With franchise tags beginning to be assigned before Monday's deadline and the start of free agency (March 13) less than two weeks away, excitement is building as an important layer of the team-building process nears.
With this in mind, Pro Football Weekly produces its Top 100 free agents ranking today.
A list like this can be a good resource going forward, and from a Patriots perspective, there are five players:
13. WR Wes Welker
64. RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis
68. DE Mark Anderson
81. DE Andre Carter
96. QB Brian Hoyer (restricted)
Hoyer's inclusion, as he just made the cut, comes with this analysis:
Hoyer has shown promise in three seasons in New England, with the bulk of his opportunities coming in the preseason and in relief of QB Tom Brady in a handful of regular-season games. New England is expected to give the backup quarterback a high tender offer. There are some league evaluators who are not sold on him, however.
Because Hoyer entered the league as a rookie free agent, the Patriots are likely considering a second-round tender (around $1.9 million) on him this offseason. Otherwise, they'd risk losing him without compensation.