We’re almost a full week into NFL free agency, and after a flurry of action during the negotiation window, the pace has slowed. But plenty of talented players remain unsigned.
Recognizable names continue to look for the right fit and financial arrangement that will allow them to continue the next leg of their football journey. Some might now find those situations every day. Others may have to wait longer as the market settles down.
Here’s a look at 10 of the best players still on the market.
Best leftover available: The athletic‘s top 150 free agents
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rank, The athletic‘s top 150 free agents: No. 1.
Baltimore has tagged the Ravens star as a franchise, so technically he is not a free agent who can sign with a team of his choice. But it is believed that Baltimore would receive offers for the unanimous NFL MVP of 2019. So far, things have been quiet on this front. But if a team really wants to change its fortunes and land a groundbreaking face of the franchise, it needs to pick up the phone and really take Jackson off the market.
Teams that may need: Falcons, commanders.
Lamar Jackson’s market remains unclear as a new league year begins
L. B. Bobby Wagner
rank, The athletic‘s top 150 free agents: Number 5.
Father Time has nothing on the longtime Seattle Seahawks linebacker, who had his 11th straight 100-plus tackle season last year as a member of the LA Rams at the ripe old age of 32. Wagner (140 tackles and 10 for a loss) also added conceded a career-high six sacks, plus two interceptions and five pass breakups.
Teams that may need: Bills, lions.
DB CJ Gardner-Johnson
rank, The athletic‘s top 150 free agents: No. 11.
Any team looking for a revenue machine should seriously consider adding the fast-rising Gardner-Johnson to its secondary team. After making the transition to safety, Gardner-Johnson tied for the NFL lead with six interceptions, while also scoring 67 tackles for the Eagles.
Teams that may need: Eagles, Bengal.
BY Frank Clark
rank, The athletic‘s top 150 free agents: No. 23.
The three-time Pro Bowl defensive end has seen his sack production plummet, but he remains an active and impactful pass rusher. He had five sacks and 13 quarterback hits for the Chiefs last season and turns 30 this year. But in the right situation, he could make his presence felt.
Teams that may need: Chiefs, Browns.
W. R. Adam Thielen
rank, The athletic‘s top 150 free agents: No. 28.
The nine-year Vikings veteran turns 33 this year and his 113-catch season in 2018 is in the back view. However, he remains a reliable and consistent contributor, recording 70 receptions for 716 yards and six touchdowns in 2022.
Teams that may need: Cowboys, bills.
W. R. Odell Beckham Jr.
rank, The athletic‘s top 150 free agents: No. 29.
His recovery from a torn ACL has taken longer than he would have liked, but he is reportedly healthy and eager to help another team chase a Super Bowl. Despite still trying to get his football form back, Beckham looked pretty good in training he held for teams last week, according to multiple talent evaluators, who spoke on the condition of anonymity so they didn’t telegraph their teams’ plans . Beckham’s dominant days are behind him. But it could still serve as a reliable No. 2 option.
Teams that may need: Cowboys, leaders.
TE Dalton Schultz
rank, The athletic‘s top 150 free agents: No. 30.
Talented tight ends aren’t always easy to come by, so teams shouldn’t wait too long to sign Schultz, who has averaged 10 yards per catch in each of the past two seasons for the Cowboys. After a 2021 season in which he recorded 78 catches for 808 yards and eight touchdowns, Schultz had 57 receptions for 577 yards and five touchdowns on 89 targets last year. A change of scenery would probably do Schultz good.
Teams that may need: Packers, commanders.
rank, The athletic‘s top 150 free agents: No. 35.
He is not considered an elite pass rusher, but Ngakoue is very good and very consistent, averaging 9.3 sacks a year over his seven seasons in the league. Last season, the 27-year-old recorded 9 1/2 sacks and eight tackles for a loss in 15 games for Indianapolis.
Teams that may need: 49ers, Dolphins.
R. B. Kareem Hunt
rank, The athletic‘s top 150 free agents: No. 136.
After spending time with Nick Chubb over the past four seasons in Cleveland, Hunt is eager for a chance to return, and he’s fresher than some of the other veterans on the market. It’s a deep running draft class, but if a team decides it would rather sign a veteran, Hunt may be the best choice.
Teams that may need: Bills, chargers.
RB Ezekiel Elliott
rank, The athletic‘s top 150 free agents: NO.
The Cowboys released Elliott this week, classifying him as a post-June cut. He no longer flaunts the juice he once did, but there is a place for him in the NFL, especially on a team with a two-man rushing attack. Elliott is still very effective in close range situations where he can use his power. Despite averaging 3.8 yards per carry last season, Elliott was one of only eight NFL backs with more than 10 rushing touchdowns (12).
Teams that may need: Bills, bears.
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(Top photo by Odell Beckham Jr.: Harry How/Getty Images)