It is NFL free agent frenzy time as multiple talented playmakers prepare to test the waters and entertain offers from other teams over the next few days.
This year, the free agent market is flooded at some positions such as running back, which will be an intriguing position to follow. Other positions present thinner pools, and due to limited supply some players stand to sign for top dollar because of high demand.
Here are 10 players who are very vibrant and still have much to offer a new team in need.
1. Brock Osweiler, quarterback, Denver Broncos
After four seasons and only seven career starts for the Broncos, Brock Osweiler, only 25 years of age, hits free agency as one of the most desirable quarterback options.
With the Broncos losing legendary starter Peyton Manning to retirement, the team would like to keep Osweiler in Denver versus starting from scratch. Though, the Houston Texans with their dismal quarterback situation have expressed interest in Osweiler despite his limited experience.
Osweiler’s most optimal chance for success would be to remain in Denver, but dollars waved his way by the Texans or perhaps another team could sway him from the mile-high city. The Broncos reportedly have a three-year offer on the table for Osweiler that would pay him $45 million.
2. Bruce Irvin, linebacker, Seattle Seahawks
After four years with the Seahawks, the team did not pick up the fifth-year option on their former 2012 first-round draft pick.
This sends Bruce Irvin into the list of top linebacker prospects to hit free agency. During his tenure with the Seahawks, Irvin posted 22 sacks and a combined total of 143 tackles. Irvin was also responsible for 3.5 sacks and 18 combined tackles in eight postseason games.
Preliminary reports are showing that the Atlanta Falcons and Jacksonville Jaguars may be interested in Irvin. Although the Seahawks’ rival NFC West Arizona Cardinals are reportedly making a “huge push” to secure the 28 year old outside linebacker according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport.
3. Matt Forte, running back, formerly the Chicago Bears
Matt Forte isn’t the youngest running back to hit free agency. However, he is the most consistent and perhaps most durable, having tallied a combined total of 12,718 yards and 64 touchdowns over eight seasons in Chicago.
This makes him a boon to any team needing enhancement to its rushing game. Since Forte is 30, he won’t be able to command anywhere near the $7.6 million he was averaging annually with the Bears, which makes him an appealing bargain to sign to a short-term deal.
Murmurings from former teammate Julius Peppers suggest he is campaigning for the Green Bay Packers to reach out to Forte. Catching passes from an NFC North rival quarterback such as Aaron Rodgers is all too easy to envision considering Forte’s skill set.
If not the Packers, Forte will surely draw plenty of interest in the free market.
4. Doug Martin, running back, Tampa Bay Buccaneeers
Fortunately for Doug Martin, who was on his final straw with Tampa Bay before last season, he finished 2015 in top form.
After two disappointing seasons following a stellar rookie campaign, Martin dropped a bit of weight, stayed healthy and pounded the ground for 1,402 rushing yards and six touchdowns at a stealthy pace of 4.9 yards per carry.
Martin’s 2015 stats definitely bode well for his status entering free agency. Plus Martin just turned 27 which means he should still have few good seasons on tap for a team willing to sign him long-term.
Considered one of the top free agent running back prospects, all Martin has to do is sit back and wait for his phone to ring.
5. Lamar Miller, running back, Miami Dolphins
Questionably used at times by the Dolphins, Lamar Miller showed his versatility when given his opportunities to touch the ball.
As the designated starting back for the past two seasons in Miami, Miller rushed for a total of 1,971 yards and scored 16 touchdowns at an average rate of 4.8 yards per attempt. He was also key as a receiver, racking up 672 yards and three touchdowns through the air.
This makes Miller, who is only 25, an attractive option for teams whose rushing game is lagging. If the Dolphins can’t lock Miller, the Houston Texans are reportedly very interested.
The #Texans are making a strong push to secure RB Lamar Miller before the league year begins, source said. Working toward a deal.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 8, 2016
6. Damon Harrison, defensive tackle, New York Jets
After four seasons, including achieving All-Star status in 2015, Damon Harrison, aka “Snacks,” appears to be walking away from Gang Green.
The burly 6-foot-4, 350-pounder started for the Jets the past three seasons and never missed a game. During this stretch of time, Harrison recorded 105 tackles, 88 tackle assists and 1.5 sacks.
A team with one of the worst defenses last year in the NFL, the New York Giants, are reportedly interested in Harrison even though they just inked linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul for another season.
The Titans have also expressed their interest according to Jason Cole of the Bleacher Report.
7. Robert Griffin III, quarterback, formerly Washington Redskins
After suffering through an embarrassing final season in Washington manning the clipboard dressed in street clothes, the team finally set Robert Griffin III free to pursue what can hopefully be salvaged from his NFL career.
There will be some rust to shake off for any team that eventually gives Griffin a chance. Though at only 26 years of age, the former Heisman Trophy winner will perhaps excel under a new offense, head coach and a fresh start.
It would take looking back at RGIII’s rookie season to rekindle a spark of interest from a team either needing a new starting quarterback, or an improved backup. Because of Griffin’s decline in production and demotion to third-string status, he will be an affordable option in the open market.
8. Ryan Fitzpatrick, quarterback, New York Jets
After 11 seasons in the NFL playing for multiple teams as a starter and backup, Ryan Fitzpatrick posted a career-highs in yards (3,905) and touchdowns (31).
For this, Fitzpatrick is seeking a hefty raise to the $3.25 million he made last year with the Jets. Reportedly, Fitz and the Jets are “far apart” in their negotiations which means the 33 year old quarterback will be able to test the waters to see what the open market may bring.
With Fitzpatrick under center, the Jets finished second in the AFC East (10-6) and recorded the most wins the team has seen since 2010. Because of Fitzpatrick’s new-found success, he could be targeted by multiple teams who are ailing at the quarterback position.
9. Chris Ivory, running back, New York Jets
After spending three seasons tied to a running back committee on a heavy-passing New Orleans Saints offense, Chris Ivory found his niche with the Jets in 2013.
Ivory now enters free agency after recording 2,724 rushing yards and 16 rushing touchdowns in his past three seasons playing for New York. Most importantly, Ivory finally cracked the 1,000-yard marker when rushed for 1,070 yards in 2015.
He also posted a career-high in receiving yards (217) and caught a touchdown as well last season. For his accomplishments, Ivory, 27 should see plenty of attention in the upcoming weeks.
Like Lamar Miller (earlier mentioned), the Texans along with a slew of other teams have their eye on Ivory, per Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle.
10. Sean Smith, cornerback, Kansas City Chiefs
When the Chiefs used a franchise tag on safety Eric Berry, they sent a silent goodbye message to Sean Smith.
A tall option at cornerback at 6-foot-3, Smith will command attention from teams in need of enhancement at the position. And because Smith is already drawing interest from multiple teams, including the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders, his asking price per season could be in the neighborhood of $8-10 million.
— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) March 7, 2016
Over his seven-year NFL career, Smith, 28, has recorded 10 interceptions, 309 solo tackles and 43 assists.