Most NFL rosters will undergo only minor tweaks from now until the start of the 2023 season. But sometimes it’s the minor tweaks that prove to be major, with spring and summer additions bolstering key areas of depth for contenders large and small.
With that in mind, which top remaining free agents could still draw interest before Week 1? And, more specifically, where could they logically end up? Let’s play matchmaker with a few big names that are still unsigned:
Lost in Green Bay’s transition from Aaron Rodgers to Jordan Love is the fact the Packers have yet to add a single experienced backup for their new quarterback. Wentz may be mercurial, but he’s a battle-tested veteran in contrast to current reserves Sean Clifford and Danny Etling. He’d also be closer to his Midwestern roots.
Arizona is probably more concerned with competing in 2024, but with Kyler Murray recovering from a late-year ACL tear and aging backup Colt McCoy also coming off his own injuries, new coach Jonathan Gannon may be counting on Clayton Tune and David Blough to carry them early. Bridgewater, meanwhile, is a proven stopgap with ties to Gannon and coordinator Drew Petzing.
Los Angeles isn’t in dire need of a running back as long as Austin Ekeler is in tow, but Ekeler is at his best as a passing outlet for Justin Herbert, and despite a relatively inefficient closing chapter with the Cowboys, Elliott still has the wherewithal to hold a rotational role. New Chargers coordinator Kellen Moore is also familiar with Zeke from their days in Dallas.
The Vikings already addressed wide receiver by spending a first-rounder on Jordan Addison, whose route-running skills should pair perfectly with the explosive Justin Jefferson. But Landry shouldn’t cost much. If healthy, he’d profile as solid competition for K.J. Osborn in the slot, especially as Minnesota potentially goes even more pass-oriented amid Dalvin Cook’s uncertain future.
Almost nothing went right for Golladay once he cashed in on his Detroit emergence back in 2021 free agency. But the ex-Giant’s big frame would be welcome as more of a secondary option now that the Lions have their sights set on a playoff run, especially with Jameson Williams suspended to start the year.
They’ve got the big pieces in place at quarterback and pass rusher with C.J. Stroud and Will Anderson Jr. Now it’s time to ensure Stroud can stay upright; while the tackle spots are OK, Houston could stand to beef up the interior. Jones began his career with the Texans before a long run in Tennessee, and both he and rookie Juice Scruggs have the ability to play guard and center.
Why not, right? Detroit has been busy upgrading every level of its defense this offseason, but they could still use a pure pass rusher opposite Aidan Hutchinson, especially as they eye a legit playoff push. Ngakoue’s book has been written as a one-trick pony off the edge, but as a one-year flyer a la C.J. Gardner-Johnson, the big-play upside is there.
Seattle made sure to invest in its front seven this offseason, paying a pretty penny to add Dre’Mont Jones and reunite with Jarran Reed. But the Seahawks could still use some juice off the edge, and Floyd, a cap casualty of the rival Rams, has quietly posted at least nine sacks in three straight seasons. He could be a plug-and-play 3-4 outside linebacker for them.
He may be past his prime, but Peters still brings lots of toughness to the secondary, and if San Francisco still considers itself an NFC contender, it could use added depth on the back end, where Emmanuel Moseley and Jimmie Ward departed via free agency. The team did add Isaiah Oliver from Atlanta, but Peters’ outside experience could come in handy down the stretch.
L.A.’s secondary is already headlined by Derwin James, but Brandon Staley is otherwise counting on former sixth-rounder Alohi Gilman, who has nine career starts, to man the other safety role on a prospective contender. Staley also happened to oversee one of Johnson’s best years with the Rams, before the veteran cashed in with the Browns.