All 32 NFL teams are well on their way to the start of the 2023 NFL season. With rookie minicamps and voluntary workouts happening across the league, the wheels are starting to turn for all squads and players looking to cause a major splash.
Players across the league are already hard at work in their effort to win a coveted spot on each team’s initial 53-man roster for the start of the season. But for some stars still scoping out the sights in the NFL free agency market, the window to find a new team to call home is closing faster and faster.
In a league as competitive as the NFL, one day you can be the talk of the town, while the next you could end up having to knock on as many doors as possible to be able to gear up once again.
For now, as we continue on our road to the new season, let’s count down who some of the top remaining free agents in the season are, and where they should land this year.
Remember in 2016 and ’17 when QB Carson Wentz was giving Philadelphia Eagles fans a reason to believe in the second coming of a passing Messiah? Since former Eagles legend Donovan McNabb rocked Philly’s colors, the team’s fans hadn’t been able to catch a break and get excited about their team.
Now, a few years after, and with Wentz having left the Eagles to play for the Indianapolis Colts and Washington Commanders respectively, we can all agree that that tale didn’t age quite well, right?
With Wentz looking for a new home, clearly with a backup QB role in mind, one team stands out as a perfect landing spot. The Chicago Bears, who besides riding with Justin Fields have no depth in their QB room, could benefit from having a veteran like Wentz be Fields’ backup.
Chicago needs to think of scenarios in which Fields could end up getting banged up, especially with how much he loves to run the ball. So why not have a backup like Wentz in case an injury scare happens?
He’s reportedly open to take “Starter or backups roles”.
Who would offer Wentz a starter role though? pic.twitter.com/O7x8e4kH68
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) May 14, 2023
If you’re one of those people who is more than ready to write off CB Marcus Peters because of the past couple of years, sit down and shut up. If you take out 2021 in which Peters missed the season because of an ACL tear, and 2022, where he was coming back from said tear and also battling a calf injury, Peters is still as reliable of an asset as you can find.
If Peters can get back to health as close as possible to his pre-ACL tear level of playing, we’re talking about a cornerback who could make any team’s secondary substantially better. The guy is a bonafide leader off the field and a playmaker on it, qualities that teams like the Giants or Bengals could enormously benefit from.
Put Peters in New York’s or Cincinnati’s secondary and his experience could prove to be a tipping point to help those defensive backfields rise, especially if playoff hopes are on the table.
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) May 15, 2023
Zeke is hungry and he is looking for a new place to eat! After the Dallas Cowboys decided to release their once-star running back this offseason alongside former OC Kellen Moore, the panorama for Elliott seemed bleak. But let’s remember a simple tidbit of information before we go and toss the former Ohio State star RB out to dry.
In his last season with Dallas, Elliott still managed to rush for 876 yards and scored 12 TDs. At 27 years old and posting numbers like that, who would want to miss out on the chance of snagging him and giving him a second chance at stardom?
With his future in limbo, Elliott could seriously benefit from a reunion over on the West Coast. With Moore joining the LA Chargers as OC this season, bringing Elliott to form a duo with disgruntled RB Austin Ekeler, who while permitted to seek a new team looks like he’ll be playing in LA for 2023, could work wonders.
LA needs a power rusher for short-yardage gains, which is something that Elliott is quite good at. If given the chance, Elliott could help Justin Herbert and LA’s offense to diversify their game and allow Ekeler to have a little bit more breathing room to stay fresh throughout the season.
— NFL Rumors (@nflrums) May 14, 2023
Put star edge rusher Leonard Floyd on any other team than the LA Rams and we’re talking about a player who can become a pivotal differential piece in any defensive scheme. Recording at least nine sacks each of his three seasons in LA, Floyd is the kind of veteran presence that any team looking to solidify its defensive line should be seeking.
Enter the Atlanta Falcons.
If you’ve been paying attention to the Atlanta Falcons, they’ve been making some strong moves. From making a bold statement in the NFL draft by picking RB Bijan Robinson out of Texas with their first pick, to acquiring a slew of veteran defenders to spruce up their defense, the Falcons want to pop in 2023. So why not add a player like Floyd, who just happens to be a Georgia native with strong ties to the ATL?
Floyd would automatically become the team’s best defender as far as stats are concerned as well as a true-born leader in a locker room full of explosiveness but in need of some veteran guidance.
The Philadelphia Eagles and Los Angeles Chargers have been linked to LB Leonard Floyd. pic.twitter.com/0C6MfsKznD
— NFL Rumors (@nflrums) May 14, 2023
I’ll say this, when defending the run, DE Yannick Ngakoue is nothing spectacular. He is limited and doesn’t add much to any defensive line. But let him rush a QB and you’re getting an absolute beast. With 9.5 sacks last season playing in Indianapolis, Ngakoue means business when it comes to getting after passers.
A team like the Chicago Bears for example could benefit greatly from landing a player like Ngakoue to bolster a rather lackluster defensive line. Chicago has always been all about having strong edge rushers. Remember Khalil Mack? Stud. Robert Quinn? Another stud. So why not bring in another player who could become the team’s new QB wrecker?
Chicago turned to the draft to find answers to its problems regarding defense against the run. Now that the Bears have found said answers, tackling their pass-rushing issues with Ngakoue feels like an obvious move.
An elite pass rusher with Pro Bowl and Super Bowl-winning experience? Sign me up. That’s what any team who signs DE Frank Clark would get. Clark is the kind of O-line disruptor that while seems to disappear into the background here and there, always manages to come around and show off when needed most.
As of now, Clark ranks third all-time when it comes to postseason sacks with 13.5. With his future looking further away from his last team, the Kansas City Chiefs, than anywhere else, moving to the NFC might be a breath of fresh air.
The New Orleans Saints have been looking for a strong veteran presence to pair with Cam Jordan for some time. NOLA has been all about bringing in young talents to develop, but as of now, most of its experiments have ended up on a negative scope. Instead of experimenting, bringing Clark in to play opposite Jordan could create a pass-rushing duo that quarterbacks and offensive lines around the league would fear.