The first wave of 2023 free agency is coming to a close as many of the top free agents are off the board, signing new contracts with other teams or returning to their current franchise. The first few days were a frenzy, but the market has dried up as the second wave is set to take place.
Regardless, there are plenty of good players available. These are the best ones left at each position.
While Lamar Jackson has the non-exclusive franchise tag on him and the Baltimore Ravens can match any offer, he's available for any team to negotiate a contract with. Jackson is the top free agent left in the league.
The Ravens are 45-16 in Jackson's 61 starts since he entered the league in 2018. They average 28.0 points per game when Jackson is on the field compared to 20.0 when Jackson misses games. Jackson is one of six players in NFL history to reach 100-plus passing touchdowns and 4,000-plus rushing yards in a career, and the fastest to reach the mark by 31 games. The Ravens are averaging 184.8 rushing yards per game with Jackson as a starter in his career -- the most by any starting quarterback since the 1970 merger.
Former MVPs at 26 years old don't hit free agency very often.
This demonstrates how the running back market has thinned over the last several days, as all the top rushers are off the board. Ezekiel Elliott is the top player left in a dry market.
Elliott was arguably the worst starting running back in the league last season, finishing last in the NFL in yards per carry (3.8), tackles avoided (32), and percentage of runs that went for 10-plus yards (7.4%). His rushing-yards-per-game numbers have declined each season as a result of the number of touches accumulated over the course of his career, averaging a career-low 58.4 rushing yards per game and 3.8 yards per carry in 2022.
Marvin Jones is heading into his mid-30s and his numbers declined (46 catches, 529 yards, three touchdowns) last season, but he's a productive veteran wideout who can help a young quarterback.
He's a good red zone target and can play the No. 2/No. 3 wide receiver role in an offense.
Not many tight ends left on the market, but Cameron Brate has valuable starting experience in the league (33 starts in 126 career games). He had just 20 catches for 174 yards last seaosn at the age of 31, but provides value in two-tight end sets and good tight end depth.
Taylor Lewan has experienced his fair share of injuries over the years, but is still a good player when he's on the field. Allowing four sacks and 22 pressures in his last full season (2021). Lewan can hold the fort down at left tackle -- in a league that doesn't have a lot of good ones.
Dalton Risner has spent the first four years of his pro career in Denver after the Broncos selected him in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft out of Kansas State. The 27-year-old is coming off a 2022 season where he gave up three sacks and was called for just one penalty on 967 offensive snaps played, according to Pro Football Focus.
Rodney Hudson played just four games last season, but only allowed two pressures and a pressure percentage of 1.1% in his 284 snaps. He's worth the contract for a team that needs a center, and provides excellent value for an offensive line.
Still one of the clutch edge rushers in football, Frank Clark's 13.5 sacks in the playoffs are third most in NFL history. Clark had just five sacks last season, but had 45 pressures and 13 quarterback hits. Clark has hit double digits in sacks twice and has made the Pro Bowl in three of the last four seasons (and is just 29).
It's surprising that Poona Ford is still on the market as the second wave of free agency approaches. The 27-year-old has 83 quarterback pressures across the last three seasons, since 2020, the most on the Seattle Seahawks in that span. Any team who could use a solid rotational piece along the interior of the defensive line should give him a call.
Edge rusher/Outside linebacker
With Nicholas Morrow off the board, Leonard Floyd is the best outside linebacker available -- although he's more of an edge rusher. Floyd had 54 pressures and nine sacks for the Los Angeles Rams last season -- and he's only 30.
Floyd also had a pressure rate of 11.6% with 22 quarterback hits.
Deion Jones is coming off his first season with the Cleveland Browns, playing in 11 games and starting five. He recorded 44 tackles, with 25 solo tackles and 2.5 sacks. He added an interception to his stats sheet last year, bringing his career total to 12. Last season was far from Jones' best, but saw a lot of success in the first few years of his NFL career, including a Pro Bowl selection.
One of the good man-cover corners in the game, Rock Ya-Sin allowed a 63.2 passer rating when opposing quarterbacks targeted him last season. He allowed just 51.7% of passes thrown his way to be caught with no touchdowns allowed.
For teams looking for a reliable corner, Ya-Sin provides excellent value. He's a good find in the second wave of free agency.
The safety market hasn't been strong in free agency, so there are plenty of good starters available. Adrian Amos is the top safety left, despite allowing 12 pass touchdowns in coverage over the past two seasons.
Amos had a career-worst 70.2% completion rate allowed when being targeted last year and an 103.8 passer rating allowed. Stil just 29, Amos did have a career-high 102 tackles last season.
Even at 40 years old, Robbie Gould is still one of the best kickers in the game. Gould hit 27 of 34 field goal attempts last season (84.4%) and 50 of 51 extra point attempts (98.0%). He still has never missed a kick in the postseason -- as Gould is 29 of 29 on field goals and 39 of 39 on extra points.