NFL teams can talk to all free agents beginning Saturday and start signing them at 3 p.m. on Tuesday. Must-have players will fill holes ahead of the draft as fan bases celebrate, often beyond their ability or willingness to remember past free agency pitfalls. Will this year's initial dreams satisfy a remarkable shelf life (think Antoine Winfield) or will they quickly become tomorrow's contract headaches (did someone say, "Mike Wallace"?)
Here is a look at 10 players who are scheduled to become free agents on Tuesday:
1. Pernell McPhee, Ravens DE
He hasn't started a game since 2012, but here's why that's a good thing for someone as gifted as McPhee: He hasn't peaked and he's hungry for the next step. Just like Everson Griffen a year ago. A versatile, violent 26-year-old pass rusher with an I'll-show-them attitude? Yeah, that'll work.
2. Davon House, Packers CB
Free agency is like goaltending in basketball. It doesn't do any good to grab a guy on the way down. House is a big, confident, 25-year-old corner on the way up.
3. Jerry Hughes, Bills DE
Critics wonder whether his success is because of the Bills' other linemen. Here's a gamble that it's a two-way street. He's 26. He has averaged 10 sacks and 40 QB pressures the past two years. And he's determined to prove he's the reason.
4. Randall Cobb, Packers WR
This would be a whole lot safer if Aaron Rodgers was part of the package. Great quarterbacks can disguise a receiver's true value. Cobb, however, is the league's best young (24) slot receiver with great instincts and moves after the catch.
5. Reggie Bush, ex-Lions RB
I listed Reggie here because he violates three of my free agency no-nos: No running backs, no 30-year-olds and no injury concerns. He also illustrates the need for exceptions. This is a passing league. It's also a third-down league. Bush won't cost much and if you're having trouble envisioning his impact on third down, picture him in a Patriots uniform.
1. Ndamukong Suh, Lions DT
He's the premier free agent available. He's young, dominant and durable. But he's on the Leave 'Em list because he expects to be — and will become — the highest paid defensive player in NFL history. Nobody is ever one player away from winning the Super Bowl, let alone one defensive tackle away. A contract this gigantic would seem to restrict a team's ability to address multiple needs.
2. Demarco Murray, Cowboys RB
It's a shame to feel this way about a productive player, but what I see through the windshield of this guy's career can't possibly match what I see in his rear view mirror. Pay accordingly.
3. Julius Thomas, Broncos TE
He's on the list more as a warning against overpaying a guy who is the product of a particular system and surrounding. It's hard to project Thomas being a 12-touchdown player without Peyton Manning and Demaryius Thomas. The Raiders and Jaguars are interested, so it might not take long to prove this point.
4. Nick Fairley, Lions DT
He's on this list because I want to believe he'll get in shape, stay motivated and finally live up to expectations. But then I realize how counterintuitive that is in relation to giving him a lot of money.
5. Greg Hardy, Panthers DE
Free agency is enough of a crapshoot without turning down this dark path. He'll get his money and second chance. Elsewhere.