With the offseason getting underway and free agency set to begin in a few weeks, there are plenty of moves to be made. The Giants have already begun making key roster cuts to open up cap space, while others are re-signing their own players before they can hit the open market.
To gear you up for free agency, which begins on March 9 when the new league year starts, we pegged the biggest free agent for every NFL team. Some are bigger names than others, but all 32 teams will have decisions to make in the coming weeks.
Arizona Cardinals: Chandler Jones, OLB
The Cardinals have already made it clear Chandler Jones is going to get slapped with the franchise tag, meaning he won’t hit free agency. Bruce Arians said it and so did team president Michael Bidwell. If he were on the open market, he would be paid handily, likely in the range of Olivier Vernon’s five-year, $85 million deal.
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Atlanta Falcons: Patrick DiMarco, FB
The Falcons don’t have many needs on their current roster, and that’s even more apparent when looking at their pending free agents. Patrick DiMarco, a fullback, is the biggest name of them all, which is telling of how strong they are going forward. This one will come down to numbers, but Falcons should be able to get a deal done.
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Baltimore Ravens: Ricky Wagner, OT
The Ravens have two key free agents in Ricky Wagner and Kamar Aiken, but it’s the offensive tackle that should be a higher priority. He’s a solid right tackle and one who will receive big money on the open market – especially being just 27 years old.
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Buffalo Bills: Stephon Gilmore, CB
Stephon Gilmore has said publicly that he’s open to leaving Buffalo if the Bills don’t want to pay him like a top cornerback. He’ll be one of the top corners in free agency and is certain to land a lucrative contract – be it from the Bills or another team. Tyrod Taylor’s future with the team could directly impact Gilmore’s. (If the Bills pick up Taylor's option and make him their franchise quarterback, it will put them up against the cap and potentially prevent them from keeping Gilmore long-term.)
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Carolina Panthers: Kawann Short, DT
This is an obvious pick considering how impactful Kawann Short is. He’s almost guaranteed to receive the franchise tag from the Panthers, keeping him in Carolina for at least one more season. He deserves to be paid accordingly with a long-term deal.
Chicago Bears: Alshon Jeffery, WR
Alshon Jeffery is the biggest name at wide receiver in this year’s free agent class, which is a problem for the Bears. He’s going to receive a handful of substantial offers on the open market, which the Bears will probably be reluctant to match. Look for him to leave Chicago.
Cincinnati Bengals: Andrew Whitworth, LT
The Bengals have a few key decisions to make regarding Andrew Whitworth, Dre Kirkpatrick and Kevin Zeitler. They’ll likely bring back at least one of the “Big 3” with Whitworth being the best value. He’s a talented left tackle who’s on the tail end of his career, which means a short-term deal could be in the cards.
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Cleveland Browns: Terrelle Pryor, WR
Jamie Collins would have gotten the nod here if the Browns hadn’t already re-signed him, but alas, Terrelle Pryor is the biggest free agent in Cleveland. Considering how much cap space the Browns have, don’t expect to see Pryor make it to free agency. He’ll be back in Cleveland next season.
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Dallas Cowboys: Terrance Williams, WR
Half of the Cowboys’ secondary is set to hit free agency, as are starting left guard Ronald Leary and wideout Terrance Williams. Leary is as good as gone, while Williams still has a chance to return. It’s not likely after looking at the contracts Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu received last offseason, but perhaps the Cowboys will bring him back.
Denver Broncos: DeMarcus Ware, OLB
With Shane Ray, the Broncos have a viable replacement for the oft-injured linebacker, but DeMarcus Ware can still get after the quarterback. It would be a good move for the Broncos if they can bring him back on a cheap one- or two-year deal.
Detroit Lions: Riley Reiff, OT
Riley Reiff moved to right tackle this season, and he played relatively well for the Lions. He’ll market himself as a left tackle on the open market with the goal of landing a big contract, which he deserves. A team like the Vikings or Giants could take a look if the Lions don’t bring him back.
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Green Bay Packers: Nick Perry, OLB
Nick Perry joins T.J. Lang and Eddie Lacy as the team’s big free agents, but he’s going to land the most lucrative contract of the bunch. Perry turned in a terrific 2016 season, recording a career-high 11 sacks. Just about every team can use a pass rusher like Perry, so the line for his services will grow come March.
Houston Texans: A.J. Bouye, CB
A.J. Bouye could quietly become the most coveted free agent on the market, which is surprising to some people. For those who saw the Texans play this season, it’s clear why that could be the case. He’s quickly becoming an elite corner who’s more than just a nickel defender.
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Indianapolis Colts: Erik Walden, OLB
Erik Walden broke out in 2016 with 11 sacks after entering the season with just 21 in his career. He’s not on the top tier of pass rushers given his age, but Walden should be someone the Colts try to re-sign – especially with their lack of playmakers on defense.
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Jacksonville Jaguars: Johnathan Cyprien, S
This one was between Johnathan Cyprien and Prince Amukamara, both of whom had great seasons in 2016. Ultimately, Cyprien will be the higher priority because the Jaguars already have one great corner in Jalen Ramsey, and it’s difficult to find consistent play at safety. It’s essentially a toss-up, but both should be priorities for the Jaguars to try and keep.
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Kansas City Chiefs: Eric Berry, S
The Chiefs also have Dontari Poe heading to free agency, but Eric Berry was a legitimate Defensive Player of the Year candidate in 2016. He got the franchise tag last offseason, and while he’ll likely get it again, he’s said he won’t play on it a second time. The Chiefs certainly want him. This will be the most interesting situation to watch.
Los Angeles Chargers: Melvin Ingram, OLB
Melvin Ingram has emerged as a strong pass-rushing threat off the edge. He has size, speed and quickness to turn the corner around tackles, which is why he’ll be so coveted on the open market. With Gus Bradley taking over the Chargers’ defense, the team has to decide if he’s a good fit.
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Los Angeles Rams: Trumaine Johnson, CB
For the second straight year, Trumaine Johnson will be a free agent. And for the second straight year, the Rams are somewhat unlikely to sign him long-term. He’s a prototypical cornerback with great size and good ball skills, which will make him a priority on the open market.
Miami Dolphins: Kenny Stills, WR
The Dolphins don’t have many key free agents this offseason, but one that should generate some interest is Kenny Stills. He had a good rapport with Ryan Tannehill last season and if the Dolphins can keep him in the mix with DeVante Parker and Jarvis Landry, they’ll have a good unit.
Minnesota Vikings: Matt Kalil, OT
It’s not saying much when your biggest free agent is a left tackle who’s struggled mightily, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing for the Vikings. Cordarrelle Patterson and right tackle Andre Smith are also free agents, but Kalil will likely drum up the most interest as a left tackle.
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New England Patriots: Dont'a Hightower, LB
Dont'a Hightower is one of a slew of free agents the Patriots have this offseason, but he’s the biggest of the bunch. An elite linebacker, the Patriots won’t let him get away and hit free agency, where a bidding war will break out. He’ll likely get the franchise tag if Martellus Bennett doesn’t.
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New Orleans Saints: Nick Fairley, DT
The Saints reportedly want to bring back Nick Fairley, who had a good bounce-back year in New Orleans this season. For a defense that has been far from good for years, the Saints would be wise to bring back their big defensive tackle for another year. It’s just a matter of making the money work.
New York Giants: Jason Pierre-Paul, DE
The Giants revamped their defense last season by spending big on Olivier Vernon, Janoris Jenkins and Damon Harrison. Can they afford to keep Jason Pierre-Paul now, too? Probably, and they’d like to, but it won’t do them any favors with the salary cap down the line.
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New York Jets: Brian Winters, G
Brian Winters was one of the Jets’ most consistent linemen this season and should be their top priority for an extension. With Ryan Clady now gone, they can’t afford to lose too many pieces up front on a line that already struggled greatly in 2016.
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Oakland Raiders: Latavius Murray, RB
It’s been reported that the Raiders won’t bring back Latavius Murray, who’s been a good back for them in recent years. There may not be much out there as far as replacements go, but one particular star could be released by a certain team playing in Minnesota. Perhaps that’s who the Raiders have their eyes set on.
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Philadelphia Eagles: Bennie Logan, DT
Bennie Logan is a good complement to Fletcher Cox, clogging up running lanes in Jim Schwartz’s defense. He’s not going to be cheap to retain and the franchise tag isn’t likely, but he’s a key piece of the defense and would be a valuable player to retain.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Le’Veon Bell, RB
Yes, Le’Veon Bell is a free agent. No, he’s not going anywhere. The Steelers are going to franchise tag him and try to work out an extension to keep him in Pittsburgh long-term. Markus Wheaton and Lawrence Timmons are also free agents, both of whom can be key contributors.
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San Francisco 49ers: Jeremy Kerley, WR
The 49ers were not good last season, fielding arguably the worst roster in the NFL. Jeremy Kerley was a pleasant surprise for them, though, and for a team thin at wide receiver, he would be a good player to re-sign.
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Seattle Seahawks: Tony McDaniel, DT
Tony McDaniel doesn’t get much recognition on a defensive line that boasts Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett and Frank Clark, but he’s solid against the run and can close running lanes up the middle. Seahawks love their defense and should try to keep him around.
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Tampa Bay Buccaneers: William Gholston, DE
You probably haven’t heard much about William Gholston, but he’s a 25-year-old pass rusher who’s bound to generate some interest in free agency. He’s not a top-tier guy, but at his age with his potential, he’s going to get plenty of looks if the Bucs let him walk.
Tennessee Titans: Kendall Wright, WR
Kendall Wright had his issues this season with a lack of production and missing team meetings, so it’s unclear if the Titans will want him back. They don’t have many playmakers at wide receiver, though, which could be an issue if he hits free agency.
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Washington Redskins: Kirk Cousins, QB
Kirk Cousins is arguably the biggest free agent of the offseason, and while there’s not a good chance he leaves Washington, it could happen. The franchise tag is likely coming for a second straight year, but that shouldn't be a major problem -- Cousins has said he's "not afraid" to play under the tag again.