NFL News & Analysis

2023 NFL Free Agency Preview: Players to retain, franchise tag candidates, potential cuts and team needs for all 32 NFL teams

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) throws a pass against the Philadelphia Eagles during an NFC divisional round game at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The coming weeks are when championship contenders are made.

Here is an in-depth look at where all 32 NFL teams are entering 2023 free agency, including players to retain, notable free agents, potential cuts, cap space and team needs.

All cap projections come courtesy of our friends at OverTheCap, and only notable unrestricted free agents were listed for each team. Any cap space number listed is subject to change in the coming weeks.


ARZ | ATL | BLT | BUF | CAR | CIN | CHI | CLE | DEN | DAL | DET | GB | HOU | IND | JAX | KC | LVR | LAC | LAR | MIA | MIN | NE | NO | NYG | NYJ | PHI | PIT | SF | SEA | TB | TEN | WSH

Arizona Cardinals

Projected cap space: $14,604,185 (10th)
No. of picks in the 2023 NFL Draft: 8 picks, 4 picks in the top 100
Top impending free agents: DI Zach Allen, CB Byron Murphy Jr., T Kelvin Beachum, G Will Hernandez


J.J. Watt led the Cardinals in pressures (56) and pass-rushing snaps (523) in 2022, and he has now retired. And while Arizona has drafted pass-rushers recently, nobody has really stepped up to lead the line the way the team needs.

Markus Golden remains a steady presence and capable complementary piece, but this defense desperately needs an impact playmaker up front to help hide some of the deficiencies elsewhere.


The Cardinals made the tough but sharp decision to let edge defender Chandler Jones walk in free agency last offseason, but they have to keep the younger Allen in the fold following J.J. Watt‘s retirement.

Allen earned his first run-defense grade above 60.0 and first pass-rush grade above 70.0 this season to go along with a career-best 35 quarterback pressures and 8.3% pressure rate.


The Cardinals traded for Anderson at the deadline while giving up very little draft capital after he essentially walked off the field in Carolina during another frustrating offensive showing for the Panthers. He didn’t fare much better in Arizona, though, especially after quarterback Kyler Murray went down.

By the end of the year, Anderson was playing behind A.J. Green, who retired shortly after the season. The Cardinals should use 2023 as a rebuilding year with the No. 3 overall pick in hand and Murray recovering from a torn ACL. The savings from releasing Anderson are too good to pass up.


Allen had an impressive contract year on an otherwise shaky Cardinals defense, and while the franchise tag is likely too rich here, he’d be the guy if the Cardinals were considering placing it on anyone.

Allen’s 35 quarterback pressures through Week 14 — before he was knocked out for the rest of the year with an injury — ranked top 15 among interior defenders, and his 11 tackles for loss or no gain were tied for fifth.

Atlanta Falcons

Projected cap space: $56,575,855 (2nd)
No. of picks in the 2023 NFL Draft: 8 picks, 3 picks in the top 100
Top impending free agents: T Kaleb McGary, Edge Lorenzo Carter


In their first post-Matt Ryan season, the Falcons fielded an effective and entertaining offense. It was the most run-heavy system in football, calling run plays on over 50% of their snaps, but the defense was lagging way behind and needs a complete overhaul.

As a unit, the Falcons ranked 30th in expected points added (EPA) allowed per play and allowed a score on a league-worst 43.5% of their drives faced. There are a couple of players who belong, but there’s no level of the defense that doesn’t need an injection of talent.


Atlanta declined McGary's fifth-year option for 2023 but shouldn’t let that stop them from bringing him back now, even if it requires a much pricier franchise tag to initiate extension conversations — a tag projected to be around $18.25 million. The Falcons rank second in projected cap space after completely gutting their roster the past two seasons, so they can comfortably carry that large number through the 2023 season if ultimately necessary.

McGary’s 91.2 run-blocking grade in 2022 ranked second among tackles, and his 89.1 mark on outside zone runs ranked sixth. He still can become a more consistent down-to-down player and improve as a pass protector, but Atlanta could have its left tackle, right guard and right tackle spots solidified for the next several years as quarterback Desmond Ridder develops.


The Falcons, at the very least, have their bridge starter in third-round rookie Desmond Ridder heading into 2023. In an ideal scenario, he develops into their long-term signal caller. Whatever plays out with Ridder, the Falcons can move on from Marcus Mariota and add to their $56.5 million in 2023 cap space, which ranks second in the NFL.

Mariota was benched after Week 13 and elected to get surgery on a nagging injury, a decision well within his right as he prepares himself for the upcoming offseason. It was clearly reasonable to expect he will be a free agent once again, but that seemed to rub head coach Arthur Smith and the organization the wrong way. In 13 starts, Mariota eclipsed 200 passing yards three times, with eight big-time throws to 15 turnover-worthy plays.


Atlanta recently extended left tackle Jake Matthews and will have to earmark major money for their other 2019 first-round pick on the offensive line, right guard Chris Lindstrom, in the near future. What could have been a $13,202,000 fifth-year option in 2023 for McGary now would have to be $5 million more than that, or McGary will test the open market.

McGary’s 91.2 run-blocking grade in 2022 ranked second among tackles, and his 89.1 mark on outside zone runs ranked sixth. His deficiencies as a pass protector, however, could make the Falcons balk at this franchise tag value.

Baltimore Ravens

Projected cap space: $24,288,480 (9th)
No. of picks in the 2023 NFL Draft: 5 picks, 2 picks in the top 100
Top impending free agents: QB Lamar Jackson, G Ben Powers, CB Marcus Peters, Edge Justin Houston

BIGGEST TEAM NEED: Wide receiver

An injury limited former first-rounder Rashod Bateman to just six games and 28 targets in 2022, meaning that Demarcus Robinson led the team’s wideouts in targets (78), catches (50) and yards (507). Baltimore desperately needs to upgrade at the position, even if tight end Mark Andrews is the team’s true No. 1 receiver.


This Ravens simply live and die by Lamar Jackson on offense. In seven games to end the season without Jackson under center, the Ravens never once reached 20 points, with their -0.158 expected points added per play over the stretch ranking 26th. Through Week 12, the offense ranked eighth in EPA per play, at .028.

It’s typically smart to ignore most offseason commentary from head coaches and general managers, but Baltimore’s John Harbaugh and Eric DeCosta seemed genuine with their remarks at an end-of-season press conference, emphatically stating Jackson is the future of this franchise.


The Ravens are in an interesting spot with a handful of big contracts on their books — especially if they get a deal done with quarterback Lamar Jackson — and without any obvious cut candidates that provide meaningful savings.

Wide receiver Devin Duvernay likely won’t be outright cut, but he may be a pay-cut candidate after he earned the level three proven performance escalator for his 2023 salary. By making the Pro Bowl (original ballot) as a return specialist during his first three years, Duvernay earned a raise of more than $3 million. Unfortunately, the raise from the proven performance escalator does not come with guarantees and has often led to teams pushing for pay cuts, one notable example being New York Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton before the 2022 campaign.

Duvernay is a solid No. 3 or No. 4 wideout — and, obviously, a formidable return man — who stepped up amid injuries this past season, but Baltimore may not want to pay his new, elevated $4,304,000 million salary in full.


A franchise tag here is a foregone conclusion, and odds are the exclusive tag will be used so other teams cannot talk to Jackson about a long-term deal. If a player on the non-exclusive franchise tag does sign an offer sheet with another club, the incumbent club receives two first-round picks. This is enough of a deterrent to prevent a team from doing so in most instances, but odds are a handful of teams would be more than willing to depart with two firsts for Jackson.

Over the past five seasons, Jackson’s 2.9% turnover-worthy play rate is the 12th lowest of 51 qualifying quarterbacks despite his 9.5-yard average depth of target ranking fifth highest. He’s one of the best runners in the NFL regardless of position, to boot, and a one-man offense that would be quite hard to replace.

Buffalo Bills

Projected cap space: -$16,370,436 (25th)
No. of picks in the 2023 NFL Draft: 6 picks, 3 picks in the top 100
Top impending free agents: LB Tremaine Edmunds, S Jordan Poyer

BIGGEST TEAM NEED: Offensive line

Buffalo’s playoff loss to Cincinnati highlighted a problem that had been brewing for the team all season — an offensive line in decline and reaching a problematic level of play.

The Bills offensive line ranked as low as 28th in PFF's offensive line rankings at one point this season, and they surrendered 211 pressures over the entire season.

While they could certainly use an extra receiver to complement Stefon Diggs, they need to ensure that the offensive line reaches a higher baseline of play in 2023.


The Bills came up short once again in 2022 and have several tough decisions ahead of them. But, fortunately, they don’t have a ton of key free agents hitting the market. Poyer had been the consistent presence on the backend of this Bills defense prior to an injury-derailed 2022 campaign, logging 5,018 snaps from 2017-21 — fifth most among safeties — with a 93.9 coverage grade over the span that also ranked fifth.

Poyer was not himself to close out the 2022 campaign, battling through injury to be out there. Perhaps he can be convinced to return for one or two final runs at a price tag lower than the one he presumably wanted on an extension before the season began.


The Bills acquired running back Nyheim Hines at the trade deadline, and while he provided a big spark to their return game, he wasn’t a huge factor on offense and is owed $4.79 million in 2023. However, with running back Devin Singletary a pending free agent, it would make sense for the Bills to work something out as opposed to cutting Hines. Interior defender Tim Settle didn’t make a huge impact in his first season with the club, but the team probably doesn’t want to weaken a position group that got bullied out of the playoffs by a Cincinnati Bengals reserve offensive line.


Because the linebacker designation includes outside linebackers who are predominantly edge rushers, the number here exceeds the average annual value of the highest-paid off-ball linebacker in the NFL — the Baltimore RavensRoquan Smith at $20 million.

Edmunds is coming off a career year and is starting to look like the talent Buffalo envisioned when trading up in the first round in 2018. That may make it challenging for the Bills to let him walk despite this lofty price tag, but it would prove to be very difficult amid the other deficiencies across their roster that need addressing.

Edmunds’s 121 run-defense stops over his first five seasons rank 10th among off-ball linebackers, his 57 tackles for loss or no gain rank eighth and his 18 pass breakups rank tied for sixth.

Carolina Panthers

Projected cap space: -$7,743,950 (22nd)
No. of picks in the 2023 NFL Draft: 7 picks, 4 picks in the top 100
Top impending free agents: DI Matt Ioannidis


The Panthers have been relatively unfortunate with their quarterback situation recently. Trading for Sam Darnold was a gamble that was never likely to pay off, and while trading for Baker Mayfield was one that had a much higher probability of success, those results were every bit as bad.

Rookie Matt Corral was sidelined all year due to injury, meaning the Panthers are right back where they started: needing to find a solution at the most important position in the game.


The Panthers had the fewest snaps in 2022 played by pending free agents, resembling one positive the team can build on heading into 2023. A good chunk of those snaps came from Bozeman once he became the full-time starter in Week 7. Bozeman’s return would be particularly helpful because the loss of right guard Austin Corbett to a torn ACL in Week 18 will likely knock him out for a portion of the 2023 season.

Bozeman’s 53.3 pass-blocking grade in 2022 was a career low since his rookie season, but he snapped the ball to three different starting quarterbacks over 11 weeks and earned his fourth straight overall grade above 63.0, buoyed by a 67.3 run-blocking mark. Even if Bozeman returns as a depth option at center, he’s shown he’s a reliable backup who could perhaps settle in if he does earn the starting job and works primarily with one signal caller.


Wilson was on his third team in three years after signing a two-year, $6.9 million deal with the Carolina Panthers this offseason, but he logged just 204 snaps on defense and earned sub-60.0 grades as a run defender and in coverage. The Panthers have a brand new coaching staff, including rising star defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, meaning there isn’t an allegiance to any player on this roster going forward.


Chicago Bears

Projected cap space: $94,434,449 (1st)
No. of picks in the 2023 NFL Draft: 8 picks, 3 picks in the top 100
Top impending free agents: RB David Montgomery


Quarterback Justin Fields is still a work in progress, but this season he showed that he could be one of the game’s most electric playmakers with very little help around him.

Chicago stripped this roster back to bare bones for 2022, and now they need to use the cap space and draft capital they acquired to build a team.

There really isn’t an area that doesn’t need attention, so in a way, the Bears can do no wrong this offseason as long as they find good players. Every upgrade will make a difference.


The Bears got ahead of a pending free agent situation at off-ball linebacker by trading Roquan Smith to the Baltimore Ravens at the deadline, and they will be doing a whole lot more adding than subtracting this upcoming offseason. Realistically, they can afford to lose anyone because they can also afford to add anyone.

That said, they can’t spend big at every single position, and while off-ball linebacker may resemble the deepest position in all of free agency, Morrow is a solid all-around player who can play at the Will or Mike spots in Matt Eberflus’ defense. Morrow logged a career-high 1,086 snaps and earned his second consecutive coverage grade above 60.0 this past season. He could be a nice depth piece with starting potential on a cheap deal, a familiar face on a roster that is about to have very few in two months' time.


A team is never going to pay a player more than their on-field production warrants, no matter their financial standing, but the Bears are devoid of talent and have a ton of cash/cap at their disposal — which, in theory, could protect some of the cheaper veterans on the roster.

That said, veteran kicker Cairo Santos missed five extra points and two field goals in 2022, earning him a 48.5 kicking grade that ranked dead last among 34 kickers with at least 10 attempts. Furthermore, while Santos has been quite accurate and consistent as a Bear, his range at this point is effectively 53 or so yards, with a handful of kickers across the NFL hitting from 10 yards beyond that. The Bears might as well get a jump start on looking into long-term, younger solutions at kicker for 2023.


Cincinnati Bengals

Projected cap space: $35,673,058 (6th)
No. of picks in the 2023 NFL Draft: 7 picks, 3 picks in the top 100
Top impending free agents: S Jessie Bates III, S Vonn Bell, LB
Germaine Pratt, TE Hayden Hurst

BIGGEST TEAM NEED: Offensive tackle

Cincinnati’s offensive line fell apart because of injuries late in the season but lost in all that was how poorly former first-round draft pick Jonah Williams played all season at left tackle. Williams tied for the most sacks surrendered by any tackle (12) in the regular season and earned just a 49.9 run-blocking grade.

Though La’el Collins was an upgrade at right tackle, his success primarily came from his work as a run-blocker, as he surrendered 34 pressures and put up a 44.2 pass-blocking grade.


Hurst was a home-run acquisition by the Bengals this offseason as a player looking to get his career back on track with a one-year, prove-it deal for $3.5 million. Look no further than the divisional-round matchup with the Buffalo Bills, who extended tight end Dawson Knox on a four-year, $52 million deal before the season. While Knox is a good bit younger and a better athlete, the two had the same amount of targets in 2022, and Knox had as many drops on the year as Hurst has in his five-year career.

With other priorities across the roster, Cincinnati may lose several key contributors, including safeties Jessie Bates III and Vonn Bell plus linebacker Germaine Pratt, but Hurst could potentially not price himself out of town, adding a physical dynamic to this Bengals offense.


With a lot of tough decisions coming for the Bengals' front office in the near future, clearing around $10 million in cash and more than $7 million in 2023 cap by moving on from Mixon could help them retain some younger talent. Mixon’s 0.11 missed tackles forced per rushing attempt in 2022 ranked 72nd out of 87 running backs with at least 25 rushing attempts, his 3.9 yards per carry ranked 65th and he posted just 16 explosive rushes on 210 attempts.

Mixon did have a great performance against the Buffalo Bills in a dominant snow game outing in the divisional round, but that was after carrying the ball 11 times for just 39 yards against the Baltimore Ravens in the wild-card round. He ended his year with eight carries for 19 yards against the Kansas City Chiefs in the conference championship game.


Bates did not have his best season in 2021 after finishing the 2020 campaign as PFF’s No. 1 safety with an elite 90.1 grade, but he bounced back in 2022 with a strong season that placed him in the top five in WAR among safeties. The franchise tag would be a second for Bates, so his value is 120% of his 2022 tag of $12,911,000 — not the league-wide number that would apply to other safeties.

Cincinnati has a ton of other players in need of new contracts, and the writing seems to be on the wall here. Bates should be a top target for a lot of teams this offseason.

Cleveland Browns

Projected cap space: -$13,415,552 (23rd)
No. of picks in the 2023 NFL Draft: 8 picks, 2 picks in the top 100
Top impending free agents: Edge Jadeveon Clowney, QB Jacoby Brissett, C Ethan Pocic

BIGGEST TEAM NEED: Interior defensive line

The ineffectiveness of the Browns' interior defensive line was remarkable this season. Three of the four players who played at least 200 snaps earned an overall grade of 41.6 or worse. Taven Bryan‘s 23 pressures from 359 pass-rushing snaps led the group.

Myles Garrett is one of the best defensive linemen in the game, but it barely matters because the rest of the defensive line offers nothing in support.


Center Ethan Pocic could be the answer here, as well, but the Browns already have two of the highest-paid guards in the NFL on the interior, so they could continue to cycle through centers and let offensive line coaching savant Bill Callahan work his magic. On defense, linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is an exciting young foundational piece, and he got off to a hot start to the 2022 season alongside Walker before the latter went down with a season-ending injury.

Cleveland can’t afford to spend much on defense outside of perhaps investing in their interior defensive line, which makes Walker a solid option here coming off his torn quadriceps tendon injury. His 85.9 coverage grade over the past two seasons ranks third among off-ball linebackers, and while he can stand to improve against the run — as is the case with almost the entire Browns defense — those improvements are more likely to come via the aforementioned interior defensive line additions and a change in philosophy under new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.


Haeg is a solid utility player who can fill in across the offensive line in a pinch, but, unfortunately, he logged just one snap all season because of concussion issues that ultimately landed him on injured reserve. With both starting guards signed to top-of-market deals, right tackle Jack Conklin recently signing an extension and center Ethan Pocic a pending free agent, the Browns may need to pinch some pennies elsewhere in terms of offensive line expenditure.


Dallas Cowboys

Projected cap space: -$7,008,743 (21st)
No. of picks in the 2023 NFL Draft: 9 picks, 3 picks in the top 100
Top impending free agents: TE Dalton Schultz, RB Tony Pollard, LB
Leighton Vander Esch, S Donovan Wilson


Trading Amari Cooper away last offseason left the team yearning for a secondary threat to go alongside CeeDee Lamb. Somebody exactly like…Amari Cooper.

Though the team decided they didn’t need Cooper’s contract on the books, they did need what he brought to the table. Playoffs included, Lamb accounted for 75 first downs this season, while no other Dallas receiver managed more than 34.

Dak Prescott had his worst season since the last time he didn’t have Amari Cooper to throw to, and Dallas once again came up short in the postseason.


Look no further than the divisional-round loss to the San Francisco 49ers to see the value of Pollard in this Cowboys offense, with his absence in the second half leading to major struggles in consistently moving the ball. Beyond fixating on one game, Pollard’s explosiveness is something no offense wants to lose. Over the past two seasons, his 48 rushes of 10 or more yards rank eighth, despite his 323 rushing attempts ranking 24th.

Ezekiel Elliott may be back in 2023 on a $10.9 million salary, but that’s likely more than a potential franchise tag for Pollard — projected around $10.1 million — for a far less explosive player. If Dallas views this as an either/or situation, and if Pollard’s injury is not viewed as a long-term issue, this is a fairly easy decision.


The Cowboys have repeatedly tried to address the interior of their defensive line early in the draft, with Gallimore one of four interior defenders selected on Day 2 over the past four drafts. However, he hasn't shown overly encouraging signs of growth through three seasons.

Gallimore’s 36.4 grade in 2022 ranked 107th out of 112 interior defenders with at least 300 snaps played on the year, and his 29.7 run-defense grade ranked 136th out of 142 players at the position. Gallimore has failed to log 10 quarterback pressures in any season to start his career, with just 26 total on 513 pass-rush snaps.

Dallas’ bigger decisions may come on running back Ezekiel Elliott.


Over the past three seasons, Schultz stacks up with the top tight ends in the NFL in a host of categories. He’s logged more regular-season snaps than any player at the position over the span and ranks within the top 10 in yards after the catch, yards after contact and contested catch rate.

Schultz’s importance to the Cowboys' offense was on full display in the playoffs to the tune of 18 targets, 12 receptions and three touchdowns over two games, though there were certainly some missed opportunities against the San Francisco 49ers. Schultz would very likely garner a deal with an average annual value above a second franchise tag, making it a bargain for a second consecutive season.

Other option: RB Tony Pollard ($10,091,000)

Pollard is another candidate given the low cost and lack of certainty now following his unfortunate leg injury sustained in the team's playoff loss to the 49ers.

Denver Broncos

Projected cap space: $9,497,224 (14th)
No. of picks in the 2023 NFL Draft: 5 picks, 2 picks in the top 100
Top impending free agents: DI Dre'Mont Jones, G Dalton Risner, LB Alex Singleton, T Cameron Fleming

BIGGEST TEAM NEED: Interior defensive line

Denver’s defense was elite this season, but the interior defensive line became a weakness after the team traded Shelby Harris as part of the deal to acquire Russell Wilson.

Seven different players played at least 165 snaps inside for the Broncos, and Dre’Mont Jones earned the highest PFF pass-rushing grade of the group at just 67.3. He produced 45 pressures on 448 rushes.

Theoretically, Denver’s pass rush still has plenty of teeth off the edge, but the side needs an upgrade inside to maintain the defense’s level next year.


Denver will be looking to make a few additions along the offensive line this offseason, but the first order of business should be to take care of in-house business and bring back Risner. He earned his second consecutive pass-blocking grade above 70.0 to go along with a 65.7 pass-blocking grade on true pass sets that ranked 22nd among guards.

He offers a very high floor as a pass protector, and while he can stand to improve in the run game, his consistency in keeping his quarterback clean can't be understated.


Edmonds was included in the blockbuster trade that sent edge defender Bradley Chubb to the Miami Dolphins but was unable to bounce back in Denver after a rough stint in South Beach. Edmonds’ 2.2 yards after contact per attempt ranked 83rd out of 87 running backs with at least 25 carries on the season, his 0.1 missed tackles forced per attempt ranked 80th and he converted only 11.8% of rushing attempts into a first down or touchdown, which ranked 86th.


Jones ranks in the top 20 in total quarterback pressures (138) and pass-rush win rate (14.5%) since his first day in the NFL, and he has gone four straight seasons with a 65.0-plus pass-rush grade. The former third-rounder also tied or exceeded previous career highs in sacks (6.5) and defensive stops (25) in 2022.

There are some concerns in run defense, which is driving the low WAR figure, in addition to a few missed games here and there, but a long list of suitors will be lining up to make Jones an offer if he avoids this tag.

Detroit Lions

Projected cap space: $13,020,951 (11th)
No. of picks in the 2023 NFL Draft: 8 picks, 5 picks in the top 100
Top impending free agents: WR D.J. Chark Jr.


The Lions cornerbacks combined to allow a 110.4 passer rating and 9.2 yards per attempt last season. And while the team's young pass-rushers really stepped up as the season progressed, the coverage on the back end never rose to meet them at that level.

The Lions have drafted several young corners in recent years, but they have yet to see a real return on that investment and need to keep swinging to continue this team’s positive growth.


Cominsky brought versatility and physicality to the Lions' defense in his first season in Detroit, becoming a more consistent pass rusher with his 6-foot-5, 285-pound frame that also enabled him to kick inside. He and rookie first-rounder Aidan Hutchinson both demonstrated positional flexibility along the defensive line, which could help Detroit construct different looks and manufacture pressure on opposing quarterbacks if he’s kept around for 2023 and beyond.

Cominsky became an official starter in Week 11, and his 31 quarterback pressures from that point through the end of the regular season tied for eighth among edge defenders.


Brockers was routinely made a healthy scratch down the stretch of the 2022 season, and the veteran — voted a defensive captain by his teammates after just one season with the team — was brought aboard by general manager Brad Holmes in large part because of his leadership.

Brockers’ 40.6 grade in 2021 was a career low by a wide margin, and he was surpassed on the depth chart while turning 32 this season.


Green Bay Packers

Projected cap space: -$4,665,743 (20th)
No. of picks in the 2023 NFL Draft: 11 picks, 3 picks in the top 100
Top impending free agents: WR Allen Lazard, S Adrian Amos


A story as old as time itself — Green Bay and the need to add more weaponry for their passing game.

The only wrinkle this offseason is whether that weaponry is for Aaron Rodgers to use or to ensure Jordan Love has the best possible chance for success as the team's new starter.

The young wideouts showed promise in 2022, but tight end is an area that still needs a major upgrade. Robert Tonyan saw 63 targets this season but averaged just 1.27 yards per route run and moved the chains only 20 times.


The Packers will once again be very busy this offseason, as rumors abound that quarterback Aaron Rodgers could be traded — in particular, to the New York Jets — further following Brett Favre’s career path. If that does come to fruition, it changes everything else about Green Bay’s offseason thereafter.

Here, we’re operating under the notion that Rodgers will be back, and reliable blocking tight end Marcedes Lewis is an important part of the veteran group on this team. Over the past three seasons, Lewis’ 75.9 run-blocking grade ranks fourth among tight ends, and he’s shown few signs of slowing down entering his age-39 season in 2023, which would be his 18th NFL campaign.

Safety Adrian Amos is the other potential answer here, especially with former first-round safety Darnell Savage benched this season before moving to slot cornerback. But with Green Bay keeping defensive coordinator Joe Barry on staff, it doesn’t seem to matter how many investments they make on defense.


This will be a momentous decision for the Packers, which may be impacted by quarterback Aaron Rodgers‘ decision to either return for another title run or seek a trade. Bakhtiari is unquestionably one of the best pass protectors in the entire NFL when healthy — he earned a near-elite 87.8 pass-blocking grade in 2022, which was his lowest mark since 2015 — but his knee injury effectively warrants a daily status update at this point, which may make it hard to justify paying him $17.5 million in 2023 after logging 624 total snaps over the past two seasons.


Houston Texans

Projected cap space: $37,612,053 (5th)
No. of picks in the 2023 NFL Draft: 12 picks, 5 picks in the top 100
Top impending free agents: Edge Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Edge
Rasheem Green


Davis Mills was given a transition year for the team to see if he could win the starting job and build on a surprisingly effective rookie year. He could not, and he got benched at one point in the year.

The Texans now head into the first real year of building with the capital gained from trading away Deshaun Watson in need of their next franchise quarterback. All signs point to that player coming in the draft, whether they stay at No. 2 overall or trade back up to the No. 1 spot they lost with a meaningless Week 18 victory.


Houston made a few savvy, cheap moves at edge defender this past offseason that resulted in far more production than their price tags would indicate, certainly including Okoronkwo. After a slow start heading into the team’s Week 6 bye, Okoronkwo exploded out of the gate from Week 7 on, with his 88.5 pass-rushing grade ranking sixth among edge defenders from that point on.

Okoronkwo’s 22.9% pass-rush win rate ranked seventh and his 17.5% pressure percentage ranked eighth among edge defenders over the same span, and he became a starter for the first time in his career in Week 11 without a dropoff in down-to-down efficiency. He may not be a 1,000-snap player, but the value of 500-700 snaps at the NFL level is quite high.


Murray’s status as a key special teams contributor may keep him around, especially with general manager Nick Caserio coming from a New England Patriots organization that put more emphasis on retaining quality special teamers than perhaps anywhere else.

That said, Murray logged just 118 snaps on defense amid the emergence of young contributors like second-round pick Jalen Pitre, so a pay cut may be required to stay in Houston.


Indianapolis Colts

Projected cap space: $12,440,976 (12th)
No. of picks in the 2023 NFL Draft: 8 picks, 3 picks in the top 100
Top impending free agents: LB Bobby Okereke, Edge Yannick Ngakoue, WR Parris Campbell, S Rodney McLeod


Another team in need of a new franchise signal-caller, the Colts are likely to turn to the draft after repeated disappointments in their search for a veteran successor to Andrew Luck.

It was far from all his fault, but Matt Ryan finished the 2022 season with the worst PFF grade (63.8) of his entire career and the lowest big-time throw rate in the NFL (1.2%). The Colts are drafting at No. 4 overall but could be impatient enough to trade all the way to the top of the draft to secure their favorite player.


Linebacker Bobby Okereke makes a lot of sense here, as well, but the Colts have a ton invested in Shaquille Leonard at the position already. On offense, Michael Pittman Jr. could join the $20 million-plus per year club this offseason as an early extension candidate, which could make a cheaper pure slot receiving option a smart piece to keep around.

Campbell’s production in 2022 outpaced his three-year cumulative totals from 2019-21 in nearly every statistical category now that he was finally healthy, with nine games of at least 40 receiving yards on the year. A one-year flier where Campbell can take yet another step — a decent bet if the Colts' offense doesn’t once again rank dead last in EPA per dropback — makes sense for all parties.


Ryan’s 2023 contract situation was a major reason for his benching in favor of Sam Ehlinger for a few games this season, as the Colts couldn’t pass block well and feared an injury could lock in even more guarantees for 2023. It didn’t help that Ryan’s 63.0 passing grade was a career low, or that he finished with six big-time throws to 23 turnover-worthy plays.

As it stands, Ryan would have an additional $17.2 million become fully guaranteed a few days into the 2023 league year were he to remain on the roster, so he almost certainly will not.


Jacksonville Jaguars

Projected cap space: -$22,753,686 (29th)
No. of picks in the 2023 NFL Draft: 9 picks, 3 picks in the top 100
Top impending free agents: T Jawaan Taylor, TE Evan Engram, Edge Arden Key, Edge Dawuane Smoot


Tyson Campbell had an outstanding season, but the investments the team has made at cornerback in recent seasons still aren’t paying off. Shaquill Griffin produced a 61.8 PFF grade from five games, and Darious Williams put up a mark of just 63.9.

Williams at least tallied 15 pass breakups, but Jacksonville needs to improve its secondary depth, particularly if Griffin can’t bounce back to his best form.


Key had a career year while playing on a one-year, $4 million flier, with his 81.3 overall grade his top mark for a season by more than 10 grading points. Over the past two seasons, Key has 80 quarterback pressures on 546 pass-rush reps en route to a 14.6% pressure rate, good for 17th among edge defenders over the span.

Key generated at least three quarterback pressures in each of Jacksonville’s final five regular-season games and both playoff games, repeatedly stepping up big when it was do-or-die time.

The choice here was a tossup between Key and tight end Evan Engram, but with wide receiver Calvin Ridley coming into the picture in 2023, Key’s inside-outside pass-rush versatility could stand to make a larger impact, all things considered.


Griffin sustained a back injury during offseason activities that he attempted to play through, but he struggled before ultimately being shut down and undergoing back surgery after Week 6. With fellow Jaguars cornerbacks Tyson Campbell and Darious Williams both ending the season playing really good football on the outside, Griffin appears to be the odd man out headed into 2023.


Engram played in 2022 on a one-year, $9 million deal that wasn’t all that far off from the tight end franchise tag, and he may have played his way into a real one after a career year. Engram's 68.3 receiving grade was his highest since 2018, and his 4.5% drop rate was the lowest of his career. He played a critical role in the Jaguars’ miracle playoff comeback against the Los Angeles Chargers, tallying seven receptions on 11 targets for 93 receiving yards and a touchdown.

Other option: OT Jawaan Taylor ($18,244,000)

The Jaguars franchise-tagged tackle Cam Robinson last offseason before agreeing to terms on an extension, and they could perhaps go that route again here with Taylor. However, with 2021 second-round tackle Walker Little in the fold, Jacksonville has options.

Kansas City Chiefs

Projected cap space: -$3,507,834 (19th)
No. of picks in the 2023 NFL Draft: 12 picks, 3 picks in the top 100
Top impending free agents: T Orlando Brown Jr., WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, S
Juan Thornhill


Somehow the Chiefs still have very little in the way of an edge threat outside of Chris Jones. They have taken several swings at the position, whether by trade (Frank Clark), first-round draft pick (George Karlaftis) or free agency (Carlos Dunlap), and while each player has made contributions, none has been the consistent threat Kansas City has been looking for.

None of the Chiefs' edge rushers posted a pass-rushing grade higher than 62.0 despite Jones wrecking shop on the interior and creating a huge volume of clean-up plays to be made.


Brown’s 2022 season got off to a rocky start after a lengthy franchise tag dispute, but he finished the season quite strong. From Week 7 on, his 81.6 overall grade ranked eighth and his 86.1 pass-blocking grade ranked seventh.


Clark showed up in the playoffs with three sacks through the first two rounds after six total on the season — not his first time turning on the jets when the lights are brightest. That being said, Kansas City pushed Clark to agree to a major pay cut before the 2022 campaign, and he had a regular season quarterback pressure rate below 10%, ranking 83rd out of 130 edge defenders with at least 100 pass-rush snaps.

Perhaps the two sides can again agree to a reworked contract, but with $10 million of Clark’s $20.5 million 2023 salary becoming fully guaranteed in the first week of the 2023 league year, that will have to happen sooner rather than later to avoid a release.


Orlando Brown Jr. got off to a slow start in 2022 but closed out the regular season admirably with game grades above 60.0 in every contest from Week 7 through the AFC conference championship. And there's still the Super Bowl remaining where he can boost his stock on the biggest stage.

A second tag for Brown would be above the league-wide number and just under $20 million, a relevant figure with reports last offseason that the Chiefs offered an extension with $95 million in cash over the first five years. Brown made his displeasure with the first tag well known, but a second one doesn’t appear to be out of the realm of possibilities — unless the two sides can find a middle ground on a long-term deal once and for all.

Las Vegas Raiders

Projected cap space: $48,364,838 (3rd)
No. of picks in the 2023 NFL Draft: 11 picks, 3 picks in the top 100
Top impending free agents: RB Josh Jacobs, CB Rock Ya-Sin, T Jermaine Eluemunor, LB Denzel Perryman, S Duron Harmon, TE Foster Moreau


When the Las Vegas Raiders decided to unceremoniously dump Derek Carr as their starter, they moved to the front of the queue for teams in need of a new quarterback.

Carr has been an average to above-average starter for the Raiders, grading inside the top five over a season just once (2016), and the league trend is to eschew average to search for greatness. It remains to be seen where they find greatness in this current landscape, but the Raiders figure to be one of the league's most aggressive teams in pursuit of that solution this offseason.


Running back Josh Jacobs is the obvious answer here, but head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler come from a New England Patriots organization that all but refuses to extend running backs to significant veteran contracts, much less deals at the top of the market — which is what Jacobs should be commanding.

Eluemunor reunited with this duo after time shared together in New England in the past, and he enjoyed a career year as a starter at right tackle. After a slow start, Eluemunor came into his own following the team’s Week 6 bye. From Week 7 through the end of the season, his 83.1 pass-blocking grade ranked fourth among right tackles, with his 4.0% pressure rate allowed on true pass sets also the fourth-best mark at the position.

With big contracts at wide receiver, tight end and left tackle, a high-floor player with familiarity like Eluemunor who won’t break the bank is exactly what the Raiders need, outside of upgrading at quarterback.


Carr has told the Raiders organization that he will not waive his no-trade clause for any team and that they will have to release him before Feb. 15 when $40.3 million in 2023-24 salary becomes fully guaranteed. Carr’s 65.4 passing grade and 70.8% adjusted completion percentage in 2022 were his lowest marks since his rookie season, and his 7.0 yards per attempt was a low mark over the past five years.

Las Vegas did well by not giving Carr a ton of upfront money in his extension signed last offseason, ultimately rewarding him with a $5 million raise for 2022 and nothing more. Still, losing a top half of the NFL quarterback for zero draft capital is never good roster management.


Jacobs averaged just under five yards per carry en route to a rushing title with his 1,653 yards on the ground, and he tacked on 400 receiving yards to land at No. 54 on the all-time list of total scrimmage yards in a season in NFL history.

Las Vegas’ new brass declined Jacobs' fifth-year option for 2023 of about $8.03 million, but he is still worth well more than the $2 million extra. Las Vegas has to figure out its quarterback situation, and odds are what happens there could impact what happens here. If the situation is not resolved before the March 7 tag deadline, it will be interesting to see what the Raiders do with Jacobs.

Los Angeles Chargers

Projected cap space: -$20,511,524 (27th)
No. of picks in the 2023 NFL Draft: 7 picks, 3 picks in the top 100
Top impending free agents: LB Drue Tranquill, Edge Kyle Van Noy, DI Morgan Fox

BIGGEST TEAM NEED: Interior defensive line

The additions of Austin Johnson and Sebastian Joseph-Day were supposed to fix this problem last offseason, but both players posted PFF grades in the 50s in their first season with the team.

The Chargers ranked dead last against the run, surrendering 5.4 yards per carry, and their only interior defender to record more than 20 pressures was Morgan Fox. The Chargers would love to find a true impact player on the inside to complement what they have on the edge in Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack.


The Chargers went on a spending spree last offseason and aren’t slated to lose many key contributors this offseason, but keeping around return specialist/depth wide receiver DeAndre Carter makes a lot of sense. Carter’s 16 missed tackles forced on punt returns over the past two seasons rank fifth, and he averaged more than 10 yards per return despite a long of just 28 yards.

This is in no way intended as a slight, but ideally, Carter is WR5 or WR6 in 2023 and not WR4. Still, he clearly has the trust of quarterback Justin Herbert and fills in admirably when called upon, bringing a speed element the team doesn’t currently have on the roster otherwise, an area they must improve in 2023. Carter hauled in a career-high 46 receptions with just two drops on 64 targets and is certainly worth keeping around going forward if he doesn’t cash in elsewhere.


Feiler is entering the final year of a three-year deal signed in 2021 and coming off a career-low 54.6 overall grade. However, he maintained a high floor as a pass protector and Los Angeles may not want to get rid of anyone who can help keep Justin Herbert upright. Nevertheless, when left tackle Rashawn Slater returns next season, the Chargers could move rookie sixth-rounder Jamaree Salyer — who impressed in his first season — inside to Feiler's left guard spot and save a ton of money on an otherwise expensive roster.

There has been much discussion of a recent article from The Athletic’s Daniel Popper in which he notes star wide receiver Keenan Allen could also be on the chopping block, with his $19 million in compensation for 2023 after missing seven games due to injury perhaps too much to stomach. As good as Allen is, it certainly seems feasible the team could approach him about a reduction in compensation, and maybe he declines.


Los Angeles Rams

Projected cap space: -$14,122,570 (24th)
No. of picks in the 2023 NFL Draft: 10 picks, 2 picks in the top 100
Top impending free agents: S Taylor Rapp, DI A'Shawn Robinson

BIGGEST TEAM NEED: Offensive line

The Rams' season went so badly that it’s difficult to rewind and pinpoint where the flaws were on the team before the entire thing fell to pieces and diagnosing the problems became like searching a burned-out ruin in an attempt to identify where the fire began.

However, the team allowed 23 total pressures and Matthew Stafford took seven sacks in the season opener, and unless this offensive line is repaired in a major way, the Sean McVay offense simply doesn’t have the same effect that it did previously.


Rapp finally had the type of season the Rams were hoping for when they selected him in the second round out of Washington back in 2019, but the flashes were always there. Rapp earned career-high grades against the run (82.3) and in coverage (72.9) and missed just six tackle attempts en route to 70 tackles and 14 defensive stops in 2022.

The Rams may not want to spend more in the secondary, letting safety John Johnson III walk two years ago, in which case a cheaper deal for fellow safety Nick Scott perhaps is more appealing, but Rapp has developed into a reliable player on the backend.

If interior offensive lineman Coleman Shelton elects to opt out of the remaining year of his contract signed last offseason, a right he earned this season via playtime, he becomes the Rams’ top priority as a reliable pass protector in 2022 at center and guard on an interior that needs more consistency.


Allen has $1 million in 2023 salary already guaranteed, and $2 million more is set to become fully guaranteed on March 19, but the Rams may not let that happen after Allen had another season derailed by injury — unfortunately, a familiar situation with the talented center who can quickly get to the second level as a zone run blocker.

The Rams also may have to re-sign center/guard Coleman Shelton if he chooses to exercise a player opt-out in his contract, which arguably should be a priority between the two decisions. From Week 11 through the end of the season, Shelton primarily took over the starting center role and earned a 78.6 pass-blocking grade, which ranked eighth over the span, and he offers positional flexibility whereas Allen has never logged a snap anywhere besides center.


Miami Dolphins

Projected cap space: -$16,377,201 (26th)
No. of picks in the 2023 NFL Draft: 5 picks, 3 picks in the top 100
Top impending free agents: TE Mike Gesicki, Edge Melvin Ingram III

BIGGEST TEAM NEED: Offensive line

A year ago, Miami did exceptionally well in repairing the worst offensive line in football. The group finished the campaign at No. 22 in PFF’s offensive line rankings, but work still needs to be done.

With Terron Armstead, Connor Williams and Robert Hunt, three-fifths of the line are in a good spot. But that leaves two weak links to be addressed this time around.

As much as they invested in Armstead, his extensive injury history means the team would be wise to have a viable contingency play in place for the games he will inevitably miss during any given year.


Van Ginkel would be a rotational player for this Dolphins defense behind edge defenders Jaelan Phillips and Bradley Chubb — and Melvin Ingram III if he returns — but he brings a different skill set weighing about 40 pounds less than those guys. He had a career year as a pass rusher in 2021 with 45 pressures, including a 14.9% pressure rate that ranked 14th among edge defenders, but was delegated to more of a reserve role in 2022. Perhaps this provides the impetus for Van Ginkel to push for a larger role elsewhere, but if not, he’d be a solid player to bring back for Miami.

Despite his lack of size, he’s also a solid run defender on the edge, with his 81.6 run-defense grade over the past three seasons the ninth-best mark at the position. It’s good to create different assignments for opposing offensive linemen, who, in turn, have to deal with speed, power and finesse from guys with different styles and body types.

Running back Jeff Wilson Jr., who the team acquired with a fifth-round pick at the trade deadline, also makes sense as an answer here, especially with Raheem Mostert a free agent, as well.


Jones didn’t play a snap in 2022 after undergoing ankle surgery in March that, at the time, wasn’t expected to keep him out for many weeks, if any. With new Dolphins defensive coordinator Vic Fangio bringing a fresh look on that side of the ball — with heavy zone coverage principles — Jones isn’t exactly a great fit schematically, either.

Wide receiver Cedrick Wilson Jr. was a free agent addition last offseason who barely saw the field in his first year with the team, but $5 million of his $7 million 2023 salary is already guaranteed, which will probably keep him on the team.


Minnesota Vikings

Projected cap space: -$23,295,007 (30th)
No. of picks in the 2023 NFL Draft: 5 picks, 2 picks in the top 100
Top impending free agents: DI Dalvin Tomlinson, CB Patrick Peterson, C Garrett Bradbury

BIGGEST TEAM NEED: Defensive tackle

Minnesota’s edge-rush duo of Za’Darius Smith and Danielle Hunter combined for 156 total pressures this past season, though it remains to be seen if both will be retained for 2023 or whether the team will look to get cheaper at the position.

The real failings were at defensive tackle. Dalvin Tomlinson led the interior linemen with 30 pressures across 348 rushes, and the Vikings as a unit allowed 4.5 yards per rush, 21st in the league.


Minnesota has a lot to figure out on defense going forward, especially with free agent Patrick Peterson set to turn 33 in 2023, but they should see what they have in Duke Shelley next year as they work to develop 2022 second-round pick Andrew Booth Jr. and others.

The Vikings made Shelley the starter at left cornerback in Week 15, and over the last four regular-season games plus the wild-card round against the New York Giants, his 90.4 coverage grade ranked fourth among cornerbacks. Because of Shelley’s lack of size, his drafting team — the Chicago Bears — put him in the slot, but that was never his game in college. He’s a scrappy player who makes up for his 5-foot-9, 180-pound frame on the outside with good instincts and a knack for timing his jumps well to battle at the catch point.

Minnesota’s salary cap situation is an underrated nightmare going forward, but getting meaningful snaps out of a player like Shelley could certainly help.


The porous Minnesota defense could be even worse in 2023 given the age of a lot of their top contributors from this past season, but the hiring of defensive coordinator Brian Flores and the potential growth of recent draft picks should inspire some optimism.

Flores’ defense is a polar opposite of the system deployed by Ed Donatell, and perhaps tasking Kendricks with more man coverage responsibilities could help him bounce back from his career-low 46.4 coverage grade in 2022. However, Kendricks may also be viewed as a player who has lost a step now on the wrong side of 30.


New England Patriots

Projected cap space: $33,740,547 (7th)
No. of picks in the 2023 NFL Draft: 11 picks, 3 picks in the top 100
Top impending free agents: WR Jakobi Meyers, CB Jonathan Jones,
T Isaiah Wynn, S Devin McCourty

BIGGEST TEAM NEED: Wide receiver

Jakobi Meyers was New England’s best receiver once again, and he now heads to free agency on the back of a season where he gained 803 receiving yards and averaged 1.9 yards per route run.

New England already addressed their biggest coaching problem with the addition of Bill O’Brien as offensive coordinator, so now they need to fix the lingering issue at receiver to give quarterback Mac Jones the best chance of actually taking the step forward they need from him.


In recent offseasons, New England signed Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne, traded for DeVante Parker and traded up in the second round in 2022 to draft Tyquan Thornton out of Baylor. And through all of that, Meyers remained the best wide receiver on the team's roster.

Since 2020, Meyers has dropped just 3.1% of targets, a top-20 mark among qualifying wide receivers, and at 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, he uses his frame to battle for contested catches. Meyers’ 63.2% contested catch rate ranks fourth best among wide receivers over the past three seasons, as well.

Realistically, the Patriots can afford to lose Meyers because of the aforementioned investments at the position, so the question becomes whether they should, to which the answer is probably no.


Henry had a productive first season in New England, most importantly hauling in nine touchdown receptions and dropping just one pass on 78 targets. This past season, he earned the lowest receiving grade of his career (61.4) and by far his worst run-blocking grade (48.3).

With Bill O’Brien returning as offensive coordinator, perhaps he wants two solid veteran tight ends to work with, enabling him to line up with various different personnel groupings and helping to get an anemic Matt Patricia-led offense back on track. On the flip side, perhaps the team wants to put that $10.5 million in cash savings to work elsewhere to help improve the unit.


The Patriots likely won’t use a nearly $20 million franchise tag here, but Meyers is arguably the best wide receiver available this offseason, and New England may want to see if they can execute a tag-and-trade if a long-term agreement cannot be reached. While New England historically does very well to earn compensatory picks, they may want to spend this offseason on external free agents and could risk losing Meyers for nothing if they cancel out a potential comp pick return for him.

Meyers’ 81.8 cumulative receiving grade over the past three seasons ranks 31st among wide receivers, and his 1.87 yards per route run ranks 26th.

New Orleans Saints

Projected cap space: -$54,952,318 (31st)
No. of picks in the 2023 NFL Draft: 8 picks, 3 picks in the top 100
Top impending free agents: Edge Marcus Davenport, WR Michael Thomas, DI David Onyemata

BIGGEST TEAM NEED: Defensive line

Marcus Davenport enters free agency having never really justified the aggressive trade the Saints made to move up and draft him. He produced just 34 pressures across 15 games this season and has never earned a PFF pass-rushing grade north of 82.0. He is also yet to play more than 550 snaps in a season.

With Cameron Jordan turning 34 by the time next season rolls around and the interior underachieving in 2022, the Saints need to reload on their defensive line in a big way.


Davenport has struggled to stay on the field throughout his five years with the Saints, but if he leaves in free agency, they’ll have very little talent to speak off on the edge outside of a 34-year-old Cameron Jordan on the final year of his contract, with 2021 first-round pick edge defender Payton Turner a healthy scratch for much of his second season.

Over the past three seasons, Davenport’s 19.0% pass-rush win rate ranks 14th and his 14.2% pressure rate ranks 17th among edge defenders. The Saints simply cannot give up that level of pass-rush productivity because he’s played only about 475 snaps a season — that is, unless his asking price takes him out of consideration, which is entirely possible.


Winston lost his job to Andy Dalton — which he was understandably not happy about — and the Saints hosted Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr on a visit already as they look ahead to 2023. The writing is on the wall here for Winston, who had five interceptions and three fumbles (one lost) in just three starts in 2022.

All indications are that the team plans to designate wide receiver Michael Thomas, who had his contract tweaked, as a post-June 1 release on the first day of the 2023 league year (March 15). This is why, despite the fact Thomas is still under contract as of today, we have him listed on our top 100 free agents list.


New York Giants

Projected cap space: $46,993,739 (4th)
No. of picks in the 2023 NFL Draft: 11 picks, 4 picks in the top 100
Top impending free agents: RB Saquon Barkley, QB Daniel Jones, S Julian Love

BIGGEST TEAM NEED: Interior offensive line

The Giants overachieved in an impressive way this season, making the playoffs and beating the Minnesota Vikings before getting bounced by the Eagles in the divisional round.

Still, this roster needs major work. Perhaps the biggest area of need is on the offensive line, as the unit as a whole never ranked higher than 27th in PFF's offensive line rankings once it became apparent how poor they were. The Giants line allowed 212 pressures this season, third-most in the league, and their interior players accounted for 114 of those pressures.

Andrew Thomas is an elite left tackle, and Evan Neal will hope to follow his development on the right side, but the interior needs major attention.


Not quarterback Daniel Jones, not running back Saquon Barkley, but do-everything defensive back Julian Love is our answer here. Jones had a much improved 2022 campaign that he finished out well through the wild-card round — before he was completely flummoxed in the divisional round against the Philadelphia Eagles — but Giants general manager Joe Schoen has been here before with Tyrod Taylor in 2017 on the Buffalo Bills.

The similarities are actually quite uncanny. Taylor earned a slightly higher passing grade in 2017 than Jones did in 2022, with a 76.4 mark compared to Jones' 76.0. Taylor had 14 touchdown passes and four interceptions, whereas Jones had 15 and five, respectively. Lastly, Taylor threw for 6.7 yards per attempt to Jones’ 6.8. But we digress.

Love earned a career-high 71.5 coverage grade in 2022 and lined up everywhere, with 271 snaps down in the box, 154 in the slot and 494 at free safety. He’s a Swiss Army knife on the backend who rarely misses a tackle. Among 43 safeties with at least 150 tackles over the past three seasons, Love’s 13 missed tackles are the second-fewest.


Golladay's tenure with the Giants has been an unmitigated disaster to the point where fans sarcastically applauded when he recorded a catch at MetLife Stadium this season, which happened twice in all of 2022. Golladay hardly played all year and logged just six snaps over two playoff games despite a bevy of injuries to the team's wide receiver group.

After two seasons, Golladay will end up earning just under $1 million per reception.


A big reason the Giants are working hard to get a long-term deal done with either Jones or Saquon Barkley before the March 7 tag deadline is so they then have the tag freed up for the other player, if necessary.

Other option: RB Saquon Barkley ($10,091,000)

Things can move quickly in either negotiation, but the Giants have reportedly been working with Barkley’s camp longer. While they appear open to a long-term commitment to Jones, it may be wise to want to see another year where he can put up more than 3,200 passing yards on 6.8 yards per attempt with just 15 touchdown passes on a 6.4-yard average depth of target.

New York Jets

Projected cap space: -$264,487 (18th)
No. of picks in the 2023 NFL Draft: 6 picks, 3 picks in the top 100
Top impending free agents: DI Sheldon Rankins, C Connor McGovern, T George Fant


Zach Wilson looks well on his way to being one of the biggest draft busts of all time, and a badly-timed rib injury robbed Mike White of valuable time to prove that he could be the future starter.

With a roster capable of making the playoffs right now, the Jets can’t roll into 2023 with a starting quarterback with fewer than 200 pass attempts on his resume. They need a new quarterback to take advantage of a winning situation.


The Jets dealt with injuries all over their offensive line throughout 2022, but McGovern brought consistency and a high floor for whoever was under center. Those are qualities that a quarterback like Aaron Rodgers could perhaps appreciate if he finds his way to The Big Apple in 2023.

McGovern has logged around 1,000 snaps in five straight seasons, with his 74.7 grade over the past two seasons ranking 13th among centers, his 69.8 pass-blocking grade 16th and his 76.9 run-blocking grade 13th. If the Jets do make a big splash and acquire someone like Rodgers, they may feel the need to go cheaper at center, but a trusted relationship between a veteran signal-caller and his center could go a long way.


Salary Cap Details: $666,668 dead money, $10,500,000 cap savings

There has been discussion of the potential for a release of edge defender Carl Lawson, and the Jets certainly have more depth along the defensive line than at offensive line or wide receiver, but Lawson was productive in 2022. He was coming off a torn Achilles and logged 49 quarterback pressures and seven sacks, earning a 72.8 pass-rush grade in the process.

Davis is the big-bodied option on the Jets with shorter, faster rookie contract players around him, and he once again missed a chunk of time in the middle of the year before finishing the season off in underwhelming fashion. Davis had two receptions or fewer in four of his last six outings, and the Jets may look to feature Offensive Rookie of the Year Garrett Wilson while providing Elijah Moore with more consistent opportunities to keep him happy.


Philadelphia Eagles

Projected cap space: $9,725,176 (13th)
No. of picks in the 2023 NFL Draft: 6 picks, 4 picks in the top 100
Top impending free agents: RB Miles Sanders, LB Kyzir White, S Marcus Epps

BIGGEST TEAM NEED: Cornerback depth

Signing James Bradberry for pennies on the dollar was one of the shrewdest moves the Eagles made last offseason. They were able to snare another team's cap casualty and bring in an impact player for a bargain price.

They could tie Bradberry to a much more lucrative contract, but if they value his low cost, cornerback becomes an area of need. Bradberry allowed just 46.8% of the passes thrown into his coverage to be caught this season for a passer rating of 51.4.


The Eagles have pending free agents all over their defense, with the second-most defensive snaps played in 2022 by players on their way out, barring new contracts. More important than them all is bringing back interior defender Javon Hargrave, especially as Philadelphia showed throughout 2022 they felt inadequate up front by signing multiple veterans in-season.

Since 2020, Hargrave’s 92.2 pass-rush grade trails only Aaron Donald and Chris Jones among interior defenders, with his 18.8% pass-rush win rate also ranking third. Philadelphia needs to keep Hargrave in the fold and figure the rest out later.


The Eagles have a ton of pending free agents and have to extend quarterback Jalen Hurts to a monster new deal, so the lack of obvious cut candidates isn’t ideal.

Sermon was brought aboard after he was waived by the San Francisco 49ers, but he logged just eight total snaps in Weeks 4 and 5 before failing to see the field again.


Hargrave will be 30 years old in 2023, which would make him an older franchise tag recipient for an interior defender, but he’s been incredible the past few years and will be missed tremendously if the two sides can’t work out a long-term agreement.

In 2022 alone, Hargrave had a 12.6% quarterback pressure rate and logged a career-high 11 regular-season sacks. In the conference championship game against the San Francisco 49ers, Hargrave notched five pressures and a sack on just 12 pass-rush reps. He’s in the elite tier of interior pass rushers right now.

Safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, who the team traded for before the year, is also a potential candidate at the $14.46 million price tag.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Projected cap space: $81,418 (17th)
No. of picks in the 2023 NFL Draft: 7 picks, 4 picks in the top 100
Top impending free agents: CB Cameron Sutton, DI Larry Ogunjobi


Pittsburgh doesn’t have a bad cornerback group, but they are missing someone who can go toe-to-toe with some of the elite playmakers the NFL has at receiver.

Cameron Sutton earned the best coverage grade of the group in 2022, allowing 50.0% of targets into his coverage to be caught. Levi Wallace has a great underdog story but gave up 15.8 yards per catch and over 600 yards over the season. The Steelers can still impact quarterbacks with their pass rush, but they need a cornerback group capable of enhancing that threat with better coverage.


Pittsburgh traded for cornerbacks Ahkello Witherspoon and William Jackson III in recent years, and both players finished the 2022 season with grades in the 40s. They’ve continued to throw darts at the position without much success but would be smart to bring back a known commodity in Sutton.

Sutton earned a career-best 72.2 grade in 2022, allowing just 0.76 yards per coverage snap, which ranked 11th among cornerbacks with at least 200 coverage snaps on the season. With big contracts already handed out to edge defender T.J. Watt, safety Minkah Fitzpatrick and interior defender Cameron Heyward, Pittsburgh likely isn’t looking to splurge more in the secondary as they look for offensive improvement. Sutton won’t break the bank yet offers familiarity in Mike Tomlin’s defense.


Washington traded Jackson at the deadline after he expressed frustration with his deployment, and he was promptly placed on injured reserve with a back injury before taking a single snap in Pittsburgh.

The Steelers may find a way to keep Jackson on a reworked deal in 2023 after trading for him despite the expectation he was going to be waived, but it won’t be on his current contract.


San Francisco 49ers

Projected cap space: $8,063,016 (16th)
No. of picks in the 2023 NFL Draft: 10 picks, 1 pick in the top 100
Top impending free agents: T Mike McGlinchey, QB Jimmy Garoppolo, Edge
Charles Omenihu, S Jimmie Ward, Edge Samson Ebukam, LB Azeez Al-Shaair

BIGGEST TEAM NEED: Interior defensive line

The NFC championship game was nightmare fuel for defensive line coaches, who watched Philadelphia’s offensive line repeatedly erase Javon Kinlaw from the play. He finished the game with a PFF run-defense grade of 28.1 and highlighted the need for the 49ers to find an interior force that can match the threat they have on the edge. San Francisco’s defense was elite in 2022, but they had a notable weakness on the interior that could be solved with one critical addition this offseason.


Ward’s versatility was on full display down the stretch of the 2022 season, as he became the primary slot cornerback for the 49ers with Talanoa Hufanga and Tashaun Gipson Sr. at safety. All he did was earn top-five grades both in coverage and as a run defender since Week 8 when aligning in the slot, with his 76.7 coverage grade fifth and his 91.3 run-defense grade tied for second among players with at least 100 snaps in the slot over the span.

The 49ers aren’t set to lose a ton to free agency, which is crucial considering the roster is already loaded with big contracts and may soon add a $30 million per year pact for edge defender Nick Bosa to the ledger.


The 49ers don’t have any obvious cut candidates of significance and will have to get creative with their host of big contracts and lack of a pick before No. 99 in this year’s draft. However, if Trey Lance or Brock Purdy can be a consistent starter, the surplus value at the quarterback position alone will enable them to keep their core intact for a few more years.


The 49ers have a lot of big deals already on the books, and more are coming up, most notably for Defensive Player of the Year candidate Nick Bosa. McGlinchey had a solid year in a solid career, but the lasting image of his 2022 season will be getting tossed by Philadelphia Eagles edge defender Haason Reddick in the conference championship game. The 6-foot-8, 310-pound former top-10 pick can struggle at times with speed and bend around the edge, but dealing with power is usually not as big a weak spot.

As a run blocker, McGlinchey is among the league’s best, displaying great movement ability in space for his size. His 85.4 run-blocking grade since entering the league ranks eighth among tackles, and McGlinchey is consistent in an outside zone rushing attack that is emulated across the league, which could lead to a nice bidding war if he does reach free agency.

Seattle Seahawks

Projected cap space: $31,042,644 (8th)
No. of picks in the 2023 NFL Draft: 9 picks, 5 picks in the top 100
Top impending free agents: QB Geno Smith, DI Poona Ford

BIGGEST TEAM NEED: Defensive line

The only member of Seattle’s defensive line to earn PFF grades of at least 70.0 in both run defense and the pass rush was free-agent acquisition Uchenna Nwosu. He also led the team with 62 total pressures, 19 more than any other Seahawks lineman.

The Seahawks need to add reinforcements alongside Nwosu, whether on the edge or the interior.


Smith’s last outing of the 2022 season, a playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers, aged quite well just a week later with Dak Prescott struggling mightily against the same defensive unit. In the first half of the wild-card showdown, Smith went 9-of-10 for 104 yards and a touchdown with one big-time throw to zero turnover-worthy plays, arguably the best half of playoff football played against the 49ers defense. Smith’s 84.1 PFF passing grade was the highest of any quarterback in a half of playoff football against the 49ers since 2019, with his 10.4 yards per attempt second.

On the season, Smith’s 76.9 passing grade ranked ninth, and his 15 touchdown passes on throws 20-plus yards downfield were three more than the next best quarterback. In a very improbable and bizarre way, the Seahawks found their quarterback of the next few years. Now, they just have to find middle ground on a new multi-year deal after a likely franchise tag to begin the offseason.


Jackson logged a career-low 667 snaps and earned a career-worst 55.0 grade in 2022, with sub-60.0 grades as both a run blocker and pass protector. The long-time stalwart started his career with six straight pass-blocking grades above 70.0 but has failed to reach the 60.0 mark in back-to-back seasons and will be 32 in Week 1 of 2023.


Given how unprecedented Smith’s recent career revival has been, it would be rational for the Seahawks to want to see more, but they did get a four-game trial in 2021 in addition to 2022, a span over which Smith’s 7.5 yards per attempt ranks 10th and 69.6% adjusted completion percentage ranks second. Smith could continue to limit some negative plays, but the highs have been very high, and he will certainly be more than doubling his $17.5 million career earnings this offseason alone.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Projected cap space: -$55,031,921 (32nd)
No. of picks in the 2023 NFL Draft: 9 picks, 3 picks in the top 100
Top impending free agents: CB Jamel Dean, LB Lavonte David


Tom Brady is done playing in the NFL, and that leaves the Bucs searching for his successor.

Blaine Gabbert is a backup only, and Gabbert has kept Kyle Trask buried as a third quarterback showing little sign of being the heir apparent. This is a team very much in flux in a post-Brady world, so maybe the Bucs are in the market for a middle-of-the-road starter like Derek Carr.


The Buccaneers' roster is in a state of flux following the retirement of quarterback Tom Brady, but folks probably shouldn’t expect a complete teardown of this roster. Tight end Cameron Brate has agreed to several pay cuts after signing a six-year, $40.8 million deal back in 2018, but this could be the end of the road after he earned a 53.2 overall grade and tallied his fewest receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns since his rookie 2014 season.

A pick for a potential surprise cut would be left tackle Donovan Smith, with his release saving the team $15.25 million in cash and $9.95 million in 2023 cap space. Smith earned a career-low 58.1 grade and led the NFL in penalties this season.

The Buccaneers also probably regret extending running back Leonard Fournette last offseason. He has $2 million in salary guaranteed for 2023 with $2 million more becoming fully guaranteed on March 17. Fournette tied for the lowest yards per carry in the NFL this season at 3.5.


The Buccaneers are in an interesting position following Tom Brady’s second and seemingly final retirement, but they do still have young talent at various spots across the roster and shouldn’t necessarily be expected to rebuild the team. Over the past three seasons, Dean's coverage grade trails only Jaire Alexander, Jalen Ramsey and Sauce Gardner, with his 75.8 coverage grade in press coverage looks ranking 11th.

That said, head coach Todd Bowles at times lacked faith in Dean for whatever reason. Dean may be a better fit in a defense with more emphasis on man coverage principles, and he could find that elsewhere if he does hit the market.

Tennessee Titans

Projected cap space: -$20,954,314 (28th)
No. of picks in the 2023 NFL Draft: 6 picks, 3 picks in the top 100
Top impending free agents: LB David Long, G Nate Davis, TE Austin Hooper

BIGGEST TEAM NEED: Offensive line

The Titans had the worst offensive line in the game in 2022, even if some of the damage was done through injuries. They ranked last in PFF’s pass-blocking efficiency and generated just 1.0 yards before contact per attempt in the run game. The offense had problems across the board, but this unit gave them no chance and needs to be completely overhauled for the team to succeed in 2023.


The Titans' offensive line was a major weakness throughout the 2022 season once left tackle Taylor Lewan went down with an injury, but Davis was a rare bright spot, earning a career-high 66.8 pass-blocking grade. The last thing Tennessee should be doing is letting solid offensive linemen walk, especially as they work out their quarterback situation going forward.

Linebacker David Long Jr. is another good option here, but Tennessee may need to save money on defense with two big edge defender contracts, two big safety contracts and a pending extension for interior defender Jeffery Simmons that should comfortably surpass $20 million per year.


Lewan himself has publicly shared speculation that the Titans will move on from the 2014 first-round pick who tore his ACL for the second time in Week 2 of this season. Lewan may ultimately retire, as well.

He ranked eighth among left tackles in PFF wins above replacement from 2015-19, his 87.6 pass-blocking grade over the stretch was ninth among all tackles and his 4.2% pressure percentage allowed placed sixth among qualifiers. Tennessee has a ton of work to do to overhaul its offensive line, especially if Lewan doesn’t return.


While Long put together a promising 2022 season, this franchise tag may ultimately be too rich, especially for a defense that currently has two top-paid edge rushers, two top-paid safeties and interior defender Jeffery Simmons set to cash in soon. Nevertheless, Long is an ascending stud at off-ball linebacker that Tennessee should want to keep around.

Through Week 13, before Long went down with injury, his 13 tackles for loss or no gain were tied for the third most at the position, and his average depth of tackle against the run of 1.12 yards beyond the line of scrimmage ranked second. Long plays downhill and makes plays before they even materialize, and his 15 quarterback pressures through Week 13 were also second-most among off-ball linebackers. He makes the kind of splash plays that can bring a lot of value at the position, and if he can improve his consistency a bit going forward, he may start to be recognized as one of the NFL's best players over the middle.

Washington Commanders

Projected cap space: $8,352,246 (15th)
No. of picks in the 2023 NFL Draft: 8 picks, 3 picks in the top 100
Top impending free agents: DI Daron Payne


Though Washington was reportedly telling potential offensive coordinator candidates that Sam Howell is their starting quarterback for 2023, that would seem wildly optimistic before an offseason of quarterback movement has taken place.

Howell looked to have potential in his lone start, but Taylor Heinicke had one of the best playoff performances in recent memory before he repeatedly failed to find that play again as a starter.

Washington has weapons on offense and needs a quarterback capable of unleashing their potential. Heinicke isn’t that guy, and Carson Wentz showed no evidence of being that guy, either. Maybe Howell is, but all things being equal, Washington would love an obviously better option.


Washington has an elite interior defender already signed to a big multi-year deal in Jonathan Allen — a deal that will look like a total steal after the pending market explosion at the position this offseason — so that will certainly soften the blow here. Edge defenders Montez Sweat and Chase Young are also in the fold, so if any team could overcome the loss of a player like Payne, it’s the Commanders.

All of that said, Payne’s 48 quarterback pressures in 2022 ranked ninth among interior defenders, as he’s developed into a solid pass rusher over his first five seasons. At the least, Washington should place the franchise tag on Payne and either field trade offers or let things play out again in 2024.


The Commanders ended up effectively trading two third-round picks and paying $28.3 million dollars for seven starts, a 58.9 passing grade and 6.4 yards per attempt. Head coach Ron Rivera has stated publicly that fifth-round rookie Sam Howell is the presumed starter for 2023, which is really more just him saying Wentz won’t be there next year.

Washington has a lot of resources at its disposal following this cut, but the organization needs to figure out long-term contracts for interior defender Daron Payne and edge defender Montez Sweat.


If Payne somehow avoids the franchise tag, he will arguably be the prize signing of the entire offseason, first and foremost because of his reliability. He has played the most snaps of any interior defender over the past three seasons and the third most since his rookie season in 2018.

Payne picked a great year to log career highs, including 49 pressures and 11 sacks — double that of his prior season high.

The only reason the franchise tag isn’t more of a certainty here is that Washington already extended interior defender Jonathan Allen and has talented young players on the edge in Montez Sweat and Chase Young to consider, as well.



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