Untapped Talent: The Top Five NFL Free Agents Still on the Market
As NFL teams enter the minicamp phase of their offseason workouts, there remains a pool of high-quality players on the free-agent market eagerly looking to secure a spot with a team before training camp commences in late July.
Here are the top five players who are still available:
- DeAndre Hopkins, Wide Receiver: Despite numerous teams expressing interest in acquiring Hopkins, the hurdle lies in his reported salary demands matching that of Odell Beckham Jr. ($18 million). While many teams have a genuine interest in Hopkins, who boasts an impressive track record of four consecutive 1,000-yard seasons just two years ago, financial constraints limit their ability to meet his expectations. However, if Hopkins adjusts his desired salary, teams such as the Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots, and Tennessee Titans have vacancies at the wide receiver position, making him an instant asset to their receiving corps.
- Yannick Ngakoue, Defensive End: It is a surprise that Ngakoue remains available, given his status as one of the league’s premier pass-rushers at the age of 28. Last season, he led the Colts with 9.5 sacks, ranking second in pressures (44), QB hits (16), and third in hurries (23). Ngakoue has consistently achieved at least eight sacks and 44 pressures per season, making him an appealing option for teams aiming to bolster their pass rush. The Bears, Chiefs, Falcons, Giants, Packers, and Titans are among the teams that could benefit from his talents.
- Ezekiel Elliott, Running Back: Despite statistically having his worst season in 2022, Elliott still managed to score 12 touchdowns and accumulate nearly 900 rushing yards while splitting playing time with Tony Pollard. However, Elliott’s obstacle lies not in teams doubting his remaining career potential but rather in their reluctance to invest heavily in running backs. The top two free-agent backs, Miles Sanders and David Montgomery secured contracts of four years or fewer, earning $6.25 million or less annually. While Elliott may not reach his previous 1,400-yard performance, a salary within the reasonable range of $3 million to $4 million makes him an attractive option for teams in need of running back depth, such as the Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos, or New York Jets.
- Frank Clark, Defensive End: At 29 years old, Clark remains a reliable edge rusher capable of achieving a minimum of five sacks, potentially more within the right system. Although it has been four seasons since he reached double-digit sacks, Clark consistently exerts pressure on opposing quarterbacks, averaging 54 pressures, 40 hurries, and 16 QB hits per season. Teams can never have too many talented pass-rushers. Clark presents a viable option for several teams seeking assistance in their edge-rushing department, including the Bears, Bengals, Broncos, Colts, Falcons, Giants, or Vikings.
- Carson Wentz, Quarterback: While Wentz’s days as a starting quarterback may be behind him following two underwhelming years with the Indianapolis Colts and Washington Commanders, the former second-overall pick can serve as an option for teams seeking either a mentor for a young quarterback or a reliable backup. The Green Bay Packers, who may desire a veteran presence to ease Jordan Love’s transition into his first year as a full-time starter, and the Las Vegas Raiders, who face the prospect of turning to 37-year-old Brian Hoyer or rookie Aidan O’Connell due to a potential Jimmy Garoppolo injury or failed physical, emerge as potential landing spots for Wentz.