The NFL free agency period kicks off March 15, which brings excitement and a daily news cycle that keeps the NFL as sport No. 1 year-round, while it also brings hope to those teams that need to supplement their roster for the 2023 season.

The reality is that free agency is never as good as it looks on paper, with players usually available for a reason. That doesn't mean there isn't talent. Look at what the the Philadelphia Eagles got in edge rusher Haason Reddick this past season after he signed as a free agent last March. He had 16 sacks and was a big part of a defense that helped get the Eagles to the Super Bowl.

This year's class is headlined by two quarterbacks in Lamar Jackson and Derek Carr. Jackson won't be on the list when it's official since he will be tagged by the Baltimore Ravens but, for now, he tops the list. Carr is on the list after being released by the Las Vegas Raiders. He is already in the process of meeting with teams, which makes him the most wanted commodity right now. 

He's a good player who could help quarterback-needy teams like the New York Jets and New Orleans Saints.

For now, they are 1-2 on my ranking of the top-100 players in this year's class. Some of those players won't be available when the period officially opens in two weeks because, like Jackson, they will receive some sort of tag to restrict their movement.

The free agency class is loaded in some areas. There are a lot of quality safeties on the market, some good inside players on defense and even some top offensive linemen. There aren't a lot of top-level receivers, which is why there aren't any in my top 25.

So dive in and take a look at my top 100. It's guaranteed to anger a lot of you, but that's fine. It's my list and one based on my beliefs as of right now while skewing to some younger players on the rise.

Jacksonville receiver Christian Kirk was one of those players in last year's free agency, and that worked out for the Jaguars. Some players in that category this year are Jaguars right tackle Jawaan Taylor (No. 8 on my list), Bills linebacker Tremaine Edmunds (No. 14), Cardinals defensive end Zach Allen (No. 28), Texans defensive end Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (No. 32) and 49ers linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair (No. 38).

The target age for signing free agents should be between 25-28, which puts those players right in the target zone.

Free agency is fun, but most of the time it isn't going to be what decides whether a team is in the playoffs or not. The hope for most teams is to land one or two starters who can help get your team over the hump. 

Top 100 free agents
Lamar Jackson Baltimore Ravens QB
The Ravens would be foolish to let him get away. They will put the franchise tag on him and then see if they can get a deal done.
Derek Carr Las Vegas Raiders QB
A starting quarterback with his resume will prove to be a big-time value on this market. The question is, can he ever play up to the contract he will get?
Javon Hargrave Philadelphia Eagles DT
He was a force for the Eagles' defense last year, getting 11 sacks and doing a nice job against the run. He will command a top-dollar deal after turning 30 earlier this month if the Eagles don't tag him.
Daron Payne Washington Commanders DT
He is coming off his best season with 11.5 sacks in 2022 in a contract year. Soon to be 26, he is just now in his prime.
Saquon Barkley New York Giants RB
He is coming off a productive season that saw him play 17 games, which showed he was past his 2020 ACL injury. At 26, he is in his prime and could be tagged by the Giants.
Marcus Davenport New Orleans Saints DE
He doesn't put up big sack numbers, but he still can influence the quarterback. Some in the organization said last summer he would be the Saints' best defender in 2022. It didn't work out, but he's still a good, young player at a need position. The potential is there.
Orlando Brown Kansas City Chiefs OT
He's been consistently a good player at left tackle. He played on the franchise tag last season, so it will be interesting to see what the Chiefs do. He turns 27 in May, so he is in his prime, but how do you pay good but not great? Tag him again?
Jawaan Taylor Jacksonville Jaguars OT
The Jaguars would be wise to bring him back after he had his best season and was the team's best offensive lineman last year. He made big strides in his fourth season after a few down years.
Daniel Jones New York Giants QB
Jones showed big-time improvement playing for Brian Daboll last season. Expect the Giants to bring him back on a deal that will probably be between $25 million and $30 million per season -- even with reports saying he's looking for $45 million a season.
Jason Kelce Philadelphia Eagles C
If he were a little younger, he'd be higher on this list. He's the best center in the league, but he turns 36 in November.
Josh Jacobs Las Vegas Raiders RB
He led the league in rushing at just the right time since he was entering free agency this year. It was by far his best season. At 25, he will be wanted by teams willing to pony up for a back if he did become available, but I expect the Raiders to put the franchise tag on him.
Jamel Dean Tampa Bay Buccaneers CB
He has had some injury issues, but he's a good cover corner who can play man coverage. And he's only 26. There will be a market for him.
James Bradberry Philadelphia Eagles CB
He is coming off an impressive season for the Eagles, his only one with the team after signing a one-year deal. Good corners are hard to find, so he will get a solid deal.
Tremaine Edmunds Buffalo Bills MLB
He'll be 25 in May and is just now entering his prime -- and played like it last season. He was much more sure of himself as the game seemed to slow down for him.
Mike McGlinchey San Francisco 49ers OT
He fits in their system as an athletic right tackle. He is better in the run game, and there are times he struggled in pass protection last year.
Jordan Poyer Buffalo Bills FS
He'll be 32 in April and missed some time with injuries last season, which is a concern. But he is still a top playmaking safety when he is on the field. There is value in his ability to do so many things.
Jessie Bates III Cincinnati Bengals FS
He played on the franchise tag last year but didn't play as well early in the season as expected. He did come on later, but the Bengals likely won't be able to keep him this time around.
Chauncey Gardner-Johnson Philadelphia Eagles FS
After coming over in a trade from the Saints, he was a big part of the Eagles' defense when he was on the field. He did miss some time with an injury, but his ability to play so many spots in the secondary will help his value in this market.
Geno Smith Seattle Seahawks QB
He impressed in his first season as the starter in Seattle. The Seahawks would like him back, but at what price? He could be tagged.
Kaleb McGary Atlanta Falcons OT
He is coming off his best season, establishing himself as power right tackle. He is especially good in the run game and at 28 he should draw a big market if he gets there. The Falcons should tag him.
Dre'Mont Jones Denver Broncos DE
He is a power pass rusher who had his best season rushing the passer with 6.5 sacks. He can push the pocket inside, which is valuable for any team.
Evan Engram Jacksonville Jaguars TE
After signing a one-year deal last year, he had his best season in the Jacksonville offense. He showed he can be a mismatch for a defense with his ability to run. The Jaguars want him back.
David Long Tennessee Titans ILB
This 26-year-old is coming off his best season, although he missed the final four games with a hamstring injury. He can run and attack, but is also speedy enough in coverage.
Lavonte David Tampa Bay Buccaneers ILB
Age is the only issue with him since he's 33, but he makes up for that with his football smarts. He is a pro's pro and would make sense for any team looking for a veteran leader on its defense for a few years.
T.J. Edwards Philadelphia Eagles MLB
He is a run-and-chase linebacker who had his best season in 2022, although he didn't play well in the Super Bowl. The Eagles will likely let him walk.
Cameron Sutton Pittsburgh Steelers CB
He can play inside and outside and is coming off an impressive season on the outside. That will give him a nice market at the age of 28.
Isaac Seumalo Philadelphia Eagles OG
For a team looking for a good starting guard, Seumalo makes sense. He is a powerful man who is also a good pass protector. He turns 30 in October.
Zach Allen Arizona Cardinals DE
He is coming off his best season and really seemed to blossom playing with J.J. Watt last year. He turns 26 later this summer, so he's entering his prime.
Jakobi Meyers New England Patriots WR
Playing in an offense that was limited in terms of the passing game, he was the go-to player outside. Meyers caught 67 passes with six touchdowns last season.
Jimmie Ward San Francisco 49ers CB
Ward can play in the slot or safety, which will bring market value for him. I think a team in need of a rangy safety should sign him and keep him there.
Dalvin Tomlinson Minnesota Vikings DE
Soon to be 29, he is coming off a season where he played just 13 games due to a calf injury. But when he's on the field, he's a valuable inside player who can be a disrupter and good in the run game.
Obo Okoronkwo Houston Texans DE
He had five sacks last season after winning a starting job midway through the season. He turns 28 in April, so he could be ready for a much bigger role. His pressure number was better than his sack number.
Jadeveon Clowney Cleveland Browns DE
He is nowhere near as good as he thinks he is, especially as an edge rusher, but he is a good run player who excels in that area. He flashes as a pass rusher, but injuries have held him back.
Jimmy Garoppolo San Francisco 49ers QB
He was having a good season taking over for Trey Lance before he went out with a broken ankle last season. He is a capable starter in a good offense, but the question is whether he can be more than that.
Bobby Okereke Indianapolis Colts OLB
He is coming off his best season, flashing with Darius Leonard missing the entire season. He is especially good against the run.
Jonathan Jones New England Patriots CB
He was the Patriots' top corner last year after J.C. Jackson moved on in free agency. Jones showed he can play on the outside after spending a lot of his career inside.
Nate Davis Tennessee Titans OG
He missed half the season with an injury, but he is a solid starter. He is especially good in the run game, but he can struggle in pass protection. He turns 27 in September.
Azeez Al-Shaair San Francisco 49ers OLB
With Dre Greenlaw and Fred Warner at linebacker, the 49ers won't be able to keep Al-Shaair, who will flourish somewhere else. Like his 49ers buddies, he can run to the football. He did miss five games with a knee injury last season.
Tony Pollard Dallas Cowboys RB
He is an explosive runner who showed his value for the Cowboys last year before breaking his leg in the playoff loss to the 49ers. He is expected to be ready for the start of camp, so he could still get a decent market if the Cowboys don't tag him.
Dalton Schultz Dallas Cowboys TE
He is a reliable receiver and an above-average blocker, which should give him a market. He knows how to get open in the passing game and is especially good in finding soft spots in the zone.
Rock Ya-Sin Las Vegas Raiders CB
The Raiders traded to get him from the Colts and they were glad they did. He impressed in their scheme, showing off nice man-cover skills.
Vonn Bell Cincinnati Bengals SS
This 28-year-old safety has been a big part of the Bengals' defense the past two seasons. He is good against the run, but has improved in coverage.
Byron Murphy Arizona Cardinals CB
He just turned 25, which means he's a prime free agent. He can play inside or outside, which will also help his value.
Ben Powers Baltimore Ravens OG
He is coming off his best season as the team's left guard. He's good in pass protection, but can sometimes have trouble in the run game. He's just 26, so his best football should be in front of him.
Patrick Peterson Minnesota Vikings CB
He had a good season in coverage in 2022, one of his best in fact. He'll be 33 this season, but he can still help a team in need of a cover corner.
Arden Key Jacksonville Jaguars LB
Playing on a one-year deal last season, he showed up big for Jacksonville's defense, showing his ability to rush from the inside and the outside. The Jaguars do want him back, but they have cap issues.
Donovan Wilson Dallas Cowboys FS
He was a full-time starter in 2022 and played well, especially as a physical run player. He is also a good blitzer.
Larry Ogunjobi Pittsburgh Steelers DT
After failing a physical with the Bears that negated a three-year deal, he signed a one-year deal with the Steelers last season. He is a penetrating, up-the-field, defensive tackle, who played down end in the Steelers' scheme.
Juan Thornhill Kansas City Chiefs FS
This 27-year-old is coming off a solid season in 2022. He was a big part of helping keep the young Kansas City secondary together. He is good as a coverage player.
Germaine Pratt Cincinnati Bengals LB
Teams in need of a coverage linebacker will give Pratt a strong look. He has made big strides the past two seasons, which teams love to see when they sign players.
Yannick Ngakoue Indianapolis Colts DE
He is a pure pass rusher, which will make him attractive to teams in need of an edge player. He isn't great against the run, which could hurt his value.
Will Hernandez Arizona Cardinals OG
At 27, he's played a lot of football with over 4,500 snaps. He's been better in pass protection than in the run game. He did miss time last year with an injury.
Miles Sanders Philadelphia Eagles RB
He is coming off his best season in the Eagles' running back-friendly offense. He doesn't have a lot of wear and tear on his body, which could help his market.
David Onyemata New Orleans Saints DT
He is 30, and was suspended six games for using a performance-enhancing drug last season, but he is a capable inside player. His ability to push the pocket is a big part of his game.
David Montgomery Chicago Bears RB
He has been a productive player in his four seasons, both as a runner and pass-catcher. If the price is right, the Bears would be wise to keep him.
Connor McGovern New York Jets C
He played every snap for the Jets last year and had one of his best seasons. He's a solid player, who can help a team in need of an upgrade in the middle of its line.
Dalton Risner Denver Broncos OG
He has been a starter since his rookie season in 2020. He has been better in pass protection than in the run game, but that could be because he's a converted tackle. He turns 28 in July.
JuJu Smith-Schuster Kansas City Chiefs WR
He is a capable inside receiver who does the dirty work in the middle of the field. Playing on a one-year deal for the Chiefs, he had 78 catches.
D.J. Chark Detroit Lions WR
Playing on a one-year deal in Detroit, he missed eight games last season. But he flashed down the stretch for the Lions' offense, and at 26 he still has a lot of football left.
Kaden Elliss New Orleans Saints OLB
He took over as the starter when Pete Werner was injured and responded with an impressive season, one that included seven sacks. He's good in the run game, but he is so-so in coverage.
Brandon Graham Philadelphia Eagles DE
He will be 35 when the 2023 season starts, but he is coming off an 11-sack season that saw him especially good rushing the quarterback in the fourth quarter. Any team looking for a quality rotation pass rusher should give him a hard look.
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Chris Wormley Pittsburgh Steelers DE
He isn't flashy, but he's a good steady veteran who can hold up against the run. He plays down end in their scheme, but would be an inside player in others.
Odell Beckham Jr. Los Angeles Rams WR
He missed all of last season after tearing an ACL in last year's Super Bowl. Now that he's a year removed, receiver-needy teams will give him a strong look, although his contract might not be what he wants.
Taylor Rapp Los Angeles Rams SS
He has been a decent starter for the Rams' defense, a guy who can line up in a lot of spots. He is a good tackling, physical safety.
Alex Singleton Denver Broncos ILB
He is coming off his best season in his career, his first with the Broncos. He was a real bright spot on their defense with ability to cover and play the run.
Mecole Hardman Kansas City Chiefs WR
He missed a lot of time with injuries last year, but when he's on the field he provides a big-time speed threat. Teams love that.
Leighton Vander Esch Dallas Cowboys MLB
Injuries have held him down in his career, but playing on a one-year deal last season he might have been at his best. He just turned 27.
Sean Murphy-Bunting Tampa Bay Buccaneers CB
He's battled through some injuries in his career, and he's been beaten up at times, but he has the talent to be a starter. The Bucs rave about his smarts playing the position, but does he have the skill set to lock down receivers?
Charles Omenihu San Francisco 49ers DE
Playing on the opposite side of Nick Bosa helped Omenihu record a career-high 4.5 sacks along with 21 pressures. He'll be 26 in the summer, so his best seasons are in front of him.
Mike Gesicki Miami Dolphins TE
He never fit in the Dolphins' new offense because he is a one-dimensional tight end, which means pass-catcher only. For a team looking for that, he's worth a look.
Garrett Bradbury Minnesota Vikings C
He is a smallish center who can have trouble with big players on his nose. He has to be in the right system.
Drue Tranquill Los Angeles Chargers ILB
As a first-time starter in 2022, he had a good season. He can cover a lot of ground, which is why he's good in coverage. But he's tough enough in the run game.
Matthew Ioannidis Carolina Panthers DT
He signed a one-year deal with the Panthers and had a nice season. He isn't flashy, but for teams looking for inside depth, he would fit that role.
Greg Gaines Los Angeles Rams NT
Without Aaron Donald next to him for much of the season, his play dropped a little in 2022. But at 26, he is still a capable inside player as a second or third tackle.
Parris Campbell Indianapolis Colts WR
He has never lived up to the expectations, but he started to show more of it last year in the Colts' bad offense. He has speed, which will attract teams looking for that.
Fletcher Cox Philadelphia Eagles DE
He is almost certainly leaving Philadelphia, but what will his market be as a 32-year-old who didn't play to his usual standards last season?
Poona Ford Seattle Seahawks DE
He is a smallish interior player, but he can push the pocket and is reliable against the run, although his play was down some last season.
Devin Singletary Buffalo Bills RB
He is a decent running back who the Bills have seemingly tried to replace the past two seasons, but didn't end up doing. For a team in need of a solid second back, he would make sense.
Darius Slayton New York Giants WR
He is a speedy receiver who flashes at times, but isn't as consistent as he should be. Even so, in a bad receiver market, he could get some action.
Allen Lazard Green Bay Packers WR
He is a bigger receiver who was the top pass-catcher for the Packers last season. He won't scare anybody with his speed, but he is a nice second or third option.
Julian Love New York Giants SS
He showed last season that he is a quality starter on the back end. Love can do a lot of things as a valuable piece to a defense.
Jon Feliciano New York Giants C
He has started at both guard and center in his career, but was the Giants' starting center last season. He's a capable starter.
Hayden Hurst Cincinnati Bengals TE
In his one year with the Bengals, he flashed some nice receiving skills for Joe Burrow. He had 52 catches in the regular season, but 13 in three playoff games.
Sheldon Rankins New York Jets NT
He played well inside for a good Jets defense last season. He has the ability to hold up in the run game and he can push the pocket.
Marcus Peters Baltimore Ravens CB
He turned 30, so he is coming to the end of his career and he had some rough moments early last season coming off a torn ACL in 2020. At his best, he can still lock down top receivers.
Richie James New York Giants WR
He had a strong finish to the 2022 season after some rough patches. He turned the ball over as a punt returner early in the season, but he did improve and he was a productive receiver down the stretch from the slot.
Alex Anzalone Detroit Lions MLB
Playing on a second straight one-year deal, he had his best season in 2022. He was all over the field for the Lions, who would love to bring him back if the price is right.
Irv Smith Minnesota Vikings TE
Smith is coming off two injury-plagued seasons that could hurt his market. But when he's on the field, he's a good pass-catching tight end, even if he hasn't lived up to the draft expectations yet.
Jacoby Brissett Cleveland Browns QB
He showed last season that he was a capable starter for the Browns. He played well when Deshaun Watson was suspended.
Samson Ebukam San Francisco 49ers DE
He is coming off two good seasons for the 49ers as an edge player. He doesn't pile up big sack numbers, but he does add up a lot of pressures. He turns 28 in May.
Justin Houston Baltimore Ravens OLB
Age is an issue since he's 34, but he can still help as a pass rusher on a rotational basis. He had 9.5 sacks last year for the Ravens.
Kyzir White Philadelphia Eagles OLB
He is a run-and-chase linebacker who can cover since he has been a safety in his career. He isn't a big linebacker, so he isn't for all teams.
Emmanuel Moseley San Francisco 49ers CB
He is coming off a torn ACL suffered in October that will hurt his value. But he was playing at a high level when he went down, so expect him to get some play on the market.
Isaiah Oliver Atlanta Falcons DB
He has missed time with injuries in his four seasons with the Falcons, but after missing the early part of 2022, he came on strong down the stretch. He was outstanding in the final four games, which should help his market.
Adrian Amos Green Bay Packers SS
He has started a lot of games for both Chicago and Green Bay. He isn't a rangy ballhawk in the secondary, but he is a good tackler in the run game.
Kyle Van Noy Los Angeles Chargers OLB
He turns 32 in late March, but he is coming off a good season for the Chargers in his only one with the team. He played inside and outside and closed out the season with a sack in five straight games.
Jake Brendel San Francisco 49ers C
At 30, he is coming off his first season as a full-time starter. He held his own in their system, which requires a center to be able to move. He did have eight penalties called on him.
Trey Pipkins Los Angeles Chargers OT
He was a full-time starter in 2022 for the first time in his career, starting 14 games at right tackle as injuries forced him out of three. Since he turns 27 in September, he should have a market.
Terrell Edmunds Pittsburgh Steelers SS
He had his best season in 2022 at the right time as he enters free agency. At 26, his best football should be ahead of him.
Ethan Pocic Cleveland Browns C
He took over as the starter when Nick Harris went down in the preseason and had his best year. Pocic did miss time with a knee injury, but was able to return late in the season.