Value Grading Notable 2017 NFL Free Agents

Value Grading Notable 2017 NFL Free Agents
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With the 2017 NFL regular season now nearly half complete, we'll take a look back at the free agent season that was. We've identified all free agent contracts of at least $2M from each team, assessing a "Value Level" for each based on $ vs. production. Green is excellent, yellow is average, and red is of course below average. Players with a white rating were injured to start the year, released, or retired. Keep the conversation going @spotrac

 

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The Cardinals made no real splashes in free agency, signing around $34M in contracts with just $7.7M of those guaranteed. The biggest loser of the list may be the 2 year $6M contract for K Phil Dawson who's made just 66% of his field goals in 7 weeks. 
Value
LEVEL
Player Pos. Age Contract Avg. Salary
Antoine Bethea SS 33 3 $12,750,000 $4,250,000
Phil Dawson K 42 2 $6,000,000 $3,000,000
Jarvis Jones OLB 28 1 $2,250,000 $2,250,000
Andy Lee P 35 2 $2,000,000 $1,000,000
Tramon Williams CB 34 1 $2,000,000 $2,000,000
The Falcons spent the majority of their offseason dollars on paying in-house players. Most of their notable free agent contracts went to depth players TE Levine Toilolo (3 years $12M) & DE Jack Crawford (3 years $8.8M). Neither hold much risk, especially into next season.
Value
LEVEL
Player Pos. Age Contract Avg. Salary
Levine Toilolo TE 26 3 $12,000,000 $4,000,000
Jack Crawford DE 29 3 $8,800,000 $2,933,333
Dontari Poe DT 27 1 $8,000,000 $8,000,000
Kemal Ishmael SS 26 1 $2,000,000 $2,000,000
The Ravens made plenty of free agent noise in 2017, signing a combined $162.5M in contracts, $74M of which are guaranteed. A bit of bad luck has made this class a bit of a disaster thus far, as injuries to RB Danny Woodhead, & WR Jeremy Maclin have taken them out of favor, while a very slow start from SS Tony Jefferson has him near the bottom of the ratings.
Value
LEVEL
Player Pos. Age Contract Avg. Salary
Brandon Williams DT 28 5 $52,250,000 $10,450,000
Tony Jefferson SS 25 4 $34,000,000 $8,500,000
Brandon Carr CB 31 4 $23,500,000 $5,875,000
Austin Howard RT 30 3 $15,025,000 $5,008,333
Jeremy Maclin WR 29 2 $11,000,000 $5,500,000
Danny Woodhead RB 32 3 $8,800,000 $2,933,333
Lardarius Webb CB 32 3 $6,300,000 $2,100,000
Anthony Levine ILB 30 3 $4,200,000 $1,400,000
Jeremy Zuttah C 31 2 $3,600,000 $1,800,000
The Bills signed a little over $95M in contracts this free agent period, 40% of which are guaranteed - and appear to have landed one of the best free agent classes in all of football, as Hyde, Poyer, Hauschka, DiMarco, Alexander, Mills, & Ducasse have all had major starting impacts thus far. The lone swing and miss was the sudden retirement of Boldin, who could have really helped this team.
VALUE
LEVEL
Player Pos. Age Contract Avg. Salary
Micah Hyde SS 26 5 $30,500,000 $6,100,000
Jordan Poyer FS 26 4 $13,000,000 $3,250,000
Steven Hauschka K 32 3 $8,850,000 $2,950,000
Patrick DiMarco FB 28 4 $8,400,000 $2,100,000
Lorenzo Alexander OLB 34 2 $5,950,000 $2,975,000
Andre Holmes WR 29 3 $5,150,000 $1,716,667
Jordan Mills RT 26 2 $3,800,000 $1,900,000
Vladimir Ducasse G 30 3 $3,500,000 $1,166,667
Anquan Boldin WR 37 1 $2,750,000 $2,750,000
Ryan Davis DE 28 2 $2,200,000 $1,100,000
The Panthers pumped in just under $100M in free agent signings this summer, a little less than half of which are guaranteed. Most of this was allocated to OT Matt Kalil, who's had a terrible start in Carolina. Of the list here, Adams and Peppers have put forth the most value thus far. 
VALUE LEVEL Player Pos. Age Contract Avg. Salary
Matt Kalil LT 28 5 $55,500,000 $11,100,000
Captain Munnerlyn CB 29 4 $17,000,000 $4,250,000
Russell Shepard WR 27 3 $10,000,000 $3,333,333
Mike Adams SS 36 2 $4,200,000 $2,100,000
Julius Peppers DE 37 1 $3,500,000 $3,500,000
Kyle Love DT 30 2 $2,260,000 $1,130,000
It's fairly safe to say the Bears free agent class is in line to be a huge swing and a miss, starting with arguably the worst NFL signing of the year in QB Mike Glennon. In total, Chicago signed $133M in contracts, $60M of which is guaranteed. CB Prince Amukamara may be the lone bright spot at this point.
VALUE LEVEL Player Pos. Age Contract Avg. Salary
Mike Glennon QB 27 3 $45,000,000 $15,000,000
Dion Sims TE 26 3 $18,000,000 $6,000,000
Marcus Cooper CB 27 3 $16,000,000 $5,333,333
Quintin Demps SS 32 3 $13,500,000 $4,500,000
Markus Wheaton WR 26 2 $11,000,000 $5,500,000
Prince Amukamara CB 28 1 $7,000,000 $7,000,000
Victor Cruz WR 30 1 $2,468,750 $2,468,750
Mark Sanchez QB 30 1 $2,000,000 $2,000,000
Kendall Wright WR 27 1 $2,000,000 $2,000,000
The Bengals saw much of their offensive line (and then some) jump ship this free agency, and they did nearly nothing in terms of signing fresh blood back. In total, Cincy added $11.1M in free agent contracts, $4.1M of which are guaranteed.
VALUE LEVEL Player Pos. Age Contract Avg. Salary
Kevin Minter ILB 26 1 $4,250,000 $4,250,000
Andre Smith G 30 1 $3,250,000 $3,250,000
On paper, this looked like an excellent free agent class, and for the most part the Browns are better because of it. Cleveland added $116M in contracts this offseason, $60.5M of which is guaranteed.  McCourty, & Zeitler have been oustanding upVALUE LEVELs for the Browns, while WR Kenny Britt is in the running for the bust of the year.
VALUE LEVEL Player Pos. Age Contract Avg. Salary
Kevin Zeitler G 27 5 $60,000,000 $12,000,000
Kenny Britt WR 29 4 $32,500,000 $8,125,000
J.C. Tretter C 26 3 $16,750,000 $5,583,333
Jason McCourty CB 30 2 $6,000,000 $3,000,000
Dallas didn't have much to work with this March, having to extend a few players in-house and take on a sizeable hit to release Tony Romo, but it's still safe to say this wasn't an effective free agent class. Carroll & Paea are no longer with the team, and Williams is barely a Top 100 WR in the league thus far. 
VALUE LEVEL Player Pos. Age Contract Avg. Salary
Terrance Williams WR 28 4 $17,000,000 $4,250,000
Nolan Carroll CB 30 3 $10,000,000 $3,333,333
Byron Bell RT 28 1 $2,000,000 $2,000,000
Stephen Paea DT 29 1 $2,000,000 $2,000,000
The Broncos as a team are off to a rough start in 2017, but their free agent class actually appears to be formidable. Denver added $71M in free agent signings, half of which are guaranteed. Leary has been an excellent addition to the O-Line, while Peko has been much the same on the D-Line.
VALUE LEVEL Player Pos. Age Contract Avg. Salary
Ron Leary G 28 4 $36,000,000 $9,000,000
Menelik Watson RT 28 3 $18,375,000 $6,125,000
Domata Peko DT 32 2 $7,500,000 $3,750,000
Zach Kerr DE 27 2 $3,250,000 $1,625,000
Jamaal Charles RB 30 1 $2,500,000 $2,500,000
Before signing Stafford to his monster extension, Detroit added a few notable free agents to his O-Line this spring. Wagner & Lang have been by far the Lions' best linemen, while the defensive additions have been OK. In total, Detroit signed $105M in free agent contracts, $50M of which are guaranteed.
VALUE LEVEL Player Pos. Age Contract Avg. Salary
Ricky Wagner RT 28 5 $47,500,000 $9,500,000
T.J. Lang G 30 3 $28,500,000 $9,500,000
Akeem Spence DT 25 3 $9,000,000 $3,000,000
Cornelius Washington DE 28 2 $5,825,000 $2,912,500
D.J. Hayden CB 27 1 $3,750,000 $3,750,000
Paul Worrilow OLB 27 1 $3,000,000 $3,000,000
Green Bay spent the majority of its free agent dollars upgrading the TE position, but have seen little return on investment.House & Evans have both been formidable in their respective roles.The annually quiet Packers signed $40M in contracts, just $12M of which is guaranteed.
VALUE LEVEL Player Pos. Age Contract Avg. Salary
Martellus Bennett TE 30 3 $21,000,000 $7,000,000
Lance Kendricks TE 29 2 $4,000,000 $2,000,000
Ahmad Brooks OLB 33 1 $3,500,000 $3,500,000
Davon House CB 28 1 $2,800,000 $2,800,000
Jahri Evans G 34 1 $2,250,000 $2,250,000
Ricky Jean Francois DT 30 1 $2,000,000 $2,000,000
After signing over $140M in 2016 contracts, Houston dialed things back this offseason, adding just $17M in free agent deals this summer ($4.7M guaranteed). Gilchrist has been fantastic.
VALUE LEVEL Player Pos. Age Contract Avg. Salary
Ryan Griffin TE 27 3 $9,000,000 $3,000,000
Marcus Gilchrist SS 28 1 $3,000,000 $3,000,000
Breno Giacomini RT 32 1 $2,750,000 $2,750,000
Indy made a valiant effort ($92M in signings, $41.5M guaranteed) to get better through free agency this year, and for the most part were successful in doing so. Hankins, Sheard, & Simon have all been solid defensive additions.
VALUE LEVEL Player Pos. Age Contract Avg. Salary
Johnathan Hankins DT 25 3 $27,000,000 $9,000,000
Jabaal Sheard OLB 28 3 $25,500,000 $8,500,000
John Simon OLB 27 3 $13,500,000 $4,500,000
Margus Hunt DT 30 2 $4,100,000 $2,050,000
Al Woods DT 30 2 $4,000,000 $2,000,000
Jeff Locke P 28 2 $3,450,000 $1,725,000
Darius Butler CB 31 1 $3,000,000 $3,000,000
Robert Turbin RB 27 2 $2,700,000 $1,350,000
Kamar Aiken WR 28 1 $2,600,000 $2,600,000
Sean Spence ILB 27 1 $2,500,000 $2,500,000
Barkevious Mingo OLB 27 1 $2,000,000 $2,000,000
Bouye was one of the top free agents available, and the Jaguars paid him as such. He, along with Campbell & Church have combined for a major defensive upVALUE LEVEL in 2017. Jacksonville has penned free agent contracts totalling $575M in the past 3 years, and appear to be moving forward quickly.
VALUE LEVEL Player Pos. Age Contract Avg. Salary
A.J. Bouye CB 26 5 $67,500,000 $13,500,000
Calais Campbell DE 31 4 $60,000,000 $15,000,000
Barry Church SS 29 4 $26,000,000 $6,500,000
Earl Watford RT 27 2 $5,000,000 $2,500,000
Stefan Charles DT 29 2 $4,000,000 $2,000,000
Mychal Rivera TE 27 2 $3,250,000 $1,625,000
Audie Cole ILB 28 2 $2,600,000 $1,300,000
Lerentee McCray OLB 27 1 $2,000,000 $2,000,000
The Chiefs had a number of major in-house players to extend in order to keep the ship together, leaving them pennies to work with come free agency. They spent a total of $15.1M, $8.2M of which is guaranteed.
VALUE LEVEL Player Pos. Age Contract Avg. Salary
Bennie Logan DT 27 1 $8,000,000 $8,000,000
Roy Miller DT 30 1 $1,400,000 $1,400,000
86% of the $61M in free agent contract the Chargers signed this summer went to OT Russell Okung, who has been a formidable replacement to King Dunlap.
VALUE LEVEL Player Pos. Age Contract Avg. Salary
Russell Okung LT 30 4 $53,000,000 $13,250,000
Damion Square DT 28 2 $4,000,000 $2,000,000
The Rams surprised a few this summer with nearly $92M in free agent signings, $41M of which are guaranteed, but the spending has paid off on the field. Whitworth is one of the highest rated OT in football, while Webster , Zuerlein, and Woods have all been effective in their own right.
VALUE LEVEL Player Pos. Age Contract Avg. Salary
Robert Woods WR 25 5 $34,000,000 $6,800,000
Andrew Whitworth LT 35 3 $33,750,000 $11,250,000
Kayvon Webster CB 26 2 $7,750,000 $3,875,000
Greg Zuerlein K 29 3 $6,750,000 $2,250,000
Connor Barwin OLB 31 1 $3,500,000 $3,500,000
The Dolphins were set to have a quiet free agency period until QB Ryan Tannehill was lost of the year in camp. Despite an off-field issue Timmons has been a big upVALUE LEVEL to the center of the defense. However the rest of this class has either under-produced, or been injured.
VALUE LEVEL Player Pos. Age Contract Avg. Salary
Lawrence Timmons ILB 31 2 $12,000,000 $6,000,000
Jay Cutler QB 34 1 $10,000,000 $10,000,000
Ted Larsen G 30 3 $5,650,000 $1,883,333
Nate Allen FS 29 1 $3,400,000 $3,400,000
Jermon Bushrod G 33 1 $3,000,000 $3,000,000
Anthony Fasano TE 33 1 $2,750,000 $2,750,000
Minnesota added $111M in free agent contracts this summer, $48M of which are guaranteed, and most of which went to new OT Riley Reiff. He and Remmers have both been fairly solid to start the year, but the winner of this class appears to be QB Case Keenum, who has kept the Vikings afloat despite injuries.
VALUE LEVEL Player Pos. Age Contract Avg. Salary
Riley Reiff LT 28 5 $58,750,000 $11,750,000
Mike Remmers RT 28 5 $30,000,000 $6,000,000
Latavius Murray RB 26 3 $15,000,000 $5,000,000
Terence Newman CB 39 1 $3,250,000 $3,250,000
Case Keenum QB 29 1 $2,000,000 $2,000,000
The Patriots did a very un-Patriots-like thing this spring in signing CB Stephon Gilmore to a "max-contract". Tack on a fairly hefty extension for LB Hightower and New England ended up spending over $124M in 2017 free agency - $100M more than they did in 2016. Gilmore, Hightower, and Burkhead are all battling injuries, while Harris hasn't settled into a role yet.
VALUE LEVEL Player Pos. Age Contract Avg. Salary
Stephon Gilmore CB 27 5 $65,000,000 $13,000,000
Dont'a Hightower OLB 27 4 $35,500,000 $8,875,000
Lawrence Guy DE 27 4 $13,400,000 $3,350,000
David Harris ILB 33 2 $5,000,000 $2,500,000
Rex Burkhead RB 27 1 $3,150,000 $3,150,000
The Saints spent $126M in free agency (5th most), and are getting quality snaps from the majority of the names on this list. Okafor appears to be the best value of the class early on.
VALUE LEVEL Player Pos. Age Contract Avg. Salary
Larry Warford G 26 4 $34,000,000 $8,500,000
Nick Fairley DT 29 4 $28,000,000 $7,000,000
A.J. Klein ILB 26 4 $24,000,000 $6,000,000
Ted Ginn Jr. WR 32 3 $11,000,000 $3,666,667
Adrian Peterson RB 32 2 $7,000,000 $3,500,000
Manti Te'o ILB 26 2 $5,000,000 $2,500,000
Alex Okafor DE 26 1 $2,000,000 $2,000,000
The Giants dialed back their free agent spending this year ($41.5M/$17M guaranteed), choosing to allocate resources elsewhere on what appeared to be a team ready to contend. That hasn't been the case obviously and most of these signings appear to be busts.
VALUE LEVEL Player Pos. Age Contract Avg. Salary
Rhett Ellison TE 29 4 $18,000,000 $4,500,000
Brandon Marshall WR 33 2 $11,000,000 $5,500,000
Keenan Robinson OLB 28 1 $3,000,000 $3,000,000
D.J. Fluker G 26 1 $3,000,000 $3,000,000
Geno Smith QB 27 1 $1,200,000 $1,200,000
Josh Johnson QB 31 2 $1,015,000 $507,500
Shaun Draughn RB 29 1 $1,000,000 $1,000,000
The Jets did a lot more removing than adding this summer, but do appear to have found some value in their free agent class ($58M, $25M guaranteed). McCown has been above average on a modest salary, and Beachum has been a more than respectable option protecting his blindside.
VALUE LEVEL Player Pos. Age Contract Avg. Salary
Kelvin Beachum LT 27 3 $24,000,000 $8,000,000
Benjamin Ijalana RT 28 2 $10,250,000 $5,125,000
Josh McCown QB 38 1 $6,000,000 $6,000,000
Morris Claiborne CB 27 1 $5,000,000 $5,000,000
Josh Martin OLB 25 2 $3,800,000 $1,900,000
The Raiders had (and still have) plenty of in-house talent to extend, keeping their free agency resources at bay ($27.6M, $11M guaranteed). TE Jared Cook, their most notable signing has become a nice weapon for Carr and the offense.
VALUE LEVEL Player Pos. Age Contract Avg. Salary
Jared Cook TE 30 2 $10,600,000 $5,300,000
Cordarrelle Patterson WR 26 2 $8,500,000 $4,250,000
Marshall Newhouse RT 29 2 $3,500,000 $1,750,000
Navorro Bowman ILB 29 1 $2,000,000 $2,000,000
The best team in football heading into Week 8 had a very active offseason across the board. Their two largest free agent contracts in Smith & Foles barely find the field, but Jeffery is in line to be a great value on his 1 year "show me" deal, and Long is excellent depth at his price.
VALUE LEVEL Player Pos. Age Contract Avg. Salary
Torrey Smith WR 28 3 $15,000,000 $5,000,000
Nick Foles QB 28 2 $11,000,000 $5,500,000
Alshon Jeffery WR 27 1 $9,500,000 $9,500,000
Stefen Wisniewski C 28 3 $8,025,000 $2,675,000
Chris Long DE 32 2 $4,500,000 $2,250,000
63% of the $43M spent by the Steelers in free agency went to long-time Browns' CB Joe Haden, who has continued his success in Pittsburgh. The rest of this class is underwhelming at best.
VALUE LEVEL Player Pos. Age Contract Avg. Salary
Joe Haden CB 28 3 $27,000,000 $9,000,000
Tyson Alualu DE 30 2 $6,000,000 $3,000,000
Landry Jones QB 28 2 $4,400,000 $2,200,000
Coty Sensabaugh CB 28 2 $2,600,000 $1,300,000
David Johnson TE 30 2 $2,050,000 $1,025,000
After just $17M in free agent signings back in 2016, the 49ers spent $166M in 2017 (3rd most), $67M of which is guaranteed. Garcon & Goodwin have both been upVALUE LEVELs at the WR position, Malcolm Smith hit the IR, and the rest of this class leaves a lot to be desired thus far.
VALUE LEVEL Player Pos. Age Contract Avg. Salary
Pierre Garcon WR 31 5 $47,500,000 $9,500,000
Malcolm Smith OLB 28 5 $26,500,000 $5,300,000
Kyle Juszczyk FB 26 4 $21,000,000 $5,250,000
Earl Mitchell DT 30 4 $16,000,000 $4,000,000
Brian Hoyer QB 32 2 $12,000,000 $6,000,000
Elvis Dumervil OLB 33 2 $8,000,000 $4,000,000
Marquise Goodwin WR 26 2 $6,000,000 $3,000,000
Dekoda Watson OLB 29 3 $5,100,000 $1,700,000
Matt Barkley QB 27 2 $4,000,000 $2,000,000
Aldrick Robinson WR 29 2 $4,000,000 $2,000,000
Robbie Gould K 35 2 $4,000,000 $2,000,000
The Seahawks signed 26 free agents for a total of $29.6M in contracts, $13.8M of which is guaranteed. Joeckel's $8M was meant to solidify the left side of the O-Line, but injury has kept him from helping in this regard. Lacy has been used when needed, but his career continues to trend downward.
VALUE LEVEL Player Pos. Age Contract Avg. Salary
Luke Joeckel G 25 1 $8,000,000 $8,000,000
Eddie Lacy RB 26 1 $4,250,000 $4,250,000
Neiko Thorpe CB 27 2 $3,500,000 $1,750,000
Many thought this free agent class would be the one to put the Bucs back in serious contention. While the wins aren't there yet, this is a fun team to watch. Jackson adds an outstanding weapon with Mike Evans, and Baker has been a nice depth addition to the D-Line, but the rest of this class has underachieved in 7 weeks. The Bucs spent $88M in free agent contracts, $45M of which is guaranteed.
VALUE LEVEL Player Pos. Age Contract Avg. Salary
DeSean Jackson WR 30 3 $33,500,000 $11,166,667
Chris Baker DT 30 3 $15,750,000 $5,250,000
J.J. Wilcox FS 28 2 $6,250,000 $3,125,000
Joe Hawley C 29 2 $5,500,000 $2,750,000
Josh Robinson CB 26 2 $5,000,000 $2,500,000
Christopher Conte FS 28 2 $5,000,000 $2,500,000
T.J. Ward SS 30 1 $4,000,000 $4,000,000
Jacquizz Rodgers RB 27 2 $3,300,000 $1,650,000
Ryan Fitzpatrick QB 34 1 $3,000,000 $3,000,000
Tennessee nearly doubled their free agent spending from 2016 to 2017, totaling $100M this past summer ($42M guaranteed). The return on investment hasn't been great thus far, as Cyprien and Williams can't find the field. Ryan and Klug have each been decent in their respective roles, with Ryan appearing to be a bit overpriced.
VALUE LEVEL Player Pos. Age Contract Avg. Salary
Logan Ryan CB 26 3 $30,000,000 $10,000,000
John Cyprien SS 27 4 $25,000,000 $6,250,000
Sylvester Williams DT 28 3 $17,500,000 $5,833,333
Karl Klug DT 29 2 $5,000,000 $2,500,000
Brynden Trawick SS 28 2 $4,750,000 $2,375,000
Eric Decker WR 30 1 $4,000,000 $4,000,000
Phillip Supernaw TE 27 2 $3,000,000 $1,500,000
Erik Walden OLB 32 1 $2,750,000 $2,750,000
Eric Weems WR 32 2 $2,600,000 $1,300,000
Nate Palmer ILB 28 2 $2,300,000 $1,150,000
The Redskins dialed back their free agent spending this year, compiling $72M across 15 signings. The most productive of the class appears to be Zach Brown, who will continue be a great value at just $2.3M.
VALUE
LEVEL
Player Pos. Age Contract Avg. Salary
Stacy McGee DT 27 5 $25,000,000 $5,000,000
Terrell McClain DE 29 4 $21,000,000 $5,250,000
D.J. Swearinger SS 26 3 $13,500,000 $4,500,000
Terrelle Pryor WR 28 1 $6,000,000 $6,000,000
Evander Hood DE 30 2 $2,700,000 $1,350,000
Zach Brown ILB 28 1 $2,300,000 $2,300,000
 
Team Free Agency Rankings



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