I hope you don't mind adding this thread here. Two reasons: 1. With so many key free agents and hefty cap space FA this year has big impact on Draft thoughts 2. This board is much more collected and calm for this thread to have sense over the next month Hopefully this should be collection of information and debate about what BB&co will do in this FA, much like the “2017 Draft Prospects Thread“. ____ First of . I wanted to put in context (for myself) what is the realistic money that will be spent this year and what are the realistic contract expectations - on average. With everybody putting price tags on players and players/agents tweeting enormous expectations . plus many people here being afraid who might be leaving from the rest of the big NE FAs (Hightower, Bennett, Butler, Sheard and Ryan added recently) I wanted to come to a more realistic picture. So I dug out the following info which might not be 100% correct but is hopefully good enough to get the big picture. total league 2017 cap space 1.250.M = 40M avr. / per team rookies (over minimum - top 51) = 4M in-season money (new signings, extensions, incentives etc.) = 10-15M * total cap space to spend in 2017 FA = 650-800M average money to spend in 2017 FA = 20-25M per team * 2016 total FA cap hit = 560M 2016 number of FAs signed = 310 2016 average FA cap hit = 1.8M * 2016 franchise tags = 10 2016 FA cap hits +10M = 4 2016 FA cap hits 5-10M = 16 2016 FA cap hits 1-5M = 150 * 2016 FA contracts +10M APY = 8 …..... *GPY = 2 2016 FA contracts 5-10M APY = 38 ..… *GPY = 7 *GPY - guaranteed per year ___________________ Few quick notes: Many of the top 100 listed FAs are expecting big contracts, only a few will actually get them. - last year only 14 FAs became over 10M cap hits. And a few more got 10M+ APY contracts with first year lower cap hit. That means only every other team will offer 1 elite contract. - its even more telling that only 16 players got between 5-10M contracts (slightly higher APY) That means only one 5M+ 2016 cap hit FA contract per team. (that's why agents and players are much more nervous than front offices) I use cap hit data because this is real money and 2017 reality. Its true most contracts are backloaded but its a lot of fiction there so it doesn't change this general idea IMHO. Its also true it will be more money to spend this year . but on the other side its a very good and deep draft class to shy many GMs away from overspending in FA. ____ In the end all of this just confirms the old BB mantra: “Im not afraid of free agency“. He gave or will give most of NE UFAs a proposal for new contract and let everybody test the market . except maybe for Hightower.. Id expect most of them that he wants to keep to come back. 2016 roster building was a thing of beauty by BB&co. But as Lombardi pointed out they made one huge mistake - letting Hicks go. It didn't hurt them this year of course but having Hicks on board for few more years (on relatively cheap deal 5M APY, 10M GTD) would give them so much more leverage in FA and Draft. Lombardi also confirmed they asked him to return offering more . but it was too late. Now they have to hope Branch returns for another year or so. The good thing is he already stated he's not retiring.. ___ Once again . hope you don't mind this thread here . and the long overture . hopefully it can be a useful one . also for Draft discussions and projections..