2023 NFL Free Agency: Biggest names on the free agent market

Biggest names in 2023 NFL Free Agency originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

With the 2022 NFL season in the rearview, NFL teams can begin to look toward the draft combine and, of course, free agency. 

March 15 is the official start of free agency in the NFL, with March 13 as the start of the legal tampering period. Deals can be agreed to during this time, but none are official until the 15th at the earliest. 

Here’s a look at some of the biggest names that were set to hit the free agency market.

Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore Ravens

Jackson and the Ravens have gone round-and-round regarding Jackson’s extension, and it is still up in the air whether Jackson’s long-term future will be in Baltimore or elsewhere. It’s possible the Ravens will offer Jackson the franchise tag, but the former NFL MVP will be in for a huge payday once he signs a new deal, wherever that might be.

Orlando Brown, OT, Kansas City Chiefs

Like Jackson above, it’s entirely possible the Chiefs use the franchise tag on the offensive lineman to keep him around for the 2023 campaign. Brown was one of the centerpieces of the Chiefs’ Super Bowl run this past year, culminating in an immaculate performance in which the team didn’t allow a sack in the big game.

Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants

2022 was the best year of Barkley’s career to date. The Giants’ bruising running back finished fourth in the NFL with 1,312 rushing yards on the season to go along with 10 rushing touchdowns. However, running backs are only as good as their offensive line, so it’s possible Barkley won’t get the same kind of cash as other players on this list.

Josh Jacobs, RB, Las Vegas Raiders

Speaking of running backs fresh off their breakout season, Jacobs tops the list. He paced the entire league with 1,653 rushing yards on the season with 12 rushing TDs. His elite cutting ability would make him a tasty acquisition for any team desperate to upgrade their run game, and with Raiders’ QB Derek Carr headed to a new destination, Jacobs is likely next in line to depart.

Daniel Jones, QB, New York Giants

Jones isn’t as big a target as Lamar Jackson, but the fact is he can flat out play. He had the lowest interception rate on pass attempts in the NFL this past year while leading his Giants to the playoffs despite shaky play from his wide receiver core. Another candidate for the franchise tag, Jones will get a hefty payday whether it’s in the Big Apple or elsewhere.

Jessie Bates III, S, Cincinnati Bengals

Bates has been a staple of the Bengals’ secondary since they drafted him in the first round back in 2018. He’s also coming off a career year with four interceptions, eight passes defended and 66 tackles. He already played last season on the franchise tag, so chances are he’ll be an immediate plug-in piece to a new team’s secondary.

Geno Smith, QB, Seattle Seahawks

What can be said about Geno Smith that hasn’t already been said? After spending his entire career as a bridesmaid and never a bride, he finally got his chance to walk down the aisle this past year in Seattle — and boy did he show out. He finished eighth in the league in passing yards, fourth in passing TDs, and willed the Seahawks to a postseason appearance in their first year of the post-Russell Wilson era. No wonder he earned Comeback Player of the Year and Pro Bowl honors. Teams should be scratching at the door to snatch him up, if Seattle misses their chance.

Bobby Wagner, ILB, Los Angeles Rams

The six-time First Team All-Pros tenure in L.A. was short lived as the Rams and Wagner agreed to part ways following a disappointing campaign for the defending Super Bowl champs. Still, Wagner is as disruptive of an inside linebacker as you’ll find in the league, so he’ll provide some pass rush stability for whoever signs him.

James Bradberry IV, CB, Philadelphia Eagles

Bradberry switched NFC East allegiances and enjoyed a conference title in his first year in Philly. He was a massive part of arguably the best secondary in the NFL, so it would be wise for the Eagles to do what they can to keep him. Though he’s 29, Bradberry has serviceable years ahead of him.

Jakobi Meyers, WR, New England Patriots

Though Meyers won’t wow you with his numbers or any gravity-defying catches, he’s as solid of a WR2 or WR3 as you’ll find. That’ll probably help his free agency quest, as he’s a plug-and-play option for any team eager for wideout depth. At 26, Meyers could be a low-cost yet high-upside addition on the open market.

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