Free agency is just around the corner, so it's time to do a little accounting.
I've put together my updated ranking of the top 25 free agents of 2017, along with a projection on the contracts they'll get. That includes a few guys whom I expect to be franchise-tagged before next week's deadline.
My projections are conservative, as it's tough to tell how much teams will spend now that the salary cap has jumped to $168 million this year. So I'm judging only each player's market value, which doesn't account for teams blowing up that value with mega-deals. I'm also not including guaranteed money predictions -- these are just overall values. And since the franchise tag numbers aren't yet official, I'm using my projections.
Let the bidding begin.
1. Le'Veon Bell, RB
2016 team: Pittsburgh Steelers | Age entering 2017 season: 25
Projected contract: One year, $12,191,270 total (franchise tag)
Figuring out the running back market is tough, but I don't think there's any way Bell plays anywhere other than Pittsburgh in 2017. Adrian Peterson is the highest-paid back -- the three-year deal he signed in 2015 averaged $14 million per year -- but he won't be playing at that number next season. He could be released outright, or the Vikings will restructure his deal. The next-highest-paid back is Jamaal Charles around $9 million a year. Bell will likely be the best-paid runner if he gets a long-term deal.