The bad news? Nothing happened on Day 2 of the legal tampering period. The good news? There are still several very good football players left on the market, including a 26-year-old MVP. But with free agency officially beginning on Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET, there will surely be a flurry of deals on hump day, the official start of NFL free agency.
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 remaining free agents from the list.
Who Are the Best Remaining NFL Free Agents After Day 2 of the Legal Tampering Period?
1) Lamar Jackson, QB
The Lamar Jackson situation is as peculiar as we’ve seen in the NFL. The 26-year-old 2019 MVP not only failed to come to terms on a long-term extension from the Baltimore Ravens but was not given the exclusive franchise tag, either. Now, any team can submit their offer, and if Jackson accepts it, the Ravens can choose to accept or decline to match.
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 Chauncey Gardner-Johnson was had for a bag of chips and a Snickers bar in August on an expiring contract, 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.
Gardner-Johnson has drawn some interest from the Bengals, and his versatile ability 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. Every defense needs a Johnson… Let’s see who ends up with C.J.
3) Orlando Brown, OT
While it surprised many of us to see the Chiefs pay Jawaan Taylor to go from right tackle to left tackle, it was not a surprise to see Orlando Brown 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, but he’s a true road grader in the run game, so run and RPO-heavy units should be looking into his services.
4) Lavonte David, LB
It would be incredibly weird to see Lavonte David in a non-Buccaneers uniform. The 11-year veteran has spent each of his seasons with Tampa Bay, and he’s still playing at an incredibly high level, despite being 33.
However, the Buccaneers’ salary cap situation is in shambles, which likely makes a reunion more difficult. The team’s saving grace might be the linebacker market. Eric Kendricks made relative pennies to return to Los Angeles, and it’s likely with the amount of talent at the position, that David isn’t getting the value he believes he deserves on the free market.
5) Isaac Seumalo, G
With Jason Kelce’s return to the Eagles officially official, it probably makes a reunion with Isaac Seumalo less likely. Cam Jurgens, who Kelce hand-picked as his replacement, is riding 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.
6) 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.
7) Dalton Schultz, TE
There were whispers today that Dalton Schultz may end up in a Giants uniform, but those whispers quickly hushed when the news dropped that Joe Schoen was trading the 100th pick in the NFL draft for Darren Waller.
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.
8) Arden Key, OLB
Arden Key is likely ready for a more full-time role as an edge rusher, but his best fit is still as a rotational piece that can play up and down the defensive line as a pass rusher. He only played about 40% of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ defensive snaps.
Key has steadily improved as a run defender during his time with the 49ers and Jaguars, but he’s still an undersized outside linebacker, so maybe he wouldn’t be able to consistently set the edge playing 65% of a team’s defensive snaps. As a designated pass rusher, he gets to use his length and agility to win in obvious passing situations.
9) 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.
10) Jordan Poyer, S
Historically, the safety market is usually pretty slow to take off in free agency. Jordan Poyer is still a fantastic player on the back end and would make for a welcome addition to any defense in the NFL. Contending teams will likely pursue the veteran when Gardner-Johnson’s new team is announced.