NFL free-agent rankings: Top 5 at each position, and what to know about next big date on offseason calendar

NFL free agency is the next big date on the offseason calendar. Here are Yahoo Sports NFL writer Frank Schwab's top five free agents at each position, along with everything else you need to know.

Top 5 NFL free agents by position

Running backs
Wide receivers
Tight ends
Offensive line
Defensive line
Defensive backs

When does NFL free agency begin?

NFL free agency begins Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET, which is also the start of the NFL's new league year.

Yahoo Sports is ranking the top five NFL free agents by position. (Mallory Bielecki/Yahoo Sports)
Yahoo Sports is ranking the top five NFL free agents by position. (Mallory Bielecki/Yahoo Sports)

When does the 'legal tampering' period begin?

The NFL's "legal tampering" period began Monday at noon ET and ends at 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday. During this 52-hour window, teams are allowed to contact and negotiate contracts with the certified agents of players who will become unrestricted free agents in the new league year.

Players not represented by an NFLPA certified contract advisor are permitted to communicate with teams' front office officials regarding contract negotiations, but not the head coach or other members of the coaching staff.

No contracts are allowed to be signed until after free agency officially begins.

Who are the top 10 free agents?

Here are the top 10 free agents, their position and their current team, per Yahoo Sports' Frank Schwab. Check out his entire top 25 here.

1. Kirk Cousins, QB, Minnesota Vikings
2. Christian Wilkins, DT, Miami Dolphins
3. Danielle Hunter, EDGE, Minnesota Vikings
4. Leonard Williams, DL, Seattle Seahawks
5. Bryce Huff, EDGE, New York Jets
6. Kendall Fuller, CB, Washington Commanders
7. Jonathan Greenard, EDGE, Houston Texans
8. Xavier McKinney, S, New York Giants
9. Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants
10. Marquise Brown, WR, Arizona Cardinals

What is the NFL salary cap this season?

The salary cap is $255.4 million, a $30 million increase from 2023. Here's Yahoo Sports' Jori Epstein with an overarching look at the jump.

How much cap space does each team have, and what are their needs?

Check out our team-by-team NFL offseason primers, which hits on every franchise's cap situation and where they need to spend the money.

Which players received the NFL franchise tag?

All in all, seven of the top 12 of our initial free agent rankings received the non-exclusive franchise tag. The eight total players who’ve been tagged include:

Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals WR
L'Jarius Sneed, Kansas City Chiefs CB
Brian Burns, Carolina Panthers EDGE
Justin Madubuike, Baltimore Ravens DT
Antoine Winfield, Tampa Bay Buccaneers S
Josh Allen, Jacksonville Jaguars EDGE
Jaylon Johnson, Chicago Bears CB
Michael Pittman Jr., Indianapolis Colts WR