Predicting landing spots for Top 2023 NFL Free Agents left on the market

By Kristopher Knox

The first wave of 2023 free agency has passed, and the NFL world is largely looking ahead to this month’s draft. However, several quality veterans remain unsigned and waiting to fill holes on rosters.

Some of the top free agents will inevitably sign in the coming days. Others may have to wait until after the draft, when teams have tried addressing needs with younger and cheaper talent.

Here, we’ll dive into the 10 highest-ranked players who remain unsigned from our Free-Agency Big Board, examine what they have to offer and make a few predictions about where they’ll land.

Predictions are based on factors like team needs, team fit, draft capital, cap space and any relevant recent buzz. Players are listed in alphabetical order.

WR Odell Beckham Jr.

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Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. lines up for a play during the first half of the NFL Super Bowl 56 football game Sunday, Feb. 13, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. The Los Angeles Rams defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

AP Photo/Julio Cortez

Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has been a free agent for more than a year now, though that’s not entirely surprising. The 30-year-old suffered a torn ACL in Super Bowl LVI, his second torn ACL in just over two years.

Before the injury, however, Beckham showed that he was still an impact player, catching 21 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns in less than four full postseason games with the Los Angeles Rams.

According to ESPN’s Jeff Darlington, the New York Jets and Beckham have “mutual interest” in reaching an agreement this offseason. While New York does have 2022 Offensive Rookie of the Year Garrett Wilson and recently added Allen Lazard and Mecole Hardman at receiver, Beckham could serve as a fine complementary receiver.

The Jets are also working on a trade to acquire quarterback Aaron Rodgers from the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers’ affinity for Beckham could play a role.

“Who wouldn’t want Odell on their team?” Rodgers said on The Pat McAfee Show (h/t Jeff Kerr of CBS Sports).

Given his recent injury history, Beckham is likely looking at a short-term “prove-it” deal wherever he lands. As long as the Rodgers trade goes through, we’d expect that to be New York.

Prediction: Beckham signs a one-year deal with the Jets.

QB Teddy Bridgewater

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ORCHARD PARK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 15: Teddy Bridgewater #5 of the Miami Dolphins warms up prior to a game against the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Wild Card playoff game at Highmark Stadium on January 15, 2023 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)

Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

Teddy Bridgewater is the top quarterback remaining in free agency. Although he made only two starts for the Miami Dolphins in 2022, he started 14 games for the Broncos and posted a solid 94.9 passer rating in 2021.

Bridgewater has 65 starts on his resume and could be viewed as either a solid bridge quarterback or a high-end backup.

The Baltimore Ravens may need a quarterback if they cannot get things worked out with 2019 MVP Lamar Jackson. Baltimore gave Jackson the non-exclusive franchise tag this offseason, and the quarterback recently announced that he handed a trade request into the team on March 2.

The Ravens have a quality backup in restricted free agent (RFA) and 2022 Pro Bowler Tyler Huntley, but they’ve reportedly already shown interest in strengthening their quarterback room.

According to, Baltimore extended an offer to Baker Mayfield before he signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Ravens’ interest may have primarily stemmed from the fact that new offensive coordinator Todd Monken was Mayfield’s coordinator with the Cleveland Browns in 2019. However, the Ravens wouldn’t be eyeing quarterback depth if they didn’t feel it was needed.

It’s worth noting that the Ravens gave Huntley the low RFA tender, meaning another team can sign him to an offer sheet and surrender nothing in return if Baltimore doesn’t match. Jackson’s future in Baltimore is entirely uncertain, and there’s a chance that the Ravens could lose their top two quarterbacks in the same offseason.

Bridgewater would be an ideal insurance policy for the Ravens.

Prediction: Bridgewater signs a one-year deal with Baltimore.

Edge Frank Clark

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KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - JANUARY 29: Frank Clark #55 of the Kansas City Chiefs looks on during the AFC Championship NFL football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Cincinnati Bengals at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium on January 29, 2023 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

Michael Owens/Getty Images

The Kansas City Chiefs released pass-rusher Frank Clark earlier this offseason in a cap-saving move. It was a logical decision, as the Chiefs have a budding star in 2022 first-round pick George Karlaftis.

Clark is still a quality edge-defender, though, even if he hasn’t always shown it during the regular season. During the 2022 regular season, Clark started 15 games and finished with five sacks, 39 tackles and 24 quarterback pressures.

However, Clark has shined in big games. He had 2.5 sacks in three playoff games this year and notched 10.5 in 12 postseason contests with Kansas City.

Early last month, Michael-Shawn Dugar of The Athletic noted that a return to the Seattle Seahawks—with whom Clark spent his first four seasons—could work for Clark because of defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt’s presence.

“Clark might be the most expensive to sign, but that’s cash Seattle could feel comfortable spending since it knows Clark’s background and would be reuniting him with Hurtt, his former position coach,” Dugar wrote.

The Seahawks only have $7.2 million in cap space available, but they could indeed be inclined to make room for Clark. Seattle has yet to add a dedicated edge-rusher this offseason, and it’s obviously open to bringing back familiar players—linebacker Bobby Wagner just re-signed with the Seahawks on a one-year, $5.5 million deal.

Prediction: Clark signs a one-year deal with Seattle

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CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 27: Cleveland Browns defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (90) at the line of scrimmage during the third quarter of the National Football League game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cleveland Browns on November 27, 2022, at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, OH. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Pass-rusher Jadeveon Clowney ranked highly on our free-agents list because of what he can be when playing at his best. He’s a three-time Pro Bowler who notched nine sacks, 32 quarterback pressures and 11 tackles for loss just two years ago.

Clowney is also a fantastic run defender, though he hasn’t been particularly consistent rushing off the edge. Last year with the Browns, he had just two sacks and 12 quarterback pressures.

Because of his lack of year-to-year consistency, Clowney could be looking at a one-year free-agent deal for the third straight offseason.

The Carolina Panthers would be a logical choice to give it to him. The Panthers are looking to contend with a rookie quarterback in 2023. They traded up for the No. 1 overall pick in the draft and have added proven veterans like Miles Sanders, Hayden Hurst, DJ Chark and Vonn Bell. Adding Clowney to the crop of incoming veterans would make sense.

The Panthers could use a disruptive edge-rusher opposite Brian Burns, who was responsible for 12.5 of the team’s 35 sacks in 2022. Carolina has $28 million in cap space still available, and could afford to take even an expensive flier on Clowney for the 2023 season.

Prediction: Clowney signs a one-year deal with Carolina.

Edge Leonard Floyd

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KANSAS CITY, MO - NOVEMBER 27: Leonard Floyd #54 of the Los Angeles Rams gets set against the Kansas City Chiefs at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium on November 27, 2022 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

Cooper Neill/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Rams released pass-rusher Leonard Floyd early in the offseason, and the 30-year-old was expected quickly on teams’ radars.

“One of the recently released players who should sign relatively quickly at a good clip is Leonard Floyd,” ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler wrote back on March 12. “Plenty of interest in the former Rams pass-rusher.”

Yet, Floyd—who had nine sacks, 31 quarterback pressures, 22 quarterback hits and 59 tackles last season—remains available. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Chicago Bears seek a reunion.

Chicago selected Floyd with the ninth overall pick in the 2016 draft. While the Georgia product didn’t quite live up to his draft status with the Bears (18.5 sacks in four seasons), he exploded after joining Los Angeles. Over the past three seasons, he has amassed 29 sacks.

Of course, playing next to Aaron Donald has certainly helped Floyd, and he might not be as prolific back in Chicago. However, he’s now a veteran leader with a Super Bowl ring who could help guide the young and rebuilding Bears.

Floyd could also provide some punch to a pass rush that produced only 20 sacks last season. So far, DeMarcus Walker is the only edge-rusher Chicago has added this offseason. The Bears still lead the league with $38.5 million in cap space.

Prediction: Floyd signs a three-year deal with Chicago

DT Poona Ford

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SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 21: Poona Ford #97 of the Seattle Seahawks reacts against the Arizona Cardinals during the fourth quarter at Lumen Field on November 21, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Poona Ford entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent back in 2018. Since then, he has transformed into a standout defensive tackle and a defensive centerpiece of the Seahawks. He has become a mainstay of Seattle’s defensive front and has notched at least 30 tackles in each of the past four seasons.

Over the past two seasons, Ford has compiled 88 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, three passes defended, five sacks and 22 quarterback pressures.

The Seahawks would prefer to bring Ford back this offseason.

“Hopefully we can keep talking,” head coach Pete Carroll said, per Daniel Flick of FanNation. “Really, we’d love to have (Ford) back. We need him to come back. So, we’re actively involved with that.”

Seattle made several additions to its front seven in free agency, signing defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones, linebacker Devin Bush, defensive lineman Jarran Reed and Wagner. However, keeping Ford in the defensive line rotation would be a very smart move.

The Seahawks could use all of the help they can get up front after ranking 30th in rushing yards allowed and 26th in yards per carry allowed (4.9) last season.

Prediction: Ford signs a two-year deal with Seattle.

Edge Yannick Ngakoue

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INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 20: Indianapolis Colts Defensive End Yannick Ngakoue (91) reacts after tackling Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) during the NFL football game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Indianapolis Colts on November 20, 2022, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

While Yannick Ngakoue might not be the best pass-rusher remaining in free agency, he’s certainly among the most consistent. The 28-year-old has tallied at least eight sacks in every one of his seven NFL seasons.

This past season with the Indianapolis Colts, Ngakoue amassed 9.5 sacks and 27 quarterback pressures. A return to Indianapolis would make some sense because the Colts retained defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. However, the Colts also re-signed Tyquan Lewis and signed Samson Ebukam in free agency.

Instead, Ngakoue could find his way back to the Las Vegas Raiders. He was traded by the current regime last offseason in exchange for cornerback Rock-Ya Sin. That move came just after Las Vegas signed pass-rusher Chandler Jones to a massive three-year, $51 million deal.

While Jones did begin to produce late last season, he didn’t have the overall desired impact on the Raiders’ pass rush. He finished with only 4.5 sacks, while Las Vegas had 27 as a team. In 2021, Ngakoue had 10 sacks and 36 quarterback pressures while playing opposite Maxx Crosby.

The Raiders did sign Jordan Willis this offseason, but they still need edge-rushing help. Re-signing Nyakoue would make plenty of sense for a franchise that still has $12.9 million available.

Prediction: Ngakoue signs a one-year deal with Las Vegas.

G Dalton Risner

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INGLEWOOD, CA - DECEMBER 25: Denver Broncos guard Dalton Risner (66) during the NFL game between the Denver Broncos and the Los Angeles Rams on December 25, 2022, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA. (Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Guard Dalton Risner entered free agency simply hoping to find a home that valued him, whether that meant returning to the Denver Broncos or not.

“At the end of the day, it being a business,” Risner said, per Kyle Newman of The Denver Post. “…it’s like, ‘Okay, where am I going to be valued at? Is it going to be with the Broncos or is it going to be somewhere else?'”

The Broncos have yet to re-sing Risner, instead adding former Ravens guard Ben Powers. Risner is a versatile player who has filled in at both guard spots in Denver and played right tackle in college. That versatility should make him very valued by another franchise.

The Dallas Cowboys would be a terrific landing spot for Risner. Dallas has their starting five in Tyron Smith, Taylor Smith, Zack Martin, Terence Steele and Tyler Biadasz, but it has battled injuries along the line over the past several years.

Tyron Smith missed the bulk of last season with a torn hamstring and hasn’t played a full campaign since 2015. If he misses time again, Tyler Smith will likely move back to left tackle, where he played for most of his 2022 rookie campaign.

The Cowboys also lost guard Conor McGovern, who started 15 games last season, in free agency. Risner would be the perfect replacement for McGovern, and the Cowboys still have $16.5 million in cap space with which to work.

Prediction: Risner signs a two-year deal with Dallas.

OT Donovan Smith

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SANTA CLARA, CA - DECEMBER 11: Donovan Smith #76 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks up against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on December 11, 2022 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Left tackle Donovan Smith did not have a stellar season with the Buccaneers in 2022. He missed time with a foot injury and was responsible for 12 penalties and six sacks allowed, according to Pro Football Focus.

There’s a good chance that Smith remains unsigned until teams are finished drafting rookie linemen later this month.

Still, Smith is a 29-year-old tackle with 124 regular-season starts and one Super Bowl title on his resume. He has a ton of experience, and he is the best pure left tackle remaining on the open market.

Smith would be a prime candidate to come in and compete with a rookie or second-year player. The Colts have one in offensive tackle Bernhard Raimann, who started 11 games last season. Raimann showed glimpses of promise but allowed seven sacks in 709 snaps, according to Pro Football Focus.

Indianapolis will need to protect whichever quarterback it selects with the fourth overall pick, and it still has $21 million in cap space with which to address needs. Adding Smith to compete with Raimann and/or a rookie would be a wise safety precaution for the Colts.

Prediction: Smith signs a one-year deal with Indianapolis.

CB Rock Ya-Sin

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LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - NOVEMBER 13: Rock Ya-Sin #26 of the Las Vegas Raiders looks on during an NFL game between the Las Vegas Raiders and the Indianapolis Colts at Allegiant Stadium on November 13, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

Michael Owens/Getty Images

Like Smith, cornerback Rock Ya-Sin is the best player remaining at his position. He may still be available because his 2022 campaign was ended by a back injury. However, Ya-Sin was solid before the injury.

Ya-Sin also allowed an opposing passer rating of only 82.6 in coverage. Considering how bad the Raiders around him was—it ranked 29th in passing yards allowed and recorded just 27 sacks—that’s fairly impressive.

A reunion with the Colts would make plenty of sense. Ya-Sin was traded from Indianapolis to Las Vegas last offseason in a move that brought Yannick Ngakoue to the midwest. While Ya-Sin might not know the schemes of defensive coordinator Gus Bradley—who joined the team in 2022—he is familiar with Indy’s personnel.

The Colts also have a need at cornerback after trading Stephon Gilmore to the Dallas Cowboys this offseason. Indianapolis has yet to add to the position in free agency, and they undoubtedly won’t be taking a corner fourth overall.

With cap space to spare, the Colts can and should bring back a familiar face to help reload their secondary.

Prediction: Ya-Sin signs a two-year deal with Indianapolis.

*Cap and contract information via Spotrac. Advanced statistics from Pro Football Reference unless otherwise noted.

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