Five Best NFL Free Agents At Every Position With Possible Landing Spots For Beckham Jr., Garoppolo

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It used to be unofficially called the NFL’s legal tampering period and now the league calls it the “negotiating period,” but whatever you call it, free agency begins in earnest at noon ET today.

That’s when all clubs are permitted to contact, and enter into contract negotiations with, the agents of players who will become unrestricted free agents at 4 p.m. (ET) Wednesday.

During the two-day negotiating period, a prospective UFA who is not represented by an NFLPA agent is permitted to communicate directly with a new club’s front office officials (excluding the head coach and other members of the club’s coaching staff) regarding contract negotiations.

No prospective Unrestricted Free Agent is permitted to execute a contract with a new club until 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 15.

Here are the top 5 free agents at each position:

ARLINGTON, TEXAS – JANUARY 16: Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers walks off the field after defeating the Dallas Cowboys 23-17 in the NFC Wild Card Playoff game at AT&T Stadium on January 16, 2022 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Jimmy Garoppolo Looking To Start


1. Jimmy Garoppolo (San Francisco)

2. Baker Mayfield (Los Angeles Rams)

3. Sam Darnold (Panthers)

4. Marcus Mariota (Falcons)

5. Jacoby Brissett (Browns)

Comment: There are 35 free agent quarterbacks about to be available. Garoppolo is a bridge quarterback who will sign with a team — plausibly Las Vegas because of his familiarity with head coach Josh McDaniels — to be the starter. Everyone else has to compete to start or settle for a backup or third-string job, regardless of their past high draft status. Mayfield is pointed to the Buccaneers, as OutKick said on March 1, barring a late course change.

Running back

1. Miles Sanders (Philadelphia)

2. Jamal Williams (Detroit)

3. David Montgomery (Chicago)

4. D’Onta Foreman (Carolina)

5. Damien Harris (Patriots)

Comment: There are solid players in the running back class so there will be bargains here. Despite the fact both Sanders and Williams delivered outstanding seasons in 2022 neither is going to break the bank or should. Foreman has the potential to be the best value in the class.

ARLINGTON, TX – SEPTEMBER 16: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys greets Odell Beckham Jr. #13 of the New York Giants after the Dallas Cowboys beat the New York Giants 20-13 at AT&T Stadium on September 16, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

A Giants Return For Odell Beckham?

Wide Receiver

1. Odell Beckham Jr.

2. Allen Lazard (Green Bay)

3. Jakobi Meyers (New England)

4. Adam Thielen (Minnesota)

5. Juju Smith-Schuster (Kansas City)

Comment: These are all No. 2 wide receivers. Yes, including Beckham Jr. because he cannot be counted on to play all 16 games and catch 90 passes based on his injury and personal history. Beckham Jr. is, however, different than the others in that he can be dynamic. The Giants and Cowboys were the most interested last year but Dallas has cap issues now. The rest of the field will see interest because the receivers coming out in the draft are not the match of the past few draft classes. Lazard has rare size for his position. Meyers is an outstanding complementary addition.

Tight End

1. Dalton Schultz (Dallas)

2. Austin Hooper (Tennessee)

3. Mike Gesicki (Miami)

4. Hayden Hurst (Cincinnati)

5. Robert Tonyan Jr. (Green Bay)

Comment: Gesicki is the most dynamic pass-catching and red zone threat of the bunch but he simply cannot block which limits him in many offenses. Schultz will get plenty of action in free agency as will Hooper as long as they don’t want to break the bank. Truth is it’s a good year for tight ends in the draft which could cost this group money.

Jason Kelce Explains The Difference Between Cowboys And Eagles Fans
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA – DECEMBER 21: Jason Kelce #62 of the Philadelphia Eagles walks off the field after defeating the Washington Football Team at Lincoln Financial Field on December 21, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

Will Jason Kelce Run It Back Or Retire?

Offensive line

1. LT Orlando Brown (Kansas City)

2. C Jason Kelce (Philadelphia)

3. RT Kaleb McGary (Atlanta)

4. G Isaac Seumalo (Philadelphia)

5. RT Mike McGlinchey (San Francisco)

Comment: Assuming Kelce doesn’t retire, a decision not yet made public, he would like to finish out with the Eagles. But what if someone else offers him a ton of money for a year or two? He can still play at a high level and is wonderful in the locker room. Brown wants to be among the highest paid LT in the NFL.

Interior DL

1. Javon Hargrave (Philadelphia)

2. Dre’Mont Jones (Denver)

3. Dalvin Tomlinson (Minnesota)

4. Zach Allen (Arizona)

5. David Onyemata (New Orleans)

Comment: The Commanders signed Daron Payne to a 4-year, $90 million deal on Sunday and although none of these player will rise to that level, they won’t come cheaply. Hargrave should break the bank somewhere in that he was a borderline All Pro last season. Allen learned a lot from J.J. Watt last season and must prove his climb can continue without Watt around. Jones, a 3-4 DE, is a very good pass rusher.

TAMPA, FL – DECEMBER 05: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Linebacker Lavonte David (54) wraps up New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram (22) during the regular season game between the New Orleans Saints and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on December 05, 2022 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Lavonte David Is A Defense Maker


1. Lavonte David (Tampa Bay)

2. Tremaine Edmunds (Buffalo)

3. Bobby Wagner (Los Angeles)

4. Bobby Okereke (Indianapolis)

5. T.J. Edwards (Philadelphia)

Comment: David might be best off-ball linebacker based on his coverage skills, speed and hustle. Wagner is 32 years old so his best ball may be behind him, but he showed no hint of slowing at age 31. Edmunds is the other end of the spectrum in that he’s only 24 and probably hasn’t played his best ball yet. Edwards is a potential an under-the-radar signing that is likely to pay dividends.


1. Yanick Ngakoue (Indianapolis)

2. Arden Key (Jaguars)

3. Charles Omenihu (SF).

4. Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (Houston)

5. Marcus Davenport (New Orleans)

Comment: Ngakoue is a complementary edge rusher who is undersized and has never really been explosive. But he wins on constant effort and that hasn’t diminished. Key has been a bargain addition to teams the past two years and someone is going to see this as a pattern and pay. Davenport, often injured, is a risk and someone will take it for one year based on his potential and age. Someone will ask where’s Jadeveon Clowney? Teams aren’t buying potential anymore so his signing will reflect that.

Jordan Poyer Takes Shot At States That Steal 'Half My Money'
Jordan Poyer is coming off a Pro Bowl season.

Lots Of Playmakers At Safety


1. C.J. Gardner-Johnson (Philadelphia)

2. Jordan Poyer (Buffalo)

3. Donovan Wilson (Dallas)

4. Jessie Bates III (Cincinnati)

5. Vonn Bell (Cincinnati)

Comment: The Bengals will try to re-sign Bell while making a different decision on Bates. All these guys are playmakers. All expect to get paid. Most of them will.


1. Jamel Dean (Tampa Bay)

2. James Bradberry (Philadelphia)

3. Jonathan Jones (New England)

4. Sean Murphy-Bunting (Tampa Bay)

5. Cameron Sutton (Pittsburgh)

Comment: Five years ago, Patrick Peterson and Marcus Peters would have easily led this group but time is a factor and Peterson, for example, is pushing 33 years old despite playing well last season. What are the Tampa Bay Bucs going to do beyond Carlton Davis?


1. KR-PR-DB Keisean Nixon (Green Bay)

2. PR-KR-WR Braxton Berrios (Jets)

3. KR-RB Raheem Mostert (Dolphins)

4. P Jake Bailey (Patriots)

5. K Brett Maher (Dallas)

Comment: Nixon finished third in kickoff return average and second in punt return average in 2022. Bailey was great in 2020 and an enigma the next couple of seasons, leading to his release in recent days after he filed a grievance against he team. Can he return to form?

Follow on Twitter @ArmandoSalguero

Written by Armando Salguero

One Comment

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  1. Nobody in the history of football has received more undeserved praise and undue hype than Odell Beckham, Jr. Last time I checked, the Rams won the Super Bowl with him on the sidelines, and before and after that moment, he helped exactly zero teams win anything of import.

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