NFL Free Agency March Madness: Top Players Available Ranked

Dec 14, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) fumbles the ball as he's hit by New York Giants defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins (95) during the fourth quarter of a game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

A ton of players are still available, but who’s actually best? NFL free agency March Madness continues with the bracket of best remaining free agents.

In honor of March Madness and the NCAA Tournament, we’ve broken out some mini brackets this week to find the best (blank) of NFL Free Agency. Tuesday, we went March Madness on the top 16 free agent signings of the NFL offseason thus far. Wednesday, we determined which NFL team made the best deal of the offseason. Can we can come to some sort of agreement on today’s bracket: ranking the best players still available.

Two brothers from New York,Dan Salem and Todd Salem, discuss NFL Free Agency March Madness in today’s NFL Sports Debate.

We have reached the final bracket of our NFL March Madness week. After looking at the best free-agent signings and taking into account all offseason moves, we wrap things up with what’s left. Today’s bracket ranks the Best Remaining Free Agents on the market (as of 3/16/17) Note: Jared Cook has since signed with the Oakland Raiders.

Elite Eight

1. Johnathan HankinsDT, 25 years old >>
8. Colin KaepernickQB, 29 years old

Todd Salem picks Hankins: It’s amazing the fall he has taken, but I don’t see Kaepernick as a surefire starting quarterback in this league. He can battle for a job, but that’s about it.

Dan Salem picks Hankins: I’m actually much higher on Kaepernick than you, but he’s still a high upside backup for most teams not in rebuild mode. Hankins probably can’t be the star, but he’s a stellar defensive lineman none the less.

4. Zach BrownLB, 27 years old
5. Adrian PetersonRB, 31 years old >>

Todd picks Peterson: I’m not sold on Brown as an elite every-down linebacker after one good season. Peterson has a large body of work to count on, even if he may be finished as a top back.

Dan picks Peterson: We’ve been surprised before at how well Peterson rebounds from adversity, so I’m in the camp that believes he’ll do it one more time. The Vikings fell on their faces last season, so I’m willing to excuse his performance.

3. Sam ShieldsDB, 29 years old
6. LeGarrette BlountRB, 30 years old

Todd picks Shields: Shields has injury concerns, but we have never seen Blount succeed anywhere outside of New England. For whatever reason, he fits in that system but fails elsewhere. I don’t want to bet on that trend changing all of a sudden.

Dan picks Blount: I really like how Blount thrived in New England last year, and I can think of several other teams with a similar offensive makeup. Shields scares me just a little bit more.

2. Jared CookTE, 29 years old
7. Jay CutlerQB, 33 years old >>

Todd picks Cutler: Cook, to me, feels like a product of the Green Bay offense with Aaron Rodgers. All his previous stops he was a massive disappointment. Did he turn his career around at 29 years old or simply play with the best quarterback possible? I know this is controversial, but I’m still on the Cutler bandwagon. Quarterbacks with his arm talent don’t come around very often.

Dan picks Cutler: I don’t value free agent tight ends that much, because the ones that linger all feel interchangeable. Plus the 2017 draft is full of tight end talent. Cutler is a turnover machine, but he is also a really good quarterback.

Final Four

1. Hankins >> vs. 5. Peterson

Todd picks Hankins: Last year is incredibly worrisome for Peterson. He barely saw the field, and when he played, he was terrible. How can he be counted on as a legitimate back moving forward? Those days may be done. I’d rather have the known entity of a young, talented defensive tackle.

Dan picks Hankins: I want to pick Peterson really bad, mainly because I don’t agree with you. But high level defensive lineman are a hot commodity, so the only thing keeping Hankins on the market is a high asking price.

3. Shields vs. 7. Cutler  OR  6. Blount vs. 7. Cutler

Todd picks Cutler: Sam Shields couldn’t get on the field in 2016. He was Green Bay’s best defensive back and they released him. There were two misdemeanor drug charges, but it feels like the concussions are really what caused the Packers to bail. That should worry any future team.

Dan picks Cutler: I can only assume that Cutler is seriously considering retirement, or is asking for a ton of money, because he should have been picked up by now. Despite one turnover a game, he has excelled. A healthy Tony Romo is better, but Romo is not currently available.


1. Hankins vs. 7. Cutler

Todd picks Cutler: Hankins feels just a bit overrated this offseason, coming from that elite defensive line in New York last year. Did he break out or just play alongside three Pro Bowlers? Meanwhile, if you removed his name and just gave teams a breakdown of his successes and failures, half the league would be interested in Cutler. His name feels poisoned, but his game still plays. That is the difference. Someone should get past the off-field stuff and give the guy a chance to throw the ball.

Dan picks Hankins: I think Hankins can have a bigger impact on more teams, plus he’s younger with more upside. Cutler only has a couple of suitors and none are keen on overpaying for him. He may have solid numbers, but I also question his desire to lead an offense, especially for what will amount to a bad football team.

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