With the NFL season reaching its conclusion, it’s now time for fans to look ahead to the offseason and the big free agent signings that are ahead. Some pretty big names could potentially be finding new locations for the start of the 2023 season. Others may find themselves in the same location, but with a heftier contract than before. If you thought the league’s offseason from last year was wild and crazy, you may just find that this year’s is even more so. These are the biggest free agent names on the market this offseason.
10. Jakobi Meyers
By many metrics, 2022 was Jakobi Meyers’s best season so far. Yes, he had more overall yardage in 2021, but he had a higher yardage per reception in ’22 and four additional receiving touchdowns despite playing in three less games. At 26, he’s also in the midst of an athletic prime that should last 3-4 more years.
Meyers has improved in each of his NFL seasons with the New England Patriots and looks to make a solid free agent acquisition for somebody this offseason.
9. Jessie Bates III
Former second-team All-Pro free safety Jessie Bates III has had a solid tenure with the Cincinnati Bengals, having a career high four interceptions in 2022. He’s been a big player in the emergence of the Bengals as one of the better defensive units in the NFL over the last couple of seasons.
It seems the Bengals’ focus will be on extending quarterback Joe Burrow this offseason and that probably means Bates winds up on a new team.
8. Jamel Dean
Jamel Dean may not be the greatest ballhawk to ever play the cornerback position, but he is a solid pass defender at his best. With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beginning a new era post-Tom Brady, that probably means not resigning free agent pieces which would further complicate the team’s salary issues.
Dean would make a solid addition to a team looking to strengthen their depth in the defensive secondary and, as a Super Bowl champion, would bring solid leadership to any locker room.
7. Lavonte David
He may now be 33 years old, but Lavonte David remains one of the better linebackers in the NFL. His entire career has been spent with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but like with Jamel Dean, it’d be nearly impossible for the team to keep him this offseason. Somebody’s likely to get a excellent veteran addition to their roster.
David routinely puts up seasons with well over 100 tackles, including last season when he racked up a total of 124. He’ll surely be able to do that again in 2023.
6. Jordan Poyer
Will the Buffalo Bills bring back Jordan Poyer in 2023? They may not, and the veteran safety who will be 32 by season’s start, could get a decent short-term contract somewhere else. His best seasons have been had in recent years, which is the upside for this safety. The downside is that he spent much of 2022 dealing with injuries that limited his production.
Poyer is one of the NFL’s best safeties and that means he’ll be a hot commodity this offseason regardless of the injuries he dealt with in ’22.
5. Javon Hargrave
One of the defensive anchors for the NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles in 2022, Javon Hargrave had a career best 11 sacks. Because it appears the Eagles intend to resign C.J. Gardner-Johnson, is it likely that the defensive tackle ends up somewhere else for the 2023 season? Keep in mind, the Eagles have several other soon-to-be free agents to contend with.
Simply put, there’s no defense in the NFL who couldn’t use a player like Hargrave on their roster. He’s going to get paid by somebody and immediately improve their defense.
4. Derek Carr (Signed with the New Orleans Saints)
Derek Carr seems to be one of the current villains of the NFL, only more fitting having played for a franchise known for its villainy. But the Raiders are done with him. He’s always been pretty good, just not good enough to make a whole lot of noise across the league. Not that the Raiders ever did much to support his efforts (signing of Davante Adams excluded, naturally).
With Carr, it’ll be interesting to see what some team is willing to put around him. The New York Jets have been mentioned and that makes a lot of sense. The Jets are a good young team, and they would benefit immensely from the free agent quarterback.
3. Josh Jacobs (Signed franchise tag with the Las Vegas Raiders)
Remember when Zamir White was supposed to surpass and bench Josh Jacobs? What a laugh that turned out to be. The disrespected Jacobs only led the NFL in rushing yards, rushing yards per game, and yards from scrimmage in 2022. But the Raiders need a quarterback, so might the running back be found somewhere else in 2023?
Jacobs’s ascendance from average running to one of the league’s best happened seemingly overnight. Having just turned 25, somebody had better pay him now, because his ascendance may not be finished yet.
2. Lamar Jackson (Signed franchise tag with the Baltimore Ravens)
Lamar Jackson is a great football player. That said, he’s now missed a lot of playing time in each of the last two seasons and that’s an undeniable problem. His place among the NFL’s best quarterbacks isn’t in question, but his ability to stay on the field now is. What are the Baltimore Ravens going to do?
Jackson’s move to a different roster for 2023 would be the story of the offseason, but it may well happen. Talent and ability have never been an issue with the former MVP, but he needs to stay healthy.
1. Saquon Barkley (Signed franchise tag with the New York Giants)
The New York Giants went as far as Saquon Barkley took them in 2022 and the running back proved himself more than capable of coming back from past injury-plagued seasons. There are a few notable teams in the NFL who are a piece away from Super Bowl contention, and if the Giants don’t bring Barkley back, he could easily find his way to one of those teams.
The 26-year-old is reaching his athletic prime and now that any lingering questions about his durability seem to be put to rest, some team in the league is going to get one of the best running backs in the game.