Ranking the Top Pending 2018 NFL Free Agents

A definitive look at the best players who could be available during 2018 NFL Free Agency.

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Yes, we’re only halfway through the 2017 NFL season. At the same time, a few of those unspectacular teams (looking at you, Cleveland Browns) are starting to look towards the future. Even then, all teams have to be wary of what next offseason may hold for them, from the bottom-of-the-barrel clubs to the true contenders. It’s part of the business of professional football.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the top pending free agents scheduled be available during 2018 NFL Free Agency. Although it’s no guarantee any of these players will actually hit the open market due to re-signing or the franchise tag, it’s a distinct possibility at this moment.

20. Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
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The first of many receivers on this list, Allen Robinson would likely be higher if it weren’t for a torn ACL suffered during the first game of the 2017 season. The Jacksonville Jaguars‘ top target has been a revelation, using his size and athleticism to dominate cornerbacks. Imagine the damage he could do if he were catching passes from someone better than Blake Bortles.

19. Vontae Davis, CB, Indianapolis Colts
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Let’s be honest — Vontae Davis isn’t exactly an elite talent right now. He’s been injured far too often in recent seasons, and is having a down year with a subpar Indianapolis Colts team. Still, he’s shown tremendous talent in coverage in the past and is one of the best among a free agency class that doesn’t boast a ton of cornerback talent. Davis should get plenty of looks come March.

18. Star Lotulelei, DT, Carolina Panthers
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Somehow, Star Lotulelei seems to get lost in the Carolina Panthers‘ outstanding defense. Maybe that’s because he’s surrounded by stars like Kawaan Short, Thomas Davis and Luke Kuechly. Either way, he’s still an outstanding every-down defensive tackle who can stuff the run and still make an impact as a pass rusher. Someone will be happy to pay Lotulelei big bucks next offseason.

17. Tyler Eifert, TE, Cincinnati Bengals
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Who? I know — it seems like Tyler Eifert has gotten lost over the years due to a myriad of injuries. However, when healthy, he’s one of the most explosive playmakers at the tight end position in the NFL. Especially considering his injury history, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cincinnati Bengals let him walk in 2018. If he can prove he’s back to full strength, someone will scoop him up.

16. Jarvis Landry, WR, Miami Dolphins
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It’s crazy how deep the 2018 free agency class is at wide receiver. Next up is Jarvis Landry, who figures to garner serious interest if he hits the market come March. He’s a dynamic receiver who excels at creating yards after the catch. The Miami Dolphins may not have the cap space to keep him around at the price he’s likely to demand, so don’t be surprised if he signs elsewhere in 2018.

15. Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers
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Yet another receiver to keep an eye on for those teams in desperate need of help in the passing department. Davante Adams has quietly emerged as one of the big-time playmakers of the Green Bay Packers offense. Especially since he can often be overshadowed at times by Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, you can be certain he’d relish the opportunity to become a No. 1 receiver elsewhere.

14. Demarcus Lawrence, DE, Dallas Cowboys
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Demarcus Lawrence may not be as established as some of the other big names on this list, but he’s quickly proving in 2017 that he’s one of the best edge rushers in the NFL. Through six games, he’s already racked up 9.5 sacks for the Dallas Cowboys. If he can stay out of trouble, Lawrence will be one of the game’s elite defensive ends within a couple of years.

13. Terrelle Pryor, WR, Washington Redskins
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It’s not often the transition from quarterback to wide receiver works out as well as it has for Terrelle Pryor. Although he’s still not perfect when it comes to playing his new position, he’s proven that making the switch is possible if you work hard enough for it. The Washington Redskins believed in his potential, and someone else likely will too next offseason when he signs another lucrative contract.

12. Glover Quin, FS, Detroit Lions
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I’m sure some of you are probably wondering who Glover Quin even is. It’s a fair question considering he plays one of the NFL’s most underappreciated positions for one of the NFL’s most overlooked teams. For the last few years, Quin has quietly made his mark as one of the league’s top safeties and is doing more of the same this season for the Detroit Lions.

11. Nate Solder, OT, New England Patriots
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Honestly, I find it very hard to imagine the New England Patriots letting Nate Solder walk. At the same time, Bill Belichick isn’t exactly a fan of re-signing his players to massive deals. It’s the reason Chandler Jones and Jamie Collins were traded, and a certain cornerback has been shopped. Still, Tom Brady will likely do everything in his power to keep his outstanding blindside blocker off the market.

10. Jimmy Graham, TE, Seattle Seahawks
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Jimmy Graham hasn’t lived up to the hype since landing with the Seattle Seahawks back in 2015. Although he’s had some monster performances and made a sizable impact, the uber-athletic tight end hasn’t been the game-changer Russell Wilson needs. Still, there will be some team willing to give him another look based on his physical traits, past production and overall talent. Maybe a change of scenery would do Graham some good.

9. Alshon Jeffery, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
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Yet again, Alshon Jeffery is failing to match the 2014 campaign that made him a household name. He was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles to be their star receiver, but is actually third on the team in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. Despite that, Jeffery will be a hot commodity during free agency for the same reasons Graham will be — size, athleticism and past production. Hopefully he can turn it on in the second half of the season and prove he isn’t completely overrated.

8. Trumaine Johnson, CB, Los Angeles Rams
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For the last year or so, the Los Angeles Rams have been searching far and wide for a trade partner for Trumaine Johnson. They obviously haven’t found one yet, and may be forced to let him walk after two straight years of franchise tags. Johnson isn’t the greatest cornerback out there, but is Top 10 talent who can help upgrade just about any NFL defense if given the opportunity.

7. Ezekiel Ansah, DE, Detroit Lions
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Defensive ends are at a premium these days, and good ones with a proven track record almost always garner serious attention on the open market. Right now, the top name set to be a free agent in 2018 is Ezekiel Ansah, a 2013 first-round pick for the Detroit Lions. So why is he only at No. 7? Injuries that limited his effectiveness in 2016 will worry some potential buyers, but his production otherwise can’t be questioned.

6. Sam Bradford, QB, Minnesota Vikings
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I know, right? Why on Earth would anyone put Sam Bradford this high? Well, because he’s actually proven to be an outstanding quarterback during his brief time with the Minnesota Vikings. There’s the whole injury situation which will leave any potential teams scared to invest significant money in his knees. However, if he can get healthy between now and March, Bradford will give some club a quality starter under center.

5. Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, New England Patriots
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Yes, another quarterback with a questionable background. Although, contrary to Bradford, it’s Jimmy Garoppolo‘s inexperience that makes him a big question mark heading into 2018. In his four seasons with the New England Patriots, Garoppolo has started twice and thrown less than 100 passes. Despite that, he’s seen as the heir apparent to Tom Brady — if the Patriots can keep him. It’ll likely cost them the franchise tag, which may be too steep a price to convince him to stay in Boston.

4. Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints
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A few years ago, Drew Brees easily would have been atop this list. And while he’s still a highly effective gunslinger for the New Orleans Saints, his 38 years of age would likely worry anyone thinking about spending millions on the future Hall of Famer. Still, as we’ve seen this season, Brees isn’t ready to let his age get the best of him. He’s putting together another terrific campaign, which should convince the Saints to keep him off the market.

3. Malcolm Butler, CB, New England Patriots
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For some reason, people tend to question Malcolm Butler‘s talents as an All-Pro caliber cornerback. His public perception is often attributed to his big play during the Super Bowl, but he’s so much more than that. It may not seem that way this season with the Patriots’ pathetic pass defense, but Butler has been his usual shutdown, opportunistic self. Seeing as New England is unlikely to re-sign him, he’ll be a hot commodity come March.

2. Kirk Cousins, QB, Washington Redskins
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Easily the best quarterback set to hit the market in 2018, it’s more than likely that Kirk Cousins actually becomes available after the Washington Redskins have twice slapped him with the franchise tag. The two sides appear at odds, with this season being what should be the final before their inevitable divorce. The San Francisco 49ers appear to be frontrunners, but it could be a bidding war for Cousins’ services come March.

1. Le'Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
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There’s no better player scheduled to be available in 2018 free agency than Le’Veon Bell, arguably the NFL’s best running back right now. The Pittsburgh Steelers, however, figure to keep him around one way or another, even if that means franchise tagging him for the second year in a row. More than likely, though, they’ll give him what he wants — a massive, multi-year contract that keeps him in the Steel City for the foreseeable future. If they don’t, it’ll be madness as other teams attempt to woo him.