Devin McCourty as a top free agent and analyzing Patriots' salary-cap status

ESPN.com NFL national writer Kevin Seifert compiled a list of the top 20 free agents in the NFL, and he has New England Patriots safety Devin McCourty in the No. 5 spot.

"The 2014 free-agent contracts secured by Jairus Byrd (New Orleans Saints) andT.J. Ward (Denver Broncos), as well as the market-level deals signed by the Seattle Seahawks' duo of Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor, point toward a high value for McCourty if the New England Patriots let him hit the market," Seifert writes.

McCourty is the only Patriot to land in Seifert's top 20.

In his piece, Seifert also estimates the cap space of each NFL team, while noting the carryover money of each squad.

The Patriots are currently estimated to be $3.9 million over the salary cap and they are carrying over $6.4 million in cap space from 2014. It is important to note that these figures are volatile and one reason the Patriots are estimated to be over the cap is the $25 million charge for Darrelle Revis that team president Jonathan Kraft referred to as a "placeholder" last week.

So let's say the Patriots strike an extension for Revis that averages $16-18 million per season, and the cap charge for 2015 was $12-14 million, the team would pick up $11 million in space and all of a sudden be $7 million under the cap.