The NFL's franchise tag deadline has passed, which means we're starting to get a better idea of which players will be available on the free-agent market when the negotiating period opens March 14. There are still plenty of discussions left to be had between teams and players they hope to re-sign before that point, and more players will enter the market through cuts over the next few days. But what follows is ESPN's annual ranking of the top 100 players who -- at least for the moment -- are eligible for unrestricted free agency, either because their contracts are expiring or the remaining years on their deals are set to automatically void.
We don't include restricted or exclusive free agents, for whom the original teams have the right of first refusal. And as always, our ranking is skewed toward players coming off their first contracts -- at the free-agent sweet spot of about 26 years old -- and considers that some positions are much more valued on the open market than others. Pass-rushers and quarterbacks are more sought after on the market than running backs and off-ball linebackers, at least for most teams, and we've tried to keep that in mind in establishing the rankings.
Let's jump in, with the best available players from 1 to 100.