The 10 Biggest Upcoming NFL Free Agents

It’s the month of January, and with that comes the start of the NFL playoffs. An exciting time for some fans, others (such as Jags fans) may not have sniffed the playoffs for quite some time. While the playoffs can seem like the highlight of every fan’s season, for others, they may start to find themselves getting more excited for the free agency period of any given season.

Free agency is a wonderful time because no matter how your team finished the past season, you can always have the hope that you’ll be able to retool during the offseason. An amazing team is not always going to be built through the free agent market, but it can be a great place to find that last key member of your championship aspirations.

Unfortunately, one thing that becomes incredibly evident at the start of every free agent period is that these players do not come cheap. It seems like every year that the NFL salary cap increases, and with it, comes the demands that the players are able to make. It is hard to blame the players for trying to maximize their earnings while they still can. Many athletes go broke after retirement, and many suffer from chronic pain for the rest of their lives.

One thing that can be even more disappointing is overpaying for a player who fails to do anything significant for your franchise. The history of the NFL is littered with free agents that signed with a new team and cost the franchise money, as well as time, while also ruining the joy of their fanbase. Washington thought they were getting a dominant pass-rusher when they signed Albert Haynesworth for over $100 million back in 2009. Only downfall was that Haynesworth clearly stopped caring about football once he got to Washington, and he was one of the many reasons for the Redskins' struggles over the past decade.

But as fun as it is to sit here and be pessimistic about potential free agent signings, it’s even more fun to be optimistic! There’s no shortage of amazingly talented players that are going to hit the free agent market this upcoming season. Even if they end up doing absolutely nothing, or signing with another team at the last minute, that doesn’t stop your hype train that can now start rolling full force into the 2016 season!

10 Alshon Jeffery, WR, Chicago Bears: Earned  $1.4 million in 2015

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

9 Josh Norman, CB, Carolina Panthers: Earned $1.5 million in 2015

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

8 Eric Weddle, FS, San Diego Charges: Earned $10.1 million in 2015

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

7 Ryan Fitzpatrick/Chris Ivory, QB and RB, New York Jets: Earned $3.25 and $2.75 million in  2015.

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

6 Sam Bradford, QB, Philadelphia Eagles: Earned $12.985 million in 2015.

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

5 Matt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears: Earned $9.2 million in 2015

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

4 Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, New York Giants: Earned $7.35 million in 2015

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

3 Kirk Cousins/Alfred Morris, QB and RB, Washington Redskins: Earned $778,172 and $1.5 million in 2015

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

2 Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Earned $2.15 million in 2015

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

1 Von Miller, OLB, Denver Broncos: Earned $9.75 million in 2015

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Things may start to turn ugly in Denver if they are not able to bring back Von Miller for the 2016 campaign. Earning a little under $10 million in 2015, you need to believe that Miller will be expecting an even bigger payday as he gets to the 2nd stage of his career. Denver is also looking at having C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman (their two running backs) also becoming UFAs in the 2016 offseason. Given that next year may also be run by Brock Osweiler, it further increases Denver’s need to lock down their dominant pass rusher. If they don’t, there will be no shortage of teams lining up at the door to offer Miller exactly what he wants.

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The 10 Biggest Upcoming NFL Free Agents