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Ranking the top unsigned NFL free agents

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Schefter: Fitzpatrick's greatest value is to the Jets (1:40)

Adam Schefter thinks losing Ryan Fitzpatrick would be a bigger blow to the Jets than it would be for Fitzpatrick. (1:40)

Editor's note: Eric Weddle agreed to terms with Baltimore after this story was published.

Here we are. The opening frenzy of the NFL's free-agent market is a distant memory. We're now well into the second phase, one that is far less exciting but no less important to the team-building process.

Teams have guaranteed $700.7 million in salaries and bonuses thus far, according to ESPN Stats & Information tracking. Most teams have tapped or come close to their cash budgets, but there are still at least a dozen available players who will play important roles for teams in 2016. Let's take a look at the best of the bunch.

1. Eric Weddle

Position: Safety
2015 team: San Diego Chargers
Age: 31

Analysis: Based purely on what he will offer a team in 2016, Weddle was probably the top safety available on the market. But at his age and after nine seasons of wear, it's not unusual for the process to move slowly. Interest has formed from multiple teams looking for a plug-in starter who will give maximum effort along with bringing veteran leadership and playmaking ability. Weddle should have a deal soon.

Editor's Note: Weddle agreed to terms on a contract with the Baltimore Ravens on Monday at 1:30 p.m. ET.

2. Russell Okung

Position: Left tackle
2015 team: Seattle Seahawks
Age: 28

Analysis: Opinions vary on Okung's skills, but it's rare when an above-average left tackle younger than 30 gets to the open market. Okung is representing himself in negotiations, a decision that slowed down his tour. Postseason shoulder surgery also will give some teams pause, but he'll be starting for someone at one of the game's most important positions in 2016. He has visited the New York Giants, Detroit Lions and Pittsburgh Steelers.

3. Chris Long

Position: Defensive end
2015 team: St. Louis Rams
Age: 30

Analysis: Interested teams, including the Washington Redskins and Atlanta Falcons, must determine whether the injuries that cost Long 14 games since 2014 have permanently diminished his effectiveness as a pass-rusher. Long has only four sacks and has disrupted just 0.3 percent of opposing dropbacks over that period, according to ESPN's Stats & Info research. His dropback disruptions ranked 17th on the Rams alone. Even so, if healthy, Long could provide important situational pass rush.

4. Ryan Fitzpatrick

Position: Quarterback
2015 team: New York Jets
Age: 33

Analysis: Fitzpatrick and the Jets haven't been close to a contract agreement, even after what might have been the best season of the QB's career. It's understandable that the Jets don't want to make a big commitment -- they were his fourth team in four seasons -- but there is at least one team that still needs a starting quarterback. Could Fitzpatrick end up Peyton Manning's short-term replacement for the Denver Broncos?

5. Reggie Nelson

Position: Safety
2015 team: Cincinnati Bengals
Age: 32

Analysis: A ferocious but aging hitter, Nelson appears unwanted by the Bengals. If nothing else, his eight interceptions last season prove he can still be around the ball in coverage. Nelson is good enough to start for a safety-barren team in 2016.

6. Nick Fairley

Position: Defensive tackle
2015 team: St. Louis Rams
Age: 28

Analysis: Fairley made it through 15 games last season, something he has done only twice in his five-year career. He remains a disruptive interior presence, even if he had only a half-sack, and rare is the team that has too many inside pass-rushers.

7. Andre Smith

Position: Right tackle
2015 team: Cincinnati Bengals
Age: 29

Analysis: Smith wasn't always able to stay on the field during seven seasons with the Bengals. He missed 30 of a possible 112 games but is a force when healthy and committed. He was scheduled to visit the Minnesota Vikings over the weekend.

8. Donald Penn

Position: Left tackle
2015 team: Oakland Raiders
Age: 32

Analysis: Penn might be squeezed out of the Raiders' lineup after the signing of free agent Kelechi Osemele. But he will be a reliable, if declining, left tackle for a team in need. Penn hasn't missed a game for the Raiders -- or the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before that -- since he became a regular starter in 2007.

9. Kelvin Beachum

Position: Left tackle
2015 team: Pittsburgh Steelers
Age: 26

Analysis: Beachum tore his left ACL in October, and recovery from such injuries can be less than predictable for big men. But Beachum is at an ideal age for a free-agent contract and, assuming he recovers, should have a long career protecting the quarterback's blind side.