The NFL’s free agency period has been open since March, but there are many big names who remain (surprisingly) unsigned. Teams use the free agency period to pick up contributors who they hope will take them over the edge to Super Bowl contention.
Every year, major players go unsigned until the start of the season. In 2022, there was Odell Beckham Jr., Joe Haden, and Nate Solder.
Without further ado, let’s look at some of the best free agents that remain unsigned as the 2023 NFL season draws closer.
2016’s fourth overall pick remains unsigned after being unceremoniously cut after the 2022 season by the Dallas Cowboys. Elliott led the league in rushing yards in 2016 and 2018, and racked up three Pro Bowl nods and two All-Pro selections in his seven years in Dallas.
The last two seasons, however, Elliott hasn’t been himself, and he seems to not have a whole lot left in the tank. However, Elliott could still fill in as a solid number 2 back or goal line back for a team in need. Keep an eye on a team like the Miami Dolphins, Cleveland Browns, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, or Arizona Cardinals.
Another running back who remains somewhat surprisingly unsigned is Dalvin Cook. The former Minnesota Vikings running back was cut in June, and in his six seasons in Minnesota, he racked up four Pro Bowl nominations.
In Madden 24, his rating will be 91, representative of what his ability could still be. He does have a potential suspension looming, but whether or not it comes to fruition has yet to be determined.
Barring suspension, Cook still has the potential to be a top 10 running back in the league. Keep an eye on a team who needs a bell-cow running back, like the Buffalo Bills, Baltimore Ravens, or Miami Dolphins.
The thirty-three-year-old defensive end is a three-time Pro Bowler and has made an All-Pro team twice in his career. He has five seasons with ten or more sacks, and he had 19.0 sacks in 2013 and 18.5 sacks in 2021. His 2022 season was split between the Bears and Eagles, and he took a significant step back from his stellar 2021 season.
Still, if a team is looking for an experienced edge rusher to mentor young players, Quinn could be a very good shout. Keep an eye on the Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs, or Los Angeles Rams.
It’s hard to believe that with as many teams as he has been on, Yannick Ngakoue is only 28-years-old. The one-time Pro Bowler led the league in forced fumbles in 2017 with six, and he has never had a season in which he recorded less than 15 games played.
He was drafted in 2016 by the Jacksonville Jaguars, and he played for them until 2020, when he was traded to the Minnesota Vikings. Mid-season, the Vikings traded him to the Baltimore Ravens. In 2021, Ngakoue signed a two-year deal with the Las Vegas Raiders, and he was traded to the Indianapolis Colts in 2022.
His lowest sack total in a season is eight, and he could bode well for a team looking to add a veteran edge rusher. Watch for the Houston Texans, Kansas City Chiefs, Arizona Cardinals, or Chicago Bears.
The 2014 #1 overall pick to the Texans has not lived up to the expectations of his draft status, but he has still carved out a solid career as a serviceable edge rusher.
Clowney has been a three-time Pro Bowler during his career, and he was voted as an All-Pro in 2016. He has never recorded ten sacks in a season, and he has only played in 14 games in four of his nine seasons.
However, he is still a player who can be counted on as a second edge rusher for a team who needs one, and is also someone who can be counted on to mentor a young core of defensive linemen. Potential suitors for Clowney could be the Kansas City Chiefs, Arizona Cardinals, or Los Angeles Rams.
The long-time Patriot and three-time Super Bowl champion finds himself without a team for the first time since he was coming out of Rutgers in 2010. The two-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro nod has recorded 35 interceptions in his career, and has racked up 110 pass deflections to match. McCourty is also known for being incredibly durable, having only missed five games during his career and none since 2016.
He could be an incredible pick up for a team who needs a safety in order to compete; even at 35-years-old, he is still someone who instills fear into opposing quarterbacks. McCourty could end up with the Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers, or Cincinnati Bengals.
The former Chief and Brown remains unsigned following his contract’s expiration after 2022. Hunt led the league in rushing yards during his rookie season in 2017, but he was cut by the Chiefs in 2018 after a video surfaced of him assaulting a woman.
With the Browns, he often played second-fiddle to Nick Chubb, who is widely regarded as one of the best running backs in the league. He has also dealt with injuries in two of his four years in Cleveland, losing half of his 2019 and 2021 due to injuries.
Still, he could be a solid #1 or great number #2 for a team in contention, like what he was with the Browns. Potential suitors for Hunt could be the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, or even his former team, the Kansas City Chiefs.
McCourty’s long-time teammate on the Patriots, Duron Harmon is a free agent following three consecutive years switching teams between the Lions, Falcons, and Raiders. Like McCourty, Harmon also played safety at Rutgers and transitioned well to the NFL, where he caught on well, and he has only missed one game during his ten-year career: the first game of his rookie season. Harmon has 23 interceptions throughout his career, and has tallied 43 pass deflections.
The long-time Tennessee Titan finds himself looking for a new home after he was released due to cap space issues in February. Lewan said at the time that he would consider retiring, but nothing has been announced yet, so he finds himself on the list.
At 32-years-old, Lewan could still be a big pickup for a team needing a tackle on the quarterback’s blind side. The former first round pick is a three time Pro Bowler, so ability is not an issue. However, Lewan has dealt with injuries throughout his career, missing 33 games since 2014.
If a team is looking for someone to be available, Lewan could be a big pickup. Watch for the New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs, and the Los Angeles Rams.
The long-time Ram has always been somewhat underappreciated for his contributions on the field. Saffold was an All-Pro in 2017, and he has made two Pro Bowls, both in the last two seasons.
The 35-year-old has been having a late-career peak, and he could be a great pickup for a team who needs help, either due to injuries or lack of production, on the interior of the offensive line. Saffold could easily end up with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Jacksonville Jaguars, or Miami Dolphins.
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