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NFL Free Agents 2023: The Top Players to Watch

Last Updated: December 27, 2022
From Lamar Jackson and the GOAT himself to a handful of young guns coming off their rookie deals, let’s have a look at some upcoming NFL free agents who could secure the bag this offseason.

The 2022-23 NFL season is already a third of the way through and it’s becoming clear who is due for a big payday this offseason.

“But Boardroom, why worry about upcoming free agents when we just finished Week 6?” I can hear you asking.

Precisely — there are still plenty of games left for players to prove themselves worthy of backing up the Brinks truck.

Let’s have a look at the riches that could be coming to a select group of players headed to both restricted and unrestricted free agency after the 2022-23 NFL season.

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Top NFL Restricted Free Agents

All dollar figures via Spotrac

New Orleans Saints WR Marquez Callaway

  • Age: 24
  • 2022-23 Salary: $895,000

There was once a time when Callaway was considered the WR1 for the Saints. Those days may have passed, but there’s no reason Callaway can’t find a starting role elsewhere this offseason. The third-year wideout had his best season in 2021-22, logging 698 yards on 48 receptions and seven touchdowns. While this year is off to a slow start, expect Callaway to show his worth whenever he gets the chance.

Baltimore Ravens QB Tyler Huntley

  • Age: 24
  • 2022-23 Salary: $895,000

Huntley hasn’t quite had the opportunity to prove himself just yet as a result of being the backup to one of the best in the game, but the young signal caller has shown promise. With four starts under his belt in 2021, including one in which he orchestrated a game-winning drive, Huntley has shown he can both sling the rock and run the ball when needed. Don’t expect him to vie for a starting role anywhere, but Baltimore could end up trying to keep him if they in fact lose their QB1 this offseason.

New York Jets RB James Robinson

  • Age: 24
  • 2022-23 Salary: $763,333

UPDATE: Robinson was traded from the Jaguars to the Jets on Oct. 24.

Robinson is technically the RB1 on the depth chart, but the Jags may have other ideas for the future of the run game in the form of Travis Ettiene Jr. While he has yet to live up to his 1,000-yard season from 2020-21, in which he broke the NFL record for most scrimmage yards of any undrafted rookie, Robinson is clearly still capable of putting up big numbers when healthy. Watch for him to draw interest from teams willing to pay big for some top talent at halfback.

New England Patriots CB Myles Bryant

  • Age: 24
  • 2022-23 Salary: $895,000

History has shown that cornerbacks who stand out in Bill Belichick’s defense can draw some major interest on the open market. Just ask J.C. Jackson. While Bryant may not be getting as much playing time as he’d like, the young defensive back has steadily progressed as a reliable defender in New England’s secondary. And with BB’s classic next-man-up mentality, expect Bryant to get a few more shots at showing what he’s worth.

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Notable NFL Unrestricted Free Agents

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady

  • Age: 45
  • 2022-23 Salary: $1,120,000

Will Tom Brady really retire after this season? Will he try to run it back again in Tampa? Or will he attempt to seek one more payday elsewhere this offseason? History has shown nobody truly knows what the GOAT has planned for his future, but one thing is for certain — there is no one like TB12. While his struggles have been obvious this season, expect a feeding frenzy around Brady’s future as the season continues.

Click here to read Boardroom’s exploration of Tom Brady’s estimated market value.

Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson

  • Age: 25
  • 2022-23 Salary: $23,016,000

The former Heisman Trophy winner and NFL MVP may be the biggest future free agent in football. Having already declined a six-year, $290 million contract with the Ravens this offseason — $133 million of which was guaranteed — Jackson will undoubtedly set the standard for QB contracts when it’s time to negotiate a new deal. Now in his fifth year with Baltimore, Lamar is continuing to do Lamar things on the field, and will likely be the most coveted free agent in the months to come.

Click here to read Boardroom’s feature detailing what to watch for as Lamar Jackson hits free agency.

New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley

  • Age: 25
  • 2022-23 Salary: $7,217,000

Barkley is a huge reason why the Giants are off to a stellar start, and provided he stays healthy, he could be in line for a big payday this offseason. A true workhorse, Barkley is currently leading the league in rushing attempts (119) and is No. 2 for rushing yards (616) through six games. If he can find a way to recreate his lone full season in 2018 when he rushed for 1,307 yards and 11 touchdowns with 721 receiving yards on 91 catches with four scores, you best expect Barkley to secure the bag.

Miami Dolphins TE Mike Gesicki

  • Age: 27
  • 2022-23 Salary: $10,931,000

The hulking tight end is currently on a one-year contract via the franchise tag but will look to secure a long-term deal either with or without Miami this offseason. His stats this season have been less than stellar — likely due to the star-studded Dolphins receiving corp — but expect Gesicki to continue to be a threat both in the run-blocking game and for some red zone opportunities.

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