In May, ESPN's Kevin Seifert ranked the top potential free agents for the Class of 2019, and several of the best players are already off the board five months later. Aaron Donald, Khalil Mack, Odell Beckham Jr., Zack Martin and David Johnson are among the players who got long-term extensions, though it took a trade for Mack to get his new deal.
Let's reset the expected 2019 class, which includes several defensive players who could get massive deals, with a twist.
We asked our NFL Nation reporters to make their predictions on Seifert's updated list of the top 25 free agents, picking whether the team they cover will re-sign, franchise tag or let the player test free agency next March. Here are the results, starting with a pass-rusher who has already been franchised once.
1. DeMarcus Lawrence, DE, Dallas Cowboys
2018 salary: $17,143,000 | Age entering 2019 season: 27
Prediction: The Cowboys will re-sign him.
This is optimistic, but when the Cowboys truly want to keep their best players, they don't let them walk. They put the franchise tag on Lawrence after the 2017 season because they wanted him to prove he could have another top season. After putting up 14.5 sacks last season, he has 5.5 in the first five games this season. Had the Cowboys signed Lawrence after last season, they likely were in the $17 million to 18 million range. If he continues down this path, the average will be north of $20 million. If they choose to tag Lawrence for a second straight season, he might not be as willing to sign the tender for a second year, and the Cowboys could face a Le'Veon Bell situation. -- Todd Archer