This is exactly what happened the week of Feb. 27. Teams started applying the tag, so names like Le’Veon Bell who made this look like a pretty sweet list are no longer available.
A few notes about our top 100 list.
This list, as with any kind of rankings, is subjective. The SB Nation NFL staff worked together to create it. We put a great deal of thought into it, but you will inevitably disagree with it. That’s fine. Save your tweets. We know. This is merely a guide to help the world keep track of which free agents are signing where.
The final salary cap for 2017 has now been set at $167 million. That’s a jump of nearly $12 million over last year’s $155.7 million cap. That’s consistent with the annual bumps we’ve seen since the 2011 collective bargaining agreement went into effect.
*Yes, Tony Romo is not technically a free agent, but he kinda is in that he’s available and the entire offseason sort of hinges on what he does next.
We’ll keep this list updated with players who get cut as well as for who’s signing where and for how much. So keep checking back.
Digging deeper, the Blue Devils’ Top 25 (9-4) and Top 50 (12-6) records are superior to the Tar Heels’ (6-4 against the Top 50, with all the wins coming at home, and 11-5 against the Top 50). Plus, Duke won two head-to-head matchups, including one on a neutral floor in Brooklyn.
North Carolina went above .500, 6-5, in true road games, while Duke went just 3-6. But the Heels’ overall road/neutral record of 10-7 isn’t quite as good as the Blue Devils’ 12-7.
That discrepancy also helped close a gap in schedule strength. Duke ranked just 88th in non-conference strength of schedule, with North Carolina 49th. But after the ACC slate is factored in, the Blue Devils grabbed the advantage, ranking third while the Heels are 11th. Super-sized conferences and the imbalanced league slates that result just make regular-season conference championships, even unofficial ones, not mean as much as they did 15 or 20 years ago.