Saturday, April 13, 2024

2024 NFL free agent matchmaker: Ryan Tannehill to Broncos, Odell Beckham Jr. to Jets, other big-name fits

Most of this year’s top NFL free agents have already found new homes, or secured new contracts to stay put. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t more deals to be made. Sometimes, in fact, the best offseason additions are the underrated “value” bets. And there are still a handful of notable names who remain on the open market, available for any club to sign.

With that in mind, let’s play matchmaker for 10 of the top free agents still unsigned:

(Note: Some players listed might not last much longer in free agency and could sign at any time.)

QB Ryan Tannehill to the Broncos

Denver has yet to add a quarterback this offseason, and while an early draft investment would be logical, Tannehill offers an experienced arm best suited to play within a system — just as Sean Payton desires. At 35, he’s a low-ceiling rental, sure, but the best alternative in Denver right now is Jarrett Stidham.

QB Carson Wentz to the Chiefs

One of the best backups left, Wentz flashed his play-making arm in a brief stint as Matthew Stafford’s No. 2 down the stretch of 2023. Kansas City, meanwhile, has a void behind Patrick Mahomes after Blaine Gabbert hit the market, and the Chiefs reportedly sniffed around the ex-Philadelphia Eagles star a year ago.

WR Mike Williams to the Cardinals

Axed by the Los Angeles Chargers in a cost-cutting move, Williams could just as easily fit with a contender like the Baltimore Ravens, but Arizona sorely needs an experienced starter after Marquise Brown’s exit. His contested-catch skills would give Kyler Murray a legit downfield option.

WR Odell Beckham Jr. to the Jets

OBJ has been flirting with an Aaron Rodgers team-up for years, reportedly coming close to a deal with Gang Green in 2023. Now, with the Jets seemingly in the market for affordable pass-catching help opposite Garrett Wilson, it makes sense for Beckham to finally come home to the New Jersey area.

OG Kevin Zeitler to the Cowboys

Dallas lost multiple starting linemen in free agency, and while Zeitler is arguably in the tail end of his career at 34, he’s proven effective for four different teams over the course of his career. As a plug-and-play interior man, he could help keep Dak Prescott upright at what figures to be a reduced cost.

DE Chase Young to the Bears

How about a little Montez Sweat reunion in Chicago? The Bears are already paying big bucks to Young’s former Washington Commanders teammate, but Matt Eberflus could still use another edge presence. And Young flashed his early-career physicality during the San Francisco 49ersSuper Bowl appearance.

OLB Jadeveon Clowney to the Falcons

Although Clowney has done most of his work with a hand in the dirt, the veteran journeyman excelled as a stand-up rusher with the stingy Baltimore Ravens in 2023. New Falcons coach Raheem Morris, meanwhile, needs a polished leader for his own rotation now that Atlanta is eyeing a playoff run with Kirk Cousins.

CB Stephon Gilmore to the Raiders

The former All-Pro cover man could still be in play for a Dallas Cowboys encore, but Antonio Pierce has a bigger need at the position in Las Vegas, where the defensively minded Raiders can also offer more money. Working at the back end of a unit with Maxx Crosby and Christian Wilkins also has its draws.

CB Xavien Howard to the Vikings

Minnesota is a forward-thinking operation right now, post-Kirk Cousins. But the Vikings addressed their front seven with longer-term pieces. They could stand to bolster the secondary with more proven insurance alongside Byron Murphy Jr. and Akayleb Evans, and Howard has a Pro Bowl history with Brian Flores.

S Justin Simmons to the Bills

Buffalo said goodbye to two aging safeties in Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde this year, but Simmons’ production as a rangy, ball-hawking captain hasn’t declined; his exit from the Denver Bronco was financially motivated. On a rebuild-your-market-type deal, he could fit in seamlessly as a captain for a contender.

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