After a busy negotiating weekend, more buzz, signings, and salary cap casualties were the theme of Monday. On Tuesday at 4PM ET, signings will begin in full force.
Rotoworld Football will have you covered and then some during the forthcoming NFL Free Agency period. Along with Nick Mensio, Adam Levitan, Pat Daugherty, Raymond Summerlin, and Jesse Pantuosco, I'll be constantly updating our Player News Page every day for the next several weeks.
We're not planning on getting much sleep.
This is my ranking of the NFL's Top 50 remaining free agents with projected landing spots. I'm trying to read tea leaves and guessing. Some players on this list have already "agreed to terms," which makes projecting their landing spots easy. Others have been linked to no teams at all. The objective of this column is to give you a feel for the best players available, where they might fit, and how much money they might cost. You're getting familiar with names, potential price tags, and possibilities.
1. Cornerback Darrelle Revis -- All was surprisingly quiet on the Revis front as of Monday night. He's the No. 1 free agent left, and it isn't particularly close. NFL reporters expect the Patriots and Jets to vie for Revis' services, with the Chiefs lurking as a darkhorse. My guess is Revis will use the latter two teams as leverage before resuming shutting down wideouts for the Super Bowl champs.
Free Agent Forecast: Patriots on a four-year, $60 million contract.
2. Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh -- Suh-to-Miami will become a done deal on Tuesday, solidifying a Dolphins defensive line that from left to right projects as LE Cameron Wake, DT Earl Mitchell, DT Suh, and RE Olivier Vernon. ESPN's Chris Mortensen broke this news over the weekend.
Free Agent Forecast: Dolphins on a six-year, $114 million contract.
3. Cornerback Byron Maxwell -- 6-foot and 202 pounds, Maxwell is a plus-sized press corner with experience guarding both the perimeter and slot. He has six interceptions over the past two seasons and is a former standout college special teamer with plus tackling ability. There were whispers of the Seahawks making a late push to re-sign Maxwell, but he's destined for cornerback-needy Philadelphia. Cary Williams is expected to replace Maxwell in Seattle.
Free Agent Forecast: Eagles on a six-year, $63 million contract.
4. Guard Mike Iupati -- A 6-foot-5, 331-pound mauling left guard, Iupati has had shaky moments in pass protection but was always a dominant run blocker in San Francisco. Beating out the Redskins and Jets, the Cardinals swooped in Monday evening and agreed to terms with Iupati. With quarterback Carson Palmer coming off his second career ACL tear at age 35, the Cardinals are going to have to play run-committed offense in 2015.
Free Agent Forecast: Cardinals on a six-year, $50 million contract.
5. Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin -- Maclin reportedly agreed to terms with the Chiefs on Sunday, and will head to Kansas City on a deal worth $11 million annually. His fantasy football outlook will take a major blow playing in Andy Reid's spread-the-wealth passing offense with risk-averse quarterback Alex Smith.
Free Agent Forecast: Chiefs on a five-year, $55 million contract.
6. Defensive end Greg Hardy -- Hardy's off-field issues are well documented and will surely remove him from many teams' free agent boards. But he's arguably a top-five NFL defensive end when on his game, with the ability to effectively rush the passer both off the edge and from the interior. Not yet 27 years old, Hardy amassed 26 sacks across the 2012-2013 seasons. Hardy's smartest play might be to pursue one-year, "prove-it" deals, show he can be a good citizen, and dominate on the field before retesting the market in 2016.
Free Agent Forecast: Bengals on a one-year, $6 million contract.
7. Tight end Julius Thomas -- Although his numbers are inarguably inflated by Peyton Manning and he is a complete non-factor as a blocker, it's rare that a tight end of Thomas' receiving caliber hits free agency. He doesn't turn 27 until June, and Thomas' ball skills are among the best in the NFL. The Jaguars are expected to outbid the Raiders and Seahawks for "Orange Julius" as they focus on upgrading Blake Bortles' weapons.
Free Agent Forecast: Jaguars on a five-year, $45 million contract.
8. Running back DeMarco Murray -- Murray amassed 436 rushing attempts in Dallas last year, and 497 touches overall. His slowdown over the course of the season was evident both in the box score on tape, as Murray's burst was lacking down the stretch and he managed a 3.93 YPC over the final five games after averaging 5.07 in the initial 11. If indications from the weekend's legal tampering period are to be believed, Murray's market value won't be as strong as he hopes. I think he returns to Dallas on a front-loaded deal.
Free Agent Forecast: Cowboys on a four-year, $30 million contract.
9. Offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga -- A top-shelf right tackle who can also protect the blindside in a pinch, Bulaga was Pro Football Focus' No. 2-rated pass blocker at his position last season. Turning 26 later this month, Bulaga is the cream of the crop in the free agency tackle class. The Packers are offering him $7 million annually, but it's possible Bulaga commands more money elsewhere. The Redskins, Bucs, and Bills all want him.
Free Agent Forecast: Packers on a five-year, $35 million contract.
10. Defensive tackle Nick Fairley -- Fairley has struggled with weight issues and missed eight games with a knee injury last season, but when healthy and on his game he's a difference maker on the interior. And he just turned 27. The Lions need to make sure they don't lose Fairley after Ndamukong Suh agreed to terms with the Dolphins this weekend.
Free Agent Forecast: Lions on a five-year, $30 million contract.
11. Nose tackle Terrance Knighton -- Knighton's pass-rush ability is limited, but he's not yet 29 years old and has graded out as a top-ten run-stopping defensive tackle at Pro Football Focus in each of the past two seasons. Knighton has followed around Jack Del Rio throughout his NFL career and would be a strong fallback option in Oakland after the Raiders missed on Ndamukong Suh. The Redskins, Colts, and Bears also have reported interest.
Free Agent Forecast: Raiders on a five-year, $30 million contract.
12. Edge rusher Brian Orakpo -- Orakpo is a 28-year-old outside rusher who registered ten sacks in 2013, earning the Redskins' franchise tag. He managed 0.5 sacks across seven games last year, however, before suffering his third career pectoral tear. Orakpo can still win with speed off the edge, but a loss of upper-body strength could adversely impact his patented bull rush. He'll be a boom-or-bust signing. Atlanta is considered the favorite, with the Cardinals, Colts, and Redskins also reportedly in pursuit.
Free Agent Forecast: Falcons on a five-year, $35 million contract.
13. Pass rusher Pernell McPhee -- More than just an "edge rusher," McPhee can rush the passer as a defensive end, tackle, or outside linebacker. Breaking out as a passing-down specialist last season, McPhee registered 7.5 sacks and a forced fumble, playing in a rotation with Elvis Dumervil, Terrell Suggs, and Courtney Upshaw. The risk is that McPhee shined as a role player, and he's now commanding full-time-player money in free agency. The 26-year-old has reportedly agreed to terms with rookie GM Ryan Pace's Bears.
Free Agent Forecast: Bears on a five-year, $40 million contract.
14. Wide receiver Torrey Smith -- Although he is seen around the league as a one-trick-pony deep threat, that "one trick" would go to use in San Francisco, complementing rugged possession receiver Anquan Boldin. Still only 26, Smith established a career high with 11 touchdown catches last season and drew a league-most 11 pass-interference flags, totaling 229 yards. Reports have Smith-to-San Francisco as a "done deal."
Free Agent Forecast: 49ers on four-year, $32 million contract.
15. Guard/Tackle Orlando Franklin -- 6-foot-6 and 316 pounds with quality tape at both right tackle and guard, Franklin landing in San Diego is already seen as a done deal. In some respects, it's repayment for the Broncos signing Louis Vasquez away from San Diego two offseasons ago. If the season began today, San Diego's O-Line from left to right would read LT King Dunlap, LG Franklin, C Chris Watt, RG Johnnie Troutman, and RT D.J. Fluker.
Free Agent Forecast: Chargers on a five-year, $36 million contract.
16. Center Rodney Hudson -- The best lineman on the Chiefs last season, Hudson is a piece Kansas City compromised when they prioritized signing Jeremy Maclin. The Raiders swooped in to overpay, reportedly agreeing to terms with Hudson on a deal that makes him the NFL's highest-paid center. On the bright side, Hudson is not yet 26 and emerged as one of the top centers in football last season after an injury-plagued start to his career.
Free Agent Forecast: Raiders on a five-year, $45 million contract.
17. Nose tackle Dan Williams -- Williams is a two-down run stuffer only, but he's one of the best in the business at what he does. The 28-year-old (in June) fire hydrant nose guard has anchored Arizona's near-impenetrable run defense at a high level for the last two seasons. The Redskins are particularly needy on the nose after releasing Barry Cofield.
Free Agent Forecast: Redskins on a five-year, $25 million contract.
18. Defensive lineman Jared Odrick -- Having excelled as a starter at both 3-4 end and 4-3 tackle, Odrick offers scheme versatility as a 27-year-old capable of stopping the run and pushing the pocket in spurts. He managed one sack last season, but amassed 15.5 over the course of 2011-2013. The Jaguars have reportedly beaten out the Raiders and Broncos to sign Odrick at $7 million per year. Look for Odrick to focus on three-technique tackle with the Jaguars, before moving out to end when DT Sen'Derrick Marks (ACL) returns.
Free Agent Forecast: Jaguars on a five-year, $35 million contract.
19. Edge rusher Derrick Morgan -- Although not seen as an elite outside rusher, Morgan has at least six sacks in three consecutive years and recently turned 26. The Titans would be silly to let him go, but the reason the Titans are a perennially bad team is because they do silly things. Drawing interest from the Panthers and Buccaneers, Morgan would be an excellent fit in either locale. His price tag may be relatively reasonable in a stacked edge-rusher market.
Free Agent Forecast: Panthers on a four-year, $24 million contract.
20. Defensive tackle Stephen Paea -- Hampered by injuries his first three NFL seasons, 2011 second-round pick Paea broke out for six sacks and two forced fumbles in his contract year while improving his run defense as the season moved along. Paea turns 27 in May, and his best football theoretically should be ahead of him. Reports on Monday indicated Paea will sign with the Redskins.
Free Agent Forecast: Redskins on a five-year, $30 million contract.
21. Free safety Rahim Moore -- Free agency's No. 2 free safety, Moore will be a solid consolation prize for a team missing out on high-priced Devin McCourty. Moore just turned 25 and logged four interceptions in 2014, earning positive pass-coverage grades from Pro Football Focus. Moore is a liability against the run, but would man center field for the Giants. The G-Men have money to spend after whiffing on McCourty and Brandon Graham.
Free Agent Forecast: Giants on a four-year, $28 million contract.
22. Edge rusher Jabaal Sheard -- Sheard posted sack totals of 8.0, 7.5, and 5.5 during his first three seasons before dipping to 2.0 in an injury-plagued 2014 campaign. This could be a good buy-low opportunity for savvy teams. Turning 26 in May, Sheard is best suited to play left end in a 4-3. He'll be an excellent fallback target for teams that miss out on Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan. The Bucs, Bengals, Seahawks, and Patriots reportedly have interest.
Free Agent Forecast: Buccaneers on a four-year, $28 million contract.
23. Edge rusher Jason Worilds -- The Steelers' sack leader over the past two seasons with 15.5, Worilds has fallen short of expectations but still offers upside at age 27. The Eagles were believed to have interest in Worilds initially, but may have dropped out when they re-signed Brandon Graham. Worilds has a history with new Titans defensive boss Dick LeBeau from their time together in Pittsburgh. Tennessee seems like the most logical fit.
Free Agent Forecast: Titans on a four-year, $24 million contract.
24. Running back C.J. Spiller -- Spiller turned down a contract valued at $4.5 million annually to stay in Buffalo, and is reportedly in no rush to sign elsewhere. The Cowboys are reportedly interested if fellow free agent DeMarco Murray walks. Turning 28 in August, Spiller is coming off back-to-back injury-riddled years, but has a career YPC average of 4.97 and is a chunk-yardage runner when healthy. His best fit is in a spread offense like the one old Bills coach Chan Gailey will implement with the Jets.
Free Agent Forecast: Jets on a three-year, $12 million contract.
25. Guard/center Stefen Wisniewski -- A sturdy if unspectacular starter at one of the NFL's most underrated positions, Wisniewski began his NFL career at left guard before starting at center the past three seasons in Oakland. Not yet 26 years old, Wisniewski has generated interest from the Bears and Rams. St. Louis' only two locked-in starters on the offensive line are LT Greg Robinson and LG Rodger Saffold. They have three holes to fill.
Free Agent Forecast: Rams on a four-year, $24 million contract.
26. Cornerback Tramon Williams -- A savvy veteran corner entering the twilight of his career, Williams turns 32 next week and may soon sign his final NFL contract. The Packers are expected to choose between re-signing Williams and Davon House, who is six years younger. The Eagles and Seahawks have been expected to pursue Williams. With Cary Williams reportedly headed to Seattle, Tramon (no relation) figures to land in Philly if the Packers pick House.
Free Agent Forecast: Eagles on a three-year, $18 million contract.
27. Cornerback Antonio Cromartie -- Cromartie's career has been a bipolar roller coaster, but he played at a high level in Arizona last season and is a plus starter when healthy. The 31-year-old's market has been quiet to this point. Ex-Cardinals DC Todd Bowles is now the Jets' head coach and New York is among the cornerback-neediest teams in the league.
Free Agent Forecast: Jets on a three-year, $15 million contract.
28. Tight end Jordan Cameron -- Only injuries have prevented college basketball player Cameron from emerging as one of the NFL's premier pass-catching tight ends. He posted an 80-917-7 receiving line two years ago before concussions and a shoulder injury wrecked his 2014 season. The Seahawks reportedly attempted to trade for Cameron last October, and tried signing Julius Thomas before he agreed to terms with the Jaguars. Cameron would be a big upgrade on Luke Willson in Seattle. I still wouldn't rule out the Falcons placing a bid.
Free Agent Forecast: Seahawks on a two-year, $10 million contract.
29. Guard Clint Boling -- A steady, underrated guard entering his prime, Boling hasn't yet turned 26 and graded out as a top-16 run blocker in Pro Football Focus' 2014 grades. Boling may be a consolation prize for teams that missed on Mike Iupati (Arizona), though the Vikings are a logical fit based on Boling's Cincinnati ties to Vikings coach Mike Zimmer. Minnesota needs a replacement for outgoing LG Charlie Johnson.
Free Agent Forecast: Vikings on a four-year, $20 million contract.
30. Offensive tackle Joe Barksdale -- With King Dunlap (Chargers), Doug Free (Cowboys), Derek Newton (Texans), and Jermey Parnell (Jaguars) all accounted for, Barksdale is free agency's No. 2 remaining offensive tackle behind Bryan Bulaga. Considering their offensive line needs, the Rams can't possibly let 27-year-old Barksdale walk.
Free Agent Forecast: Rams on a five-year, $25 million contract.
31. Cornerback Buster Skrine -- The free agent cornerback market should begin to clarify once a key domino like Tramon Williams falls. At the moment, projecting landing spots for the likes of Skrine, Chris Culliver, and Davon House is a shaky endeavor. I do believe the Dolphins would make sense for Skrine, who turns 26 in April and can play both perimeter and slot corner. Miami has a gaping hole across from LCB Brent Grimes.
Free Agent Forecast: Dolphins on a four-year, $24 million contract.
32. Wide receiver Andre Johnson -- Johnson has yet to be linked substantively to any teams, but his agent should've spent the last week flirting. After spending his entire career on the non-factor Texans, I'd wager we'll see him wrap it up with a contender. The Ravens make a lot of sense. GM Ozzie Newsome prioritizes signing free agents who've been released over those with expired contracts, and Johnson would be an excellent fit in new OC Marc Trestman's receiver-friendly West Coast offense. There is gas left in Johnson's tank.
Free Agent Forecast: Ravens on a three-year, $12 million contract.
33. Offensive tackle Jermey Parnell -- A 29-year-old college basketball player and former practice squad tight end, Parnell held his own in five starts last season, playing in place of injured Cowboys RT Doug Free. Parnell may have upside, but he's been bouncing around the NFL for seven seasons, and started seven career games. In a weak offensive tackle market, the Jaguars will roll the dice on Parnell for surprisingly big money.
Free Agent Forecast: Jaguars on a five-year, $32 million contract.
34. Center Chris Myers -- The Broncos have a need at center, and 33-year-old Myers has spent almost his entire career playing for new Denver coach Gary Kubiak. I'm guessing on a lot of these, but this marriage feels inevitable.
Free Agent Forecast: Broncos on a three-year, $15 million contract.
35. Defensive tackle Henry Melton -- Melton posted five sacks as a rotational interior rusher with the Cowboys last season, but Dallas appears poised to move on. 28 years old, Melton could help spark Atlanta's otherwise nonexistent inside pass rush.
Free Agent Forecast: Falcons on a one-year, $4 million contract.
36. Cornerback Davon House -- The Packers seem destined to choose between Tramon Williams and House. House is six years younger than Williams and GM Ted Thompson prioritizes youth. A physical press corner with plus length, House would return to Green Bay as the favorite to start opposite RCB Sam Shields.
Free Agent Forecast: Packers on a two-year, $10 million contract.
37. Cornerback Chris Culliver -- Culliver's off-field baggage may hurt his market value, but his physical skills will have him in demand. The Bears need a starting corner to book end rising sophomore Kyle Fuller, and Culliver has experience in new DC Vic Fangio's press-man scheme. Culliver is 6-foot, 200 pounds and won't turn 27 until August.
Free Agent Forecast: Bears on a five-year, $30 million contract.
38. Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon -- Weatherspoon appears signed, sealed, and delivered to Arizona, which reached out to him early in the NFL's legal tampering period. Reports have him ticketed to the Cardinals as Larry Foote's replacement.
Free Agent Forecast: Cardinals on a one-year, $4 million contract.
39. Defensive lineman Vince Wilfork -- Wilfork's market has been silent since New England declined his option last Thursday, sending him to free agency. The Texans are needy on the nose. Wilfork has history with coach Bill O'Brien and would fit neatly into DC Romeo Crennel's Patriots-style scheme.
Free Agent Forecast: Texans on a three-year, $12 million contract.
40. Defensive end Adrian Clayborn -- Long an overrated talent littered with injury flags, Clayborn has nevertheless generated interest because of his theoretical pass-rush ability and age (26). He is currently coming off a torn biceps tendon. He may ultimately get more, but a one-year, prove-it deal would allow Clayborn to rehab his value before retesting the market and potentially landing a much-bigger payday in 2016.
Free Agent Forecast: Cowboys on a one-year, $4 million contract.
41. Edge rusher Trent Cole -- Cole was cut by the Eagles, but still has gas in the tank at age 32. Pro Football Focus gave him positive pass-rush and run-defense grades last season. Cole has a history with Colts GM Ryan Grigson -- a former scouting director in Philadelphia -- and Indianapolis is in severe need of edge-rush help.
Free Agent Forecast: Colts on a three-year, $15 million contract.
42. Linebacker Malcolm Smith -- The Super Bowl 48 MVP had a quiet 2014 season in Seattle, operating as a reserve outside linebacker and battling injuries. Smith's history with new Falcons coach Dan Quinn makes him a logical fit in Atlanta. Especially after losing Sean Weatherspoon to Arizona, the Falcons' linebacker corps is in dubious condition.
Free Agent Forecast: Falcons on a five-year, $20 million contract.
43. Running back Ryan Mathews -- The Eagles traded LeSean McCoy, then pursued Mark Ingram and Frank Gore in free agency. It seems Chip Kelly is intent on implementing an inside zone-power run game emphasizing north-south running after McCoy's east-west style left yards on the field last season. Mathews is as fragile as they come, but his running mentality would fit the revised system. I also fully expect the Eagles to use a draft pick at running back, quite possibly in the early rounds.
Free Agent Forecast: Eagles on a two-year, $8 million contract.
44. Running back Justin Forsett -- In addition to the Ravens, Forsett has reportedly generated interest from the Colts, Redskins, and Falcons. Although he is coming off a breakout season, Forsett is going on 30 and has bounced around the league his entire career. He won't get paid much money. Staying in Baltimore and hoping the Ravens pass on early-round running backs would give Forsett his best shot at maintaining a short-term featured job.
Free Agent Forecast: Ravens on a three-year, $10 million contract.
45. Running back Frank Gore -- Gore was believed to be wearing Eagles bubble wrap as of Monday afternoon. He had a change of heart and backed out of the verbal agreement on Monday evening. Going on 32, Gore realizes his NFL tenure is winding down, and Andrew Luck's Colts offer his best chance to win now. Despite advancing age, Gore's effectiveness has not waned down the stretch of his career. He's one of the NFL's best pass-protection backs, and Gore's 2014 YPC average of 4.34 was quietly his second best of the last five years.
Free Agent Forecast: Colts on a three-year, $15 million contract.
46. Running back Shane Vereen -- One of the league's best role-playing tailbacks, Vereen can pick up the blitz, whip linebackers and safeties in pass coverage, and add big-play ability to a backfield when sprinkled in as a ball carrier. He turned 26 last week. The Jets and Giants are expected to compete for Vereen's services, but a return to New England makes the most sense if Vereen is amenable to a reasonable contract. I could also see a scenario where Vereen lands in New York and the Patriots lure Roy Helu out of Washington.
Free Agent Forecast: Patriots on a three-year, $10 million contract.
47. Defensive tackle C.J. Mosley -- One of the league's most underappreciated but effective rotational interior linemen, Mosley stepped up as a starter in place of injured Nick Fairley in Detroit last season, playing standout run defense and logging 2.5 sacks. Expect the Lions to re-sign both Mosley and Fairley as they attempt to replace Ndamukong Suh.
Free Agent Forecast: Lions on a three-year, $9 million contract.
48. Tight end Jermaine Gresham -- Gresham never lived up to his draft hype in Cincinnati, devolving into a robotic mover and sub-par athlete despite his pre-draft measurements. He has come a long way as a blocker, however, and can contribute as an in-line tight end. In Oakland, Gresham would complement "move" tight end Mychal Rivera nicely, and give the Raiders flexibility to play more "12 personnel" packages.
Free Agent Forecast: Raiders on a four-year, $16 million contract.
49. Wide receiver Michael Crabtree -- Crabtree has a big name, but has been an NFL disappointment aside from one isolated eight-game stretch in 2012. He tore his Achilles' during the 2013 offseason and hasn't looked like the same player since, dropping passes and struggling to generate yards after catch. I have no idea where Crabtree will land, but Houston would make some sense as a possession-receiver complement to DeAndre Hopkins.
Free Agent Forecast: Texans on a one-year, $4 million contract.
50. Linebacker Brooks Reed -- Billed as a Clay Matthews clone coming out of Arizona, Reed's game has panned out much more like Connor Barwin's. He can set the edge and cover backs in the passing game, but lacks threatening pass-rush skills. 28 years old, Reed is being pursued by the Falcons and Vikings, with Atlanta seen as his likeliest destination. He could play the K.J. Wright strong-side linebacker role in ex-Seahawks DC Dan Quinn's defense.
Free Agent Forecast: Falcons on a five-year, $20 million contract.
More Noteworthy FAs: WR Stevie Johnson, OLB Akeem Ayers, DE Cory Redding, SS Tyvon Branch, CB Perrish Cox, RB Stevan Ridley, FS Antrel Rolle, RB Roy Helu, OG Justin Blalock, CB Patrick Robinson, QB Jake Locker, TE Virgil Green, RB Reggie Bush, S Louis Delmas, QB Brian Hoyer, S Marcus Gilchrist, LB Brandon Spikes, DT Letroy Guion, SS Da'Norris Searcy, DT Corey Peters, CB Cary Williams, LB Lance Briggs, S Ron Parker, DT B.J. Raji, ILB Curtis Lofton.