The 2023 NFL offseason is upon us, and the new league year is set to begin at 4 p.m. EST March 15. And the very first event that takes place to get it all started is free agency. For those who do not know, here is how it works:
- Feb. 21 to March 7: Window for teams to designate franchise or transition players.
- March 13-15: Legal negotiation window ahead of free agency.
- March 15 (4 p.m. EST): 2023 NFL league year begins. Teams must be under the salary cap. Trading period and free agency open. Deadline to submit qualifying offers to restricted free agents and exclusive rights free agents. Teams must exercise contract options for 2023.
With that being said, a lot of players have been gaining attention even before the 2023 season started. Will they sign new deals with their current team? Will they be franchise tagged? Or will they start a new chapter with a new team? There are so many questions, and they'll all be answered in the next few weeks.
So, in anticipation of the 2023 NFL free agency period, here are my top free agents this year.
10. Jawaan Taylor, Offensive Tackle, Jacksonville Jaguars
Jawaan Taylor is not a household name, yet, but he is one of the best offensive tackles heading into free agency and is only 25 years old. The Jaguars will definitely try their best to keep Taylor in Duval County, but a handful of teams will be willing to pay him what he wants to improve their pass blocking.
Prediction: Denver Broncos
9. Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Safety, Philadelphia Eagles
Acquiring Chauncey Gardner-Johnson via trade from the New Orleans Saints, the Philadelphia Eagles saw him make an immediate impact in his first year on the team as one of the leaders on their defense, which was first in pass defense. This is a young safety who could go to any team, but the Eagles will most likely bring him back.
Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles (re-signs)
8. Jessie Bates III, Free Safety, Cincinnati Bengals
Trade rumors have surrounded Jessie Bates III over the last two seasons, so seeing him leaving Cincinnati for a fresh start and a bigger contract comes as no surprise. Bates could be a victim of the franchise tag but will most likely find himself playing in a different uniform next season.
Prediction: Cleveland Browns
7. Josh Jacobs, Running Back, Las Vegas Raiders
The 2022 NFL rushing leader has made it known that he would love to leave the Las Vegas Raiders, but that opinion could change depending on what quarterback they bring in to replace Derek Carr. But in all seriousness, all signs point to Jacobs leaving the Raiders and joining a team that could use a consistent running back.
Prediction: Miami Dolphins
6. Orlando Brown, Left Tackle, Kansas City Chiefs
Everyone has seen the movie "The Blind Side" and knows that the most important position to keeping your franchise quarterback healthy is a solid left tackle. Orlando Brown has been just that for the Kansas City Chiefs since he joined the team in 2021. And at the age of 26, it would be smart for them to lock him up long term.
Prediction: Kansas City Chiefs (franchise tag)
5. Daron Payne, Defensive Tackle, Washington Commanders
The Washington Commanders have so many internal issues with their ownership that it is hard to forget they actually are just a quarterback away from being playoff contenders. So, with some money to play with and not many other concerns, defensive tackle Daron Payne will most likely be tagged,
Prediction: Washington Commanders (franchise tag)
4. Derek Carr, Quarterback, Las Vegas Raiders
Derek Carr forced his way into free agency, and it sounds as if it could be a long process for the veteran quarterback. There are only a handful of serious candidates to acquire Carr, but the biggest standouts are the New York Jets and the Tennessee Titans. And with the Titans appearing to be in rebuild mode, all signs point to New York.
Prediction: New York Jets
3. Javon Hargrave, Defensive Tackle, Philadelphia Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles had a near-record-breaking season in terms of sacks in 2022, and one of the biggest contributors to that was Javon Hargrave. With other pending free agents and depth on the defensive line, the Eagles will most likely let Hargrave walk in free agency this offseason.
Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers
2. Saquon Barkley, Running Back, New York Giants
Saquon Barkley had a bounce-back season during his contract year and has shown teams that he is still the same back he was when he was drafted in 2018. With the price Barkley has set for himself, and the price quarterback Daniel Jones wants, it seems as if he will be playing for a new team in 2023. But it does not appear he will have to travel too far to get to his new destination.
Prediction: Buffalo Bills
1. Lamar Jackson, Quarterback, Baltimore Ravens
The top free agent in 2023 is former MVP Lamar Jackson. Jackson's 2022 season ended early because of an injury that has hurt his contract negations. The NFL world would go crazy if he left Baltimore, but don't believe for a second the Ravens are going to let him walk that easily. Jackson will most likely be tagged with hopes of a contract extension.
Prediction: Baltimore Ravens (franchise tag)
MORE: The NFL QB Carousel Continues to Spin: Who's Staying Put and Who's on the Move?
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