Although many of the major free agents have either signed new contracts with other teams or returned to their current franchise, the first wave of free agency is drawing to an end. The market has dried up as the second wave is about to start after a few days of hysteria.
Whatever the case, there are many talented players out there. These are the top candidates still available for each position.
Quarterback: Lamar Jackson
Jackson is open to contract negotiations with any team even though he is subject to the non-exclusive franchise tag and the Baltimore Ravens have the option to match any offer. The top unsigned free agent in the league is Jackson.
Since Jackson’s debut in the league in 2018, the Ravens have gone 45-16 in his 61 starts. When Jackson is playing, they score 28.0 points on average per game as opposed to 20.0 when he is not. One of just six players in NFL history to accumulate 100 or more passing touchdowns and 4,000 or more rushing yards in a career, Jackson did so by a record-breaking 31 games. Since the 1970 merger, no starting quarterback has led the Ravens to an average rushing total of more than 184.8 yards per game as long as Jackson has been the starter.
Past MVPs who are 26 years old rarely become free agents.
Running back: Ezekiel Elliot
All the top rushers are off the market, which shows how the running back market has shrunk over the past few days. In a competitive market, Elliott is the best player left.
Elliott, who finished bottom in the NFL in yards per carry (3.8), tackles evaded (32) and percentage of rushes that went for 10+ yards (7.4%), was perhaps the worst starting running back in the league last season. The quantity of touches he has received over the course of his career has caused his rushing-yards-per-game averages to decrease each season; in 2022, he averaged a career-low 58.4 rushing yards per game and 3.8 yards per carry.
Wide receiver: Adam Thielen
Although there are fewer wide receiver options available, Thielen is still a capable pass catcher for teams. Thielen concluded the previous season with 70 receptions for 716 yards and six touchdowns, still being effective both outside and in the slot.
Despite being only 32 years old, the two-time Pro Bowler has 30 receiving touchdowns over his last three seasons.
Tight end: Dalton Schultz
Probably the best tight end currently on the market, especially given his pass-catching skills. Throughout the past two years, Schultz has 135 catches, which ranks him fourth among tight ends, 1,385 receiving yards, which ranks him sixth, and 13 receiving touchdowns, which ranks him fifth.
As Mike Gesicki was removed from the board, attention turned to Schultz.
Offensive tackle: Taylor Lewan
Lewan is still a good player when he is on the field despite having sustained his fair share of injuries over the years. In his final complete season, he allowed 22 pressures and four sacks (2021). Lewan can hold down the fort at left tackle in a league that lacks many strong players.
Offensive guard: Isaac Seumalo
Seumalo has been available for nearly a week in free agency, which is surprising. Seumalo, a more youthful and adaptable guard option, can play left guard, right guard, and center (he even started a game at right tackle in his career).
With Seuamlo, any offensive line’s defense would get better (who allowed just one sack and 17 pressures last season at right guard).
Center: Rodney Hudson
Hudson only participated in four games last year, but in his 284 snaps, he only allowed two pressures and a pressure percentage of 1.1%. He offers tremendous value for an offensive line and is worth the contract for a team that needs a center.
Edge rusher: Frank Clark
Clark is still regarded as one of the game’s most valuable edge rushers, and his 13.5 postseason sacks rank third all-time in the NFL. Last season, Clark only recorded five sacks but 45 pressures and 13 quarterback hits. Clark has twice recorded ten or more sacks and has appeared in three of the last four Pro Bowls (and is just 29).
Defensive tackle: Greg Gaines
Unexpectedly, Gaines is still available as the second round of free agency draws near. Gaines had 12 starts last season and recorded 16 pressures and 4 sacks. Gaines is a reliable starter who mainly defends the run.
Outside linebacker: Nicholas Morrow
Although there was a healthy linebacker market in free agency, Morrow may be in line to make money. Morrow participated in each of the Chicago Bears’ 17 games last season and finished with a career-high 116 tackles. 13.9% of Morrow’s stops against the run, who is only 27 years old, resulted in a tackle. It’s concerning that 13 tackles were missed.
Inside linebacker: Bobby Wagner
Wagner is still among the greatest players on the market and is remarkably productive for someone of his age (32). With a career-high six sacks, 140 tackles, two interceptions, and five passes defended, Wagner was named to the first or second team of the All-Pro Football League for the eighth straight year.
Wagner has finished all 11 of his seasons with 100 or more tackles. For the team that acquires him, he will be a fantastic find.
Cornerback: Rock Ya-Sin
Ya-Sin, one of the best man-cover corners in the league, gave up a 63.2 passer rating to opposition quarterbacks who targeted him in the previous year. With no touchdowns permitted, he only allowed 51.7% of throws thrown his way to be caught.
Ya-Sin is a great buy for clubs searching for a dependable corner. In the second round of free agency, he was a smart acquisition.
Safety: Chauncey Gardner-Johnson
Gardner-Johnson is still the top available free agency safety, despite the fact that his market isn’t as strong as he anticipated. Despite playing in only 12 games, Gardner-Johnson tied for the NFL lead with six interceptions last season. Gardner-Johnson has more interceptions than Trevon Diggs and Justin Simmons combined over the last two seasons.
In an effort to keep Gardner-Johnson, the Philadelphia Eagles are still lobbying. Gardner-Johnson, who can play both safety and cornerback, was only targeted by opposing quarterbacks with a passing rating of 63.8 last season.
Kicker: Robbie Gould
Gould is still one of the game’s top kickers at the age of 40. Last season, Gould made 50 of 51 extra point tries, enough for a success rate of 98.0%, and 27 of 34 field goal attempts. Gould is 29 of 29 on field goals and 39 of 39 on extra points, meaning he has never missed a kick in the postseason.