NFL free agency officially began on Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET after two days of the legal tampering period. After a flurry of deals on the first day, things have slowed considerably over the last two. We’ve seen a handful of solid playmakers and contributors change teams thus far, but more big names remain.
Let’s run through the best remaining free agents without contracts. And make sure to check out the PFN Top 100 Free Agents list to get up-to-date information on the remaining free agents from the list.
Who Are the Best Remaining NFL Free Agents After Free Agency Started?
1) Lamar Jackson, QB
Tagged as a non-exclusive free agent, Lamar Jackson can’t just sign with any team with ease. The Baltimore Ravens star can negotiate with other franchises, but the Ravens can choose to either match any agreed-upon offer or get two first-round picks from his new team in return. Jackson, who doesn’t have an agent, could begin discussing deals with teams on Wednesday.
While Lamar certainly has a few flaws to his game as a passer and has battled the injury bug in each of the past two seasons, it’s impossible to understate how impressive it is to become the youngest-ever MVP in the NFL. With the marriage in Baltimore getting messier by the day, it will be fascinating to see if another team steps up to the plate.
2) C.J. Gardner-Johnson, S
Although C.J. Gardner-Johnson was had for next to nothing via trade with the Saints on an expiring contract in August, it would be a huge loss if he ended up in another uniform in 2023. After sliding back into a more natural safety role from the slot, he tied the lead league in INTs last season with six in just 12 games. According to John Clark of NBC Philadelphia, the Eagles are “making a big push” to keep him.
Gardner-Johnson has also drawn some interest from the Bengals, and his versatility makes him an outstanding fit for Lou Anarumo’s defense. Seeing what his contract inevitably looks like will be fascinating compared to Jessie Bates III. The Raiders, Patriots, or Browns stand out as potential fits if he doesn’t return to Philadelphia.
3) Orlando Brown Jr., OT
While it surprised many of us to see the Chiefs pay Jawaan Taylor to go from right tackle to left, it was not a surprise to see Orlando Brown Jr. not returning to Kansas City, even though the team effectively traded for a two-year rental.
With both Taylor and Mike McGlinchey commanding more than $17 million annually, there’s no reason to believe Brown will command less money, even if the market is less saturated than what it was a few days ago.
Brown is a fantastic pass protector and a true road-grader in the run game. It’s easy to see his fit in RPO-heavy units, but Brown may need to move back to right tackle to find a long-term home. The Chargers, Patriots, and Raiders could easily justify signing him.
4) Isaac Seumalo, G
With Jason Kelce’s return to the Eagles official, it probably makes a reunion with Isaac Seumalo less likely. Cam Jurgens, who Kelce hand-picked as his replacement, is riding the pine but will likely cha-cha to the right and play guard, with Sua Opeta as the interior backup.
Seumalo is a formidable presence on the interior as a run blocker and pass protector. However, part of the reason why he’s not a household name is that injuries have consistently taken him off the field over the past few seasons. Arizona and Seattle have the need and money to make a deal happen.
5) Terence Steele, OT
While the Cowboys placed a second-round tender on Terence Steele, he is able to negotiate with other teams, and Dallas would either be forced to match the offer or lose him for a second-round pick. With so many right tackles making silly money this offseason, it’s not crazy to think that an ascending player like Steele could make a decent living.
However, a torn ACL in Week 14 likely keeps him in a Cowboys uniform for this season, and Dallas has been open about looking to get a long-term deal done with Steele over the summer when he is fully healthy. They’ve invested a lot of time and energy into the undrafted free agent, and they usually take care of their home-grown talent.
6) Dalton Schultz, TE
One potential suitor for Dalton Schultz came off the board when the New York Giants traded the 100th overall pick for Darren Waller on Tuesday. It’s a bit surprising the tight end market hasn’t seen action besides Hayden Hurst’s three-year deal with Carolina. Schultz may be holding it up a bit.
Schultz is a good all-around tight end who has steadily improved as a blocker and adds reliability as a safety blanket for a QB. He’s an underrated athlete before and after the catch, but he won’t necessarily wow you with acrobatics on slightly off-target throws. He’s a luxury for an offense since he’s not an elite playmaker.
7) Odell Beckham Jr., WR
If Odell Beckham Jr. is healthy, he’s likely the best option on the WR market, as long as his price remains consistent with his value relative to the rest of the market, which has been completely underwhelming thus far.
Injuries had zapped some of Beckham’s explosiveness before his latest ACL tear, so he’s likely even more compromised than he was with Los Angeles. But he’d learned how to be a professional route runner with age, and his flexibility still allows for good separation in man coverage.
8) Mike Gesicki, TE
It’s hard to find a player who endured a stranger 2022 season than Mike Gesicki. The former Dolphins tight end was franchise-tagged after a solid campaign, but it was clear from the jump that Miami’s coaching staff wanted a more willing and talented blocker. Gesicki is a gifted pass catcher but a non-factor blocker.
Essentially a big slot receiver who can make acrobatic catches, Gesicki brings value to a pass-heavy offense or as a subpackage player. The Bengals or Rams appear to be solid fits.
9) Jadeveon Clowney, EDGE
Released with a June 1 designation Wednesday, Jadeveon Clowney’s deal had a void year built in. His tenure in Cleveland ended with a whimper, totaling two sacks and one inflammatory interview in 12 games. However, the versatile defender still has value as a run defender and occasionally effective pass rusher despite looking for his fifth team in his career.
Some teams won’t consider Clowney’s lack of durability to be worth the squeeze. He’s missed at least three games in each of the last four seasons. Outside of his nine-sack campaign in 2021, he’s totaled five sacks in 2019, 2020, and 2022.
10) Yannick Ngakoue, EDGE
If you could simply make a full-time pass rusher role that had no run responsibilities, Yannick Ngakoue might log 15 sacks every season. He’s that good at getting to the quarterback. He’s notched at least eight sacks in each of his eight seasons but hasn’t played on the same team for more than one year since finishing his rookie contract with Jacksonville in 2019.
Ngakoue will always have value as a rotational player, and he somehow turns just 28 this month. He’d be perfect for a playoff contender lacking depth, such as Cleveland, or a return to Las Vegas. But don’t ask him to stop the run, as the 246-pounder really struggles to hold his own at the point of attack.