NFL Free Agency: Ranking the 7 Best Players Still on the Market

The 2022 NFL offseason has already been pretty eventful. Several massive dominos already fell. Aaron Rodgers stayed in Green Bay. Multiple blockbuster trades went down, including Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos and Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders. Still, plenty of notable names are available in free agency.

The market has seen several big-name free agents switch locations and get paid handsomely by their new teams. Allen Robinson got a three-year, $46.5 million contract from the Los Angeles Rams. The Baltimore Ravens gave Marcus Williams five years, $70 million. Meanwhile, Von Miller secured the bag with a six-year, $120 million deal from the Buffalo Bills.

Which player will be next? Here are the seven best players still available in NFL free agency.

Terron Armstead and Tyrann Mathieu are still available in NFL free agency
New Orleans Saints offensive tackle Terron Armstead on the sideline before facing the Titans | Kansas City Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu runs off field during game against the Ravens | Todd Olszewski/Getty Images

7. EDGE Jadeveon Clowney

Jadeveon Clowney enjoyed one of the most productive seasons of his career in his lone season with the Cleveland Browns. He recorded 37 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, nine sacks, and two forced fumbles in 14 games. He thrived playing opposite Myles Garrett.

Even when Clowney wasn’t getting the sack, he still made life difficult for opposing offensive linemen and quarterbacks. The South Carolina product registered 32 pressures and 19 quarterback hits.

Clowney hasn’t been able to find a secure home, but the Browns could try to bring him back. If not, he shouldn’t be on the free-agent market much longer. Quality pass rushers are at a premium, and some teams could be willing to pay a decent-sized price on a short-term deal for him.

6. WR Odell Beckham Jr.

Just when people in the media thought Odell Beckham Jr. was dead to rights, he bounced back in a major way. The drama with Baker Mayfield gave him an out and allowed him to become a free agent for the first time in his career. It paid huge dividends for the wide receiver.

OBJ turned out to be a solid pickup for the LA Rams. He caught 27 passes for 305 yards and five touchdowns in eight games. The 29-year-old also shined in the postseason, including a touchdown reception in Super Bowl 56.

The biggest concern with Beckham is his health. He suffered a torn ACL in the Super Bowl, which ruined a productive bounce-back campaign. He should still command a good bit of attention in NFL free agency. The Rams likely want to bring him back after trading Robert Woods to the Titans.

5. EDGE Za’Darius Smith

The Baltimore Ravens reportedly came close to snagging Za’Darius Smith in NFL free agency. The edge rusher began his career in Baltimore. However, the former Green Bay Packers star decided not to sign the deal.

Smith was one of the best pass rushers in the NFL in his first two seasons in Green Bay. The Kentucky product combined for 107 tackles, 29 tackles for loss, 26 sacks, and five forced fumbles between 2019 and 2020.

The 29-year-old played just one regular-season game in 2021 after undergoing back surgery during training camp. He returned for the playoffs, but it’s unclear if his back is fully healed. If healthy, Smith is easily one of the best players still on the free-agent market.

4. S Tyrann Mathieu

Tyrann Mathieu is by far the best safety still available in NFL free agency. The three-time All-Pro appears unlikely to return to the Kansas City Chiefs in 2022. He should have plenty of suitors, as he’s a versatile playmaker who is a ballhawk but can also help defend the run.

Mathieu has recorded 213 tackles, 27 passes defended, and 13 interceptions in three seasons with the Chiefs. He’ll be 30 years old during the upcoming season, but he’s been one of the most reliable players at the position. He’s missed only two games over the past five seasons.

The Honey Badger is a well-respected figure around the league, and several teams could be in the market for his services. Whoever lands him will get a talented player who can also be a leader in the locker room.

3. LB Bobby Wagner

The Seattle Seahawks entered a full rebuild when they traded away Russell Wilson and released Bobby Wagner. The Utah State product has consistently been one of the best middle linebackers in the NFL since he entered in 2012.

Wagner is coming off a season where he recorded 170 tackles. He’s undoubtedly a step slower than in his prime, but he’s already proving he can continue to play at a high level. The 31-year-old could immediately help any team bolster its run-stopping efforts.

Expect several playoff contenders to make a run at Wagner. He’s a veteran who comes with a championship contender. He’s a leader on and off the field, and many teams value adding high-character guys to their roster.

2. CB Stephon Gilmore

Today’s NFL is a passing league, so cornerbacks are in high demand. However, only a few players at the position can call themselves elite. Stephon Gilmore has been one of those players over the past several years.

A quadriceps injury ended Gilmore’s 2020 season early and caused him to miss the start of the 2021 campaign. The New England Patriots traded him to the Carolina Panthers. However, he proved he can still be one of the league’s best cover corners.

The 2019 Defensive Player of the Year hasn’t shown any obvious signs of slowing down. He’ll be 32 years old when the new season begins, but he should still have plenty of suitors given the market.

1. OT Terron Armstead

Terron Armstead is undoubtedly the best offensive lineman available, and he should be the most highly-coveted player regardless of position. The New Orleans Saints should worry about losing him in NFL free agency.

Armstead has spent his entire nine-year career in New Orleans, and he’s been one of the most consistent linemen when healthy. Left tackle is always a position in high demand, so expect him to command a hefty contract. Pro Football Focus hasn’t given him a grade of less than 75.8 since the 2013 season.

Armstead played just eight games in 2021, logging 468 snaps. However, he allowed just one sack and committed three penalties during that span. That kind of value lands him at the top of the list.

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference

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