2017 NFL Free Agency: Possible Landing Spots for Top Players

2017 NFL free agency has arrived and teams are ready to spend. Here are where five of the top available players could land this offseason.

Defense rules the 2017 NFL free agency class. There aren’t a lot top offensive guys becoming available that move the needle a great deal. What’s more, those that will likely won’t be allowed to really test the market by their current teams.

However, there are still needle-movers on both sides of the ball that should ultimately be able to make an impact right away wherever they sign. For the purpose of this post, we’ll look at five such players and where they could possibly enlist their services for the 2017 NFL season—and beyond.

Starting with Melvin Ingram of the Los Angeles Chargers, here are the possible landing spots for five of the top free agents in the 2017 class.

Melvin Ingram San Diego Chargers

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Melvin Ingram

Ingram has spent his first five seasons in the league with the then San Diego Chargers. Though his career started rough, he has developed into a solid pass rusher. One of his best attributes is his ability to know when a quarterback is about to throw and to get his hands up, logging 11 pass deflections over two seasons. He has also logged eight-plus sacks in each of the past two seasons giving him a high price tag for 2017.

Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons were able to get tremendous pressure on Tom Brady during the first three quarters of Super Bowl 51. Then the wheels came off. They need a veteran leader who hasn’t passed his prime along that front. Ingram could be a piece that leads them back to the promise land.

Indianapolis Colts: The Colts desperately need some pass rushers and, with new general manager Chris Ballard at the helm, they should know where to focus their efforts. The past three seasons have been more about getting Andrew Luck overused weapons rather than building a solid team. Ballard won’t make those same mistakes.

Los Angeles Chargers: The Chargers were a successful team when both Ingram and Joey Bosa were on the field. If healthy, this can be a playoff team, but that is a pretty big if. Ingram may want to move on if the Chargers don’t give him a hefty paycheck.

Eric Berry Kansas City Chiefs

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Eric Berry

While in Kansas City, Berry has proven himself worth whatever he demands. He has an uncanny ability to be all over the field and make the plays that win games. Berry had one of his better seasons in 2016, tying his best interception total with four and scampering for a couple of touchdowns. He will command a high price from any team that might be interested.

Kansas City Chiefs: Berry is a favorite in Kansas City and he has stated that he wants to remain a Chief. He has also stated that he will not play under the franchise tag should the Chiefs want to use it. That means it’s a long-term deal or nothing.

Washington Redskins: The Redskins are in desperate need of some secondary help and a ball-hawking safety may be on their list. Berry can provide a team with a lot of inspiration and leadership. Get him on the same defense as Josh Norman, and suddenly Washington looks like it can challenge Dallas.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Buccaneers are just a few players away from the playoffs. They proved it last year with some big wins. Berry is the hard-hitting safety that they need to lead their defense. He can step up in the box when needed and bait quarterbacks when deep.

Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy (27) follows a block by guard T.J. Lang (70) in the first quarter during the game against the Oakland Raiders at Lambeau Field.

Aug 18, 2016; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy (27) follows a block by guard T.J. Lang (70) in the first quarter during the game against the Oakland Raiders at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

TJ Lang

Lang offers any team a guard that can dominate in pass protection. If an offensive line consistently allows pressure up the middle, Lang could immediately make that team better. Pro Football Focus (subscription required) had him rated as the eighth best guard in 2016, allowing no hits or sacks on Aaron Rodgers.

Green Bay Packers: The Packers will be hard pressed to let Lang go. Their offensive line is consistently one of the best in the league at pass protection. Aaron Rodgers is their best commodity and protecting him is high priority. Lang may not be going anywhere.

Indianapolis Colts: Surprisingly enough, the Colts have a solid left side on their offensive line. However, when the other side is as weak as the Colts’, then it won’t matter much. Lang would allow one of the better quarterbacks in the league time to work. That time could mean the difference between an AFC South championship and another disappointing season.

Houston Texans: It’s more than obvious by now that the Texans made a terrible decision by paying Brock Osweiler as much as they did. Signing Lang would be much better. It might even make Osweiler serviceable as Houston has the kind of defense that can win playoff games as long as the offense doesn’t get in the way.

Dec 27, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell (93) pursues Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) during the first half at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 27, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell (93) pursues Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) during the first half at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Calais Campbell

Calais Campbell is one of the older free agents on this list, but that shouldn’t scare a lot of people away. Campbell can still make a major impact on any defensive front. He is another one of those guys that gets consistent pressure whether rushing up the middle or around the edge. His run defense has also stayed at a high level since he became a starter in 2009.

Detroit Lions: It was very evident in the playoffs that the Lions could not stop the run. They had relied on heroic efforts from Matthew Stafford all season, but teams found that they could rack up the yardage on the defense. Campbell would help free up outside pass rusher Ziggy Ansah and allow other linebackers to tackle running backs.

Carolina Panthers: The Panthers already have a good defensive line, but may not be able to keep one of their best free agents. With the possible loss of Kawann Short, the Panthers will be in the market for another defensive lineman. His age may keep his price a little lower than Short’s with no dropoff in talent.

San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers are a mess on the defensive side of the ball. It all starts with the amount of rushing yards they give up every game. Campbell can help to plug the leaky front seven and force opposing offenses to work a little harder. It may not be a move to win a lot of games, but it would be a start.

Jason Pierre-Paul

Sep 18, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (90) celebrates a sack of New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Jason Pierre-Paul

Jason Pierre-Paul may still be trying to adjust to his accident from 2015. As a pass rusher who uses his hands to shed blockers, Pierre-Paul is finding it difficult with the loss of fingers on his right hand. He may never get back to his high sack totals from 2012, but he is young enough to adapt to his situation and get back to form.

Dallas Cowboys: Nothing pleases Jerry Jones more than stealing guys away from division rivals. This would be quite sweet for Dallas, especially since it was the Giants that managed to beat the Cowboys at full strength twice. Pierre-Paul would give the Cowboys what they have been missing most on defense: an impact pass rusher. After the debacle of Greg Hardy, they could use someone who will actually get on the field.

Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars defense doesn’t have a lot of holes in stopping the pass. They finished fifth in pass defense, but 19th in sacks. With their coverage ability, they could become a much scarier defense if they can get a couple of pass rushers. JPP fits the bill.

Cleveland Browns: Cleveland is in desperate need of upgrading their ends on both sides of the defensive line. Neither current starter gets much of a push in either the run or passing game. Pierre-Paul would be able to stay as a true 4-3 defensive end in Cleveland’s system, which would be one less thing to adjust to.

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