The NFL regular season ended on Sunday and now 18 teams can start making the necessary moves to make it to the playoffs in 2023. There are some big names potentially hitting the open market, so it could be quite the action-packed offseason.
The action won’t pick up until March, when agents for pending free agents have 48 hours to begin the dialogue with NFL teams before the free-agency period begins. While the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles are among the teams listed by the Las Vegas odds with the best odds to win the Super Bowl, there are key players on both teams who could leave via free agency.
Here’s a look at some of the top storylines to keep an eye on in the coming months for players who might be changing teams as the landscape could be changing.
It might save time to mention the teams not viewed as a potential landing spot for record-setting quarterback Tom Brady.
Will he return to Tampa Bay? Set up a homecoming in San Francisco? Throw to Davante Adams with the Raiders? Or call it a career?
Brady is not the prize of the potential free agent quarterbacks, as that title belongs to Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens.
Few NFL franchises are run better than Baltimore and it seems unlikely that they will let the former MVP walk. They could use the franchise tag on Jackson, which would keep him with the Ravens for the 2023 season.
Anybody Want a Rushing Champion?
When the Las Vegas Raiders used a fourth-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft on former University of Georgia running back Zamir White, there was a thought that White might cut into Josh Jacobs’ workload.
Jacobs led the NFL with 1,653 rushing yards. The Raiders will try to keep Jacobs in Las Vegas, but he could attract more than a little interest.
Giant Decisions To Make
The resurgence of quarterback Daniel Jones and running back Saquon Barkley has helped the New York Giants make a surprising run to the playoffs.
Both players are free agents. Jones could be a more affordable option as well as more of a long-term one than going after Brady or even Jackson.
Barkley finished fourth in the NFL in rushing despite being held out of the regular-season finale with reports that the Giants would like to bring both of them back, and why wouldn’t they?
Geno Ready for a Big Pay Day?
After his tenure ended with the New York Jets, people were ready to write off Geno Smith.
One of the front-runners to win the NFL Comeback Player of the Year, according to the sportsbook, stepped in when Russell Wilson was traded to Denver.
Smith threw for more than 4,000 yards with 29 touchdown passes with just nine interceptions. The Seahawks will try to hold onto Smith. However, the timing couldn’t be better for Smith to have a career year.
Among quarterbacks who threw at least 100 passes, two of the top five players in passing efficiency could be available for the right price, with San Francisco’s Jimmy Garoppolo’s time with the 49ers likely over.
It isn’t often that 25-year-old 320-pound defensive tackles with double-digit sacks seasons hit the open market. That could be the case with Washington Commanders’ Daron Payne.
— Washington Commanders (@Commanders) January 6, 2023
Along with fellow interior defensive lineman Javon Hargrave of the Philadelphia Eagles, linebacker Roquan Smith -who was traded from Chicago to Baltimore during the season,- Philadelphia safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, and Tampa Bay cornerback Jamel Dean, there are going to be some intriguing options for teams looking to add impact players on defense.
Looking at the Top Free Agents
Here’s a position-by-position look at the top potential free agents
Quarterback – Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens: There have been some rumblings of trouble in paradise. Still, it is hard to imagine Jackson playing elsewhere in 2023.
Running back – Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders: Some people might be scared off by his workload during his time with the Raiders, but there is no doubting the talent of the former Alabama star. NFC East rivals Saquon Barkley of the New York Giants and Tony Pollard of the Dallas Cowboys are also worth keeping an eye on.
Receiver – Jakobi Meyers, New England Patriots: His 64 catches and 772 yards might not stand out, but he is a reliable pass catcher who could thrive with a better quarterback situation.
Tight end – Evan Engram, Jacksonville Jaguars: The move from the New York Giants to the Jaguars agreed with Engram as he finished fourth among tight ends with 766 receiving yards.
Offensive tackle – Orlando Brown, Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs gave up quite a bit to trade for Brown, so will they really be ready to let him walk?
Interior offensive line – Dalton Risner, Denver Broncos: Russell Wilson needs all the help he can get, so it seems unlikely that Risner will head elsewhere.
Edge rusher – Marcus Davenport, New Orleans Saints: This was not a good year in the sack department for Davenport. However, he had nine sacks in 2021 at the age of 25 and could have a higher ceiling than some of the other pass rushers.
Interior defensive line – Daron Payne, Washington Commanders: The 13th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft will improve any defensive line in the NFL.
Linebacker – Roquan Smith, Baltimore Ravens: Smith seems like a perfect fit in Baltimore, and after picking him up this season, it would be hard to imagine him playing elsewhere in 2023.
Cornerback – Jamel Dean, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: He has graded out well during his time in Tampa and could be viewed as the No. 1 cornerback by teams in need of secondary help.
Safety – Chancey Gardner-Johnson, Philadelphia Eagles: Cincinnati’s Jessie Bates is another top option. Gardner-Johnson is a premier ball hawk who will be much sought after.