NFL free agency officially opens Thursday, meaning dozens of high-profile players soon will have new employers.
On Monday, we ranked the top 25 unrestricted free agents set to hit the open market. Now, we’re taking it one step further.
Here’s a look at which teams we believe would be the best fits for our top 10 free agents:
1. Dont’a Hightower, linebacker, New England Patriots
Best fit: Patriots
New England isn’t known for shelling out big bucks for players, but it should make an exception for Hightower, similar to the one it made for safety Devin McCourty a few years back. Hightower is a team captain and one of the NFL’s best middle linebackers, and losing him would leave a massive hole in the Patriots’ defense.
2. Alshon Jeffery, wide receiver, Chicago Bears
Best fit: Tennessee Titans
The Titans need a legit No. 1 receiver for Marcus Mariota to throw to. Having Jeffery slide into that role with Rishard Matthews and Tajae Sharpe complementing him would provide a huge to a Tennessee team that narrowly missed the playoffs last season.
3. Calais Campbell, defensive end, Arizona Cardinals
Best fit: Denver Broncos
The Denver native will be 31 when the season begins, but he’s still a problem for opposing offenses, as evidenced by his impressive 2016 stat line (53 tackles, eight sacks, two forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, one interception, six pass breakups). The idea of slotting him into a D-line that also features Von Miller has to be very enticing for the Broncos.
4. A.J. Bouye, cornerback, Houston Texans
Best fit: Titans
Tennessee really could use an upgrade at cornerback, and Bouye looks like the best one available, despite the fact he’s spent just one season as a full-time starter. Signing him and Jeffery might not be feasible, though.
5. Kevin Zeitler, guard, Cincinnati Bengals
Best fit: Miami Dolphins
Zeitler is the best guard on the market, and the Dolphins have need help at the position with Laremy Tunsil set to move to left tackle.
6. Brandon Williams, defensive tackle, Baltimore Ravens
Best fit: Oakland Raiders
The Raiders have an all-world edge rusher in Khalil Mack, but defensive tackles Dan Williams and Stacy McGee are nothing special, combining for just 34 tackles and three sacks this season. Williams, who’s been compared to New York Giants breakout star Damon Harrison, would greatly improve that unit.
7. Stephon Gilmore, cornerback, Buffalo Bills
Best fit: Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars typically aren’t shy about spending big money in free agency, and many of their signings do not end up panning out. Gilmore’s talent, likely price tag and lack of consistency make him a good fit here. If he plays up to his potential, he and rising NFL sophomore Jalen Ramsey could form a lockdown 1-2 tandem at cornerback.
8. Martellus Bennett, tight end, New England Patriots
Best fit: Jaguars
Bennett likely will command more than the Patriots are willing to pay him, and the Jags need a new tight end after trading the disappointing Julius Thomas to Miami.
9. Tony Jefferson, safety, Arizona Cardinals
Best fit: Cleveland Browns
Jefferson is coming off a career year, and while playing for the miserable Browns doesn’t sound like the most desirable proposition, they have more than enough salary cap space to give the 25-year-old a massive contract.
10. T.J. Lang, guard, Green Bay Packers
Best fit: Minnesota Vikings
Lang is an excellent pass blocker, and the Vikings struggled mightily to protect Sam Bradford this season. It’ll depend on how much cap space Minnesota is willing to dedicate to the position, as Lang reportedly is expected to command close to $10 million annually.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images