As always, our ranking is skewed toward players coming off their first contracts — at the free-agent sweet spot of about 26 years old — and takes into consideration that some positions are much more valued on the open market than others. Pass-rushers and quarterbacks are more sought after on the market than running backs and off-ball linebackers, at least for most teams, and we’ve tried to keep that in mind in establishing the rankings.
Let’s jump in, with the best available players still unsigned. Who’s next to join a new team?
We don’t tend to include many 31-year-olds in free-agent rankings, especially ones who missed more than half of the previous season and are planning to undergo offseason knee surgery. But if even a serviceable left tackle is available — and Armstead is well above that baseline when healthy — he will be heavily pursued.
An annual addition to this list, Clowney has changed teams three times in the past three seasons. His nine-sack performance for the Browns in 2021 was his best since 2018 and ensured that he will be in demand this spring, as well. Going year to year in the NFL isn’t for everyone, but Clowney has earned nearly $36 million in his path from Houston to Seattle to Tennessee to Cleveland — with more to come.
Brown hit a huge payday during his 2019 entry into free agency, signing a four-year, $66 million deal with the Raiders, but he made it only two years before being traded back to the Patriots. He managed to play nine games this season, and prospective suitors will have to assess why he has changed teams three times in seven years, but a veteran tackle of most any background is going to be sought after on the open market.