NFL Free Agent Rankings for 2024: Top 50 Players Set to Enter Free Agency

Happiness Oyiza
By Happiness Oyiza
41 Min Read

The 2024 free agent class is stacked with star power that could shape the league for years to come. We’re ranking the top 50 players set to hit the open market, so you know who your team needs to open the checkbook for. It includes some of the biggest names in football, like DI Chris Jones and QB Kirk Cousins.

Top 50 Players Set to Enter Free Agency

NFL Free Agent Rankings for 2024

Below are 50 players set to enter free agency in 2024:

50. LB Jordyn Brooks, Seattle Seahawks

Because Brooks is put in tough covering situations, his grade goes down a bit. However, this shows that the defence trusts him. He was able to come back by Week 1 of 2023 after tearing his ACL in Week 17 of 2022, which was a huge accomplishment. This season, he’s set career highs in pass-rush grade and coverage grade. Brooks is a three-down player who could keep getting better as his health and skills get better.

If Brooks wants to get back on the market faster for another chance, he might be smart to sign a shorter deal. That way, he can play more good football after a year off from repairing his torn ACL.

49. Edge Leonard Floyd, Buffalo Bills

In 2023, the Los Angeles Rams went from being the most expensive NFL team to the least expensive. Floyd was let go by them. Still, he has made a few big plays this season, and a few of them have come at important times when the Bills defence is having a tough time.

Floyd has gotten pass-rush grades of 65.0 or higher for four years in a row, and his 37.5 sacks over that time have been overlooked as a top-10 mark for edge defenders.

48. Edge Josh Uche, New England Patriots

Like the New York Jets’ Bryce Huff, Uche is hard to judge. However, Huff’s part has grown even though the Jets picked up an edge defender in the first round, while Uche’s role has shrunk even though key players like Matthew Judon have been hurt in New England.

Uche is a straight pass-rusher who can be used on late downs to pin his ears back and get home for pressures and sacks at the right time, which is still useful. Taking a one-year trip to raise his worth may be the best thing to do right now.

47. T Mekhi Becton, New York Jets

The player who was picked 11th overall in the 2020 draft has always been fast enough to play at a high level in this league. Injuries have just ruined a young career that had a lot of potential.

The most important thing is that Becton is on track to play more snaps in 2023 than he did in his first three seasons together. The 6’7″, 363-pound dancing bear looked leaner in training camp, and he’s done a great job as a pass blocker even though there have been a lot of quarterbacks behind him. But this season, when he was pull-blocking across the field, he got caught in the muck and fell to the ground. He has the skills to be the lead blocker on the play side.

46. TE Hunter Henry, New England Patriots

The New England Patriots’ passing attack has had long dry spells since Henry joined as a free agent in 2021. He has been one of the few steady and reliable targets for them.

The tight-end free agent class isn’t as strong as it could be, so the high-floor veteran might have a few suitors looking to add to a team that needs a known product.

45. LB Patrick Queen, Baltimore Ravens

As with Carolina Panthers linebacker Frankie Luvu, Queen’s skill as a pass-rusher isn’t shown below, but it’s a very important skill to have in addition to his good play against the run and in coverage over the last two seasons. In the last two years, he has had 35 quarterback pressures and 8 sacks, which are both the second most among off-ball defenders.

Baltimore added linebacker Roquan Smith, who was the highest-paid player at the position after last year’s deal. There are also a number of other free agents coming up, so Queen should be able to test the market and could do very well for himself.

44. C Andre James, Las Vegas Raiders

The previous Raiders brass clearly respected and trusted James because they were willing to trade Rodney Hudson to the Arizona Cardinals so James could take his place at the centre.

It turned out to be a smart move. James is calm and a good fit in pass protection. He can mirror the more mobile interior pass-rushers and usually block power rushes, though there are a few times when he has to face the real brute forces on the inside.

43. S Xavier McKinney, New York Giants

McKinney has top-10 coverage grades as a free safety (81.4) and in the box (79.4) in 2023. There is a large enough sample size of box play to show that he is effective, even though he is usually used as a deep player. Over the last three years, McKinney has been one of the best safeties in the league, allowing only 7.0 yards per target. He also has 17 picks and forced incompletions, which puts him in the top 20.

He could make more plays at or near the line of scrimmage, but he almost always makes stops in the open field. Throughout his career, the 24-year-old has missed only 7.8% of his tackles, which ranks him 11th out of 89 safeties with at least 100 tackles over the last four seasons. This makes him a good last line of defence.

42. Edge Za’Darius Smith, Cleveland Browns

Smith was traded from the Minnesota Vikings to the Cleveland Browns this summer. His contract was changed to a one-year deal worth $11.677 million, which he has once again blown away. Smith is big and quick enough to rush from the A-gaps out to a two-point stance as a stand-up outside linebacker. In each of his last four full seasons, he has gotten pass-rush marks above 80.0.

41. CB Kenny Moore II, Indianapolis Colts

Moore pushed for an early extension on the four-year deal he signed in 2019, but the Colts were working to change the team and get younger, especially in the defence. Moore is getting a career-high 82.5 grade in coverage and a 71.3 grade in run defence. This is the sixth season in a row that he has gotten a score above 65.0.

Moore, who is 5 feet 9 inches tall and 190 pounds, never misses a chance to make a tackle. He does a good job as the force defender to keep ball runners inside or run the alley to make the tackle himself when needed, which is an important part of Gus Bradley’s Cover 3 defense.

Moore’s great showing in Week 9 made him only the 28th player in NFL history to record two pick-sixes in the same game. He can now build on a strong season. But it will be hard to win in a slot cornerback market that is totally dead.

READ ALSO: Ranked: Top 10 NFL Most Valuable Linebackers 2024

40. Edge Jadeveon Clowney, Baltimore Ravens

Clowney is having a great year because Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald is turning up the heat on him by using fake pressures and unique blitzes from different sides.

It looks like Clowney will likely spend the rest of his career on one-year deals that change based on how well he does the following year. He certainly deserved a raise this season. If he keeps going at this rate, he will set new records for most overall pressures, most pass-rush wins, and pressures on the quarterback.

39. LB Lavonte David, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

David is getting his worst overall grade since 2016 so far in 2023, but he is still Mr. Reliable because his run defense grade is above 70.0, and his covering grade is 65.0 or higher for the seventh year in a row. With his unmatched understanding of the game, David is one of the best coverage linebackers who has ever played the game. Each week, he shows that he can think one step ahead of the other team’s quarterback despite some physical limitations.

David didn’t try very hard to make the most money as a free agent last year, and it looks like he may be happy to be starting his 13th season with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

38. Edge Jonathan Greenard, Houston Texans

Greenard has made the most of his contract year under the guidance of DeMeco Ryans and his team. He’s been effective as both a pass rusher and a run defender; his 9.3% run-stop rate ranks eighth among qualified edge defenders.

Greenard is good at stopping the run because he has a quick first step, can quickly figure out what’s wrong, and can set the edge well enough to avoid getting washed out at the point of attack. Even though he doesn’t have a lot of pass-rushing moves, he is a good enough athlete to put up clean-up and pursuit pressures on quarterbacks if his peers follow them. He never gives up on a rep until the whistle blows.

37. C Connor Williams, Miami Dolphins

Williams started his career with the Dallas Cowboys as a left guard. He has since grown and thrived in Miami as a centre, where he excels as a run blocker in Mike McDaniel’s zone-blocking system and can quickly get to the second level and lead the way. He isn’t the biggest anchor in a phone booth, but his quick first step off the line lets him protect the backside of runs by getting in position.

36. TE Dalton Schultz, Houston Texans

In 2022, Schultz played for Dallas under the franchise tag. He was a victim of a very weak free-agent class for tight ends. The group of second-tier tight ends had a rough summer because so many of their free-agency deals didn’t go well. Now that it’s been a year, Schultz has been a steady target for C.J. Stroud out in Houston. Schultz has a good touch and an average depth of target of 8.7 yards, but he doesn’t gain a lot of yards after the catch.

35. CB Steven Nelson, Houston Texans

Nelson has been a great fit for the Houston Texans for two years in a row, even though the defence has changed from Lovie Smith to DeMeco Ryans. Nelson has played a lot of snaps in a lot of different covering schemes since he played for the Philadelphia Eagles, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Kansas City Chiefs.

Nelson, who is always reliable, is also on track to play more than 950 snaps for the sixth straight season. He is best in off-coverage, but he still has the skills to click and close in coverage and support.

34. LB Frankie Luvu, Carolina Panthers

Luvu made a big splash in 2021 and has been one of the best pass-rushing off-ball linebackers in the NFL ever since. His 34 hits since 2022 tie for third place at the position, and his 8.5 sacks put him first.

Luvu has also made 57 stops against the run since 2022, the 11th most of any linebacker during that time. He isn’t great at defense, but he’s a real threat when he rushes the passer or runs through holes to make tackles for loss.

33. CB Stephon Gilmore, Dallas Cowboys

Before the trade from the Indianapolis Colts to the Dallas Cowboys this summer, Gilmore was playing good football again. He hasn’t missed a beat, as he’s moved around over the last few years. Gilmore is still great at single coverage and can get into it with the bigger players who play through contact. He can time his jump well for contested catches and jump routes with good play recognition at the end of the play.

A fight with A.J. Brown had him play great football in Week 14 after he reportedly called him old early in the game. Gilmore stepped up and locked down Brown until the second half when the game was already over.

32. G Kevin Zeitler, Baltimore Ravens

Zeitler was a cap loss for the New York Giants in 2021, so the Ravens signed him as a street-free agent. He has been a huge asset to the team, and he is on track to play more than 1,000 snaps every year. At 33 years old, the veteran is still going strong, getting a pass-blocking grade above 80.0 for the second season in a row in 2023.

Before the season ended, the Ravens let left guard Ben Powers go after signing a big deal. They may decide to keep Zeitler on the team to play with senior right tackle Morgan Moses on the right side and try to win a Lombardi Trophy together.

While Zeitler missed some events this offseason, Baltimore also didn’t seem to be in talks about an extension. To their credit, they were a little busy with other things, like Lamar Jackson’s huge deal.

31. RB Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans

There is only one “Tractorcito.” In recent years, he has added another part to his game by playing as a screen receiver, which makes comparisons to players like Steven Jackson and Chris Ivory a bit off. Henry has not yet hit the traditional wall, whether that means he has carried the ball too many times or is too old for the job. The 3.12 yards he gets after contact on each try in 2023 is still in the 80th percentile.

After this season, Henry might not set off as many explosives as he did in the past, but he still looks like he has a few more years of bowling over defenders and scoring 10 or more scores.

30. RB Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders

After winning the rushing title in 2022, Jacobs had a rough start to the year during the fall of the Josh McDaniels era. His running grade is now about 10 points lower than it was in any previous season. It has only taken him 3.5 yards per run so far in Week 14.

29. RB Saquon Barkley, New York Giants

This summer, Barkley held out for a short time before coming back to play on his franchise tag, plus a few incentives that he had almost no chance of getting. Since the beginning of the season, the Giants’ performance has been terrible, but that was before Tommy Cutlets became America’s quarterback.

Barkley can still stop an explosive rush at any time, and he has made some highlight-reel catches this year, like a score on a wheel route that ended with a dive for the ball in Week 2 against the Arizona Cardinals. Barkley’s best moments are, without question, the best of any running back in the game. However, the position market is tough to navigate in 2024, especially since Barkley has missed a lot of time in three of the last four seasons.

28. Edge Chase Young, San Francisco 49ers

After missing most of two seasons because of a torn ACL, Young finally got fit in 2023. He went off early in the season and has been one of the best edge defenders in pass-rush win rate all season. As a rookie, Young was a good run defender. He does lose control sometimes and get led upfield beyond the play, but working with defensive line coach Kris Kocurek in San Francisco for six months is the best way to get ready for free agency.

Dante Fowler Jr., the No. 3 overall pick in 2015, got a one-year, $12 million deal after his rookie contract ended because he tore his ACL in his first season. For example, this kind of structure could be used as a guide. Young can then bet on himself to do it again in 2024 and really cash in.

27. G Robert Hunt, Miami Dolphins

It was a bit of a surprise that Hunt wasn’t the young Dolphins offensive guard who agreed to a contract extension before the season ended. However, this could also mean that Hunt knows he can get a good deal on the open market if he plays well for a long time.

Hunt, who is 6 feet 6 inches tall and 335 pounds, started his NFL career as a tackle. He played on both sides in his first season and did a great job. He has been happy at right guard for the past three years and has been a great fit for head coach Mike McDaniel’s zone rushing attack.

26. CB Chidobe Awuzie, Cincinnati Bengals

The Cincinnati Bengals have made a lot of great free-agent signings in the past few years, and Awuzie was one of them. For just $7.25 million a year, he is the team’s real No. 1 outside cornerback. After tearing his ACL in 2022, Awuzie should be able to test the free-agent market again. This is because the Bengals have used four Day 2 picks on defensive backs in the last two draft classes. In 2023, though, he’s back to his old self.

25. T Mike Onwenu, New England Patriots

During his rookie contract, Onwenu has moved around a lot. But since Week 7 of 2023, he has been back at right tackle, which is the position he seems most comfortable in. He is a good pass protector and a strong gap scheme blocker, and he has good footwork to combo block at the line and get to the second level pretty well.

Even though Onwenu is very big, he is not the fastest player off the line. However, he is strong enough to block backside pursuit defenders in the run game with a good base and heavy hands when needed.

24. WR Calvin Ridley, Jacksonville Jaguars

Ridley’s contract position is just one of a kind. He came back to play in 2023 after missing all of 2022 because he was suspended for sports betting. He stopped playing football before the end of the 2021 season, but in 2020, he was a top wide receiver. Ridley has had some drop problems in 2023 as he gets back to full speed, but he can still take over a game with a string of explosive receptions.

The terms of Ridley’s trade to Jacksonville are also very interesting. If both teams agree to an extension, the pick the Jaguars send to the Atlanta Falcons will become a second-rounder. We’re not sure if the condition is written the same way as it was when Leonard Williams was sent from the New York Jets to the New York Giants. In that case, the Giants did not have to send a better pick because they could have put a franchise tag on Williams instead of signing him to a multi-year extension in 2020.

23. G Kevin Dotson, Los Angeles Rams

This summer, Dotson was traded from the Pittsburgh Steelers to the Los Angeles Rams. What seemed like an odd fit at first should have been a sign that head coach Sean McVay was changing his offence in a way that would work very well in 2023. McVay has switched from a wide-zone rushing attack to a heavy gap plan, and Dotson has fit right in. The fact that he has always been a good pass defender has stuck with him.

22. T Trent Brown, New England Patriots

Brown’s free agency will always be one of a kind because of the clauses in his most recent contracts that reward him for keeping his weight down. He probably only fits in an offensive plan that uses gaps a lot. Still, Brown blocks blockers well in pass protection and can play on either end of the line of scrimmage, which is useful when teams have to move players around to get their best five on the field because of injuries during the season.

21. S Kamren Curl, Washington Commanders

Over the past few seasons, Curl has been one of the NFL’s most underrated players. He was picked in the seventh round, and his name got lost in the mix on a defence that was full of first-round talent until the trade deadline this year.

Curl can line up anywhere and is as reliable as it gets when it comes to going down and up. He has good reflexes and knows how to use leverage and angles to his advantage in the open field.

20. S Kyle Dugger, New England Patriots

This is the type of safety/linebacker combo that Patriots coach Bill Belichick loves. More and more teams are using dime packages, and big dime looks with three safeties. When it comes to the run game, Dugger is just as good as any defensive back in football. He’s also not bad at covering targets, especially bigger slot receivers and tight ends.

19. DI D.J. Reader, Cincinnati Bengals

Injury is the only thing that has slowed Reader down in Cincinnati. The Reader has been the centre of a strong defensive line that has been able to control the line of scrimmage and win big games up front over the past few seasons. He has been a powerful force on the inside of that line.

Reader is pretty thick, and it’s almost impossible for just one blocker to move it. He won’t get many sacks, but he can push the pocket and free up teammates just as well as any nose tackle.

18. Edge Bryce Huff, New York Jets

Huff wanted to show that his crazy high pass-rush win rate in 2022 wasn’t an outlier, and he’s done just that with another crazy high pass-rush win rate in 2023. Even so, the team that produced the undrafted free agent and sees him every day doesn’t like to use him against the run and hasn’t tried very hard to get him to stay. For a designated pass rusher type, this will be a tricky discussion. Luckily, that’s the best part of being an edge defender.

Pernell McPhee, a pass-rush specialist who used to play for the Baltimore Ravens and the Chicago Bears, and Huff’s present teammate Carl Lawson are both players that come to mind as similar.

17. WR Marquise Brown, Arizona Cardinals

The Ravens sent Brown and a third-round pick to the Cardinals in exchange for a first-round pick in 2022. It has been quite a ride for him in Arizona. ACL damage to Kyler Murray and his injuries have made it so that the two former college partners haven’t been able to work together as much as they probably would have liked. However, he has shown flashes when he has been in the lineup.

It’s hard to think of a good player who is similar to a 5-foot-9, 180-pound outside wide receiver, even though the NFL is adding more players of this type every year. It’s also reasonable to wonder how badly Arizona wants to extend anyone, given their timeline and the rise of rookie wide receiver Michael Wilson.

16. DI Leonard Williams, Seattle Seahawks

Williams signed a three-year, $63 million deal with the New York Giants in 2021 after getting a second franchise tag. It is one of the best deals for a player in recent memory. After the Giants moved him to the Seattle Seahawks at the deadline for second and fifth-round picks, he has a lot of power again.

Williams had a career-high 74.8 pass-rush grade in 2022 and an even better 77.0 grade in 2023. He was once called a strong run blocker but not very good at rushing the passer. For the first time since 2020, his blood pressure is above 10%.

15. CB Kendall Fuller, Washington Commanders

Fuller has been the only good cornerback for the Commanders this year. He’s been fine as a wide cornerback, but teams that want to be able to move the smart Fuller around as he gets older might be interested in him because he has played in the slot and at safety before.

14. T Tyron Smith, Dallas Cowboys

No matter the matchup, Tyron Smith is an unbreakable wall on the blind side when he is fit. The fact that Smith played for almost the whole eight-year deal he signed in 2014 is probably something that will never happen again. He was a huge asset to Dallas, even though he missed some games.

13. WR Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay needs another top quarterback. Mike Evans had another 1,000-yard season. One thing is having a record-setting 10th straight season with 1,000 or more yards to start a career. Another thing is having an 83.9 receiving grade and scoring 10 or more scores for the third time in four years.

Evans’ free agency will be tough, and a lot of different things could happen. He has been dealing with soft-tissue issues that seem to bother him every week for years now. Fresh results on receivers aged 30 and up could also cause price shock. For whatever reason, he shouldn’t ask for less than the new players, like Davante Adams, who got a three-year, $67.7 million deal with the Las Vegas Raiders.

12. Edge Danielle Hunter, Minnesota Vikings

In new defensive coordinator Brian Flores’ blitz-heavy plan, Hunter has been a revelation. However, he was just as useful in 2022. Teams that use a 3-4 or 4-3 formation could probably find a way to use Hunter effectively, and worries about injuries from a few years ago seem like they were a long time ago. He is on track to have another season with more than 900 snaps, more than 70 quarterback hits, and more than 10 sacks.

11. WR Michael Pittman Jr., Indianapolis Colts

Pittman’s game will be tested a lot in the coming months as he gets ready to become a free agent. His average depth of target is low because of some athletic limits, especially when compared to wide receivers who mostly play outside.

Still, Pittman is one of the most steady receivers of the ball in the NFL. It’s also a good question to ask if Indianapolis’s changing quarterbacks have hurt his performance. Pittman is on track to have the best receiving grade of his career, with 100 or more catches and 1,000 or more receiving yards. That gets a player paid, even if his game is thought to have a ceiling.

10. CB L’Jarius Sneed, Kansas City Chiefs

Since 2022, Sneed has mostly played in the slot, but this year, he’s been a regular out wide, and he’s done pretty well in a number of tough games. Steve Spagnuolo, the defensive coordinator, expects a lot from his cornerbacks. Sneed is very good at covering, getting into the hip pockets of receivers, and being hard to shake when moving laterally or when the ball is in the air at the catch point.

Sneed should cut down on his mistakes, but many teams would benefit from his aggressiveness, and the fact that he can play both inside and outside is also a plus.

9. CB Jaylon Johnson, Chicago Bears

Some injuries kept Johnson off the field for long periods in 2022, so he didn’t have the breakout third year he had hoped for. He and the team also couldn’t agree on an early contract. After talking to other teams, Chicago decided to keep Johnson after he asked for a move at the trade deadline this year. Johnson kept pushing for a new deal. Montez Sweat, an edge defender, has been extended, and the franchise tag is now free. This means that there will likely be another discussion soon.

His stock is going up every week at this rate. The physically strong and technically sound wide cornerback is great at producing the ball and locking down targets. He has never let a 60% catch rate happen in an NFL season so far.

8. S Antoine Winfield Jr., Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Winfield can play as a roaming deep-third free safety, line up in the box, or go after targets in the slot. He does well in both single-high and two-high coverage shells. The player who was picked in the second round makes a big difference on defence, and his incredible versatility is valuable at a spot that needs it the most.

7. DI Christian Wilkins, Miami Dolphins

While Wilkins had hoped to get a contract before the 2023 season, he hasn’t let the fact that he doesn’t have one slow him down. Wilkins is the best interior defensive tackle in the NFL at stopping the run. He also set career highs in every pass-rushing category, such as pass-rush win rate, pressure rate, sacks, quarterback hits, and pressures.

6. DI Justin Madubuike, Baltimore Ravens

There is a good chance that Madubuike will be the person who makes the most money in 2023. So far this season, Madubuike has recorded at least half a sack in 11 of the 13 games he has played in. This is twice as many as he had in the previous season high, and he may also double his total pressure output by the end of the season. He has always worked hard and been intense on backside chase plays. Now that he has better moves and a faster first step, Madubuike is ready to make a lot of money.

5. Edge Brian Burns, Carolina Panthers

The Carolina Panthers refuse to sell Burns, and the team keeps losing football games. However, Burns has had a good second half of the 2023 season. Coming up on his fourth straight pass-rush grade above 70.0 will keep his stock high amidst all the chaos.

4. WR Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals

Higgins has been hurt for almost the whole 2023 season. In 2022, he had his second straight 1,000-yard season with a receiving score above 75.0. A franchise tag was already looking like a possible outcome before the season, and since there isn’t any new information that could change either way, it looks like that’s what will happen. After a bad season, the field-stretching jump-ball receiver and the rest of the Bengals team should be able to get back on track in 2024.

3. Edge Josh Allen, Jacksonville Jaguars

Allen followed up his great 2022 season with an even better 2023 one. He already has career highs in quarterback pressures (69) and sacks (13.5), and his 20.1% pass-rush win rate is one of the best in the game.

2. QB Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings

While Cousins was having another good season, he tore his Achilles at the wrong time. He looked like he would have a lot of options in free agency, just like he did in 2018. Cousins’ arm strength is still good enough to throw to all levels of the field, and he’s been as effective as ever in recent years.

1. DI Chris Jones, Kansas City Chiefs

Jones is a very good player who rarely becomes an unrestricted free agent. Even when the two sides agreed to a new deal this offseason, Kansas City did not give up the right to franchise tag him a second time. Jones’s price tag would be more than $33 million, which could help him try the free agent market for the first time in his career.

Jones is one of the best interior pass rushers ever and one of the best in the game right now. Besides setting up outside of tackles as a five-technique, he can also bend around the edge and get home.

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Happiness Oyiza, SportPremi Author: Crafting Sporting Stories, Analyzing Stats, and Breathing Life into the Game.
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