40. CB Stephon Gilmore
Remember when Richard Sherman had a resurgence with the San Francisco 49ers during the latter stages of his career? The same thing is happening with Gilmore. At 33 years of age, he’s playing at a very high level for the Dallas Cowboys. Teams might be reticent to give him a multi-year deal due to his age and injury history. Regardless, you’re looking at a 5-time Pro Bowler/2-time All-NFL selection.
Prediction: Gilmore signs a 1-year/$12 million deal with the Houston Texans
39. WR Marquise Brown
Brown is one of those players that has a tantalizing upside, yet the production doesn’t always match the talent. It’s also hard to believe Brown is only 26 years of age. When he’s engaged and healthy, few possess his ability to take the top off an opposing defense. He shouldn’t be counted on as a lead receiver for any team. But, for the right franchise, he can be a difference-maker in the ideal scheme.
Prediction: Brown signs a 2-year/$18 million deal with the Kansas City Chiefs
38. OL Mike Onwenu
Onwenu will have plenty of value throughout the league. He has starting experience both at guard and tackle. A gigantic man at roughly 350 pounds, Onwenu is a mauler in the run game. With the Cardinals needing to be more stable up the middle in the interior of their offensive line, Onwenu would be an upgrade at one of the guard spots. There figures to be a ton of competition for Onwenu at both guard and tackle.
Prediction: Onwenu signs a 3-year/$54 million deal with the Arizona Cardinals
37. OL Kevin Dotson
The Rams will do everything in their power to re-sign Dotson. When trading for the 27-year-old in the offseason, it didn’t draw much fanfare. However, Dotson’s fit with LA has been quite good. He’s been dominant in pass protection, and Sean McVay’s scheme has enabled Dotson to truly raise his ceiling as a player. In the process, his stock as a starting OL around the league has risen as well.
Prediction: Dotson signs a 5-year/$80 million deal with the Los Angeles Rams
36. DB Kamren Curl
Curl is not a household name. However, that doesn’t mean he won’t be coveted by teams across the league. He’s quite functional all across the secondary. You can play Curl as a deep safety, a safety closer to the line of scrimmage, and even as a corner defending receivers both on the boundary and in the slot. At only 24 years of age, it might be tough for Washington to hold onto him barring a total overpay.
Prediction: Curl signs a 5-year/$75 million deal with the Washington Commanders
35. DL/OLB Bryce Huff
Whether it be with the Jets or someone else, Huff expects to make some money. The Alabama native isn’t much of a defender against the run. With that said Huff will earn a lucrative contract based on his ability to rush the passer. He’s a luxury player — expected to be deployed in obvious pass-rushing situations as well as on third down. At only 25 years of age, he’ll draw plenty of interest. Through 16 games in 2023, he notched 8.0 sacks.
Prediction: Huff signs a 3-year/$45 million deal with the New England Patriots
34. DL DJ Reader
Reader is in a bit of a tough spot. It appears as if he suffered a torn quad during a Week 15 game versus the Vikings. When healthy, the 335-pound defensive is one of the best players in the league at his position. As he approaches age 30, this injury could very well keep him out for much of next year. There could be a 1-year incentives-laden deal for Reader. Or, a team could sign him to a two-year deal — with the first year effectively functioning as a recovery year.
Prediction: Reader signs a 2-year/$10 million deal with the Atlanta Falcons
33. RB Derrick Henry
Henry is about to hit age 30. Very few running backs can sustain a high level of play once hitting this age. The multi-time Pro Bowler has reached the 1,000-yard mark in five of the last six years. This includes double-digit TD totals in six straight years. A contender would love to land Henry, especially if he had a lighter workload. Imagine how good Henry could be with the Rams. Pairing him with Kyren Williams would give LA a very dynamic ground game.
Prediction: Henry signs a 2-year/$22 million deal with the Los Angeles Rams
32. DL Leonard Williams
The 29-year-old DL out of USC is a very valuable player. He can function well as a DE in s 3-4. He can also move inside as a defensive tackle in obvious pass-rushing situations. While more so known as a run stuffer, Williams does have underrated traits in getting after opposing quarterbacks. While Seattle would love to bring him back, Williams may have priced himself out of a return to the Pacific Northwest.
Prediction: Williams signs a 3-year/$56 million deal with the Cincinnati Bengals
31. OT Tyron Smith
This will be a fascinating free-agent recruitment. Smith is very much injury-prone. At the same time, he’s still an above-average performer in his position. The future Hall of Famer will not have a shortage of options when it comes to making a decision. There’s some thought that Smith may go back home to his native Los Angeles. The Rams could certainly use him. Re-signing with Dallas is always a possibility. Frankly, any contender needing to bolster the tackle spot would take a look at him on a short-term deal.
Prediction: Smith signs a 1-year/$12 million deal with the Dallas Cowboys
30. QB Ryan Tannehill
Ryan Tannehill’s tenure with the Titans is coming to a close. The final chapter may have been written when rookie Will Levis made his first career start and promptly threw four touchdown passes. Tannehill — who has seen his play dip in each of the past three seasons — is unlikely to be in contention for a starting role in ’24. That makes for an interesting situation considering Tannehill has expressed aversion to mentoring young QB’s in the past. Perhaps that won’t come up in future negotiations, but we’d be more comfortable with Tannehill going to a team that already has an established quarterback in place. How about a trip back down to Florida and a reunion with the team that originally drafted him? Tua Tagovailoa has made strides in improving his durability, but having an established backup can be invaluable.
Prediction: Tannehill signs a 2-year/$10 million deal with the Miami Dolphins
29. CB Chidobe Awuzie
Please get the Raiders some help on the back end. There’s a glaring need for talent and — frankly — competence in the secondary. Awuzie is an experienced guy with the chops to be a big improvement. The Raiders have to dip into their cap space in order to make this happen. They might even have to overpay — but it would be worth it considering the quarterbacks Las Vegas has to face in the AFC.
Prediction: Awuzie signs a 2-year/$18 million deal with the Las Vegas Raiders
28. CB Kendall Fuller
With Tre’Davious White projected to come back from a serious injury, and the rest of the secondary on the older end, it makes sense for the Bills to go out and get Fuller. Remember, Buffalo has to contend with the likes of Mahomes, Tagovailoa, Herbert, Burrow, (potentially) Rodgers, Jackson, and others in the loaded AFC. Fuller is a proven guy as a cover corner, and he packs a nice punch when coming up in run support.
Prediction: Fuller signs a 2-year/$18 million deal with the Buffalo Bills
27. QB Joshua Dobbs
Since coming to Minnesota, Dobbs has been very solid. He’s got a good command of Minnesota’s offense, and can even make plays with his legs. He figures to be much cheaper than Cousins. In all honesty, there might not be all that much of a difference between the two from a production standpoint. Minnesota will either have its starting QB for the future on a cheap deal — or it will have one of the best backup signal-callers in the NFL. This is a win-win.
Prediction: Dobbs signs a 3-year/$22 million deal with the Minnesota Vikings
26. QB Baker Mayfield
Baker Mayfield never lived up to the hype of being a former No. 1 overall pick. He also was never nearly as bad as his harshest critics suggested. Both can be true. Mayfield can often try to do too much, but he still possesses a great arm and has shown improved decision-making with the Buccaneers. His solid play in ’23 has not only shown that he’s capable of producing as a starter, but has also hurt Tampa’s draft chances enough to potentially miss out on the top QB’s in next year’s class. After playing for next to nothing in his first year with the Bucs, Tampa Bay rewards Mayfield with a (short) lucrative deal.
Prediction: Mayfield signs a 2-year/$40 million deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
25. G Jonah Jackson
Detroit might be hard-pressed to keep Jackson in the fold considering the money it has tied up to other players along the offensive line. San Francisco doesn’t have many holes. However, one area of improvement would certainly be the interior of the offensive line. Jackson is still young enough to garner a multi-year deal, and he’s quite good at stonewalling opposing pass rushers. He seems like an ideal fit for the 49ers.
Prediction: Jackson signs a 3-year/$39 million deal with the San Francisco 49ers
24. TE Dalton Schultz
Schultz has proven to be a very valuable safety valve for C.J. Stroud. He gets open with regularity, and has seemingly been terrific in taking advantage of the single-coverage looks he gets. With Houston’s WR corps verging on becoming an elite entity, Schultz should continue to be a big x-factor moving forward. Houston would do well to bring him back on a team-friendly deal.
Prediction: Schultz signs a 3-year/$27 million deal with the Houston Texans
23. G Robert Hunt
It’s no secret Chicago needs help along its offensive line. Hunt is one of the better interior offensive linemen available in this class. He engulfs defensive linemen in the run game. A true mauler, Hunt’s natural athletic ability could truly shine by climbing to the second level and paving the way for a running quarterback. Regardless as to whether Justin Fields is in Chicago or not, the Bears have to address their offensive front.
Prediction: Hunt signs a 3-year/$42 million deal with the Chicago Bears
22. LT Jonah Williams
The Bengals want continuity up front — especially when it comes to protecting Joe Burrow. Williams knows Burrow’s nuances, and there’s clearly a chemistry there. While other teams will pursue the RT, it would be a relative surprise if he didn’t re-sign with Cincinnati. The fit makes too much sense — and even the Bengals’ backup QB Jake Browning was high school teammates with Williams. Look for him to stay put.
Prediction: Williams signs a 3-year/$40 million deal with the Cincinnati Bengals
21. RB Austin Ekeler
We could see the Chargers moving on from Ekeler in favor of younger players. With the receiving corps being so ‘meh’ outside of Travis Kelce, maybe giving Mahomes a running back with receiver skills would be a good idea. Ekeler is prolific as a pass-catching threat out of the backfield. He won’t have to be an every-down back in Kansas City, and he has clear familiarity with the AFC West. We really do love this potential fit.
Prediction: Ekeler signs a 2-year/$15 million deal with the Kansas City Chiefs
20. LB Patrick Queen
With the cap space available, the Pats can dip into the free agency pond and grab a host of players. Queen is another one that makes sense for a defense in desperate need of talent and athleticism. The former LSU star is one of the better linebackers within this class, and he’s the type of guy who can lead a defense. He’ll only be 25 by the time he signs in the offseason.
Prediction: Queen signs a 4-year/$65 million with the New England Patriots
19. FS Kyle Dugger
The Patriots under Bill Belichick typically have made it a priority to lock-down players of Kyle Dugger’s ilk. A heady safety with a nose for the ball, Dugger is the type of versatile player Belichick-led defenses are built around. Whether it’s defending the pass, covering the run, or getting after the quarterback, Dugger is capable of making plays all over the field. Titan fans are still sour about losing Kevin Byard. Signing Dugger (who is three years younger than Byard) would help settle some concerns about where this Titans team is headed.
Prediction: Dugger signs a 4-year/$56 million deal with the Tennessee Titans
18. CB L’Jarius Sneed
Kansas City’s defense is arguably the best group on the team right now. Of course, the unit is led by DT Chris Jones, but he’s not the only one getting it done. L’Jarius Sneed has been a stalwart at corner for the past four seasons. He’s a perfect fit for a team that loves to get after the QB and leave their corners on an island. If there’s a single weak spot you can point to on Pittsburgh’s defense, it’s at cornerback. The easiest route to improve that room is for the Steelers to start Joey Porter Jr. and sign a quality veteran like Sneed.
Prediction: Sneed signs a 3-year/$30 million deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers
17. S Antoine Winfield Jr.
This seems like a very good fit. The Patriots have a ton of cap space, and Winfield brings the type of versatility to the defense that Bill Belichick loves. He can play either safety spot, and can even line up in the slot as a primary defender. Thus far in his career, Winfield Jr. has played like a mini version of Tyrann ‘Honey Badger’ Mathieu. He’s a very active, smart player — and above all else is a playmaker. Plus, you know Belichick will love the pedigree Winfield Jr. has (as his dad was a longtime NFL defensive back).
Prediction: Winfield Jr. signs a 4-year/$75 million deal with the New England Patriots
16. RB Josh Jacobs
Following a tumultuous offseason, it seemed all but certain the Raiders and last year’s rushing leader Josh Jacobs were preparing for a breakup following the 2023 campaign. After not coming to a long-term agreement, Jacobs was a late entry into camp and got off to a slow start in the regular season. However, the script seemed to flip after Antonio Pierce took over as interim coach. Jacobs has spoken glowingly of Pierce’s coaching style. Some insiders across the league have insinuated that Jacobs would be more willing to sign an extension with the Raiders if Pierce is granted the full-time gig. If Pierce signs a long-term deal, he’ll want his bellcow back in tow.
Prediction: Jacobs signs a 2-year/$25 million deal with the Las Vegas Raiders
15. RB Saquon Barkley
The Eagles love to swing for the fences, and this one is no different. It would be wildly fascinating to see Barkley in Philadelphia with this collection of talent. Imagine trying to stop Barkley behind this offensive line. Oh — and you’ve got to also contend with Jalen Hurts, Dallas Goedert, A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith and company. This would be a luxury signing for the Eagles, but one which wouldn’t surprise us very much. Barkley, a Penn State grad, would also get to come back to Pennsylvania in the process.
Prediction: Barkley signs a 1-year/$15 million deal with the Philadelphia Eagles
14. CB Jaylon Johnson
Johnson has been a very consistent player since being drafted by the Bears a few years ago. His ball skills are among his better traits, and he has the versatility to line up in the slot and as a boundary corner. He’d have a ton of interest on the market should the Bears not franchise him. Johnson could come back on a one year deal, with the Bears then having some flexibility as to how they want to proceed with him moving forward.
Prediction: The Chicago Bears place the franchise tag on Johnson (1-year/$20 million)
13. DT Justin Madubuike
Madubuike is a player that can rush the passer. In fact, he’s one of the better interior linemen in the league with that skill-set. The Ravens would love to keep him in the fold, but the dearth of quality linemen across the league could result in Baltimore being priced out of the Madubuike sweepstakes. There have been plenty of rumblings across social media platforms to indicate that the Giants are highly interested in upgrading their interior with Madubuike.
Prediction: Madubuike signs a 4-year/$80 million deal with the New York Giants
12. EDGE Chase Young
The Niners will have to readjust their cap space a bit in order to re-sign Young. With that said, they may be able to bring him back on a bit of a discount. Young’s injury history for such a young player is rather extensive. He seems to love playing for the Niners, and SF would love to keep him in the fold considering his talent and age. We could look back on this one as a bit of a steal (though other teams might be willing to offer more cash for Young). This could be a situation/environment versus cash decision for Young.
Prediction: Young signs a 2-year/$25 million deal with the San Francisco 49ers
11. EDGE Brian Burns
It’s very likely the Panthers will franchise tag the young pass rusher. It gives the team an extra year to come to an agreement on a lengthy extension. Additionally, Burns is one of the best players on the team. Another year into the Bryce Young experiment could result in a bright future directionally for this franchise. If Burns sees that evidence, maybe he’s more likely to re-up. Or, Carolina will have a very attractive trade chip to use down the line.
Prediction: The Panthers place the franchise tag on Burns (1-year/$23 million)
10. WR Michael Pittman Jr.
Pittman Jr. has been the best receiver for this franchise over the last couple of years. As Anthony Richardson gets back healthy, the Colts will need some quality skill players around him. We don’t think Indianapolis will let Pittman Jr. walk in free agency despite probable interest from other teams around the league. Lock him up and continue to build around Richardson.
Prediction: Pittman Jr. signs a 4-year/$88 million deal with the Indianapolis Colts
9. WR Calvin Ridley
Calvin Ridley’s endured an up-and-down first year with the Jaguars. The former Falcon outright disappears for long stretches, as QB Trevor Lawrence seems to have built a stronger rapport with Christian Kirk. Ridley hasn’t been a seamless fit in this offense. While he can make plays on the outside, Ridley’s route-running style is best served in the slot — which is also Kirk’s best role. Ridley is perhaps better served on a team he can more freely move around. It’s plainly obvious the Chiefs need a dynamic pass-catching threat alongside TE Travis Kelce. Ridley would be a monster in Kansas City’s offense.
Prediction: Ridley signs a 3-year/$60 million deal with the Kansas City Chiefs
8. WR Mike Evans
Mike Evans has had an astonishing career. 2023 will mark the 10th straight season gaining over 1,000 receiving yards for Evans. There aren’t too many wideouts who have played at such a high level for this long. It seems like every game Evans somehow breaks free beyond the defense and picks up a huge gain. He’s also virtually unstoppable in the red zone given his massive 6-foot-5, 230-pound frame. Any team could use a player like Evans on the perimeter. The Jets are clearly in the WR market based on their reported interest in trading for Davante Adams. It’s unlikely the Raiders move Adams next year given the team would take a massive dead cap penalty for doing so. Evans is the more realistic scenario, and wouldn’t cost the Jets any draft capital.
Prediction: Evans signs a 4-year/$100 million deal with the New York Jets
7. LB Devin White
In 2024, Tennessee is projected to have the most cap space of any team. With upwards of $87 million to play with (per spotrac), the Titans should be a major player in the free agent market. White fits Mike Vrabel’s defense perfectly as an active and athletic player. He’s got a nose for the ball, and outside of some injury concerns, is one of the better linebackers on the market within this class.
Prediction: White signs a 5-year/$75 million deal with the Tennessee Titans
6. DT Christian Wilkins
The Bears need help everywhere. With nearly $64 million in projected cap space, Chicago has the ability to impact its roster rather quickly. Wilkins is an attractive player from the standpoint he has the versatility to line up all along the defensive line. A true three-down player, he’s flashed some real ability with the Dolphins during his tenure in Miami. As Chicago continues to retool its front seven, Wilkins could be a major game-changer.
Prediction: Hunter signs a 4-year/$80 million deal with the Chicago Bears
5. QB Kirk Cousins
Cousins has long been rumored to be headed to a team in desperate need of a signal-caller. Simply put, Desmond Ridder isn’t the future answer in Atlanta. The Falcons have a plethora of talented skill players in desperate need of a legitimate quarterback. Cousins might not be spectacular, but he’s a better option at this point compared to Ridder. Additionally, he’ll offer some much-needed experience to the team as a whole. Cousins would be a nice temporary solution as the Falcons aim to find their eventual long-term QB.
Prediction: Cousins signs a 3-year/$100 million deal with the Atlanta Falcons
4. EDGE Josh Allen
While Allen doesn’t get the same recognition as some of the other top pass rushers, he’ll be in high-demand this offseason. He won’t have a ton of competition on the edge, and could be looking at a huge payday given how well he’s performed in 2023. Allen has lived up to the billing of a former top draft pick, and has emerged as one of the league’s more potent pass rushers. Denver, who traded away Bradley Chubb last season, could definitely use more players who can get after the quarterback.
Prediction: Allen signs a 5-year/$100 million deal with the Denver Broncos
3. EDGE Danielle Hunter
Danielle Hunter is on the verge of breaking the bank. After signing a one-year deal last offseason, Hunter has emerged as one of the top pass rushers in all of football. We’ve seen him dominate for stretches before, but 2023 has been his best work so far. The three-time Pro Bowler will be in high-demand, and could garner one of the biggest offers of any potential free agent in the class. Let’s have some fun here, how about Hunter to the division rival Lions? Detroit will enter the 2024 offseason top-10 in available cap space. Imagine a defensive line featuring Hunter and Aidan Hutchinson? A terrifying potential duo for offenses across the league.
Prediction: Hunter signs a 5-year/$140 million deal with the Detroit Lions
2. WR Tee Higgins
Higgins is the prized receiver in this class due to his productivity and age. At just 24 years old, Higgins should just be entering his prime by the time the deal he signs this summer is set to expire. Whichever team signs him will be getting a Pro Bowl-caliber wideout throughout the entire length of Higgins’ potential contract. It’s unlikely the Bengals end up forking over the cash knowing Ja’Marr Chase’s big payday is coming soon. A big-bodied WR who could shine even further in a larger role, Higgins is the perfect fit for the Texans. Houston has gathered a solid pass-catching group around C.J. Stroud, but Higgins could put that offense over the top.
Prediction: Higgins signs a 4-year/$80 million deal with the Houston Texans
1. DT Chris Jones
Houston is one of the better up-and-coming franchises. It’s also a team chock-full of cap space. With the AFC South wide open at this point, DeMeco Ryans has the ability to make a massive splash by signing arguably the best defender on the market. Jones is a true game-changer — and is one of the most prolific defensive linemen in the league today. As he approaches age 30, you have to wonder if the Chiefs will pony up the cash for a guy slightly edging out of his prime. For the Texans, landing this experienced stud would be a no-brainer.
Prediction: Jones signs a 4-year/$115 million deal with the Houston Texans