• Five teams are on track to lose at least 85% of 2023 defensive snaps at linebacker: If this holds, then there will be a handful of prime linebacker landing spots up for grabs at the start of free agency.
• Several teams are in desperate need of edge help: While some teams have been looking for a while, others have joined the hunt amid some top edges being set to hit the open market in 2024.
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Estimated Reading Time: 8 minutes
The NFL offseason soon begins in earnest, and there are bound to be several situations that change player value and opportunity for production throughout the coming months for fantasy football purposes. The first major factor is free agency.
Below are team rankings across key IDP defensive positions (no cornerbacks) based on how much of their 2023 usage they are currently slated to lose in free agency. The full free-agent list is pulled using Over the Cap’s free agency tracker.
View the offensive skill position version here.
This chart highlights the teams with the highest expected percentage of available linebacker snaps from the 2023 season. The chart is reliant on expected free agents and includes the percentage of snaps and how those pending free-agent snaps were allocated on each team this past year.
Top linebacker landing spots
The Seattle Seahawks stand out at the top of the list, as both Bobby Wagner and Jordyn Brooks are pending free agents after combining for nearly 2,000 defensive snaps in 2023. Seattle may retain one, if not both, though a coaching change to Mike Macdonald for 2024 could mean he targets different players in free agency — Patrick Queen, perhaps, who he worked with in Baltimore.
The Carolina Panthers — also under a new head coach in 2024 — are most notably set to lose Frankie Luvu, who stands out as PFF’s top-ranked free-agent linebacker this offseason. Ejiro Evero is set to return as defensive coordinator, though the team may want to allocate salary to other positions, which would make Carolina a great spot for a free-agent linebacker.
Both the Tennessee Titans and Tampa Bay Buccaneers could be losing both of their two best linebackers from 2023 — Azeez Al-Shaair and Jack Gibbens in Tennessee and Lavonte David and Devin White in Tampa Bay. The Titans and Buccaneers are potentially great landing spots for freea-agent linebackers.
Other top linebacker landing spots
The Philadelphia Eagles are set to lose the third-highest percentage of linebacker snaps from 2023, with both Nicholas Morrow and Zach Cunningham likely hitting free agency. The Eagles should have Nakobe Dean back as the lead option in 2024, so they will mostly be in the market for a secondary linebacker.
The Washington Commanders have Jamin Davis under contract for one more year, but Cody Barton, the team leader in defensive snaps from 2023, is set to hit free agency, as is Khaleke Hudson, who filled in admirably near the end of the season in Davis’ absence. It’s unclear whether the team will view Davis as an every-down player — they haven’t thus far — so this could end up being a nice spot for a top linebacker.
The Kansas City Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings and Baltimore Ravens have potential incumbent linebackers set to fill voids left by pending free agents, with Leo Chenal, Ivan Pace Jr. and Trenton Simpson looking to step into larger roles. It isn’t a guarantee at this point, but they stand out as decent low-risk options to invest in for IDP fantasy football purposes.
This chart highlights the teams with the highest expected percentage of available edge defender snaps from the 2023 season. The chart is reliant on expected free agents and includes the percentage of snaps and how those pending free-agent snaps were allocated on each team this past year.
Top edge defender landing spots
The Carolina Panthers, Minnesota Vikings, Jacksonville Jaguars and Washington Commanders are likely to address the edge defender position this offseason, as Brian Burns, Josh Allen and Danielle Hunter, as well as many secondary options, are pending free agents.
Even if those top options all return in 2024, each team — save Jacksonville, perhaps — should consider bringing in a true secondary option to line up on the opposite edge of their stars.
Washington traded away Chase Young and Montez Sweat during the season and is now slated to lose the next men up in James Smith-Williams and Casey Toohill, so they could look to bring in a stronger free agent at the position.
Other top edge defender landing spots
The Atlanta Falcons have long needed top edge talent, and with Bud Dupree and Calais Campbell — both of whom played more than 700 defensive snaps last year — likely to hit free agency, there’s a prime opportunity for Atlanta to pursue a bigger name.
The Houston Texans and Chicago Bears presumably have their top edges locked up in Will Anderson Jr. and Montez Sweat but could be a nice landing spot for another option with Jonathan Greenard and Yannick Ngakoue set to hit free agency.
This chart highlights the teams with the highest expected percentage of available defensive tackle snaps from the 2023 season. The chart is reliant on expected free agents and includes the percentage of snaps and how those pending free-agent snaps were allocated on each team this past year.
Top defensive tackle landing spots
The Las Vegas Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs top the list. Both teams are on pace to lose their top three leaders in regular-season snaps at the position, none more important than Chris Jones for the Chiefs — PFF's top-ranked free agent.
Jones has proven to be an elite pass rusher from the interior defensive line and could very well hit the open market, which would create a significant hole in the middle of Kansas City’s defensive line.
The Miami Dolphins could also be losing a crucial piece from their interior defensive line, as Christian Wilkins may hit the open market after playing nearly 900 defensive snaps this past season and more than 950 the season prior. His absence would make Miami a hot destination for a quality option to fill that void.
The Baltimore Ravens are another prime landing spot, should they indeed lose Justin Madubuike to free agency. Madubuike represented 757 defensive snaps this past season, and his departure would open up a significant opportunity for production on a good defense.
Other top defensive tackle landing spots
Any of those squads could be solid for a free-agent defensive tackle to step in and be productive.
This chart highlights the teams with the highest expected percentage of available safety snaps from the 2023 season. The chart is reliant on expected free agents and includes the percentage of snaps and how those pending free-agent snaps were allocated on each team this past year.
Top safety landing spots
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Green Bay Packers are set to lose the most at the safety position. Antoine Winfield Jr. is potentially hitting the open market for the Bucs, and the Packers’ top three snap leaders at the position could be on their way out.
The New York Jets and Los Angeles Rams could both be losing safeties who played more than 1,000 defensive snaps. Jordan Whitehead and Jordan Fuller are pending free agents, which makes the Rams and Jets interesting landing spots for the position.
The Miami Dolphins still have Jevon Holland but are slated to lose four players at the position, including DeShon Elliott, who played more than 900 defensive snaps, and Brandon Jones, who logged 464 defensive snaps.
Other top safety landing spots
The Buffalo Bills and Los Angeles Chargers could each lose a starting safety in Micah Hyde and Alohi Gilman, respectively. Both players have typically played more of a deep safety role, and so their teams could be looking for similar players to bring in.