Thursday, April 18, 2024
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2024 NFL free agency: Ranking best free agent crops from every team; Ravens, Chiefs have loaded class

Free agency is the most exciting time of the NFL offseason, as teams around the league get into a spending frenzy in hopes of improving their roster for a Super Bowl run over the coming season. This year’s free agent class has plenty of talent to be had, especially with the increased salary cap in play. It’s loaded with pass rushing talent, even if teams will be looking to franchise tag the top pass rushers just to keep them in house. 

There are also some good wide receivers, defensive backs, and running backs to be had this year, making the first wave of free agency as hectic as its been in years. 

If a team is looking for a quality starting left tackle, there are a few available. The interior linemen and linebackers also have some quality starters set to hit the market. This class isn’t as strong quarterback-wise, yet have plenty of good defensive players that can make a contending roster even better. 

Free agency is a week away, and some teams won’t regret the loss of some players in their free agent crops. Others will be scrambling to retain their key players over the next week. These are how all 32 free agent crops are ranked for each team (the free agency primer for each class can be found here), with recent releases for high-profile players factored into the equation (i.e. Eddie Jackson and Emmanuel Ogbah).

Note: Players listed below are all unrestricted free agents

1. Baltimore Ravens

Top free agents: Justin Madubuike (IDL), Patrick Queen (LB), J.K. Dobbins (RB), Gus Edwards (RB), Kevin Zeitler (RG), Jadeveon Clowney (EDGE), Geno Stone (S)

The Ravens arguably had the most talented roster in football last year, and it shows with the number of free agents available. While Baltimore is going to franchise tag Madubuike (at the very least), Queen is one of the best linebackers available on the open market. Dobbins and Stone are excellent value for any team that pursues them at their positions.

Clowney was one of the best pass rushers late in games last season and Zeitler immediately improves the interior of an offensive line. Baltimore can’t keep everyone, but Madubuike is the top priority. 

2. Kansas City Chiefs

Top free agents:  Chris Jones (IDL), L’Jarius Sneed (CB), Michael Danna (EDGE), Drue Tranquill (LB), Donovan Smith (LT), Willie Gay Jr. (LB), Tommy Townsend (P), Nick Allegretti (C)

The Chiefs have arguably the best interior pass rusher and cornerback on the market in Jones and Sneed. Jones wants to return to Kansas City after having the franchise tag placed upon him last year, and Sneed is set to receive the same fate. Teams can have Sneed via trade, but the Chiefs aren’t just going to let their top cornerback walk. 

Danna, Tranquill, and Gay will be coveted assets for teams looking to improve their defense in free agency, while Allegretti should be a target for teams looking for a starting guard. The Chiefs have plenty of players that can make an immediate impact for a team in 2024. 

3. Dallas Cowboys

Top free agents: Tony Pollard (RB), Stephon Gilmore (CB), Tyron Smith (LT), Jayron Kearse (S), Tyler Biadasz (C)

This is a top-heavy free agent class on a talented Cowboys roster. Does Pollard have the same value as he did last year? How much is an oft-injured Smith and a 33-year-old Gilmore worth? 

Biadasz should be one of the top centers on the market and Kearse is a bon afide starter at safety awaiting a huge payday. With the Dak Prescott contract being inevitable, the Cowboys roster may look significantly different in 2024. 

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Top free agents:  Baker Mayfield (QB),  Antoine Winfield Jr. (S), Lavonte David (LB), Ryan Jensen (C), Devin White (LB)

The Buccaneers are retaining Mike Evans, the only player not named Jerry Rice to have 10 consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons. Mayfield wants to remain in Tampa Bay, but he and Evans are essentially a package deal. Mayfield isn’t the best quarterback in free agency, but there’s an excellent argument he’s No. 2. 

Winfield is expected to get the franchise tag, while David’s future is uncertain (he’s still productive at 34). Intriguing to see where White ends up. 

5. Buffalo Bills

Top free agents: Micah Hyde (S), Leonard Floyd (EDGE), DaQuan Jones (IDL), Gabriel Davis (WR), Tyrel Dodson (LB), 

There are some good players set to hit the open market on the Bills, even if the most notable names (Hyde and Floyd) are in their 30s. Dodson is set to earn starters money after a breakout season playing next to Terrel Bernard while Davis is one of the beeter wideouts available.

Thanks to the Bills trying to get under the salary cap, these top free agents are going to be available. The top free agents in Buffalo can make a good team a contender. 

6. Houston Texans

Top free agents: Jonathan Greenard (EDGE), Dalton Schultz (TE), Devin Singletary (RB), Blake Cashman (LB), Steven Nelson (CB), Tavierre Thomas (CB), Sheldon Rankins (IDL)

The Texans have a lot of good players set to hit free agency, some of which they can retain. Greenard was a massive boost as a pass rusher and Schultz was a reliable pass catcher in the middle of the field for C.J. Stroud. Cashman may be set to cash in after a good first year as a starter and Thomas is a good slot corner when healthy. 

Houston has some players available for the taking, but the Texans can pay the top ones while Stroud is on his rookie deal. 

7. Jacksonville Jaguars

Top free agents: Josh Allen (EDGE), Calvin Ridley (WR), Tre Herndon (CB), Brandon McManus (K)

The top pass rusher on the open market is Allen, assuming the Jaguars don’t place the franchise tag on him (Jacksonville does use the franchise tag often). Allen is a game changer that could arguably be the best free agent available.

Ridley should have a strong market if the Jaguars choose not to retain him, thanks to the number of top wideouts getting the tag. Herndon would also be a good addition in the slot. Jacksonville has a top-heavy class. 

8. Miami Dolphins

Top free agents:  Christian Wilkins (IDL), Connor Williams (C), Robert Hunt (RG), Emmanuel Ogbah (EDGE), DeShon Elliott (S)

The Dolphins will have to allow some of these players to hit the open market thanks to their salary cap issues, but can they retain Wilkins? If Wilkins hits the open market, he’s one of the top-10 players available. 

Williams and Hunt will be tough to retain as both players are proven starters on the offensive line. Elliott is also a proven starter at safety that teams will covet. Miami needs to prioritize keeping Wilkins and Williams if it can. 

9. Minnesota Vikings

Top free agents: Kirk Cousins (QB), Danielle Hunter (EDGE), Marcus Davenport (EDGE), Jordan Hicks (LB), Joshua Dobbs (QB)

Cousins is the best quarterback, and arguably the best offensive player on the market, set to command a high salary from the Vikings or any other team. Minnesota could still franchise Cousins too in order to keep him one more year. 

Hunter is one of the best edge rushers on the market while Davenport gets pressure on the quarterback. Hicks is a proven leader and good linebacker at 31. The Vikings will have trouble retaining their top free agents, but this also looms on what they decide to do with Cousins. 

10. Philadelphia Eagles

Top free agents: Fletcher Cox (IDL), Brandon Graham (EDGE), D’Andre Swift (RB), Zach Cunningham (LB)

This free agent class in Philadelphia is nowhere as deep as last year’s, yet Philadelphia has two leaders in Cox and Graham that would be welcome additions to a locker room. Graham is expected to remain in Philadelphia, but Cox could be searching for a new team after a good season (he’s 33 now). 

Swift is an intriguing running back in good free agent class if utilized right while Cunningham proved he’s a solid starter. The Eagles could retain all of their top free agents. 

11. Seattle Seahawks

Top free agents: Leonard Williams (IDL), Bobby Wagner (LB), Jordyn Brooks (LB), Noah Fant (TE)

Williams had a huge second half of the season after being traded to Seattle, yet a new defense may impact whether he hits the open market or not. He’s one of the top interior defenders in free agency regardless. 

Wagner left Seattle once, but could return after another All-Pro season. Brooks and Fant are also solid starters at their positions. 

The Seahawks free agency comes down to what they decide with Williams, who they gave up a premium of high draft picks to acquire him in the first place. 

12. Detroit Lions

Top free agents: C.J. Gardner-Johnson (S), Emmanuel Moseley (CB), Halapoulivaati Vaitai (RG), Charles Harris (EDGE), Josh Reynolds (WR), Graham Glasgow (RG), Jonah Jackson (LG)

There are plenty of bonafide starters the Lions have available in free agency. Jackson and Glasgow were guards on one of the best offensive lines in football, while Gardner-Johnson and Moseley are proven starters in the secondary when healthy. 

Harris and Reynolds may not be first-wave signings, but good value after the top players are off the board. The Lions will look to revamp the secondary, but the guards may return. 

13. Chicago Bears

Top free agents: Jaylon Johnson (CB), DeShawn Williams (IDL), Darnell Mooney (WR), Justin Jones (IDL), Lucas Patrick (C)

Johnson is one of the best cornerbacks available in free agency, but the Bears have the salary cap space to keep him in the fold. Williams and Jones could be retained too, but the Bears have $78.3 million in available salary cap space. They’ll be looking to add talent from outside the organization to improve their roster. 

Mooney will be an intriguing player to watch when free agency starts. 

14. Indianapolis Colts

Top free agents: Michael Pittman (WR), Grover Stewart (IDL), Julian Blackmon (S), Kenny Moore (CB), Gardner Minshew (QB)

Pittman is arguably be the best wideout available not named Mike Evans, but the Colts will make sure he stays with the franchise (expected to place the franchise tag on him). Blackmon is expected to be in high demand, but the Colts have $72 million in available cap space. They can afford to keep both. 

Minshew’s market will be worth watching. Could he return to the Colts as the backup or seek an opportunity to start again? 

15. New York Jets

Top free agents: Jordan Whitehead (S), Chuck Clark (S), Mekhi Becton (RT), Quinton Jefferson (IDL), Duane Brown (LT), Connor McGovern (C), Bryce Huff (EDGE)

The Jets have some quality starters available in free agency, as they would need to revamp at safety if Whitehead and Clark leave. Both players are proven starters in their mid 20s. 

Becton and Brown are good starting tackles in a  league scarce of them. The market for Becton will be interesting given his injury history. Jefferson can play multiple positions on the defensive line, which is valuable for teams. 

The Jets won’t be able to keep everyone. 

16. New England Patriots

Top free agents: Kyle Dugger (S), Trent Brown (LT), Kendrick Bourne (WR), Hunter Henry (TE), Myles Bryant (CB)

There’s just over $100 million in cap space available for the Patriots, making it intriguing which players they keep. Dugger should be the top priority on a roster that needs plenty of help. Brown is still a productive left tackle at 30 when healthy while Bryant is an ascending player in the slot. 

Outside of Dugger, there aren’t many home run hitters in this class. The Patriots should be active at the start of free agency. 

17. Cincinnati Bengals

Top free agents: Tyler Boyd (WR), Jonah Williams (RT), D.J. Reader (IDL)

The Bengals already placed the franchise tag on Tee Higgins, weakening the overall strength of their class. Higgins was one of the top free agent wideouts on the market, and the Bengals wanted to make sure they retained him. 

Boyd should be in high demand once free agency starts and Reader is a solid defensive tackle. Williams has also been a solid starter in Cincinnati, but is a more natural fit at left tackle. The Bengals have enough cap space to bring some of these players back. 

18. New York Giants

Top free agents: Saquon Barkley (RB), Xavier McKinney (S), A’Shawn Robinson (DT)

There’s an opening to bring Barkley back for the Giants, and they seem inclined to do just that. Does Barkley want to return to New York? 

McKinney is one of the better safeties available in free agency while Robinson is a solid starter at defensive tackle. The Giants have enough salary cap space ($30.6 million) to be active in free agency. 

19. Cleveland Browns

Top free agents: Za’Darius Smith (EDGE), Shelby Harris (IDL), Sione Takitaki (LB), Joe Flacco (QB)

The Browns have a good list of players available in free agency, even if none are difference makers. Smith is still an impactful pass rusher in the right system, so there’s excellent value that could be had. Takitaki is a solid starter at linebacker, but can also provide great value as a No. 3. 

Then there’s Flacco, whose market will be intriguing. Flacco may not be a starting quarterback, but might be the top backup available. 

20. Las Vegas Raiders

Top free agents: Josh Jacobs (RB),  Jermaine Eluemunor (RT), Bilal Nichols (IDL), Amik Robertson (CB)

A year ago, Jacobs was the top running back on the market. The Raiders can get him back at a cheaper salary than last year (along with 31 other teams). They have $42.9 million in cap space, enough to be spenders this offseason. 

Eluemunor has been a solid starter at guard and tackle the last two years. The Raiders could also bring him back. 

21. Green Bay Packers

Top free agents: Darnell Savage (S), Rudy Ford (S), A.J. Dillon (RB), Keisean Nixon (CB)

Many of the Packers top free agents appear to be on the move as they look to revamp the secondary. Savage has been a solid starter in the secondary while Ford has emerged into a starting-caliber player since arriving to Green Bay. Nixon is an All-Pro returner that should be in high demand in the first wave of free agency (also started 13 games at cornerback). 

Dillon may not return to Green Bay, but he’ll be a running back teams covet. 

22. San Francisco 49ers

Top free agents: Chase Young (EDGE), Tashaun Gipson (S)

The 49ers have plenty of players that would be good depth signings, but Young is the one high-upside free agent on their roster. In the year removed from a torn ACL that limited him to three games in 2022, Young had 7.5 sacks for the Commanders and 49ers.

Gipson had another good season in coverage, but he’s also 33. He can still play at a high level, making things interesting for San Francisco if they have Ji’Ayir Brown waiting in the wings. 

23. Los Angeles Chargers

Top free agents: Austin Ekeler (RB), Austin Johnson (IDL), Kenneth Murray (LB), Michael Davis (CB), Gerald Everett (TE)

Heading into the season, Ekeler would have arguably been one of the top free agents available. An ankle sprain significantly impacted his year and diminished his free agent value. Still Ekeler has great value as a pass-catching back. 

The rest of the top free agents in Los Angeles are solid starters. Murray may be the most interesting of the free agents, given he’s heading into his second contract and playing in a different system could benefit him. 

24. Tennessee Titans

Top free agents: Ryan Tannehill (QB), Derrick Henry (RB), Denico Autry (IDL), Azeez Al-Shaair (LB), Kristian Fulton (CB)

Tannehill’s days as a starter may be numbered, but some team may give him an opportunity to start or compete for a starting job. Henry’s likely not coming back to Tennessee, and he can significantly help out a running game in a two-back system. 

Fulton is going on his second contract, so he could have a market for being a 25-year-old cornerback. Autry should be in demard as a pass rusher, having 28.5 sacks over the past three years. 

The Titans have $78.5 million in available cap space, the most in the NFL

25. Carolina Panthers

Top free agents: Brian Burns (OLB), Jeremy Chinn (S), DeShawn Williams (IDL), Troy Hill (CB)

Burns is one of the best pass rushers on the market, but he’s likely to get franchise tagged by Carolina. The Panthers still have other quality players available, as Chinn is a solid starter when healthy. Hill is likely heading to his fourth team in fourth years, but still has value in the slot. 

The Panthers’ No. 1 priority is retaining Burns. 

26. Los Angeles Rams

Top free agents: John Johnson II (S), Ahkello Witherspoon (CB), Coleman Shelton (C), Kevin Dotson (RG)

Los Angeles doesn’t have an impressive crop of free agents. They do have players that will be in demand on the open market, starting with Johnson. While having the green dot on in the past, Johnson could be an answer for a team that needs veteran safety help. 

Witherspoon is a starting cornerback for a number of teams and can play in several schemes. 

27. Atlanta Falcons

Top free agentsCalais Campbell (IDL), Cordarrelle Patterson (WR), Bud Dupree (EDGE)

Not a strong group of free agents the Falcons have to retain, as Campbell is 37 and Patterson is turning 33 in March. If a team needs a kickoff returner, Patterson should be available. 

Dupree had a comeback season in Ryan Nielsen’s defense, but Nielsen is now with the Jaguars. He also just turned 31. 

28. Washington Commanders

Top free agents: Kamren Curl (S), Kendall Fuller (CB), Cody Barton (LB), Jacoby Brissett (QB)

Kam Curl is one of the better safeties on the market and is undervalued around the league. Whatever team signs him will be getting a good safety, which bolsters Washington’s free agent class. 

Fuller is a starting-caliber cornerback and Barton has started in two different defenses. Brissett is one of the better backup quarterbacks a team can find in the league. 

The Commanders have $77.9 million in salary cap space. Unlikely they’ll be trying to retain a lot of their in-house players. 

29. New Orleans Saints

Top free agents: Andrus Peat (LT), Michael Thomas (WR), Jameis Winston (QB), Zack Baun (LB)

This isn’t the greatest class of free agents the Saints have had, a product of restructuring contracts and consistently being over the cap. Peat’s days as a Pro Bowl guard may be behind him, but the Saints played him at tackle in 2023 (and he handled the position better than expected). He can play four positions on the offensive line. 

Thomas isn’t an All-Pro receiver anymore and Winston’s days has a starting quarterback are apparently over. He can still provide depth as a backup quarterback. 

30. Arizona Cardinals

Top free agents: Marquise Brown (WR), Antonio Hamilton (CB)

Not many quality free agents on the Cardinals. Brown hasn’t been the same player since he was traded to Arizona and Hamilton is 31. 

The Cardinals have $51.1 million in available salary cap space, significantly needing to improve a defense that was one of the worst in the league. 

31. Denver Broncos

Top free agents: Josey Jewell (LB), K’Waun Williams (CB)

Denver’s class of available free agents isn’t very good. Jewell is a solid starter at linebacker and Williams missed all of last season with an ankle injury. Williams also turns 33 this year. 

32. Pittsburgh Steelers

Top free agents: Mason Rudolph (QB), Chandon Sullivan (CB)

The Steelers have no starters that are free agents, unless Rudolph is considered a starter after finishing the season as the starting quarterback. Rudolph should have a market and the Steelers don’t have a lot of cap space. 

Pittsburgh doesn’t have much to work with in retaining their own free agents. 

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