The hectic period of free agency is long over, but many notable free agents are still available, including a handful of decorated frontrunners.
Some of them are likely to find homes in the coming weeks with postseason contenders or teams that missed out on leading running backs during the NFL draft. There are also some quality defensive backs available and even a two-time rushing champion with three Pro Bowl selections.
Here’s a list of the top 10 remaining free agents, with the best team settings. Also, since there are so many quality players available, an additional list at the end of the story.
1. Yannick Ngakoue, edge
Best Team Fit: Jets
Ngakoue, 28, has played for four different teams in the last three seasons. He struggles in many areas, but he excels at rushing the passer and is coming off a season in which he posted 9.5 sacks. The Jets would benefit from having Ngakoue as a rotating pass-rusher, especially since he could provide a safety net in case rookie Will McDonald IV struggles to find his footing. The best teams (like the 49ers and Eagles) have run-edge depth, and the Jets hope to reach that level with a talented defense to go along with their Great expectations with the arrival of Aaron Rodgers.
2. Frank Clark, edge
Best Team Fit: lions
Clark provides a lot of value as a consistent pass-rusher with success in the postseason. He’s no longer a double-digit sack artist, but he’s still a disruptor by creating hits and rushes. Plus, the two-time Super Bowl champion with the Chiefs tends to do his best job in the postseason: He had 2.5 sacks and four quarterback hits during Kansas City’s three playoff games last season. Clark, who is entering his age-30 season, would provide leadership to an inexperienced Lions team with postseason aspirations. Detroit needs a leading third running back to accompany Aidan Hutchinson and James Houston, two players who excelled as rookies last season.
3. Jadeveon Clowney, edge
Best Team Fit: Saints
Clowney, 30, recently said he is open to a reunion with the Texansbut the running back would be a better fit for the Saints, a team aiming to win the NFC South with newcomer quarterback Derek Carr. Clowney would form a solid duo with Cam Jordan and could provide guidance for rookie Isaiah Foskey, a 2023 second-round pick, and Payton Turner, a 2021 first-round pick. Clowney, the No. 1 pick in 2014, had just two sacks with the Browns last season, but he earned respectable marks in run defense (74.3) and passing rushing (70) from professional soccer focus.
4.Marcus Peters, CB
Best Team Fit: raiders
It’s somewhat surprising that the Raiders haven’t announced a contract deal with Peters after he visited the team earlier this month. Peters, who remained a quality starting cornerback with the Ravens last season, would improve a Raiders secondary that lacks playmakers and experience. Peters, 30, occasionally takes expensive risks on the field, but the energetic competitor still gets to hang out with the best wide receivers in the league. The Chiefs’ 2015 first-round pick recorded one interception and six passes defensed last season in Baltimore.
5. Melvin Ingram, border
Best Team Fit: jeans
Ingram, 34, is the oldest pass-rusher on this list, but he might be the best pure pass-rusher among free agents. Ingram (6’2″, 247 pounds) still has enough athleticism to overcome his lack of size for the position. He was an active playmaker for the Dolphins during the 2022 season, recording six sacks and 10 quarterback hits. Maybe Ingram would do better with a playoff contender, but the Texans are finally headed in the right direction, and Will Anderson Jr., the No. 3 pick in last month’s draft, would benefit from playing alongside the veteran.
6. Teddy Bridgewater, quarterback
Best Team Fit: cardinals
There are some teams that should seriously consider adding Bridgewater, who has 65 career starts since entering the league in 2014 as the Vikings’ first-round pick. The Cardinals should be interested in Bridgewater, mainly because their current QB plan (with Kyler Murray not expected to be ready for the 2023 season) starts 36-year-old Colt McCoy, who suffered multiple injuries last season. Arizona also has rookie Clayton Tune, the team’s fifth-round pick out of Houston. With Murray recovering from a torn ACL, the Cardinals would do well to add an experienced quarterback in the 30-year-old Bridgewater … but they can be more focused on the draft of 24.
7. John Johnson III, S.
Best Team Fit: chargers
It makes perfect sense for Johnson to meet with Chargers coach Brandon Staley, who guided the safety to a career year in 2020 as the Rams’ defensive coordinator. LA also needs help for Derwin James, with a lot of inexperience behind the All-Pro safety. The 27-year-old Johnson parlayed his breakout season with the Rams into a three-year, $33.75 million deal with the Browns, but he’s struggled with coverage the past two seasons. Perhaps a return to Southern California and working with Staley again could lead to a rebound season for Johnson.
8. Leonard Floyd, border
Best Team Fit: panthers
Continuing with the theme of familiarity with coaches, Floyd was close to Panthers defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero for two seasons with the Rams. Evero, who emerged as one of the NFL’s top defensive minds last season as the Broncos’ coordinator, needs a cutting-edge running back on the opposite side of Brian Burns. Floyd, 30, got off to a slow start in 2022 in part because he played on a sprained knee, but he finished with nine sacks in the last 11 games.
9. Ezekiel Elliott, RB
Best Team Fit: bengalis
Elliott, 27, is no longer in his prime, but he showed last season that he can still find the end zone and move the chains in low-yardage situations; the running back had 231 carries for 876 yards and 12 touchdowns in 15 games with the Cowboys. The Bengals could use Elliott’s services after losing Samaje Perine to the Broncos in free agency. Also, Joe Mixon’s time in Cincinnati is up in the air, given his legal issueshe the team has the option to cut it after June 1 for about $10 million in maximum savings.
10. Dalton Risner, OG
Best Team Fit: Giants
The Giants need help on the interior offensive line to go with rookie center John Michael Schmitz and tackles Andrew Thomas and Evan Neal. Risner, 27, would improve pass protection on the inside and has plenty of experience after starting 62 games for the Broncos over the past four seasons.
Ben Jones, C; Jarvis Landry, WR; Justin Houston, Edge; Bryce Callahan, CB; Adrian Amos, S; Robbie Gould, K; Casey Hayward, CB; Carson Wentz, quarterback; Kareem Hunt, R.B.; Cameron Brate, TE