The 2017 NFL season has yet to kick off, but it’s not too early for teams and their fan bases to start looking forward to next offseason. The harsh reality of the situation is that, at this point, the number of legitimate Super Bowl contenders in 2017 can be counted on one hand. Fortunately for the teams that aren’t quite there yet, the 2018 class of NFL free agents projects to be full of All-Pro-caliber talent.
A lot can (and will) change over the next several months; multiple players on this list will either sign hefty contract extensions or get slapped with the franchise tag by their current teams. For now, here are the 25 best NFL players who will be free agents in 2018.
1. Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints
On paper, Drew Brees’s contract technically runs through the 2020 NFL season. However, the final three years of the deal (2018–20) are all just a salary cap smokescreen. In order to gain some cap flexibility, the Saints structured Brees’ contract so that it voids automatically after the 2017 seasons. This allowed the team to spread out Brees’ signing bonus over five years instead of two.
When it comes down to it, we expect New Orleans to lock up Brees before he hits the open market. They have yet to draft a viable replacement, and the 10-time Pro Bowler is hands down the best player in franchise history.