Best team fits for these top remaining free agents
The first wave of NFL free agency is in the books, where some high-profile free agents have found new homes (and some hefty contracts).
However, there is still plenty of talent on the open market that could make a difference to a team looking to contend.
When looking at some of the best players still available, we’re taking a look at where they could ultimately wind up. Here are 10 remaining free agents, and the best team fits for them:
WR Adam Thielen: Kansas City Chiefs
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The Chiefs need veteran talent in their receiving core. The closest thing they had to a been-around-the-block pass catcher was JuJu Smith-Schuster, and he is now in New England. Tight end Travis Kelce is always going to be the main focus of the offense, so a guy like Thielen, who is a steady hand and a reliable No. 2 option, would be a hand-in-glove fit.
LT Taylor Lewan: Pittsburgh Steelers
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Lewan himself has teased going to Pittsburgh, retweeting a jersey swap photo that was done by a fan, as well as recording a video discussing possibly ending up in the Steel City. When healthy, Lewan is one of the best tackles in the league. It’s the “when healthy” part that has become a big asterisk. The three-time Pro Bowler has missed at least 11 games in two of the last three seasons. That said, he is far better than Dan Moore. If the Steelers can bring Lewan aboard on an incentive-filled deal, that would be a great addition for them.
TE Mike Gesicki: Jacksonville Jaguars
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Gesicki was vastly underutilized by Mike McDaniel in 2022. The former second round pick totaled just 32 receptions, the lowest since his rookie year of 2018. Doug Pederson loves tight ends, and gets the most out of guys who are vertical threats from the position. Having a two tight end set of Gesicki and Evan Engram would give fans flashbacks of Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz in Philadelphia.
LB Bobby Wagner: Buffalo Bills
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The future Hall of Fame linebacker is still playing at the top of his game. The Bills have a large need for an off-ball linebacker after Tremaine Edmunds signed with the Bears. Wagner wants to play for a contender, and the Bills need superstar talent. A short-term deal would give both parties a chance at hoisting a Lombardi Trophy.
DL Calais Campbell: San Francisco 49ers
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The 49ers added to their riches by signing Javon Hargrave to put alongside Arik Armstead and Nick Bosa. It would be wise of John Lynch to take a play out of Howie Roseman’s playbook from last season and get valuable depth for the defensive line. At 36, Campbell isn’t an every-down lineman, but as someone who comes in for x number of snaps per game? He would be extremely valuable in that roll.
EDGE Frank Clark: Cleveland Browns
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Outside of Myles Garrett, the Browns have zero pass rushing threats. They finished 2022 with 34 sacks, which was 28th in the NFL. Putting Clark on the other side of Garrett would make for a very dynamic duo off the edge.
RB Ezekiel Elliott: Los Angeles Rams
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Elliott is still a starting-caliber running back, he just wasn’t worth the massive amount of money he was scheduled to make in 2023. A backfield tandem of Elliott and Cam Akers would do well behind a refurbished offensive line, so long as the deal would be on the cheaper side.
CB Marcus Peters: Las Vegas Raiders
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The Raiders have a lot of holes remaining on their roster, specifically in the secondary. They allowed the fourth most passing yards per game in the league last season and are in need of someone reliable and seasoned on the back end. At 30 years old, Peters still has a lot to give, and would be a welcome addition to a secondary that lacks talent.
C Ben Jones: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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The Buccaneers offensive line was abysmal in 2022. While riddled with injuries throughout the season, they couldn’t give Tom Brady any time in the pocket, and their run game was non-existent, finishing last in the league at just under 77 yards per game. Now with Baker Mayfield under center, time to throw, as well as a reliable run game, will be crucial. Jones would be an instant upgrade to a unit that seems to be going through a makeover.
Odell Beckham Jr: Wherever Lamar Jackson Goes
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Everyone has been on OBJ watch for quite sometime. Now, the entire league is on Lamar Jackson watch, waiting to see what team decides to turn in an offer sheet for the former MVP quarterback. Several teams are reportedly not going to pursue Jackson, but there are multiple franchises that have not stated their intentions that would make sense. Whether it is Detroit, Indianapolis, New England, Tennessee- all of then would be instantly better with Jackson, and all of them would benefit from adding Beckham as a package with Lamar. Detroit has a star in Amon-Ra St. Brown and a budding star in Jameson Williams.
At this point, Beckham being the second or third option in an offense is what is best for him- he isn’t a legit No. 1 for a contender. For teams such as the Colts, Patriots, and Titans, Beckham would be the best receiver on the roster, but each team has other overlying talents. The Colts have Jonathan Taylor. The Titans have Derrick Henry- both teams heavily lean on the run game. The Patriots have Bill Belichick, tradition, and have brought back Bill O’Brien as offensive coordinator to be more schematically sound and explosive. All would be better for adding the duo of Jackson and Beckham.
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