would require a monumental shift. And we’re not just talking about every snap he played turning out well, we’re talking every snap he played needing to be revised to a better grade, which seems very improbable, unless the 1st grader was completely biased against Mathis (simple incompetence wouldn’t explain it).

        • Jonathan Seidman

          exactly…

        • crosseyedlemon

          A shift from 85.6 to 88.2 is only an increase of 3.03% according to my calculations which is hardly monumental. Even if your 69 snap count is used there wouldn’t have to be much adjustment to achieve that 3%. There is a subjective aspect to grading and even the best graders can be biased on occasions as you mentioned.

          • anon76returns

            It’s a bit difficult since PFF’s new conversion to a “0 to 100 scale” is so opaque, but let’s look at it this way: Mathis had earned an 85.6 on 737 snaps, for an average of 0.116 per snap. The suggestion is that a re-grading of 69 snaps improved his standing by 2.6, meaning that the re-grade would have to average 0.037 on every single play. If only 1/4 of the plays were incorrectly graded the first time, then that would have meant that each of 17 plays was off by 0.150 grading points, or more than Mathis’ average grade throughout the season. That would indeed be monumental. Back when peons used to be able to view the “actual” (non 0-100 scale) per week grade, I used to watch for the Monday-> Wednesday regrades, and I never saw an adjustment approaching that magnitude.

            Maybe my assumptions on how the new, 0-100 “player grades” are calculated are off (i.e. maybe they heavily weight towards recent performance), but that would just highlight how opaque and incomprehensible the player grades are. But in all likelihood (IMO) what happened between the two reported grades is that the authors were just lazy, and one reported something like Mathis’ grade with or without penalties, or one of the articles was written in a different week or something. Once again the point is that nobody really knows or cares because the 0-100 scale grade is so opaque and meaningless that nobody bats an eye at a 3 point shift on consecutive days with no football played in between.

          • crosseyedlemon

            Your suggestion that different graders could be working with different sets of metrics or weighing them with a lack of uniformity makes sense. It is far from an exact science which tends to frustrate many readers here.

    • Johnny Rotten

      Because it takes so long so evaluate every single player in every single play in every single game, it sometimes takes a couple of days to update the latest grades. If you see a player grade after a game it might be from the prior game. The article you’re talking about most likely stated the old grade before the recent update.

      • anon76returns

        Nope. Player grades are reported the next day, in an article titled “team xxx-team yyy grades”. You’ll see one up for the Min-AZ game later today, and every Monday you see 12-14 such articles. They are revised, usually two times, in the ensuing days, but as I explained to crosseyedlemon, revision wouldn’t be near enough to explain the change in grades absent some extraordinary circumstances.

    • McGeorge

      Nice catch!

    • Prince Kosmic

      You are right my friend. It would take regrading upwards of 3-4 games to account for the increase

  • crosseyedlemon

    After making a huge contractual commitment to Cutler it’s hard to imagine Chicago letting Jeffery get away but I’ve seen the Bear’s front office shoot themselves in the foot enough times in the past not to take anything for granted.

    • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

      they were trying to protect themselves with the kevin white draft pick, but their confidence in that move has surely waned

      • crosseyedlemon

        White may yet turn out to be a contributor but Cutler will need more than one prime target to have any chance of being worth what they paid him.

        • https://twitter.com/MALACHiOFCOURSE Malachi

          yea, coach gase (assuming he doesn’t leave) has really turned jay around it seems tho

          • WICKED

            Cutler wont be on the team next season.

  • Brandon

    I hope Mathis reunites vs Reid in Kc. Our oline would be solid with fisher,Grubbs,Morse,Mathis and whoever at RT.

  • Must’ve forgotten about forte. And crabtree’s been extended for 4 years.

  • Mike Bridges

    Crabtree just resigned with the Raiders for 4 years.

  • Matt

    Now cross out #10 baby!!!

  • Josh Stewart

    I bet the Rams make an offer for 0 of these lineman…even though they only have 1 NFL caliber offensive lineman.

    • Ashy Larry….

      Pretty much they never make a splash in free agency every since fisher came or before that…

  • ejt14211