Matt BowenESPN Employees Writer7:00 AM ET12 Minute Learn
We haven’t closed the door on NFL 2023 free company but — Bobby Wagner and Odell Beckham Jr. headline an inventory of high gamers nonetheless accessible — however we’re already trying on the potential of the 2024 class loaded from positions.
Which means issues will change earlier than free company opens subsequent 12 months. The vast majority of the highest gamers at present primed without cost company in 2024 will signal contract extensions nicely earlier than subsequent March. One other handful will finish with the franchise tag. So take what follows — a far too early have a look at the 24 class — with a grain of salt, as a result of the free agent class will look very totally different subsequent spring. We’ve grouped one of the best of one of the best at present slated for the open market into a number of totally different classes, together with well-known quarterbacks and affect defenders. Every participant’s age, place worth, anticipated future manufacturing, and schema versatility are thought of right here, and restricted and unique free brokers will not be included. Let’s bounce in.
Word: Gamers eligible for a fifth-year choice in 2024 – first-round picks from the 2020 draft class – will not be included. These embrace quarterbacks Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert, receivers Justin Jefferson and CeeDee Lamb, and defensive finish Chase Younger, amongst others.
QB’s | financial institution breaker | ’23 Franchise Tags
Offensive Playmaker | Impression defender
to see quarterbacks
Workforce 2023: Philly Eagles | Age at entry into season 2024: 26
Don’t count on Hurts to be accessible in free company; he ought to money out with a multi-year extension that may hold him in Philadelphia subsequent 12 months and past. He’s a fantastic match on the Eagles’ offense, which is constant together with his throwing traits and double risk potential. Along with his 760 dashing yards and 13 dashing TDs in 2022, Hurts had 3,701 passing yards. And his 68.5 QBR on pocket throws ranked third general within the NFL. He’s a fast-rising participant who’s plunged into the dialog of top-tier quarterbacks.
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Workforce 2023: Minnesota Vikings | Age at entry into season 2024: 36
Cousins ought to be focused as a middle-class starter who can get passing numbers on a deliberate NFL offense and discover success exterior of play-action parts. He has now handed the 4,000-yard mark in seven of his final eight seasons. And whereas decision-making might be questioned at instances (34 interceptions over the previous three seasons), Cousins may have a number of suitors when he hits the market.
Workforce 2023: Tennessee Titans | Age at entry into season 2024: 36
In 12 video games final season, Tannehill threw for two,536 yards, 13 landing passes and 6 interceptions. His general QBR of 49.1 was twenty fourth within the NFL — one place behind Cousins’ 49.9 — and his worst since 2018 when he was at Miami. He’s a rhythm pitcher who thrives on clear platforms and inside a play-action construction to ship the ball with timing. Tennessee might be seeking to change quarterbacks, so Tannehill may actually be among the many high veteran QB choices for an additional workforce subsequent March.
Stars who would possibly break the financial institution
Workforce 2023: San Francisco 49ers | Age at entry into season 2024: 26
Bosa is a extremely expert technician with the quick vary energy and juice to create constant pocket disruption. And he’ll change the safety techniques of different groups. With 34 sacks in his final two seasons, he’s one of many high edge gamers within the league and a contract extension at San Francisco ought to be on the playing cards. Bosa completed final season atop the league on his solution to Defensive Participant of the Yr with a 20.9% cross rush win fee off the sting (tenth finest) and 18.5 sacks.
Workforce 2023: Chiefs of Kansas Metropolis | Age at entry into season 2024: 30
Jones had one in all his finest seasons as a professional in 2022, recording 15.5 sacks and 22.5 disrupted dropbacks (each top-five numbers). And his 21.0% cross rush win fee ranked him second within the NFL for defensive tackles behind Aaron Donald. Jones is a high quality participant and centre-backs who can rush the passer are paid huge bucks.
Workforce 2023: Tennessee Titans | Age at entry into season 2024: 27
A dominant inside presence with game-changing attributes, Simmons posted a 40.9% run-stop win fee final season, rating twelfth within the NFL. He additionally stacked 7.5 sacks and 27 pressures from the within. I see a whole participant right here who can change opposing offensive sport plans. He’s mentioned to be in Tennessee’s future plans, and the doubtless hefty price ticket of a contract extension will replicate his worth.
Workforce 2023: New York Jets | Age at entry into season 2024: 26
Like Bosa and Simmons, extra time ought to be in play earlier than Williams even has an opportunity to hit the open market. Defensive deal with is a key component of Robert Saleh’s system in New York, with quickness of step one and bursting ahead to create havoc. In 2022, Williams produced a career-high 12 sacks that completed eleventh general. He has groundbreaking abilities.
Workforce 2023: Carolina Panther | Age at entry into season 2024: 26
Burns has the properties and manufacturing to make huge bucks. He’s received an extended body at 6-foot-5 and the lower-body flexibility and shutting velocity to warmth up opposing quarterbacks. Burns had 12.5 sacks final 12 months, which gave him 38 in his four-year profession. He additionally recorded 51 prices in 2022, the fourth most within the NFL. This kind of manufacturing makes some huge cash.
Workforce 2023: Dallas Cowboys | Age at entry into season 2024: 25
They pay for manufacturing on the ball within the NFL, and that’s what Diggs received on tape in three professional seasons. Since being referred to as up in 2020, the Cowboys’ 6-foot-2 nook has recorded 17 interceptions (first level) and 49 cross separations (second). He’s aggressive in cowl and making performs, though that playstyle can harm him at instances. Because the closest defender final season, his 64.9% allowable completion share was greater than two factors larger than anticipated, in line with NFL Subsequent Gen Stats.
Workforce 2023: New York Giants | Age at entry into season 2024: 26
Lawrence is a 6-4, 342-pound inside pressure who can stone opponents’ runs and create pocket manufacturing on account of his energy and foot-speed. In 2022, Lawrence had profession highs in tackles (68), sacks (7.5), and presses (43). His 16.7% cross rush win fee was additionally fourth finest inside. Merely put, Lawrence has the dimensions and traits to alter the dynamics of any NFL defensive entrance.
2023 franchise-tagged gamers
If these gamers don’t signal renewals earlier than July 17, they’d be eligible without cost company once more in 2024.
Workforce 2023: Baltimore Ravens | Age at entry into season 2024: 27
Jackson will doubtless have a contract extension earlier than the beginning of the 2023 season, both with the Ravens or one other workforce. Clearly, if he performed on the tag at Baltimore this season and hit free company subsequent spring, Jackson can be the No. 1 participant in the marketplace. Earlier than a left knee harm sidelined him for the final six video games of the 2022 season, Jackson had 2,242 passing yards, 17 landing passes, 764 dashing yards and three dashing scores. Essentially the most electrifying participant within the league, Jackson possesses top-flight dynamic abilities that guarantee fixed clashes in opposing defenses.
Workforce 2023: New York Giants | Age at entry into season 2024: 27
Barkley had 32 rushes for 10 or extra yards final season — the sixth most within the league — ending with 1,650 yards from scrimmage and 10 touchdowns. He’s regained his explosiveness and suddenness after accidents restricted him to fifteen video games general within the 2020-21 seasons and I think about him one of many high three defenders – particularly since he additionally brings passing catching abilities.
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Workforce 2023: Dallas Cowboys | Age at entry into season 2024: 27
Pollard rushed for 1,474 yards in a rotating function for Dallas final season. He broke his left fibula within the playoff loss to the 49ers, but when he’s wholesome in 2023, Pollard will take over the Cowboys backfield after the membership fired Ezekiel Elliott. And he has the qualities of a No. 1 defender, with big-play juice and formational flexibility in passing.
Workforce 2023: Las Vegas Robbers | Age at entry into season 2024: 26
Jacobs had profession highlights in dashing makes an attempt (340), dashing yards (1,653), and receiving yards (400) in 2022, with coach Josh McDaniels officiating the present in Las Vegas. He’s a downhill runner with explosive play-chops and the lateral maneuverability to slide out on tacklers; He had 41 rushes of 10 yards or extra final season. And the reception traits are additionally there. Jacobs caught 53 of 64 targets final 12 months. Given his age and the band, Jacobs will see a multi-year deal subsequent low season when he produces one other season of high-profile manufacturing.
Workforce 2023: Jacksonville Jaguars | Age at entry into season 2024: 30
On coach Doug Pederson’s offense final season, Engram was used as a shifting goal within the route tree, catching 77 passes for 766 yards and 4 touchdowns. And 60 of these receptions have been logged when Engram was bent out of formation. The skilled tight finish might be positioned on catch-and-run targets, and he has the chance to increase protection on the third degree of the sphere.
Workforce 2023: Indianapolis Colts | Age at entry into season 2024: 25
Taylor performed in 11 video games for the Colts final season, however he rushed for greater than 1,000 yards in every of his first two seasons and has averaged greater than 5 yards per carry all through his profession. He additionally has 33 touchdowns as a professional. A bodily runner with a stable high velocity, Taylor has the facility to show the peloton and has already logged 106 rushes of 10 yards or extra. When wholesome, Taylor is definitely within the high 10 within the NFL.
Workforce 2023: Minnesota Vikings | Age at entry into season 2024: 27
In 10 video games with the Vikings final season — after being traded from Detroit midseason — Hockenson caught 60 of 86 objectives for 519 yards and three factors. And we’ve seen how he can be utilized as a flexible receiving goal on offense by coach Kevin O’Connell. Hockenson works on the underside ideas and midfield, however can even bend outward to win matchups. Excellent options are the superb route and post-catch manufacturing.
Workforce 2023: Chargers from Los Angeles | Age at entry into season 2024: 29
Ekeler is at present searching for a brand new cope with the Chargers after posting a complete of 1,637 yards in Los Angeles final season. He’s a premier cross catcher from exterior the backfield with 177 receptions over the previous two seasons. You’ll see screens, swings, angles and extra from him, and he’s displaying off some open-field juice too. If Ekeler performs out the final 12 months of his deal and makes it free subsequent spring, he has choices given his double risk potential from the backfield.
Workforce 2023: Tennessee Titans | Age at entry into season 2024: 30
Henry has had greater than 300 carries in three of his final 4 seasons, and he was on observe to do the identical in 2021 earlier than a proper foot harm knocked him out after eight video games. Henry is an explosive quantity runner at 6ft 3, 247 kilos — he leads the NFL with 6,042 dashing yards over these 4 seasons — and he’s received the excessive velocity to tear down chunk performs. He can merely take over video games. However as Henry enters the ultimate 12 months of his contract, his tempo of play and 2023 tape will decide his market worth given his age and the massive variety of hasty makes an attempt he’s recorded over the course of his professional profession.
Workforce 2023: Tampa Bay Buccaneers | Age at entry into season 2024: 31
Evans will likely be in his 30s when his present contract expires and he will likely be finishing a transition 12 months at Tampa Bay following Tom Brady’s retirement. Nevertheless, if manufacturing continues I can see Evans discovering stable curiosity out there given his potential to play as a Boundary-X receiver and convey up a pink zone. Evans has surpassed the 1,000-yard receiving mark in every of his 9 professional seasons, and he has at the very least eight landing catches in 4 of his final 5 campaigns.
Workforce 2023: Chiefs of Kansas Metropolis | Age at entry into season 2024: 27
Sneed has the flexibility to play inside/exterior nook in a number of professional schemes. In three seasons at Kansas Metropolis, Sneed has produced eight interceptions, 26 cross breakups and 6.5 sacks. He has excellent man protection talents, however I additionally see good backfield imaginative and prescient in zone protection. Sneed’s lightning numbers recommend a capability to use stress and are available house from slot alignments. His 14 pressings final season led all defenders.
Workforce 2023: New England Patriots | Age at entry into season 2024: 25
Uche posted a career-high 11.5 sacks in New England final 12 months and tied for twelfth within the NFL. We are able to see his juice off the ball and the pure flex to show the nook on tape. Uche suits finest in deliberate fronts the place he can produce stunts or outlined one-on-one stunts. His 18.5% stress fee surpassed NFL defensemen final season, and his 19.2% cross rush win fee ranked him 14th.
Workforce 2023: Inexperienced Bay Packers | Age at entry into season 2024: 26
A cruciate ligament tear in his proper knee limits Gary to 9 video games in 2022, however the up arrow factors to the 2019 first-round choose. In his final 25 video games performed, Gary has recorded 15.5 sacks and 75 pressings. He’s a strong and explosive edge rusher who has developed a mixture of countermoves.
Workforce 2023: Pittsburgh Steelers | Age at entry into season 2024: 27
Highsmith’s 14.5 sacks in 2022 was a profession excessive and ranked sixth within the NFL, and he additionally added 5 compelled fumbles and 42 pressures. He’s a intelligent edge rusher with the footwork to arrange blockers and an intensive toolbox of countermoves. Highsmith suits simply right into a 3-4 formation and will repay after one other 12 months of manufacturing in Pittsburgh.
Workforce 2023: Tampa Bay Buccaneers | Age at entry into season 2024: 26
Winfield has the put up and split-field vary to seek out the ball on the sphere, in addition to the flexibility for use as a partial-pack disruptor. In three professional seasons with the Bucs, Winfield has intercepted 4 passes, damaged 15 extra and recorded 9 sacks. It suits the profile of right this moment’s multi-dimensional safety that may cowl, seize and create a manufacturing on the ball.
Different potential free brokers it’s best to find out about
Trey Hendrickson, DE, Cincinnati Bengals
D’Andre Swift, RB, Detroit Lions
Sam Darnold, QB, San Francisco 49ers
Leonard Williams, DL, New York Giants
Kendall Fuller, CB, Washington Commanders
Baker Mayfield, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Xavier McKinney, S, New York Giants
Michael Davis, CB, Los Angeles Chargers
Gardner Minshew, QB, Indianapolis Colts
Kyle Dugger, S, New England Patriots
Jonah Williams, OT, Cincinnati Bengals
Yosh Nijman, OT, Inexperienced Bay Packers