The 2023 NFL season is less than two months away, however, there are still plenty of free agents looking for new teams as Week 1 approaches.
But who’s still on the market, and who could still make an impact? Here are five of the best free agents your NFL team could snap up before the season begins.
Dalvin Cook, Running Back (Last Team: Minnesota Vikings)
With Deandre Hopkins now a member of the Tennessee Titans, Dalvin Cook arguably holds the ‘Best Free Agent Available’ title.
ICYMI: The @Titans are signing five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins to a two-year, $26 million contract – which could be worth up to $32 million with incentives
— Decyfr Sport (@DecyfrSport) July 17, 2023
At the age of 27 (28 in Week 1) and fresh off four straight 1,000 rushing-yard seasons, Cook still has a lot to offer – even if the running back position is in crisis.
Thanks to the latest Saquon Barkley and Josh Jacobs off-season dramas, it’s clear to see that the league’s running backs feel undervalued and underpaid, and Cook will know that his time as an NFL starter is running out. However, the lack of interest in the four-time Pro Bowler points towards Cook starting the year as a backup, unless the likes of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers come calling.
But if a team is in need of a running back this year, there’s no one better to call upon than Cook.
Ezekiel Elliot, Running Back (Last Team: Dallas Cowboys)
Although it appears that Ezekiel Elliot is declining, the three-time Pro Bowler’s numbers last season prove he still has something to offer as a second or third-string running back this season.
The 28-year-old may have had the worst yards-per-attempt numbers of his career (3.8) in 2022, but he still managed to rack up 876 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. Plus, as Tony Pollard took over as the Cowboys’ number one running back last season, Elliot was forced to play mainly as a goal-line back – but he remained effective in the role.
This should be in the minds of NFL front offices and head coaches, as the running back could still have plenty in the tank ahead of the 2023 season.
Yannick Ngakoue, Defensive End (Last Team: Indianapolis Colts)
Yannick Ngakoue had a bright start to life in the NFL, earning a Pro Bowl selection and an AFC Championship Game appearance with the Jacksonville Jaguars in just his second year in the league.
He’s since gone on to finish each season of his career with at least eight sacks, even doing so in 2020, a year in which he played for multiple teams. He’s also totalled 19.5 sacks across his last two seasons with the Las Vegas Raiders and Indianapolis Colts, including 9.5 in 2022.
At the age of 28, and playing a position that is certainly not in flux, Ngakoue can still offer something to a team in need of an edge rusher.
Leonard Fournette, Running Back (Last Team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Just as with Cook and Elliot, Leonard Fournette is another running back that appears to be declining and one that would struggle to make an impact as a team’s first choice.
Even second-choice may be a stretch at this point, as, despite his heroics in the 2020 playoffs with the Buccaneers, Fournette has not had a 1,000-yard season since 2019 due to a combination of injury and poor form.
As the Cleveland Browns didn’t re-sign running back Kareem Hunt, Fournette could fit with head coach Kevin Stefanski’s run-first offense, behind star running back Nick Chubb.
Jadeveon Clowney, Defensive End (Last Team: Cleveland Browns)
Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is looking for a new team after spending the last two seasons with the Cleveland Browns.
The first overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft finished with nine sacks in 2021, but in 2022, he racked up just two sacks in 10 starts. However, a team could still benefit from his presence if he were to join them this summer.
Whilst Clowney’s failed to live up to his billing as a first overall pick, he’s earned three Pro Bowl selections during his nine-year career – and therefore makes a case to still be considered by teams as a free agent.
Munich and Frankfurt Games Unlike Anything the Country Has “Ever Seen Before”, Says NFL Germany MD, Alexander Steinforth
For the First Time Since ‘99, Tom Brady’s Not in the NFL – So Who Can Become this Generation’s ‘GOAT’?
What the signing of Odell Beckham Jr. means for the Ravens, their quarterback – and the New York Jets