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MOVING RIGHT ALONG ...

Author:

... Or staying put? That's the question for the TOP 25 FREE AGENTS this off-season. SI runs down the open market and tries to imagine a best-fit home for the most coveted players

1. LE'VEON BELL

STEELERS RB

AGE: 24

His patient running style won't revolutionize the running back position because few, if any, players have his quickness and agility when changing pace. Factor in his receiving ability, and you have the best back in football.

Match Game: PIT, WAS, NYG

2. BRANDON WILLIAMS

RAVENS DT

AGE: 27

He's built to be a nose, but he's shown the athleticism and tenacity to thrive at 3-technique. If he's not one of the five highest-paid DTs this year, it's because some team got a steal.

Match Game: BAL, IND, DET

3. ERIC BERRY

CHIEFS SS

AGE: 28

A true multipurpose safety, he can play the run as a box linebacker or cover tight ends man-to-man, and he's adept in zone coverage both shallow or downfield.

Match Game: KC, CLE, WAS

4. A.J. BOUYE

TEXANS CB

AGE: 25

This safety-corner hybrid became a lockdown perimeter mugger against receivers on the defense's right side in 2016. No corner improved more over the last 12 months.

Match Game: TEN, GB, CHI

5. KAWANN SHORT

PANTHERS DT

AGE: 28

He offers burst off the snap, the strength to shed blocks and the nimble feet to get through chaotic trench warfare. Whichever team signs him will generate consistent interior pass-rush pressure.

Match Game: CAR, DET, CLE

6. CHANDLER JONES

CARDINALS DE

AGE: 26

He's not an explosive edge bender, but he compensates for that with his high football IQ, lanky build and refined mechanics.

Match Game: CLE, ARI, TB

7. MELVIN INGRAM

CHARGERS OLB

AGE: 27

Few players have his kind of explosive lateral movement, and that presents significant value on designer pass-rush concepts like stunts and twists.

Match Game: CIN, CLE, LAC

8. CALAIS CAMPBELL

CARDINALS DT

AGE: 30

He has the wingspan of a pterodactyl and the strength of a stegosaurus. Rare is the D-lineman who is as steadily destructive.

Match Game: ARI, CLE, IND

9. DESEAN JACKSON

REDSKINS WR

AGE: 30

He has the speed to change an entire passing attack: Safeties must roll their coverage over the top to him; 'backers and corners have to respect his run-after-the-catch speed.

Match Game: LAR, PHI, BUF

10. JARED COOK

PACKERS TE

AGE: 29

Green Bay was 10--3 in games he played in '16 and 2--4 in games he didn't. His ability to align anywhere creates a valuable domino effect of versatility for an offense.

Match Game: GB, NE, SF

11. KIRK COUSINS

REDSKINS QB

AGE: 28

He's not exactly elite—he needs a well-constructed system with defined reads in order to thrive. But how often do you find a quality starting QB on the open market? Almost never.

Match Game: WAS, SF, DEN

12. ALSHON JEFFERY

BEARS WR

AGE: 26

His availability is a concern—he's missed 17 games over the last five years, four to a PED ban in '16—but when he's on the field, he's as potent a downfield weapon as you'll find.

Match Game: CLE, SF, TEN

13. T.J. LANG

PACKERS G

AGE: 29

A sturdy multidimensional run blocker, he's also rock-solid in pass protection.

Match Game: LAR, GB, ARI

14. JASON PIERRE-PAUL

GIANTS DE

AGE: 28

JPP is a powerful pass rusher, capable of getting eight to 10 sacks, and he's even better against the run. His three mutilated fingers (from a '15 fireworks accident) are a concern, but he adjusted his game in '16 to compensate.

Match Game: NYG, WAS, IND

15. TRUMAINE JOHNSON

RAMS CB

AGE: 27

He has an excellent feel for defending off-coverage, especially against big receivers, and he's capable of tightening up to play straight man-to-man.

Match Game: LAR, TEN, GB

16. STEPHON GILMORE

BILLS CB

AGE: 26

Gilmore's long arms and physicality serve him very well outside. He lacked consistency in '16, but the raw talent is there.

Match Game: TEN, BUF, SF

17. DRE KIRKPATRICK

BENGALS CB

AGE: 27

He's prone to the occasional mistake, though those have been fewer and further between over time. Not many corners have his combination of length and hip fluidity.

Match Game: CIN, TEN, TB

18. DONT'A HIGHTOWER

PATRIOTS LB

AGE: 26

He's as sturdy as they come against the run, both in space and up on the line of scrimmage. He's also one of the game's best blitzers.

Match Game: NE, IND, WAS

19. TONY JEFFERSON

CARDINALS SS

AGE 25

A hidden gem, he's one of the best blitzing safeties in football, and he was terrific in man coverage against tight ends in '16, even when he was isolated on the perimeter.

Match Game: ARI, CLE, IND

20. RICKY WAGNER

RAVENS T

AGE: 27

Right tackle is a problematic position for many teams. Some team will see Wagner as an expensive but worthy insurance policy on its quarterback.

Match Game: BAL, TB, DET

21. TERRELLE PRYOR

BROWNS WR

AGE: 27

He improved in critical areas in year one as a wideout. He's no sure thing, but he has the size and athleticism to develop into a WR1.

Match Game: CLE, SF, TEN

22. MARTELLUS BENNETT

PATRIOTS TE

AGE: 29

His goofy disposition can distract from the fact that he's been in the league for nine years. A proven veteran, he remains a versatile receiver and a very willing run blocker.

Match Game: NE, GB, DET

23. SYLVESTER WILLIAMS

BRONCOS DT

AGE: 28

He's been kept out of the Denver spotlight by the likes of Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware, but this agile gap-plugger has been a big part of that D's success, particularly on early downs.

Match Game: DEN, DET, NO

24. BENNIE LOGAN

EAGLES DT

AGE: 27

He moves laterally with tremendous aplomb for a man of his size (6'2", 309). In the right scheme, he can help make a run D elite.

Match Game: PHI, NO, HOU

25. MICAH HYDE

PACKERS DB

AGE: 26

Great at nothing but sound at everything (including punt returns)—that kind of versatility can change a D's makeup, especially when you consider he can bring it from the slot, too.

Match Game: GB, WAS, IND

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