NFL free agency is finally here as every team will be looking to upgrade their rosters. Free agency isn’t as important as the NFL Draft, but buying a star can help teams get over the edge. Remember last year when the Jacksonville Jaguars went on a spending spree? Zay Jones, Christian Kirk and Evan Engram certainly worked out for head coach Doug Pederson and general manager Trent Baalke. Who will be the team that shells out millions and millions of dollars this offseason?
There are plenty of big names out there searching for new deals, and plenty of interested teams looking to make that key addition that gets them into the playoffs or even the Super Bowl. Below, we will examine the best free agents at each position, and a few potential landing spots that make sense for them.
Landing spots: Ravens, Falcons, Raiders
Near the end of the 2022 regular season, I published a “bold predictions” offseason post, and one of those bold predictions was for things to get messy with Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens. Jackson did receive the non-exclusive franchise tag, meaning he can negotiate with other teams and Baltimore can match any offer — as we know, lightning strikes are more predictable than the NFL.
On the surface, the Atlanta Falcons would appear to be an ideal landing spot for Jackson. Not only do they need a quarterback, but they have plenty of available cap space. They’re also in a different conference than the Ravens and have a star tight end in Kyle Pitts, who could truly be unlocked and evolve into the player we all thought he would be coming out of the University of Florida. However, CBS Sports NFL Insider Jonathan Jones did report that the team is currently not pursuing him. Things could change, but they do appear to be on the outside looking in on the former MVP.
As for the Las Vegas Raiders, they have a new-ish head coach and are looking for a new quarterback. If I’m him, I’m swinging for the fences. The leash is short, and you reside in a division with Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert and Sean Payton. Jackson playing with Darren Waller and Davante Adams would be fun to watch.
Top running back
Landing spots: Eagles, Bills, Dolphins, Bears
Sanders is coming off a stellar 2022 season where he rushed for a career-high 1,269 yards and 11 touchdowns while helping Philadelphia win the NFC. While a return to the Eagles makes plenty of success, he will have suitors around the league. In the AFC East, both the Bills and Dolphins could use help in the running game. Buffalo has struggled to find consistency on the ground over the last few years and the possible addition of Sanders could help them grind teams away late in games. As for the Dolphins, pairing a player as talented as Sanders with head coach Mike McDaniel would be fascinating. Finally, you can’t discount the Bears considering they have a boatload of cap space and have David Montgomery hitting free agency. Sanders could have a similar role that he had in Philly playing alongside another mobile quarterback in Justin Fields.
Top wide receiver
Landing spots: Packers, Giants, Texans
Is Meyers the best available free agent wideout over players like JuJu Smith-Schuster and Odell Beckham Jr.? He may just be. Sure, Bill Belichick is a legendary coach, but that New England Patriots offense was not good last season. Meyers caught 67 passes for 804 yards and a career-high six touchdowns in 2022. I think he could be ready to take off, and a change of scenery would be good for him. With the Green Bay Packers, Meyers would make an immediate impact for Aaron Rodgers or Jordan Love. The same can be said for the New York Giants, who are looking to revamp their wide receiving corps. I think a team like the Houston Texans would chase Meyers as well — a young player who may not come too expensive, and could continue to grow alongside a young talent like Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud.
Top tight end
Landing spots: Panthers, Colts, Commanders
Schultz is the top tight end looking for a new contract this offseason, and many are expecting the 26-year-old to get paid. The Carolina Panthers are a team that could be looking for a new tight end. The quarterback position is more important, but that new quarterback will need a versatile yet reliable security blanket that makes the offense better as a whole. Frank Reich is an offensive-minded head coach. He will want to add a new, young weapon. Speaking of Reich, his former team could be interested in adding a tight end as well. Mo Alie-Cox and Jelani Woods are fun players, but Schultz would be an automatic upgrade in Indianapolis. I also threw in the Washington Commanders as a potential landing spot. I understand Dallas Cowboys fans wouldn’t be excited about that, but Washington could be eyeing a new TE1, and another weapon who Eric Bieniemy can utilize.
Top offensive tackle
Landing spots: Chiefs, Jets, Bears
There was a point last offseason where it looked like Brown was done with the Kansas City Chiefs. Ultimately he played on the franchise tag, and won a Super Bowl ring because of it. I would re-sign with the Chiefs and help establish a dynasty behind Patrick Mahomes’ talent, even if I don’t reset the market at my respective position. If Brown is done in Kansas City, I feel like the New York Jets would be a great landing spot. The Jets as a franchise are on the right track, but they just need a quarterback and protection for said quarterack. Signing a franchise left tackle would go a long way for New York. The Chicago Bears have the most cap space for free agency, and could use some dollars on the top left tackle if he gets there. Justin Fields needs better protection, and while I don’t want to totally ignore the fact that Braxton Jones was rather impressive as a rookie, Brown is an obvious upgrade Chicago can afford.
Top interior lineman
Landing spots: Rams, Broncos, Colts
Seumalo is one of the best guards available in this free agency class, and one reason why is that he has experience playing on both the left and right sides. The Los Angeles Rams‘ offensive line struggled mightily in 2022, so the versatile Seumalo would be a natural fit. The Denver Broncos also need to upgrade the offensive line if they want to get the most out of Russell Wilson. Again, Seumalo’s versatility would have really helped Denver in 2022, and Dalton Risner could be on the way out. The Indianapolis Colts just hired former Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen, and he could bring Seumalo in to play right guard. That’s a position Indy has struggled to lock down.
Top defensive end
Landing spots: Chiefs, Bears, Ravens
Believe it or not, Davenport is Pete Prisco’s No. 6 best free agent this offseason! He recorded just half a sack in 15 games played last year, but his 19 percent pass-rush win rate over the past three seasons ranks 14th, per Pro Football Focus, and his 14.2 percent pressure rate ranks 17th among pass rushers. The Chiefs are a landing spot for Davenport as he could be a Frank Clark replacement. You have to throw the Bears in there as well, since they need pass-rush help and have the money to compete with anyone. Finally, I think the Ravens would be a fascinating landing spot for Davenport. Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Houston are free agents. Davenport could be a replacement for them.
Top defensive tackle
Landing spots: Seahawks, Cardinals, Falcons
“Gravedigger” was a big reason for Philly’s success in 2022, as he racked up 11 sacks and 60 combined tackles. Hargrave is also one of the interior defensive linemen who can rush the passer, and he’s going to be in high demand this offseason. The Seattle Seahawks was a team I picked out for him earlier this offseason as he would be a great addition to what was the third-worst run defense in the league last year. Jonathan Gannon could make it a point to bring Hargrave with him to Arizona. The Cardinals certainly could use his presence on the defensive line as they begin this rebuild. Maybe the Falcons aren’t the most attractive free-agent destination, but they have the second-most cap space in the NFL, and could use an interior star that also can pass-rush.
Landing spots: Commanders, Broncos, Texans
Edmunds is a player who can make some nice money for himself on the open market this offseason. The Commanders have been searching for a true middle linebacker for a couple years now, and instead of moving Cole Holcomb and Jamin Davis around, how about Ron Rivera goes out and signs a proven MLB? The same goes for the Broncos, who have one of the best defenses in the NFL. Alex Singleton and Josey Jewell were tackling monsters, but Edmunds would be an immediate upgrade. Additionally, the Texans could be looking for a new defensive leader as this team embarks on a rebuild. I bet DeMeco Ryans would love having Edmunds in the middle of his defense.
Landing spots: Vikings, Lions, Patriots
James Bradberry is a pretty good cornerback as well, but the 26-year-old Dean may be the most popular one on the market. The Minnesota Vikings pass defense ranked second-worst in the league last year. There’s no doubt they need to add to the secondary — especially with Patrick Peterson, Chandon Sullivan and Kris Boyd being free agents. The Detroit Lions are another team I would watch here. Detroit is on the right track, but it needs help on defense. A legitimate starting cornerback who thrives in man coverage would fit really well in the Motor City. The Patriots could be another team that chases Dean. Jonathan Jones is turning 30 years old and looking for a new deal. Getting younger at a premier position is a smart move.
Landing spots: 49ers, Cowboys, Dolphins
The veteran Poyer was truly the secret sauce to Buffalo’s defense. He missed four games last season. Do you know what Buffalo’s record was in those four contests? 1-3. The San Francisco 49ers could be parting ways with Jimmie Ward, Emmanuel Moseley and Tashaun Gipson. They need some reinforcements in the secondary, and Poyer feels like a perfect fit given his experience and desire to chase a ring.
We also have the Cowboys and Dolphins as two fits for Poyer. When recently discussing where he would like to play, money appeared to be a factor for Poyer. He wants to live in a place with no state income tax, so Texas and Florida would both work. Maybe joining the rival Dolphins feels far-fetched to some, but go check out what Poyer said on his podcast.