It’s never too early to start looking forward to free agency, with Day One of the 2023 NFL calendar now just four months away. This list will be updated throughout the 2022 season, with more players being added and their rankings in flux.
We kicked things off with an early list of the Top 10 New Clients, headlined by three quarterbacks who all got to this point via very different paths.
1. QB Lamar JacksonAnd the Baltimore Crows
Who else but the MVP of 2019 and the NFL’s Most Exciting Player? No one produces more must-see TV than Jackson, and the facade that only a quarterback can win with a certain style of play is slowly fading away.
Jackson isn’t just the league’s hottest open field runner at the quarterback position. His big throw rate of 5.1% since 2019 is the 15th highest mark among eligible quarterbacks, and he boasts a passing score of 92.5 on throws over 10 yards in the same period.
The Ravens once again chose to largely neglect the wide receiver position this offseason, which doesn’t get discussed enough when people criticize Jackson’s game, as they seem to love to do. Jackson will never be a mere passer-by, but the belief that this is necessary to win in 2022 must disappear, because this is not the era of football we live in anymore.
2. QB Gino SmithAnd the Seattle Seahawks
Imagine before the season started, mired in a quarterback battle with Drew Lock In Seattle, we had Gino Smith as the top free agent goal across the NFL midway through the 2022 campaign. You don’t hear much about 32 years old, which is 10th year, but that’s exactly what we’re seeing this season from Smith.
Nothing about what he’s doing is awful or overly backed by things like theatrics, performances out on unstable metrics like passing grade versus pressure, or any other method you use to try to poke holes in his production this season. Smith earned an 85.9 overall score and an 89.1 passing score from a fourth-ranked clean pocket. His 11 passes on 20-plus-yard throws are three times more than the best quarterback, and his big throw rate of 6.7% ranks third.
There is still a lot of football left this season, but there is no current indication that we should expect some massive decline. Smith’s passing score of 84.0 against open mid-field coverage further demonstrates that he doesn’t make great use of the number of tackle boxes freeing up his receivers in an effort to sell them for a run. We could go on, but the fact of the matter is that Smith has played like a legitimate top quarterback in the NFL this season.
While it’s still not clear if Brady wants to restart for the 46-year-old’s season in 2023, one thing is crystal clear: He’s still among the elite football pitchers in the NFL today. Many scoffed at the idea that Tampa Bay would become an instant contender when signed into free agency for 2020 at the age of 43, all he did was win a Super Bowl in his first season with the team and follow it up with a career-high 13 wins. The 2021 campaign in which he almost made a miraculous comeback on the band’s Vs Los Angeles Rams.
Brady has a case for being the better player on this list, but since he might very well retire, we’re going to let the young boys get ahead of him this time around. Brady’s 77.9 passing score ranks eighth on the season, and his 18 touchdowns by his wide receivers are third on the year. Sure enough, he’s thrown a league-leading 427 tackles this season, averaging 48 attempts per game from Week 3 to Week 9.
Brady’s turnover rate of 2.3% is sixth lowest among eligible quarterbacks, evidenced by a streak of 399 consecutive passes without an interception that ended in Germany when Seattle Seahawks full back Cody Barton Pick it up from the middle. It was the second-longest streak in NFL history, just three behind the record of 402 he set Aaron Rodgers in 2018.
Even at the age of 45, Brady is still among the best in the league. Just Don’t line it up too broadly Throw the ball at him. Otherwise, things should go on fine.
4. OF Javon HargraveAnd the Philadelphia Eagles
Hargrave moved from Western Penn State to the East Coast during free agency in 2020 and has been a powerhouse in Philadelphia, blossoming into one of the NFL’s leading inside passers over the past few seasons. Since 2020, Hargrave’s tracks only pass-rush 91.8 Aaron Donald And the Chris Joneswith a win rate of 19.2%, also ranked third.
Hargrave will be 30 for the 2023 season, but we’ve seen several inside linebackers keep their longevity well into their 30s lately. Hargrave is also interesting, as the different responsibilities between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia have led to interesting divisions as a running back or forward. His scores on run defense were much better his first stop, but he seems to be able to excel at whatever’s asked of him, which is good to know for interested teams who probably don’t often deploy a five-man front and do a lot of other weird stuff. Performed by Philadelphia Early.
5. ol Elton JenkinsAnd the Green Bay Packers
The beauty of signing a player like Elgton Jenkins in free agency is that he makes sense as an addition no matter where a team needs reinforcements along its offensive line. Returning from an ACL tear in 2021, Jenkins earned a grade of 67.7 on the season despite switching from right tackle to left guard over the past few weeks.
Jenkins has career-high grades of over 65.0 at center, left guard, left tackle, and right tackle, and while right guard happens to be the only place he didn’t receive big shots, it’s not like he was bad there. He was in the midst of what appeared to be a third-year break in 2021, and had an 82.1 overall score before his injury, which is a smart bet to get back into form again healthy.
The Chicago Bears With offensive coordinator Luke Getsy coming in from Green Bay this past holiday season he couldn’t be more suited to his services, and they happen to have nearly $125 million in projected 2023 space at their disposal. If the Packers don’t run the stretch or make the mark on Jenkins, expect them to throw a literal sack at one of the league’s most versatile offensive linemen.
6.S. Jesse Bates IIIAnd the Cincinnati Bengals
Bates seems likely to reach unrestricted free agency this time after Cincinnati put the franchise tag on him last season and he didn’t make a serious offer for several years.
While his 71.1 PFF grade through Week 10 is only the 27th best at the position, his 80.9 run defense grade is the highest mark of the 10th. Bates is also on course to play his fifth 900-plus early season in five years as an NFL player. , pairing his above-average skill set with remarkable reliability. It only comes late Kevin Byard in regular season snaps played between safety zones since 2018.
7.CB Jamal DeanAnd the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Fellow Pirates Corner Buck Carlton Davis He’s back on the team this season on a three-year, $44.5 million contract that could serve as a benchmark to show Dean wherever he ends up. Dean has some injuries but has outperformed Davis since entering the league in 2019, earning coverage grades above 75.0 every season so far:
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Dean takes some risks trying to jump runs that can sometimes lead to explosive over-the-top receptions, but his size, athleticism, and physique at the line of scrimmage enable him to disrupt opposing wide receiver releases and he’ll have plenty of teams interested. He doesn’t have great skills on the ball – although he does have two interceptions a year – and can be a little rough on the hips, but here we’re playing a guy who can fit in well with a lot of the top guys. Wide-body receivers across the NFL.
8.LB Lafonte DavidAnd the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
One of the best midfielders of his generation, David still plays at a very high level and could benefit from it New Orleans Saints full back Demario Davis And the Los Angeles Rams full back Bobby Wagner They are playing very good football in their 30s under recently signed contracts of their own. Possibly missing a step or two with age can be nullified by an elite admission of playing instincts, both of which David has in spades.
David’s coverage score of 86.5 as of Week 10 ranks third among off-the-ball linebackers this season, and his elite mark of 92.9 over the past four seasons is the highest mark for that position.
9.WR Jacob MyersAnd the New England Patriots
Yet every wide receiver in the 2019 NFL Draft who was scheduled to go into free agency this offseason Signed Monster Extensions Before the year began, Myers found himself as the best free agent in a position that grew more important (and valuable) every week. Myers was a free agent discovery for the Patriots in 2019 who blossomed into a very good player, returning to New England in 2022 at a restricted free agent tender and comfortably outperforming all of the other major investments the team has made in the position over the past two seasons.
New England would definitely try to keep Myers, probably Nelson Agulor Access to free agency at least, but they’ve also made it a habit to let players walk after the value of their rookie contract wears off, particularly with another former free agent undrafted cornerback. JC Jackson post offseason.
Myers is mostly a slot receiver but he certainly isn’t Just However, about a third of his shots are widely recorded. What he lacks in physicals — his 4.63-second 40-yard dash ranks in the 14th percentile among wide receivers in the PFF database — he more than makes up for with sharp runs and great hands. Over the past three seasons, his drop rate of 3.6% ranks 12th among eligible wide receivers, and at 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, he can use his frame to make contested catches. His 69% contested catch rate is the highest mark among all wide receivers over the past three seasons.
10. O.T Mike McGlincheyAnd the San Francisco 49ers
McGlinchey didn’t live up to his top 10 billing coming out of the 2018 NFL Draft, but he’s a good right tackle player and got back in form after suffering a torn quadriceps muscle in 2021. He’s dealt with several minor injuries over the years, but he’s done just fine. To avoid wasting a lot of time in general.
McGlinchey is a perfect fit in Kyle Shanahan’s rushing offense in the wide area, earning an 86.0 run blocking score since entering the league’s top 10 mark among tackles. He still has room to grow as a pass protector, but has significantly decreased his pressing percentage allowed from 6.1% over his first three seasons to 5.2% over the last two.