Biggest upcoming free-agent decisions for every NFL team

NFL Nation reporters assess the top impending free-agent decisions for all 32 teams.

NFC East | NFC North | NFC South | NFC West
AFC East | AFC North| AFC South | AFC West


Dallas Cowboys

Guard Ronald Leary

The Cowboys have 15 players set to be unrestricted free agents, but none of them fall into the cornerstone of the future category. However, Leary fits that bill. The Cowboys have committed big money to offensive linemen Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick and have to do the same for Zack Martin. It's difficult to see them being able to come up with an offer better than what Leary will get on the open market. The Cowboys' biggest decision then could come down to Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne at cornerback. Carr has never missed a game in his career; Claiborne has never played a full season in his career but was having his best season before suffering a groin injury. It is possible both could be back, but it will be at the Cowboys' price. They will not go over budget. -- Todd Archer

New York Giants

Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul

Pierre-Paul returned to play at a Pro Bowl level (7.0 sacks and eight passes knocked down) before a core muscle injury ruined his regular season. Prior to the injury, Pierre-Paul proved he can be a dominant player, both against the run and pass. The Giants have been impressed with his play and attitude, and they should make an effort to re-sign him. The question is whether they can afford Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon, who got $52.5 million guaranteed last offseason, on that defensive line. -- Jordan Raanan

Philadelphia Eagles

Defensive tackle Bennie Logan

The Eagles have already committed north of $60 million in guarantees to fellow defensive tackle Fletcher Cox. Logan is likely to command a handsome payday in free agency, where numbers tend to get out of whack. That will make it tough for the Eagles to hold onto him, particularly given the needs they have at more critical positions. Executive VP of football operations Howie Roseman has said he "would love to keep Bennie around," to which Logan replied, "It's cool to say that and all, but there's got to be some action behind the talking." -- Tim McManus

Washington Redskins

Quarterback Kirk Cousins

The Redskins used the franchise tag on Cousins last offseason, wanting to see more than the "nine good games" they thought he played in 2015. Cousins has responded with another strong season, though general manager Scot McCloughan has made it clear he wants to be able to build a strong 53-man roster and not just focus on a couple of high-paid players. The Redskins have plenty of cap space (approximately $70 million) and could use the tag again at a cost of $24 million, which they know they might have to do. The better option is a long-term deal, but Cousins' side knows it once again has the leverage. -- John Keim


Chicago Bears

Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery

The Bears can apply the franchise tag to Jeffery again (over $17 million) or let him hit free agency. Jeffery, 26, is expected to explore other options if he reaches the open market, where he should find plenty of interested teams. Jeffery's numbers dipped the past two seasons -- largely because of injury and suspension -- but he remains an upper-echelon NFL receiver with a pair of 1,000-yard seasons on his résumé. Apart from Cameron Meredith, the Bears don't have much else at the position. And the team is projected to have plenty of available cap space in 2017. -- Jeff Dickerson

Detroit Lions

Offensive linemen Riley Reiff and Larry Warford

Both players on the right side of the Lions' offensive line are in the final year of their contracts. Reiff and Warford have played well enough that Detroit should consider keeping them, but they could command bigger money than the Lions are willing to pay on the outside market, particularly if Reiff believes teams will view him as more of a left tackle than a right tackle. Warford is an interesting case because he has played well this season, but if Detroit feels good about a combination of Laken Tomlinson, Joe Dahl and/or a draft pick, it might be a tough decision. -- Michael Rothstein

Green Bay Packers

Running back Eddie Lacy

Before this season, it seemed likely the Packers would move on from Lacy one way or the other. A big year, and they wouldn't want to pay top money for a running back. Another down year, and they wouldn't want him back. But his season-ending ankle injury actually makes it more likely that he will return on a short-term, prove-it contract. He was productive before the injury, averaging 5.1 yards per carry, but it probably won't be enough to draw high-priced interest on the open market. -- Rob Demovsky

Minnesota Vikings

Running back Adrian Peterson

Peterson's technically not a free agent, but the structure of his 2017 contract -- an $18 million team option with a $6 million roster bonus on the third day of the league year -- effectively means he'd need a new contract to return at age 32. The Vikings will likely ask him to restructure, but they'll have to decide how much guaranteed money to offer him as an incentive to do that. Meanwhile, Peterson will have to gauge whether it's worth returning to a team with a suspect offensive line or testing the market. -- Ben Goessling


Atlanta Falcons

Fullback Patrick DiMarco

DiMarco suddenly becomes arguably the top priority among the Falcons' unrestricted free agents, with right tackle Ryan Schraeder and cornerback Robert Alford already signed to long-term extensions during the season. DiMarco's lead blocking is a big reason why the Falcons have so much success in the running game. He made the Pro Bowl last season as an alternate and was named the first alternate this year, too. Wide receiver Taylor Gabriel would be mentioned first here because of the explosiveness his brings to the offense, but he is a restricted free agent. Still, the Falcons should keep both players around for years to come with the significant roles they could play in a high-powered offense. -- Vaughn McClure

Carolina Panthers

Defensive tackle Kawann Short

The Panthers tried to sign the Pro Bowl defensive tackle during the offseason and couldn't get a deal done. Short was looking to be paid in the $17 million-a-year range after leading the team in sacks (11) in 2015, and Carolina locked in around $15 million a year. Short's production dropped to six sacks this season, so perhaps his price tag also dropped. He's still considered a key cog moving forward, however. General manager Dave Gettleman can use the franchise tag on Short, but that will cost an estimated $16.9 million. Whether it's the tag or a new deal, look for something to get done, although Gettleman does have insurance in 2016 first-round pick Vernon Butler. -- David Newton

New Orleans Saints

Defensive tackle Nick Fairley

The Saints signed Fairley to a one-year, $3 million "prove-it" deal after he showed promise last season with the Rams. And Fairley certainly proved it. He has been a disruptive force up the middle for New Orleans' improving defense. He has 5.5 sacks, is tied for 17th in the NFL with 20 quarterback hits, and his attitude and effort have been praised. The only question is whether the former first-round draft pick, who struggled early with the Lions, will command a hefty long-term deal this time around. -- Mike Triplett

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Defensive end William Gholston

The Bucs don't have a big-name free agent in 2017, unlike last offseason, when running back Doug Martin was the team's priority. Gholston is the free agent who stands out the most. He not only showed he can stop the run, but he has shown he can rush the passer, too. When Gholston suffered an elbow injury against the Cowboys, you could feel the impact of that loss, and you could see it against the Saints during the following week. -- Jenna Laine


Arizona Cardinals

Outside linebacker Chandler Jones

The Cardinals traded for Jones in March to be the anchor and leader of their pass rush. And, for the most part, he has been what they've expected -- maybe more. For the Cardinals' pass rush to be a core component of their defense next season and beyond, they'll have to decide how much to spend to keep Jones. The pass-rush market was inflated last season by Olivier Vernon's $85 million contract with the Giants. Jones made $7.79 million this season. He needs a half-sack to hit double-digits sacks in back-to-back seasons. With a monstrous game against L.A. in the season finale, he could come close to hitting last season's total of 12.5. He's a young star, and the Cardinals need to decide if he's worth a mega deal. -- Josh Weinfuss

Los Angeles Rams

Wide receiver Kenny Britt

The 28-year-old picked a good time to have his first 1,000-yard receiving season. Now he'll enter a free-agent market highlighted by Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson at his position. The Rams severely lack talent at receiver and don't have a true vertical deep threat outside of Britt. They'll probably try to bring him back, regardless of who the general manager becomes. But they will not overpay. Jeffery and Jackson would be more appealing to them, and they also have needs elsewhere, especially along the offensive line. -- Alden Gonzalez

San Francisco 49ers

Figure out what to do at quarterback

The 49ers don't really have one player scheduled for free agency whom they absolutely must keep, but they do have a handful of difficult decisions at the game's most important position. Assuming Colin Kaepernick does as expected and opts out of his contract before the new league year, none of the four quarterbacks on the roster will be under contract for 2017. San Francisco obviously needs help at the position, but it would be awfully difficult to start over with an entirely new quarterback room. -- Nick Wagoner

Seattle Seahawks

Kicker Steven Hauschka

All 22 of the Seahawks' regular starters are under contract for 2017. Hauschka has been with the team for six years, but the kicking game has had issues this season (five missed extra points, two missed field goals under 30 yards). The top kickers in the game are making more than $4 million per year. The Seahawks could determine that money would be better spent elsewhere. At the same time, they don't want to go into next season with the kicking game being a major question mark. Pending 2017 free agents aside, the Seahawks have to decide what they're going to do with guys such as safety Kam Chancellor, defensive end Michael Bennett and tight end Jimmy Graham, who will be going into the final year of their contracts. -- Sheil Kapadia


Buffalo Bills

Cornerback Stephon Gilmore

The Bills' top cornerback made it clear in training camp that he saw himself as an elite cornerback and that he wanted to be paid like one. His play over the first half of the season hardly warranted a giant deal; Pro Football Focus ranked him 82nd at his position through Week 8. Gilmore has bounced back over the second half of the season but remains 63rd in PFF's rankings, so it would be a mistake for the Bills to assign him the franchise tag, worth approximately $14 million. The wisest move for the Bills is to let Gilmore test the open market, offer him a reasonable deal and look toward the 2017 draft for his replacement if Gilmore signs elsewhere. -- Mike Rodak

Miami Dolphins

Wide receiver Kenny Stills

The Dolphins don't have many big free agents after the season, but Stills will be an interesting case. He is Miami's biggest deep threat, averaging a team-high 18.0 yards per reception. He also leads all Miami receivers with eight touchdowns. That production may price Stills out of Miami, and the team will have to find another speedster or rely on rookie third-round pick Leonte Carroo in 2017. -- James Walker

New England Patriots

Tight end Martellus Bennett and linebacker Dont'a Hightower

The Patriots have two pretty big free agents. Bennett is particularly intriguing because of the tie-in with returning tight end Rob Gronkowski. Do the Patriots pay big bucks to retain Bennett, and if they do, how does that affect Gronkowski in terms of his contract status (he's due a reasonable $4.25 million base salary)? The Patriots had offered Bennett a one-year extension when they traded for him, but the sides couldn't come to an agreement. They are expected to try again this offseason. Regarding Hightower: There's mutual interest in an extension. He has emerged as a key leader who served as a captain for the first time in 2016. -- Mike Reiss

New York Jets

Guard Brian Winters

The Jets are lucky because they don't have many key free agents. Winters has developed into a solid starter, and the team will make an effort to keep him, depending on his price tag. He'll be coming off rotator-cuff surgery, which could affect his market. The only other notable free agents are quarterbacks Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith. There's an outside chance they will try to keep Smith, coming off knee surgery. It depends on how they fare in the QB market. -- Rich Cimini


Baltimore Ravens

Nose tackle Brandon Williams

Recent history says Williams won't be back. The Ravens have had trouble retaining non-first round picks such as wide receiver Torrey Smith, offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele and linebacker Pernell McPhee because they got paid a premium price by other teams when they hit the free-agent market. Could Williams be next? Whether Williams is re-signed depends on how much demand he receives in the open market and how much confidence the Ravens have in potential replacements: impressive, undrafted rookie Michael Pierce and 2015 third-round pick Carl Davis. -- Jamison Hensley

Cincinnati Bengals

Offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth

While cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick could also go here, Whitworth has become a critical re-signing. The Bengals spent first- and second-round picks on tackles Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher last season, and neither has proved they are capable of becoming full-time starters. The Bengals are going to be reluctant to give a long-term extension to a 35-year-old, but if they don't re-sign Whitworth to another one-year deal, their offensive line will be one giant question mark going into next season. -- Katherine Terrell

Cleveland Browns

Wide receiver Terrelle Pryor

The Browns gave Pryor a chance at receiver, and he responded with a good season (70 catches, 913 yards, 4 TDs). Now they must decide how much money they want to pay him before he hits free agency. Pryor has tremendous passion for the game and is an emotional player, and his work to make himself a receiver was remarkable in many ways. The Browns drafted four receivers in 2016, but none have his talent. -- Pat McManamon

Pittsburgh Steelers

Running back Le'Veon Bell

Talk about a contract year. The man just posted 1,884 total yards in 12 games. But starting back-to-back seasons on the NFL's suspended list for substance-abuse violations complicates Bell's free agency. The Steelers would be prudent to place the $12.4 million franchise tag on Bell for 2017, thus owning his rights and negotiating in earnest for a long-term deal. Bell's in a tough spot because he'll want to show loyalty to the team that drafted and supported him through tough times, but he's 24 years old and arguably the game's best running back, which won't result in a steep discount. -- Jeremy Fowler


Houston Texans

Cornerback A.J. Bouye

Bouye entered the season as the Texans' No. 4 cornerback, but he has played an important role this season on the league's second-ranked pass defense, due to an injury to Kevin Johnson. Bouye is an unrestricted free agent, and because the Texans already have money tied up with veteran cornerbacks Johnathan Joseph and Kareem Jackson, they may not have the flexibility to give Bouye the amount of money he will likely get offered on the open market. -- Sarah Barshop

Indianapolis Colts

Outside linebacker Erik Walden

Walden was the only consistent pass-rusher on a defense that hovered around the bottom of the league all season. The 31-year-old Walden has a career-high 10 sacks this season, while the next-closest player is Robert Mathis with only four. Linebacker is the weak link on an already weak defense. It won't be surprising if Mathis and Trent Cole, the team's two primary pass-rushing linebackers, are both gone next season, and D'Qwell Jackson has slowed down at the age of 32. Walden would be the veteran the Colts look upon while they get younger at the position. -- Mike Wells

Jacksonville Jaguars

Cornerback Prince Amukamara

The Jaguars signed Amukamara to a one-year deal, and he has been solid opposite rookie Jalen Ramsey. Amukamara had missed 13 games with the Giants in 2014-15, and the Jaguars wanted him to prove he could stay healthy before committing long term. He has missed just two games this season -- both in September -- and the Jaguars are interested in working out a longer deal to pair him with Ramsey. Things are on hold right now until the Jaguars hire a coach, but that should be done in a couple of weeks. -- Mike DiRocco

Tennessee Titans

Wide receiver Kendall Wright

While the Titans have 13 guys who've been contributors in 2016 with expiring contracts, none of their top players are on the list. Wright is the most notable player. Since he just got $7 million in an option season for minimal contribution, I expect both sides to look elsewhere. Defensive lineman Karl Klug, another free agent, is having a ruptured Achilles repaired Wednesday. He is just the type of unselfish guy the Titans love, but he's fourth on the depth chart and could find better playing time elsewhere. -- Paul Kuharsky


Denver Broncos

Outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware and offensive tackle Russell Okung

The Broncos have kept most of their attention in-house in free agency over the past two years, so their list of impending free agents is not that long. But two big decisions they face will be with Ware and Okung. Ware, now 34 and having missed 10 games combined in the past two seasons with injuries, is in the final year of his three-year contract he signed with the team in 2014. The Broncos have tried to regulate his snaps, and they covet his presence in the locker room. The decision will come down to whether Ware wants to continue to play and if the Broncos believe there is an on-field role for him. Okung has an option bonus due March 9 that kicks in four more years on his deal with cap figures between $11.2 million and $12.7 million in each season. He has struggled at times this season, and the Broncos could decide that's too much investment for the potential return. -- Jeff Legwold

Kansas City Chiefs

Safety Eric Berry

The Pro Bowl safety is far too vital for the Chiefs to let him leave via free agency. Berry is one of the best players at his position, and he's a strong voice in the team's locker room. If the sides can't reach an agreement on a long-term contract, look for the Chiefs to give Berry the franchise tag for the second straight year. -- Adam Teicher

Oakland Raiders

Quarterback Matt McGloin

Crazy, right? A week ago, McGloin would not have a passing thought here, but with Derek Carr breaking the fibula in his right leg and McGloin taking his place under center for the season finale and playoff run, the attention turns to the Red Rifle, who signed with the Raiders as an undrafted free agent in 2013. No doubt Carr is the face of the franchise, but what happens if McGloin takes the Raiders on a magic playoff ride? McGloin would command a bigger contract and, surely, expect to compete for the starting job next season, if not in Oakland then somewhere else in the NFL. And the Raiders did draft a quarterback this past spring in Connor Cook, so they would likely let McGloin walk. -- Paul Gutierrez

San Diego Chargers

Outside linebacker Melvin Ingram

The South Carolina product is second on the team in sacks (eight) this season after leading the team with 10.5 in 2015. Ingram, 27, is also one of San Diego's best run defenders, and he served as defensive co-captain this season. The Chargers will make re-signing Ingram a priority this offseason, pairing him with Joey Bosa to give San Diego a solid pass-rushing tandem in 2017. -- Eric D. Williams