NFL 2024 free-agent rankings: Top 5 LBs includes interesting options like Patrick Queen

Linebackers aren't running backs, but most of them have been devalued in today's game.

Some players are elite and are paid as such, like Roquan Smith or Fred Warner. But the days of teams building a defense around an off-the-ball linebacker are mostly over.

Still, a do-everything linebacker remains important. There just aren't many linebackers in this year's free-agent class likely to command a massive contract.

Yahoo Sports is ranking the top five NFL free agents by position. (Mallory Bielecki/Yahoo Sports)
Yahoo Sports is ranking the top five NFL free agents by position. (Mallory Bielecki/Yahoo Sports)

Hera are the top five linebackers in free agency:

1. Baltimore Ravens LB Patrick Queen

(UPDATE: Signing three-year deal with Steelers)

Queen could be the one linebacker to get a big deal, from a team that values his skills. He's young, at just 24 years old. He was a former first-round draft pick. And he has been productive, coming off a 133-tackle season. He was named a Pro Bowler last season. There's a lot to like about Queen as he hits the market.

2. Miami Dolphins LB Jerome Baker

(UPDATE: Signing one-year deal with Seahawks)

Baker was a salary-cap casualty with the Dolphins. He's still a good three-down linebacker who hasn't missed a lot of time due to injury in his NFL career and has been a regular starter since his rookie season.

3. Carolina Panthers LB Frankie Luvu

(UPDATE: Signing three-year deal with Commanders)

Luvu was a backup for three seasons with the New York Jets and one more with the Panthers before he got a chance to start, and turned into a very good player. Luvu had 12.5 sacks combined his past two seasons after becoming a starter, with more than 110 tackles each season. He's still just 27 years old, so it's a nice addition for Washington.

4. Seattle Seahawks LB Jordyn Brooks

(UPDATE: Reached three-year deal with Dolphins)

Brooks can be an up-and-down player, but he has had some good moments, is just 26 years old and is a former first-round draft pick. He had more than 160 tackles during the 2021 and 2022 seasons. Some team might pay up, hoping Brooks puts it all together as he enters his fifth season.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Lavonte David

(UPDATE: Re-signing one-year deal with Bucs)

It seemed inevitable that David will return to Tampa Bay, where he has played his first 12 NFL seasons. He's 34 years old but still remarkably productive and durable. He has posted 100 tackles in 10 of his 12 seasons, never dropping below 87. It made sense for him to agree to a short-term deal to remain in Tampa.