‘Tis the season for “Top NFL Free Agent Lists”. Sites like ESPN and The Sporting News have been sharing their own this week and we’d be remiss if we didn’t throw our hat into the ring. Even though Super Bowl 57 has yet to be played, the legal tampering period opens March 13th so NFL free agency is just over a month away. Since 30 of the 32 NFL teams aren’t playing in the big game, we might as well sit and dream about which available guys are going to change our fortunes next season. And, if we whiff in free agency, we’ll just push those dreams another month down the road to the 2023 NFL Draft!



1 - Lamar Jackson, QB

Quarterback is far and away the most important position in this league so it’s only right that the former MVP would be the top player in this free agent class. The Ravens are unlikely to simply let him walk without a franchise or transition tag, however, so your team would likely need to work something out with Baltimore to bring him over.


2 - Orlando Brown Jr., OT

If QB is the most important position, protecting him is also important, right? Brown became available via the trade market last year as the Ravens had Ronnie Staley and Brown also wanted to play left tackle. He’s now proven he’s a top-tier left tackle, he’s only 26, and linemen have a lot of longevity so he should get signed. It also feels good to steal a key piece from a guy like Patrick Mahomes.


3 - Jamel Dean, CB

Each year the league has been shifting farther away from linebackers and more towards sets that feature multiple defensive backs. Nickel is the new standard with dime the second most utilized package. And guys like Jamel Dean just don’t grow on trees. 

4 - Javon Hargrave, DI

Pass rush is also at a premium in this league and, after the season he’s had, Hargrave is set to get PAID. Guys like him could shift the notion that only edge rushers bring the big bucks but this ranking could end up high if the league falls into old patterns.


5 - Saquon Barkley, RB

I know he’s had injury issues and RB is a short-shelf-life position. But this guy is a gamechanger and everything about his attitude suggests he wants to play for a long time and leave a long-lasting legacy. Just look at the impact Christian McCaffrey had on the 49ers offense. He’s been good on bad teams and could be a killer on a great one. Not many free agents out there are considered top 3 or even 5 at their position.


6 - Mike McGlinchey, OT

There is a never-ending battle in this league to have not one but two high-quality offensive tackles. McGlinchey might not be living up to his high draft capital but, at 28 years old, he could help hold down an O-line for years to come.


7 - Josh Jacobs, RB

Perhaps not the player that Saquon Barkley is but he proved he can carry a huge workload and had his best statistical season so far. When you factor in the depressed salaries of running backs with the immediate impact they can have, Jacobs could put a team like the Miami Dolphins over the top - if they can afford him.


8 - Daron Payne, DI

At only 25 years old, signing Payne to a long-term contract with his run-stuffing prowess up the middle is going to make some team out there feel pretty good about the future of their defense. If Hargrave gets the big bucks, Payne gets the big bucks too.


9 - Jessie Bates III, S

Safety isn’t quite a highly coveted position which is why Bates isn’t higher but he’s one of the best at his role. The Bengals can’t franchise tag him again.


10 - Lavonte David, LB

In terms of immediate, short-term impact, David could be higher on this list. He’s 33 years old but we’ve seen Bobby Wagner in his 30s change teams and have an immediate impact. 


11 - Geno Smith, QB

Smith has to be here because of how important the quarterback position is - there aren’t many guys in free agency that can alter the course of your franchise like a quarterback. But the question looms as to whether Geno can win the big game.


12 - Daniel Jones, QB

Honestly, he poses a similar question to Geno Smith in terms of the ability to win but he’s never played at the level Geno Smith just did in 2022. Sure Geno had better weapons but he literally threw double the touchdown passes that Jones did. Jones, of course, is still 25 so a lot more football left to play but anyone signing a veteran wants to win now so I just want the best player right now. The Giants turned down his 5th-year option based on what they saw last year so they have a decision to make. 


13 - James Bradberry, CB

The age is a concern but what a bounce-back year for him. He’ll garner attention somewhere as a hired gun. 


14 - Jawaan Taylor, OT

Taylor was solid in the pass game but struggled in the run game. If you think you can coach him up in that aspect, he should be cheaper than Brown or McGlinchey.


15 - DJ Chark, WR

There’s more to playing wide receiver than fantasy football stats. DJ Chark with his size can play all three roles in terms of split end, flanker, and slot whereas some other guys in this free agent class are one-dimensional. So don’t be surprised when he gets paid the most.


16 - David Long, LB

Long played himself into a big payday this year by proving he can also play middle linebacker - a versatile guy like that can likely fit anywhere. And at 26 years old, he’s going to be looking for a multi-year deal with guarantees. 


17 - Dalton Schultz, TE

The difference between Schultz and some other options at tight end is that he’s a two way guy (players like Evan Engram and Mike Gesicki simply are not the blocker he is). That’s going to make him more appealing to a lot of coaches, like Mike McDaniel who couldn’t even use Mike Gesicki in his offense.


18 - Tremaine Edmunds, LB

Anytime you can pick up an absurd athlete who is only 24 in free agency, that is exciting. He’s a force in the run game but there have been times when he is an absolute liability in coverage. 


19 - Chauncey Garnder-Johnson, S

His ability to cover tight end and guys out of the slot is what will get Chauncey Gardner-Johnson paid. We mentioned how more and more teams use multiple defensive backs and CJ, at age 25, can find a spot in any defense. 


20 - Dalvin Tomlinson, DI

Skill-wise, Tomlinson might deserve a higher spot on this list but not every team needs the services of a zero or one-technique nose tackle. So he might not be as sought after as some other guys. 


21 - JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR

Juju was exposed a bit after Antonio Brown left and ended up signing a “prove it” deal with the Chiefs where he kind of proved it. He’s not big enough to play split end - he can play flanker but he probably fits in best in this league as a slot wide receiver. 


22 - Marcus Davenport, ED

It’s a scary investment due to injuries but it could pay off huge for whoever signs the young pass rusher. Some guys just never stay healthy and that’s been the story here. 


23 - Jordan Poyer, S

Age. That’s it. Defensive backs notoriously do not play late into their 30s and Poyer will be 32 this year. There’s no question he can play at a high level but for how much longer?


24 - TJ Edwards, LB

According to PFF, TJ Edwards was the second-highest graded off-ball linebacker. After playing on a cheap “prove it deal” the 26 year old is set to get paid. 


25 - Jonathan Jones, CB

Jones has earned praise from coaches and players around the league, like former Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore. His size makes him a better #2 corner than a top dog but he’ll start right away for someone. 


26 - Ben Powers, G

He didn’t let up a sack this entire year. That’s absolutely worth something. He’s a guard though and not that great in the run game so not going to command what some of the tackles will.


27 - Isaac Seumalo, G

Age is the only reason I have Powers over Seumalo. And a team in win-now mode might even prefer Seumalo. But the upside of longevity would have me taking a shot on Powers. 


28 - De’Mont Jones, DI

Interior pass rush is finally starting to get the respect it deserves in this league but the outside guys still command more money. Jones could also stand to improve in the run game. 


29 - Cameron Sutton, CB

Sutton is more of a slot corner ideally compared to a guy like Jonathan Jones but this year he showed he could get it done on the outside as well. 


30 - Jakobi Meyers, WR

Some may be surprised by this ranking but I think folks are going to confuse standalone ability with what was simply a lack of viable weapons in New England. The reality is that Meyers is not particularly big or fast - he’s a slow possession slot WR. Which will fit somewhere in an offense but he won’t command the money of a bigger, faster, outside wide receiver. 


31 - Evan Engram, TE

I quietly ask myself “what does Jakobi Meyers do that Evan Engram can’t do?”. He’s bigger, stronger, and faster. He’s better at run blocking and effective out of the slot. He’s had trouble with drops in the past but the last two years have been solid. At the end of the day, it’s a combination of age and the position they are categorized as that should see Meyers get paid more.


32 - Zach Allen, DI

What Dre’Mont Jones gets paid will likely set the market for what Zach Allen will get paid. If guys like Aaron Donald really have changed how we view interior pass rush, both guys should be happy with their contracts. 


33 - Jadeveon Clowney, ED

Injuries and attitude. That’s been the story here. The raw physical ability has always been there if someone can harness it. But he’ll be 30 this year so you have to be convinced it will be different this time with your team. 


34 - Dalton Risner, G

Not the flashiest name but, wherever he signs, he will start at guard right away and offer some reliability. 


35 - Jimmy Garoppolo, QB

Can you win if everything around him is perfect? Sure. The 49ers almost did. But how appealing is that these days in a world where QBs on rookie contracts seem to give you the best advantage? I’m not sure the market for him will be super robust. The trade market wasn’t. 


36 - Kaleb McGrary, OT

The Falcons are likely wishing they didn’t decline his fifth year option because that would have been a good deal after the year he has had. 


37 - Charles Omenihu, ED

What Omenihu gets paid this off-season is going to boil down to whether a team views him as an every-down player or simply a guy that comes in on pass downs. That’s what he’s mostly been, though pass rush gets you paid. 


38 - Rock Ya-Sin, CB

He’s got the size and length to play outside and he’s only 26 so he’ll be a starting outside corner for someone in 2023.


39 - Jacoby Brissett, QB

Brissett looked pretty good out there honestly. He usually does. And it has me wondering why a team will pay the price for Jimmy G if Brissett is an option. If the price were the same, I’d probably still take Jimmy G though.


40 - Tony Pollard, RB

The metrics darling will finally get a chance to hit the market and potentially have the backfield to himself. Though 17.5% of his career runs have gone for zero or negative yards so a team might want to supplement him with a bruiser. 


41 - Yannick Ngakoue, ED

One stat is going to get Ngakoue paid by someone - sacks. He has at least eight sacks in every single season in this league, including 9.5 last year with the Colts. If he does change teams, it will be the six different team for the name-brand asset. 


42 - Patrick Peterson, CB

I’ve seen Peterson all over the place on people’s lists. At his age, he’s not quite the shut down guy he once was but he’s still a starter in this league. He’s been called overrated going back seven years now yet he still continues to make plays. 


43 - Byron Murphy Jr., CB

Similar story to Cam Sutton -  he should probably be playing slot but he proved he can play outside this year and teams like to see that versatility in case of injury. 


44 - Miles Sanders, RB

Hard to have Tony Pollard on this list without Miles Sanders. He had a career yards per carry over 5 but happened to play with a mobile QB that doesn’t dump down to RBs while also being second in the league in carries inside the five. Sanders should be a feature back somewhere.


45 - Odell Beckham Jr., WR

I hesitate to even put OBJ on this list after the injuries and offseason antics. But the wide receiver class is devoid of a true star outside wide receiver so, if he can prove he is healthy and ready to go, someone might pull that trigger. And he won’t play for cheap.


46 - Marcus Peters, CB

Another guy dealing with a serious injury at a tough age, Peters battled his way back this year and proved he can still play at a reasonably high level. 


47 - Taylor Rapp, S

Modern teams value versatility and the hybrid safety/linebacker can certainly offer that in a day where nickel is the base defense. He’s a better tackler than a cover guy though so not as appealing as a hybrid guy that skews coverage.


48 - Allen Lazard, WR

He’s here because this class is fairly devoid of guys with enough size to line up at split end with their foot tethered to the line. He’s a big body that is a tremendous run blocker which has Baltimore Raven written all over it.


49 - Leighton Vander Esch, LB

Injuries and inconsistency have been the story for Vander Esch. It feels like he’s been around forever but he’ll only be 26 this year. A shoulder injury once again kept him out for a bit which is going to hurt his stock.


50 - Von Bell, S

A strong safety that is a valuable tackler and a decent cover guy might not be the sexiest addition but there will absolutely be a market for him if the Bengals can’t bring him back.