It’s almost a full week into NFL free agency, and after a flurry of moves during the negotiating period, the pace has slowed. But many talented players remain unsigned.
Recognizable names remain in search of the right lineup and financial arrangement that will enable them to continue their future football journey. Some might find these situations every day. Others may have to wait longer until the market calms down.
Here’s a look at the top 10 players still on the market.
Best remaining available: The Athletic150 best free agents
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Rank, The AthleticTop 150 free agents: number 1.
Baltimore’s franchise tagged the Ravens star, so he’s not technically a free agent who can sign with any team of his choosing. But it’s believed that Baltimore would accept offers for the unanimous NFL MVP in 2019. So far, things have been quiet on this front. But if the team really wants to change its fortunes and land a game-changing face of the franchise, it should pick up the phone and really take Jackson off the market.
Teams that may need: Falcons, Commanders.
Lamar Jackson’s market remains unclear as the new league year begins
LB Bobby Wagner
Rank, The AthleticTop 150 free agents: number 5.
Father Time has nothing on the longtime Seattle Seahawks linebacker, who had his 11th straight 100-plus tackle season at the ripe old age of 32 last year as a member of the LA Rams. Wagner (140 tackles and 10 for loss) also added a career-high six sacks, plus two interceptions and five pass breakups.
Teams that may need: Bills, lions.
DB CJ Gardner-Johnson
Rank, The AthleticTop 150 free agents: number 11.
Any team looking for a turnaround machine should seriously consider adding the fast-rising Gardner-Johnson to their secondary. After moving to safety, Gardner-Johnson tied for the NFL lead with six interceptions while also tallying 67 tackles for the Eagles.
Teams that may need: Eagles, bengals.
BY Frank Clark
Rank, The AthleticTop 150 free agents: number 23.
The three-time Pro Bowl defensive end has seen his production dip, but he remains an active and impactful tackler. He had five sacks and 13 quarterback hits last season for the Chiefs, and turns 30 this year. But in the right situation his presence could be felt.
Teams that may need: Chiefs, Browns.
WR Adam Thielen
Rank, The AthleticTop 150 free agents: number 28.
The nine-year Vikings veteran turns 33 this year, and his 113-catch season in 2018 is in the rearview mirror. Still, he remains a reliable and consistent contributor, with 70 receptions for 716 yards and six touchdowns in 2022.
Teams that may need: Cowboys, Bills.
WR Odell Beckham Jr.
Rank, The AthleticTop 150 free agents: number 29.
His recovery from a torn ACL took longer than he would have liked, but he is reportedly healthy and eager to help another team in the Super Bowl hunt. Despite still working his way back into football shape, Beckham looked pretty good at the practice he held for teams last week, according to multiple talent evaluators, who spoke on condition of anonymity so as not to reveal their teams’ plans. Beckham’s dominant days are behind him. But he could still serve as a reliable No. 2 option.
Teams that may need: Cowboys, bosses.
TE Dalton Schultz
Rank, The AthleticTop 150 free agents: number 30.
Talented tight ends aren’t always easy to come by, so teams shouldn’t wait too long if they want to sign Schultz, who averaged 10 yards per catch in each of the last two seasons for the Cowboys. After a 2021 season in which he recorded 78 catches for 808 yards and eight touchdowns, Schultz had 57 receptions for 577 yards and five touchdowns on 89 targets last year. Schultz could probably use a change of scenery.
Teams that may need: Packers, Commanders.
Rank, The AthleticTop 150 free agents: number 35.
He’s not considered an elite pass rusher, but Ngakoue is very good and very consistent, averaging 9.3 sacks per year over his seven seasons in the league. Last season, the 27-year-old recorded 9 1/2 sacks and eight tackles for loss in 15 games for Indianapolis.
Teams that may need: 49ers, Dolphins.
RB Kareem Hunt
Rank, The AthleticTop 150 free agents: number 136.
After spending the last four seasons in Cleveland with Nick Chubb, Hunt is eager for a chance to return, and he’s fresher than some of the other veterans on the market. It’s a deep draft class, but if the team decides to sign a veteran instead, Hunt could be the top pick.
Teams that may need: Accounts, Chargers.
RB Ezekiel Elliott
Rank, The AthleticTop 150 free agents: NO.
The Cowboys released Elliott this week, marking him out after June 1. He doesn’t boast as much as he used to, but there is a place for him in the NFL, especially on a team that has a dual rushing attack. Elliott continues to be very effective in tight yardage situations where he can use his strength. Despite averaging a career-low 3.8 yards per carry last season, Elliott was one of just eight NFL running backs with more than 10 rushing yards (12).
Teams that may need: Bills, Bears.
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(Top photo of Odell Beckham Jr.: Harry How / Getty Images)