2017 Free Agency Rankings: Bust vs Value

The annual overspending season is upon us. In a few short days we will have teams signing mega deals with big name free agents. Below is a ranking based on talent, with notes denoting one of two possible categories: VALUE, if I feel this player’s worth greatly exceeds his market value, or BUST, if I feel this player is overpriced relative to his true value. Finally, if a player has no label, then I believe he will earn a contract that is roughly equal his true worth.

 

Quarterbacks

Mike Glennon, Buccaneers: BUST

Partial game from 2016 vs. Atlanta:

Full game from 2014 vs. Minnesota:

Brian Hoyer, Bears: VALUE

Landry Jones, Steelers: VALUE

Colin Kaepernick, 49ers: BUST

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jets:

Nick Foles, Chiefs: BUST

EJ Manuel, Bills:

 

 

Matt Barkley, Bears:

Ryan Mallett, Ravens:

Geno Smith, Jets:

 

In my estimation, no free agent QB is worth investing in as a future starter. Avoid these quarterbacks at all costs. This includes Tyrod Taylor, if he becomes available. As a backup, Hoyer and Landry look to provide value.

(Note: Romo is likely to be released by the Cowboys and become the top free-agent option. The Bills have until March 11 to pick up the option on Tyrod Taylor’s contract. Declining to do so would make him a free agent)

 

Running backs

Eddie Lacy, Packers: VALUE

Adrian Peterson, Vikings: BUST

Jamaal Charles, Chiefs:

Rex Burkhead, Bengals: VALUE

Latavius Murray, Raiders: BUST

Christine Michael, Packers:

Darren McFadden, Cowboys:

LeGarrette Blount, Patriots:

Danny Woodhead, Chargers:

Rashad Jennings, Giants:

 

Someone is going to pay for the name of Adrian Peterson. Simply, he is not a fit for today’s NFL. He cannot run well out of the shotgun, which is the formation from which most teams play the majority of their snaps. Burkhead was underutilized in Cincinnati. Lacy could be a great find on a “prove it” deal.

 

Fullbacks

Kyle Juszczyk, Ravens:

Patrick DiMarco, Falcons:

 

Wide receivers

Alshon Jeffery, Bears:

Terrelle Pryor, Browns :VALUE

Desean Jackson, Redskins:

Robert Woods, Bills:

Kenny Britt, Rams: VALUE

Michael Floyd, Patriots: VALUE

Brandon Marshall, Jets:

Pierre Garcon, Redskins:

Kenny Stills, Dolphins: BUST

Torrey Smith, 49ers:

Josh Gordon, Browns: VALUE

Brian Quick, Rams: VALUE

Anquan Boldin, Lions:

Kamar Aiken, Ravens:

Marquess Wilson, Bears: VALUE

Kendall Wright, Titans:

Cordarelle Patterson, Vikings:

Brandon LaFell, Bengals: BUST

Justin Hunter, Bills:

Marquise Goodwin, Bills:

 

Russell Shepard, Buccaneers:

Victor Cruz, Giants:

 

Wide receiver is never the position to shell out for in free agency. There are almost always value players to be had. I believe Kenny Britt is the most obvious value in this year’s class. With absolutely awful QB play, he has played very well in Los Angeles. If I am the Bills, I am targeting guys like Quick, Britt, Marquess Wilson, and even Josh Gordon, if he is reinstated.

Tight ends

Martellus Bennett, Patriots:

Jack Doyle, Colts:

Luke Willson, Seahawks:

Jared Cook, Packers:

Jordan Cameron, Dolphins:

Ryan Griffin, Texans:

Chris Gragg, Bills: VALUE

Jacob Tamme, Falcons:

Vernon Davis, Redskins:

Jermaine Gresham, Cardinals: BUST

Dion Sims, Dolphins:

Gavin Escobar, Cowboys:

This year’s free agent tight end class is a lackluster group. Chris Gragg should be brought back, as he looked promising at the end of 2015/preseason 2016. I’m not signing any of these players, otherwise.

Offensive Tackles

Andrew Whitworth, Bengals:

Russell Okung, Broncos:

Ricky Wagner, Ravens:

Kelvin Beachum, Jaguars: VALUE

Matt Kalil, Vikings: VALUE

Riley Reiff, Lions: BUST

Sebastian, Vollmer: Patriots

Ryan Clady, Jets:

Rule #1 of free agency: buy low on former high picks on “prove it” deals. Kalil is the perfect example. He was the #4 overall pick in 2014. If Kalil is healthy, then he could prove to be an absolute low cost steal and potential long term RT. Beachum, 1 year removed from an ACL tear, is also a lower cost, buy low option. Most of these guys will be overpaid.

 

Interior Offensive Lineman

Kevin Zeitler, Bengals:

Nick Mangold, Jets:

T.J. Lang, Packers:

Larry Warford, Lions:

J.C. Tretter, Packers:

Mike Harris, Vikings: VALUE

Luke Joeckel, Jaguars: VALUE

Chance Warmack, Titans: VALUE

Evan Mathis, Cardinals:

Ronald Leary, Cowboys:

Joe Hawley, Buccaneers:

Jahri Evans, Saints:

John Sullivan, Redskins:

Not that the Bills need interior players, but there is a tremendous amount of value this year. Mike Harris, coming off of an illness, was excellent when healthy prior to this season. Joeckel and Warmack are, once again, low cost players with tons of talent.

 

EDGE Defenders

Nick Perry, Packers: BUST

Charles Johnson, Panthers:

Datone Jones, Packers: VALUE

Julius Peppers, Packers:

Jabaal Sheard, Patriots:

Demarcus Ware, Broncos:

Devin Taylor, Lions:

Damontre Moore, Seahawks: VALUE

Dwight Freeney, Falcons:

Mario Williams, Dolphins:

 

Lorenzo Alexander, Bills:

 

John Simon, Texans:

This pass rush group is very ho-hum. There are a lot of aging veterans with no true values in the group. Perry will not necessarily bust, but rather disappoint based on price tag.

 

Defensive Tackles

Calais Campbell, Cardinals:

 

Brandon Williams, Ravens:

 

Dontari Poe, Chiefs:

Dominique Easley, Rams: VALUE

Johnathan Hankins, Giants: VALUE

Bennie Logan, Eagles: VALUE

Nick Fairley, Saints:

Chris Baker, Redskins: BUST

Alan Branch, Patriots:

Karl Klug, Titans:

Sylvester Williams, Broncos: VALUE

Another group with a ton of value. Easley’s price would skyrocket if he could stay out of trouble. I will always take that chance. Logan and Hankins are rebound candidates. Sylvester Williams is the buy low/high talent guy in this group.

 

Linebackers

Dont’a Hightower, Patriots:

Zach Brown, Bills: BUST

Kevin Minter, Cardinals: VALUE

Jelani Jenkins, Dolphins: VALUE

Gerald Hodges, 49ers:

Sean Spence, Titans: VALUE

Rolando McClain, Cowboys: VALUE

Perry Riley, Raiders: BUST

Josh Bynes, Lions:

Paul Worrilow, Falcons:

This is a position I NEVER SPEND ON. It is highly replaceable, as average players are easy to find. Also, only the elite 3 down LBs make an important impact on defense, enough to truly spend on. You won’t find those here. Instead, spend on those guys who keep popping up as “buy lows,” such as Kevin Minter and Sean Spence. I always take chances on the drug guys, like Rolando McClain, who is a perfect candidate. Yes, Zach Brown is a bust candidate. He is simply too inconsistent for my liking, but I will grant you he fits very well in McDermott’s defense. He is a true 2017 type of football player who excels in pass defense.

Cornerbacks

A.J. Bouye, Texans:

Stephon Gilmore, Bills: BUST

 

Logan Ryan, Patriots:

Prince Amukamara, Jaguars: VALUE

Morris Claiborne, Cowboys: VALUE

Dre Kirkpatrick, Bengals:

Alterraun Verner, Buccaneers: VALUE

Captain Munnerlyn, Vikings:

Sam Shields, Packers: VALUE IF HEALTHY

Terence Newman, Vikings:

Justin Gilbert, Steelers: VALUE

DJ Hayden, Raiders: VALUE

Darrelle Revis, Jets:

Brandon Carr, Cowboys:

A lot like wide receiver, corner is arguably the most overpaid position in free agency, but this year has some great value options. There are a lot of players with talent who are looking to “prove it.” I am taking chances on guys like Gilbert and Hayden. Morris Claiborne is a guy I have always liked. If healthy, he is a shutdown CB. Verner is also a very good fit in the Bills’ defense.

 

Safeties

Jonathan Cyprien, Jaguars: VALUE

Tony Jefferson, Cardinals:

Barry Church, Cowboys: BUST

D.J. Swearinger, Cardinals: VALUE

Micah Hyde, Packers:

T.J. McDonald, Rams:

Jairus Byrd, Saints: VALUE

Jahleel Addae, Chargers:

Bradley McDougald, Buccaneers:

JJ Wilcox, Cowboys:

Matt Elam, Ravens: VALUE

Will Hill, Ravens: VALUE

In case you didn’t notice, I almost never prefer to pay in free agency. I prefer value players who are high on talent and motivation, but who have relatively low market value. Buying low is a practice I regularly participate in. Give me a first round pedigree like Matt Elam all day over an overachiever for one season, such as Barry Church.
With so many roster moves on the horizon, it will certainly be an exciting offseason to monitor!

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