• Philadelphia Eagles could get Jarvis Landry on one-year flier: Landry could feast underneath with so much attention on the outside. If he wants to boost his stock by going to a high-powered offense and contending for a Super Bowl, Philadelphia is a great option.
• Michael Thomas a fit in Chicago Bears' WR corps: The best way to help a young quarterback — Justin Fields — progress as a passer is to get him an elite No. 1 wide receiver. Thomas isn't officially a free agent yet, but he will be after the Saints re-negotiated his contract to designate him as a June 1 cut.
• Las Vegas Raiders should retain Josh Jacobs despite declining option: Teams may fear bad optics, which is arguably the case here if the Raiders turn around and franchise-tag Jacobs now, but they’ll end up paying only about $1.5 million more, and that’s a fine risk to take.
Estimated Reading Time: 26 mins
While it’s understandable that every NFL fanbase wants to daydream about their team pursuing marquee free agents each offseason, there’s ample evidence to suggest that’s not a sustainable approach to roster construction. As such, we want to make it clear that value is a part of the calculation here; it’s not just about pure football fits or which player could in theory make the absolute biggest impact to each team’s 2023 win-loss column.
Incremental growth, solidifying depth and keeping the budget clean could be the best way for a particular team to approach free agency, notably those with a handful of big contracts on the books already.
With that said, we identified a pending free agent on the offensive side of the ball that each of the 32 teams should look to target come March.
JUMP TO A TEAM:
Arizona Cardinals: Guard Dalton Risner
The health of Arizona’s interior offensive line in 2022 was nothing short of a disaster, as was the case with the Denver Broncos outside of Risner. The former second-round pick has been a consistently solid pass blocker in every year of his career, earning four straight PFF grades between 69.6 and 72.6.
Quarterback Kyler Murray may not be suiting up in Week 1 of 2023, but when he does return, an experienced, high-floor pass protector at left guard would go a long way. Arizona traded for former Buffalo Bills second-round pick Cody Ford and gave him some run at left guard this season, but he’s now a free agent after earning a 41.2 grade with the Cardinals. Risner is a potential long-term solution after Arizona tried a few short-term Band-Aids.
Atlanta Falcons: Right tackle Kaleb McGary
Atlanta traded up into the first round to take McGary in 2019, and after the team declined his fifth-year option for 2023, he finally looked like the player they’d always hoped he could become in 2022.
McGary’s 91.6 run-blocking grade ranked second among tackles, trailing only San Francisco 49ers great Trent Williams, with 19.7% of his run-blocking snaps earning a positive grade, also second. McGary has clearly benefited from head coach Arthur Smith’s run-heavy offense, but he also managed a career-high 66.9 pass-blocking grade, and Atlanta should continue to invest in his growth. Whether it’s Desmond Ridder or another quarterback under center, an offensive line anchored by left tackle Jake Matthews, guard Chris Lindstrom and McGary is a good way to help a young signal-caller along in their development.
Baltimore Ravens: Quarterback Lamar Jackson
What other answer could there be?! Baltimore is clearly not seeing perfectly eye to eye with their quarterback who played in 2022 on the fifth-year option and now will be franchise-tagged this offseason before what’s looking like a continued contract negotiation with no immediate end in sight.
Over the past two seasons in 24 games with Jackson under center, the Ravens' offense ranks 11th in EPA per play (.004). In 10 games without Jackson, that drops to 19th in EPA per play (-0.101). Baltimore’s passing attack averages over a full yard more per attempt with Jackson at the helm.
The Ravens need to commit to Jackson and get him some help at wide receiver, which should help them once again contend in the AFC with a defense full of good young players.
Buffalo Bills: Guard Ben Powers
The Bills don’t have many weaknesses on their offense and could benefit from another slot receiver addition after bringing back veteran Cole Beasley for the 2022 playoff run, but interior pressure on quarterback Josh Allen has caused some issues throughout the season, and Powers is an emerging young player who could help stabilize the unit.
Buffalo brought aboard longtime veteran left guard Rodger Saffold this season, and while Saffold was a great player for a long time in this league, he earned a career-low 43.7 grade in his 13th NFL season at 34 years of age. Powers is coming off a career year in 2022, with his 86.5 pass-blocking grade the second-best mark among guards this season. Powers allowed zero sacks and just one quarterback hit during the regular season, playing in front of three different quarterbacks over the second half of the campaign.
The 6-foot-4, 338-pound behemoth struggles a bit as a run blocker, but if he could do enough to get by in Baltimore, odds are he can hold up in the pass-happy Bills offense.
Carolina Panthers: Tight end Mike Gesicki
The Panthers extended tight end Ian Thomas before the 2022 season, but he’s more a blocker than a receiver, and second-year tight end Tommy Tremble — while finishing the year strong — has not carved out a significant role in this offense. Carolina needs to add multiple pass catchers this offseason opposite D.J. Moore after trading away Robbie Anderson, but that doesn’t have to just be at wide receiver.
The Panthers signed tight end Dan Arnold, another pure receiver at the position, in 2021 before almost immediately trading him to the Jacksonville Jaguars, and here they add a similar player with a little more juice and good jump-ball ability in the red zone. Whoever is under center for Carolina in 2023 would benefit from a big-bodied target over the middle.
Gesicki had the least productive season of his career in 2022 because he was a bad fit in the Miami Dolphins offense after they inexplicably franchise-tagged him, but from 2020-21 his 77.3 receiving grade ranked 10th among tight ends, with his 1,483 receiving yards fifth and his 40 explosive receptions tied for fourth most.
Chicago Bears: Wide receiver Michael Thomas
While Thomas isn’t officially a free agent just yet, he will be once free agency begins in mid-March, with the Saints renegotiating his contract to enable them to designate him as a June 1 cut for cap purposes. Reuniting Bears quarterback Justin Fields with one of his former wide receiver teammates from Ohio State is a fun topic of discussion for many, and while Thomas missed that window by a few years, the two are both former Buckeyes.
The best way to help a young quarterback progress as a passer is to get him an elite No. 1 wide receiver, as evidenced by teams like the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins and Philadelphia Eagles in recent seasons, to name a few. While Thomas obviously has serious injury concerns, the free-agent wide receiver class doesn’t have any other true X receivers, and Chicago already traded the No. 32 overall pick for Chase Claypool. If any team should be willing to take a risk on Thomas, it’s the Chicago Bears and their league-leading $107 million in projected 2023 cap space.
Even in another injury-shortened 2022 campaign, Thomas flashed his elite ability, with his 77.4 receiving grade 12th among wide receivers, his three touchdown receptions tied for second and his eight contested catches the most in the NFL. Thomas may not be the same player who brought in an NFL-record 149 receptions in 2019, but he’s more than worth the gamble for Chicago as they look to spend major resources at pretty much every other position on the roster.
Cincinnati Bengals: Tight end Hayden Hurst
Hurst provided the Bengals with a fiery demeanor and extremely reliable hands over the middle on a one-year flier in 2022. He has now earned an 80.0-plus PFF drop grade in every season of his career, with just five total on 241 career targets.
The Bengals are set to extend wide receiver Tee Higgins to a massive contract this offseason, with quarterback Joe Burrow and wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase due for new deals as well, so they have to make smart investments elsewhere. Hurst is a perfect pairing with the elite downfield weapons on the outside, and Cincinnati should bring him back for another go-around on a deal that still likely won’t break the bank.
Cleveland Browns: Wide receiver Zach Pascal
Acquiring wide receiver Amari Cooper for a fifth-round pick was one of the best, if not the best, value trades of the 2022 offseason, and 2020 sixth-round pick Donovan Peoples-Jones had his most productive season thus far with 61 receptions for 839 yards. 2022 third-round pick David Bell is the top slot option going forward, where Pascal operates, but Pascal is an elite blocker and a solid No. 4 wide receiver.
Cleveland is already spending a ton of money on offense, so adding a utility player like Pascal is exactly the type of move they should be looking into this offseason. Pascal’s 79.9 run-blocking grade over the past five seasons is the fourth-best mark among wide receivers, making him perfect to aid in Cleveland’s rushing attack.
Dallas Cowboys: Running back Tony Pollard
The interesting thing here will be whether Pollard potentially returns to once again play alongside Ezekiel Elliott or if he finally takes a stranglehold on the No. 1 running back job with depth behind him to spell him throughout the game.
Pollard’s 31 explosive rushes in 2022 were the sixth most in the NFL despite him working as the No. 2 back, and he’s also a dynamic receiving weapon, with five explosive receptions landing him in the top 15 among running backs. Dallas may utilize a franchise tag of around $10 million at the outset, but a reasonable multi-year deal could be a good way to reset their expenditure at the position as they look to add elsewhere.
Denver Broncos: Center Connor McGovern
McGovern is a former Broncos draft pick and was reportedly close to signing an extension with the team in 2020 before they pivoted to a more versatile interior offensive lineman in Graham Glasgow, who can play center and guard. However, Glasgow looks like a probable cap casualty this offseason, and 2021 third-round pick Quinn Meinerz broke out in 2022 as a bright young player at right guard. If there is no bad blood between McGovern and the organization, a reunion could make a lot of sense.
The Broncos don’t appear to have a ton of faith in 2020 third-round pick center Lloyd Cushenberry III, who remained on injured reserve even after getting healthy in 2022 because the team felt it couldn’t use one of its eight “return-from-IR” designations on him due to priorities elsewhere. A stable, high-floor veteran center makes a ton of sense to help quarterback Russell Wilson get his career back on track.
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. He’s a top-half-of-the-league center in both facets and could be a reliable mid-tier option for Denver to bring aboard.
Detroit Lions: Running back Jamaal Williams
While 2020 second-round pick D’Andre Swift‘s NFL career is still young, it seems as though there’s a decent chance he will never be able to hold up for a 17-game season — or be a true three-down back even if he does.
Williams is the heart and soul of this Lions offense, breaking Detroit legend Barry Sanders’ franchise record with 17 rushing touchdowns in 2022, capped off with two goal-line scores to knock his former team, the Green Bay Packers, out of the playoffs. Over the past three seasons, Williams’ 80.3 rushing grade ranks 23rd and his 25.5% rate of carries going for a first down or touchdown ranks seventh. He’s a reliable short-yardage back who brings positive vibes to the building every single day.
Green Bay Packers: Tight end Dalton Schultz
The Green Bay Packers reportedly made attempts to trade for Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller before the 2022 season, and they still need to address the position going forward. Both Robert Tonyan and Marcedes Lewis are pending free agents, and Lewis will be 39 in 2023 — though he’s still playing at an impressively high level as one of the better blocking tight ends in the NFL.
Schultz is a good receiver and blocker, with his 71.6 run-blocking grade over the past three seasons ranking 12th among tight ends, 2,000 receiving yards seventh, 405 yards after contact sixth and 17 touchdowns fifth. He’ll be a reliable red-zone target for Aaron Rodgers or Jordan Love to target, and he can rack up yards after the catch over the middle with sophomore wide receivers Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs taking the top off opposing defenses on the outside.
Houston Texans: Wide receiver Jakobi Meyers
Meyers has familiarity with Texans general manager Nick Caserio from their shared time with the New England Patriots, and he brings a different skill set than Nico Collins and 2022 second-round pick John Metchie III — who is reportedly responding very well to his treatment for leukemia. Both guys are downfield threats on the outside, much like Brandin Cooks, who will be traded this offseason, and Meyers can win underneath in the slot on short to intermediate routes.
Houston will almost certainly be looking for pass catchers to help bring along a rookie quarterback, and that’s exactly what Meyers just did in New England for Mac Jones. Over the past three seasons, his 3.1% drop rate ranks in the top 20 among qualifying wide receivers, and at 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, he can use his frame to make contested catches. Meyer’s 63.2% contested catch rate is fourth best among all wide receivers over the same span.
Indianapolis Colts: Wide receiver Parris Campbell
After years of unfortunate injuries, Campbell stayed healthy in 2022 and performed like the receiver Indianapolis hoped they’d be bringing aboard when they drafted him in the second round in 2019. Campbell recorded more receptions, yards and touchdowns this year than in his three prior seasons combined.
With one of the league’s most expensive offensive lines, Indianapolis can’t afford to spend too much elsewhere on the offense, especially with a major extension on the way for Michael Pittman Jr. He and 2022 rookie Alec Pierce can win down the field on the outside, particularly Pierce, which will create room for Campbell over the middle. Campbell hauled in 74.1% of his targets in 2022, a top-20 mark among wide receivers, and deserves the opportunity to take another step in 2023 with the team that stood by him through his rehabilitation.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Tight end Evan Engram
Engram’s one-year flier with the Jaguars in 2022 proved to be a great value signing, and he’s clearly earned the trust of young quarterback Trevor Lawrence and head coach Doug Pederson. Engram’s 73 receptions were tied for the third most among tight ends, his 766 receiving yards ranked fourth and his 481 yards after the catch placed second. Even with an uptick in targets, Engram had a career-low 3.9% dropped pass percentage, good for a top-15 mark among tight ends with at least 25 targets on the season.
Engram and fellow Jaguars tight ends Dan Arnold and Chris Manhertz are all pending free agents this offseason, so it would make a lot of sense to bring Engram back once more. He’s become a consistent weapon on screens and other quick outs, which meshes really well with Lawrence’s 2.51-second average time to throw, the third fastest among starting quarterbacks in 2022.
Kansas City Chiefs: Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster
Smith-Schuster signed an incentive-laden, one-year deal for 2022 that paid him close to nothing in base value but included a ton of upside that he took major advantage of down the stretch. The contract proved to be a big win for all parties once it was all said and done, with Smith-Schuster earning $1.5 million for his 78 receptions, another $1.5 million for his 933 receiving yards and another $1.5 million for playing more than 65% of offensive snaps.
Despite entering his seventh NFL season in 2023, Smith-Schuster will still be just 26 years old for the majority of the year, and the Chiefs will likely lose fellow wide receiver Mecole Hardman to free agency. Second-round rookie wide receiver Skyy Moore didn’t progress throughout his rookie season quite as Kansas City hoped, so it would make sense to keep a reliable target over the middle in the fold, especially with tight end Travis Kelce getting up there in age.
Las Vegas Raiders: Running back Josh Jacobs
Now that fifth-year options for first-round picks are fully guaranteed at signing as opposed to just guaranteed for injury, per the new NFL collective bargaining agreement, the calculation for many teams has changed. In the past, teams would take the risk that a player stays healthy, and if they wanted to back out of the fifth-year option the following offseason, they could do so — see Leonard Floyd with the Chicago Bears in 2020. Nowadays, we’re going to see more decisions like the Raiders made with Josh Jacobs before the 2022 campaign, taking a gamble by declining his fifth-year option.
Teams may fear bad optics, which is arguably the case here if the Raiders turn around and franchise-tag Jacobs now, but they’ll end up paying only about $1.5 million more, and that’s a fine risk to take. At the end of the day, the Raiders need to bring Jacobs back, even if it goes against the philosophy of head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler, who worked with a Patriots team that historically avoided major investment at running back.
Beyond Jacobs’ phenomenal performance in 2022 — taking the rushing title and adding value as a receiver with more than 50 receptions in consecutive seasons — the new regime is now moving on from quarterback Derek Carr, and their third-round pick in running back Zamir White almost never saw the field, operating behind backup running back Ameer Abdullah. A commitment to Jacobs and his 93.2 rushing grade over the past four seasons — second only to Nick Chubb — could get the Raiders back on track.
Los Angeles Chargers: Right tackle Jawaan Taylor
The Chargers have rotated through right tackles over the past few seasons, and 2022 starter Trey Pipkins earned a 59.2 grade after allowing eight quarterback hits, tied for fourth most among right tackles. Los Angeles also had to start backup tackle Foster Sarell in a few games this season, and his 10.1% pressure rate allowed was the second highest among right tackles.
Taylor has logged over 1,000 snaps in four consecutive seasons and has earned pass-blocking grades of 72.0 or better in back-to-back campaigns, with his 2.5% pressure rate allowed in 2022 the third lowest among right tackles. With Rashawn Slater at left tackle, the Chargers could have great pass-blocking bookends on both sides of the offensive line for quarterback Justin Herbert.
Los Angeles Rams: Center Ethan Pocic
Current Rams center Brian Allen has struggled with major injuries throughout his career, and a series of smaller but nevertheless limiting injuries in 2022 once again kept him off the field for lengthy stretches of the season. As good as Allen can be when healthy, and despite the fact he just signed a three-year contract last offseason, the Rams can get out of his deal fairly cleanly and probably should look for a more reliable option to protect quarterback Matthew Stafford.
Pocic had a breakout 2022 season in Cleveland, a similar offense to the Rams' predicated on a wide-zone rushing attack. Pocic’s 79.0 grade in 2022 ranked third among centers, with his 94.2 run-blocking grade on outside zone runs placing second. Los Angeles can solidify its interior here while getting healthy at other spots.
Miami Dolphins: Tight end Irv Smith Jr.
Smith once again missed significant time due to injury in 2022, which pushed the Vikings to trade for T.J. Hockenson, who is due for an extension this offseason after seamlessly slotting into Minnesota's offense. Miami spent a lot of money throughout the 2022 offseason, and even through the trade deadline when they traded for and extended edge defender Bradley Chubb, so they probably shouldn’t look to make any splash moves in free agency this year.
Smith is a better blocker than Mike Gesicki, representing a better fit in Miami’s offense, and should be looking at one-year flier offers to get his career back on track. The Dolphins represent a great opportunity for him to rack up yardage over the middle in head coach Mike McDaniel’s offense. He’s a former Alabama teammate of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s from 2017-18, as well, adding another familiar face alongside wide receiver Jaylen Waddle.
Smith Jr.’s 81.2 overall grade and 86.9 receiving grade ranked eighth among college tight ends in 2018, with his 360 yards after the catch sixth, his seven touchdowns tied for fourth and his 16 explosive receptions tied for eighth most. He has established chemistry with Tagovailoa and can get his career back on track in a hurry.
Minnesota Vikings: Wide receiver D.J. Chark Jr.
Minnesota has a very solid trio of wide receivers in place, but Adam Thielen is starting to show signs of aging and K.J. Osborn is entering the final year of his contract in 2023, so Chark represents a solid depth option who perhaps earns himself a bigger role in 2024 and beyond. Chark was also teammates at LSU in 2017 with Vikings superstar Justin Jefferson.
Chark signed a one-year flier for 2020 with the Detroit Lions after an up-and-down rookie contract spent with the Jacksonville Jaguars, and he may not have done enough to earn himself the substantial multi-year deal he’s looking for. Minnesota tried to bring a speed element on the outside when they signed Dede Westbrook in 2021, and Chark represents a major upgrade.
Chark’s 14.1-yard average depth of target and 14.5 yards per reception over the past four seasons are both top-20 marks among wide receivers. He would add another element to the Vikings' high-flying passing attack.
The Patriots’ 2022 tackle situation was quite the rollercoaster from start to finish. Isaiah Wynn and Trent Brown played on both sides of the line at certain points, and Marcus Cannon eventually supplanted Wynn in the lineup at right tackle before he too went down with an injury. Wynn played in 2022 on the fifth-year option, but the Patriots never seemed to have much faith in him, so it would be a shock if he’s back in New England next season.
The Patriots can once again move Trent Brown to right tackle and then bring aboard Orlando Brown Jr. to man the blindside. The Patriots rank top 10 in projected cap space in 2023, so they can afford to make a splash if they so choose. While the Chiefs' Brown received some criticism early in the season after a lengthy franchise tag dispute, he finished the season on a tear and didn’t receive enough credit. From Week 7 on, his 81.6 overall grade ranked eighth and his 86.1 pass-blocking grade ranked seventh.
Adding more talent at wide receiver would help in New England, as well, but getting the tackle situation figured out should be first priority. Odds are the Chiefs will find a way to iron out a long-term deal with Brown after trading away a first-round pick to acquire him, but if not, New England should be in the mix.
New Orleans Saints: Wide receiver Allen Lazard
Lazard’s relationship with the Packers appears to be fractured, and Green Bay appears to have found their starting wide receiver duo on the outside going forward in rookies Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs, with resources better spent elsewhere this offseason.
The Saints have two lighter, speedier options at wide receiver in rookies Chris Olave and Rashid Shaheed, so they add an element of physicality here with the 6-foot-5, 227-pound Lazard. His elite run-blocking ability would be a great asset, and although he is coming off a career-low run-blocking grade by a drastic margin in 2022, his 78.2 mark from 2019-21 ranked seventh among wide receivers.
Lazard is more than just a blocker, setting new career highs in targets, receptions and receiving yards in 2022, with his 73.9 receiving grade also a top mark despite the increased volume.
New York Giants: Wide receiver Darius Slayton
The importance of returning Slayton goes beyond his impact on the field, which the Giants clearly didn’t believe much in coming into the season. It’s about rewarding a guy who kept his head down and worked all year after taking a pay cut before the season and finding himself near the bottom of the depth chart.
Rewarding Slayton sets a strong precedent for the new regime that if a player trusts the process and makes the most of his opportunity when called upon, it can work out for him in the end. After a breakout rookie campaign in 2019 with 740 receiving yards on 15.4 yards per reception and eight touchdowns, Slayton endured an up-and-down couple of seasons.
When he finally got his shot in 2022 starting in Week 5, he displayed his strong chemistry with quarterback Daniel Jones and played a massive role in a huge win over the Green Bay Packers with six receptions for 79 yards. Since Slayton entered the league in 2019, his 15.0 yards per reception ranks 10th among wide receivers. He’s a big-play machine who does suffer from the occasional drop, but he's still an asset to any offense with his ability to take the top off opposing defenses or rack up yards after the catch.
New York Jets: Tackle Andre Dillard
The Jets may be making a massive expenditure this offseason in a trade for a new starting quarterback and have invested a good bit of resources in offensive weapons over the past few years. With a significant extension for interior defender Quinnen Williams also on the way, we went with a versatile utility player here in Dillard. Jets general manager Joe Douglas was the Eagles’ vice president of player personnel in 2019 when Philadelphia traded up to take him in the first round, and while things obviously haven’t gone according to plan to start his career, maybe he can revive it with an evaluator who was clearly very high on him coming out of college.
Dillard logged 340 snaps in 2021 at left tackle and earned a respectable 69.6 overall grade with a 71.7 pass-blocking grade. The Jets have two recent first-round picks in tackle Mekhi Becton and guard Alijah Vera-Tucker, who are coming off season-ending injuries in 2022, but perhaps don’t want to throw more money along the offensive line after signing guard Laken Tomlinson and tackle Duane Brown in 2022.
Bringing back center Connor McGovern would make a lot of sense here, as well, but perhaps the Jets are looking to go a bit cheaper at center after investing a lot in Tomlinson last offseason and seeing underwhelming results thus far.
Philadelphia Eagles: Wide receiver Jarvis Landry
The Eagles will be busy working to bring back almost their entire starting defense this offseason, and after trading for and extending wide receiver A.J. Brown last offseason, odds are they’ll make just minor additions in 2023 — especially if they extend quarterback Jalen Hurts as expected.
Landry averages a low target depth from the slot and could feast underneath with so much attention on the outside. And after missing most of the 2022 season with an injury, he is likely looking at one-year flier contract offers once again in 2023. Much like JuJu Smith-Schuster with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2022, if Landry wants to boost his stock by going to a high-powered offense and contending for a Super Bowl, Philadelphia is a great option.
Landry is also known to be a good veteran leader, which could be a nice addition to a young group of offensive weapons. He’s coming off the two worst seasons of his career but was arguably the best slot receiver in the NFL from 2015-20. His 3,938 receiving yards, 1,748 yards after the catch, 1,166 yards after contact and 91 explosive receptions were all the most among receivers when lined up in the slot over the span, and he could bounce back in a major way in 2023.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Tackle Isaiah Wynn
Pittsburgh’s young offensive line got better as the season went on, but it can never hurt to have quality depth at the tackle spots, especially as the Steelers bring along 2022 rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett.
The Steelers almost never spend in free agency, so a reclamation project on a former first-round pick who can provide depth at both tackle spots seems right up their alley. Left tackle Dan Moore Jr. has progressed nicely after being selected in the fifth round of the 2021 NFL Draft, and Pittsburgh extended right tackle Chukwuma Okorafor last offseason, but Wynn is a nice insurance policy at both spots.
Wynn graded above 70.0 as a pass protector and a run blocker in 2020 and 2021, with his 80.7 overall grade ranking 22nd among tackles. If a starting opportunity doesn’t present itself, Pittsburgh is a good spot for a potential opportunity if either starting tackle falters early on in the 2023 season.
San Francisco 49ers: Right tackle Mike McGlinchey
McGlinchey has caught some ire from 49ers fans, which is perhaps unavoidable when playing opposite a Hall of Fame talent in Trent Williams, but he’s recovered well from a torn ACL and continued to improve as a pass protector to go along with his always top-notch run-blocking prowess.
McGlinchey has earned run-blocking grades above 60.0 in every season of his career, and pass-blocking grades above 60.0 in four out of five seasons. The humongous 6f-foot-8, 310-pound tackle is a reliable, high-floor player who may not quite break the bank despite his draft status. However, with all of the expensive contracts starting to pile up on San Francisco’s books, it shouldn’t be out of the question that they consider going cheaper at right tackle in 2023. Still, it won’t be as easy as some may think to replace McGlinchey.
Seattle Seahawks: Quarterback Geno Smith
Seattle does hold the rights to the No. 5 overall pick via the Denver Broncos and has extra draft capital if they want to potentially make a move up for a quarterback. That said, placing the franchise tag on Geno Smith while adding a much-needed edge defender in this year’s top five and then waiting for USC’s Caleb Williams, among others, in 2024 if things go south in 2023 could make a lot of sense.
The 49ers gashed the Seahawks' defense in the wild-card round, but Smith — while not perfect — threw his 15th touchdown pass that traveled 20-plus yards in the air for the 2022 season, the most in the NFL. Seattle should roll with Smith and continue to upgrade the other side of the ball as they work to become contenders once again.
The Buccaneers dealt with a bevy of injuries across their offensive line in 2022, with their interior most heavily impacted. If they can convince Tom Brady to stay, he would love to work behind Seumalo, who was an elite pass protector down the stretch in 2022. From Week 11 through the end of the regular season, Seumalo earned pass-blocking grades above 75.0 in every game, with his 1.4% pressure rate allowed the fourth-best mark among guards over the span.
While Seumalo started in 2022 at right guard — where Shaq Mason is cemented for the Buccaneers at the moment 3 he’s played plenty of left guard in his career at a high level.
Tennessee Titans: Tackle George Fant
If Taylor Lewan returns, Tennessee can slot Fant in at right tackle. And as Fant showed during his time with the New York Jets, he could play left tackle while Lewan is on the mend and then kick back over, adding to his value with this particular fit. Fant dealt with injuries throughout 2022, and his poor grades reflected his health, but he earned a career-high 75.1 pass-blocking grade in 2021 playing almost exclusively on the blindside.
Guard Nate Davis is a good run blocker and a rare bright spot for this Titans offensive line in 2022, and with veteran center Ben Jones battling through injuries in his age-33 season, perhaps he plans to retire before 2023 and it becomes more of a priority for the Titans to maintain some continuity along the interior of their offensive line.
Washington Commanders: Guard Nate Davis
Davis is coming off the best season of his career, with his 70.6 overall grade his top mark through four seasons and his 66.8 pass-blocking grade in 2022 almost a 15-point upgrade over his previous high. Davis finished the 2022 season on injured reserve due to an ankle injury but is expected to make a full recovery.
Veteran right guard Trai Turner struggled in 2022, with his 53.0 grade ranking 64th out of 78 qualifying guards. The Commanders would benefit from an injection of youth to their aging and injury-battered interior offensive line, no matter who the quarterback ultimately is in 2023.