The NFL and Gregg Rosenthall have published their top 101 NFL free agents for 2015 with some interesting results.
First on the list is Ndamukong Suh, the defensive tackle from Detroit. While it is no surprise that he is towards the top of this list, you would think that even though he is a world class athlete and has done great things for Detroit, that the on-field issues for Suh would send him further down the list than the first spot. Especially considering that guys like Dez Bryant, Justin Houston, DeMarco Murray, and Demaryius Thomas are included on this list.
As mentioned above, the top tier consists of Justin Houston, Dez Bryant, Demaryius Thomas, Jason Pierre-Paul, Devin McCourty, Julius Thomas, Randall Cobb and DeMarco Murray. Obviously, this list is chock full of star talent at a variety of positions and all of those players will be massive free agent hauls if any of them actually hit the market. The ones to really pay attention to will be the receivers as the Ravens have their very Torrey Smith somewhere on this list and contract negotiations between the upper end of this list and Smith will be crucial to determine his market value.
After the first tier come the "impact starters". These are the guys that might not be stars, but they perform well and are still expected to pull in the big dollars. Since we were just talking about Torrey Smith, it is interesting to see that he shows up as number 14 on this list ahead of guys like Jeremy Maclin, Michael Crabtree, and Cecil Shorts; all guys that the Ravens could follow up with if they lose out on Smith's talents this offseason.
Speed kills. Smith has averaged nearly 17 yards per catch for his career and regularly draws long pass interference penalties. Just don't expect him to be a true No. 1 receiver.>
If you are a Ravens fan then you aren't going to be shocked by this revelation, but if you don't follow the Ravens as closely you might be asking who this guy is. Pernell McPhee is listed at number 16 on this list and has solid feedback about him.
He can rush standing up from the outside or play defensive tackle. But plenty of defenders have struggled away from Baltimore.
Oh how true that really is. Many defenders leaving Baltimore never live up to the expectations that their contracts say they should have. Recently are guys like Paul Kruger and Jarrett Johnson, who were good with the next teams they played with, but nothing like the large to massive contracts they got. McPhee could be the next in that lineup unless the Ravens are able to pull out a miracle and retain him.
The next and last Raven on the list goes all the way down to number 58 and the third tier of players. Just in Forsett is up next after his brilliant resurgent season with the Ravens. Again, the notes on him are pinpoint perfect which is why the Ravens will be making Forsett a priority in free agency.
Don't expect a big contract after Forsett's big season, but he's a nice fit for any team running zone blocking.
Now of course, this list will change as players are released. Just today the Ravens released Chris Canty and he should show up somewhere on this list for his abilities. With Haloti Ngata also a candidate for release due to his salary, it would be expected to see him somewhere in the top 30 if he were to hit the market.
There are a few players down the list that the Ravens could be interested in due to some of their issues. First on my list is Jermaine Gresham, the tight end with the Cincinnati Bengals. Even though he hasn't been exactly the player the Bengals expected him to be, in the right type of offense, he could flourish if he stays healthy for a Raven team that is still unsure if Pitta comes back or is even the same player if he can. He's still young and a huge matchup problem at 6-foot-five and 260 pounds with a 4.66 second 40-yard time and would fit in perfectly with the strong armed Joe Flacco at quarterback.
The Ravens also have a pretty large hole in their secondary in terms of depth. With Jimmy Smith going down on IR for the year due to his foot and Lardarius Webb not quite returning to form, the Ravens just kept getting hit with the injury bug. Even though Ozzie Newsome has said that they aren't panicking about their corner situation, expect the Ravens to make at least one move for a veteran player that will add depth and can start if necessary. Guys like Antonio Cromartie, Tramon Williams, Chris Culliver and Brandon Flowers could have their names surface with the Ravens as free agency heats up.
It is worth noting that there are some Raven players that didn't pop up on the list despite pretty solid seasons. Jacoby Jones, Owen Daniels, and Will Hill come to mind as players that might not be great players but all have things they do well and can be quite good if put in the right situation. That is especially the case since Michael Vick is the last person on this list and we all know how he couldn't fully beat out Gino Smith for the starting job for the Jets.