The 2023 NFL free agency period will bring a furious pace that sees top names move quickly. Half the league has a significant amount of money they’re working with, and it’s not an especially deep crop of talent available. That means the stars will cash in since there aren’t viable alternatives to paying the best veterans.
The top guard who will reach the market is Ben Powers. The Baltimore Ravens opted against franchise tagging Powers after he broke out with a fantastic 2022 season, but replacing the fourth-round pick will be difficult.
Ben Powers Free Agency Predictions
Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta said in the team’s season-ending press conference that Powers “has probably improved as much as anyone on our team.” He also acknowledged he may get offers they can’t match, considering their situation with quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Let’s dive into Powers’ free agency landing spots and his market value.
Bengals Continue OL Revamp With Powers
The Cincinnati Bengals made waves last season when they invested in the right side of their offensive line with free agent signings of La’el Collins and Alex Cappa. Cappa was solid, but Collins struggled and is dealing with a torn ACL suffered on Christmas Eve.
The Bengals can save up to $7.7 million if they release an underachieving and wounded Collins. While that would open a significant roster hole, it would be a strategic move that has to be made in tandem with signing someone like Powers and then drafting a right tackle like Dawand Jones from Ohio State.
MORE: Bengals OL La’el Collins a Top Cut Candidate in 2023
Left guard Cordell Volson was a fourth-round rookie in 2022, and the jump from him to Powers would be massive. It’s hard to improve upon Powers in pass protection, in particular, who ranked 10th among all guards with a 94% pass-block win rate.
As the cherry on top, Powers was the No. 2-ranked guard in run-block win rate as well. If the Bengals are serious about helping quarterback Joe Burrow, stealing Powers from their division rival would go a long way. With more than $30 million in cap space before logical cuts like Joe Mixon, Tyler Boyd, and Collins, Cincinnati can easily make this happen.
Bengals offensive line coach Frank Pollack expressed confidence in his current unit, saying he’s “comfortable with” bringing back last year’s starting five once Collins is ready to play. That doesn’t sound like someone endorsing change, but Cincinnati has a rare opportunity.
Cardinals Give Kyler Murray Help With Powers
New Arizona Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon learned the value of great trench play with the Philadelphia Eagles, watching the league’s best offensive and defensive lines get the team to the brink of a Super Bowl win. The Cardinals have very little talent along their offensive line, with their two best players fitting at left tackle. Adding an impactful left guard would help significantly as Rodney Hudson appears close to retiring.
Gannon hired former Cleveland Browns quarterbacks coach Drew Petzing as his offensive coordinator, and like Gannon, benefited from an awesome set of blockers. Petzing lauded Arizona star quarterback Kyler Murray’s talent and the importance of his role in “adapting to the players on the field” in his introductory press conference. But it’s hard to build anything with a dearth of talent in the trenches.
Arizona’s top four guards and starting right tackle will hit free agency this offseason. Assuming D.J. Humphries moves to right guard in 2023 and Josh Jones takes his left tackle spot, the Cardinals could feel more confident about their line by adding Powers. A veteran center is generally inexpensive, and a young player could slide into right guard next to Humphries.
Protecting Murray and maximizing him is all that matters for the Cardinals in the short term. Every move needs to keep this in mind. Spending on Powers won’t be cheap, but he and Jones can be an excellent long-term pairing.
Rams Clear Out Cap Space for Powers
Are you ready to see another Los Angeles Rams’ spending spree this offseason? It’s possible it happens, even if it’s not on a massive scale.
LA’s indicated that they’ll release veterans Bobby Wagner and Leonard Floyd if no trade is found for the latter, and are interested in trading Jalen Ramsey and Allen Robinson II. Those four moves will open about $30 million, depending on how much money they’d eat on any trade.
MORE: Potential Landing Spots for Jalen Ramsey
Los Angeles can further open space with restructures. While they learned the hard way about overinvesting in the wrong players and ignoring certain positions, they also should toe the line between maximizing their ability to win now and building a deeper roster that can withstand some short-term injuries. The Rams’ overly star-laden approach cost them dearly after several missed time in 2022.
There’s no question Los Angeles’ offensive line struggled more last year than any season with head coach Sean McVay in charge. The Rams need to protect Matthew Stafford better in 2022, and the leap from David Edwards to Powers at LG would be worth his price tag. Edwards played only 230 snaps due to injury last year, yet allowed three sacks despite the limited time on the field.
Adding Powers to a unit with three others who have been drafted since 2018 would keep LA young but more versatile. With running back Cam Akers coming alive at the end of 2022, I’d expect McVay to put more emphasis on rebuilding the run game and helping Stafford have time in the pocket as a passer.
Ben Powers’ Market Value, Career Stats, and More
Pass blocking will always be immensely valuable. At only 26 years old, Powers is still coming into his own. Getting out of Baltimore’s run-heavy scheme can also maximize his value since he’s the rare left guard better in pass sets than run blocking.
The LG market has exploded in recent years. Colts guard Quenton Nelson is averaging $20 million per year, followed by Elgton Jenkins at $17 million and Joel Bitonio and Joe Thuney at $16 million per year.
Spotrac.com values Powers at $9.4 million per year. Though it’s fair to have some concern over his lack of longevity as a top performer, Powers is in line to be paid significantly more than that valuation. Their comparables included two players — Matt Pryor and Patrick Mekari — who are nowhere near the performers that Powers is.
With the open market having only one other marquee name at guard — Isaac Seumalo of the Eagles — Powers should cash in handsomely. He’s exactly three years younger than Seumalo and has a less daunting injury history.
I’d expect Powers to land a deal closer to the $14 million per year mark that Laken Tomlinson fell just shy of. That would put him as the fifth-highest-paid left guard in the NFL.
Ben Powers Career Stats
- Games Played (Started): 47 (36)
- Pro Bowls: 0
- Penalties: 8
- Sacks Allowed: 3