NFL Power Rankings: Where will every team land post-free agency?

NFL Power Rankings: Where will every team land post-free agency?

It has been almost two weeks since the 2023 league year and NFL free agency began, and we have seen plenty of movement around the league.

The New Orleans Saints landed quarterback Derek Carr, and the Las Vegas Raiders signed quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Top free agent (and former Kansas City Chiefs left tackle) Orlando Brown Jr. signed with the Cincinnati Bengals. And the Carolina Panthers traded a haul of picks and wide receiver DJ Moore to the Chicago Bears for the No. 1 draft pick. The 2023 draft, by the way, begins a month from Monday on April 27.

These moves have changed the landscape and how we believe next season will unfold. But by how much?

Here’s how we see next season right now — from one to 32 — with our NFL Nation reporters identifying one under-the-radar move the team they cover made over the past couple of weeks.

Our power panel is a group of more than 80 writers, editors and TV personalities that evaluates how NFL teams stack up against each other, then ranks them from 1 to 32.

Jump to a team:
NE | NO | NYG | NYJ | PHI | PIT | SF

Way-too-early ranking: 1

Top under-the-radar move: Hiring Matt Nagy as offensive coordinator

The obvious move was to promote Nagy, the Chiefs’ quarterback coach last season, when longtime coordinator Eric Bieniemy left for a similar position with the Commanders. But it provides Patrick Mahomes and the other returning offensive players with continuity heading into next season. Nagy was Chiefs offensive coordinator in 2017 before he left for the head-coaching job with the Bears. — Adam Teicher

Way-too-early ranking: 4

Top under-the-radar move: Signing offensive lineman Cody Ford

Cincinnati’s depth along the offensive line was tested in the postseason, with three backups playing in the AFC title loss to Kansas City. Adding Ford, who will be an offensive tackle, at the very least upgrades the depth in a room that now includes left tackle Orlando Brown Jr.. Ford could emerge as a potential swing tackle option or even be in the mix as a potential right tackle, depending what happens with Jonah Williams. — Ben Baby

Way-too-early ranking: 3

Top under-the-radar move: Keeping quarterback coach Brian Griese

Griese’s hire raised some eyebrows in 2022 because he had never coached in the NFL. But he proved a natural fit as the Niners got good quarterback play despite injuries. Griese signed a two-year deal in 2022, but it was unclear whether he would return because he was away from his family in Denver for the season. “He had to go kind of weigh all that, and he had us nervous,” general manager John Lynch said. “But we understand that. So he kind of went through that process… But he’s back.” That continuity is no small thing for a quarterback room that isn’t long on experience, save for addition Sam Darnold. — Nick Wagoner

Way-too-early ranking: 2

Top under-the-radar move: Signing quarterback Marcus Mariota

This is an organization that won its only Super Bowl championship with backup Nick Foles, forever affirming its philosophy to invest in the No. backup QB. And when you have a starting quarterback who runs the ball — Jalen Hurts ranks second in QB contacts (375) since the start of the 2021 season — the risk of injury goes up, making it all the more important to have a solid option behind him. Mariota has started 74 games and is capable of steering the ship for a stretch should Hurts miss time with injury, as he has each of the past two seasons. — Tim McManus

Way-too-early ranking: 5

Top under-the-radar move: Hiring Al Holcomb to the defensive staff

Most of the Bills’ significant free agency moves have been under the spotlight, but bringing in Holcomb as a senior defensive assistant was an all-around strong addition made even more important by defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier stepping away for a year. Holcomb was hired before Frazier’s decision, per general manager Brandon Beane, but with the Bills not planning to replace Frazier with someone external, having an experienced defensive coordinator like Holcomb, who has worked with Sean McDermott and is familiar with his tendencies, is a positive for the Bills’ defense. — Alaina Getzenberg

Way-too-early ranking: 8

Top under-the-radar move: Signing quarterback Mike White

Obviously the biggest move of Miami’s offseason was trading for Jalen Ramsey, but considering how frequently the Dolphins have had to turn to a backup quarterback over the past few seasons, they captured lightning in a bottle with the former Jets quarterback. Tua Tagovailoa is their starter and, when he’s healthy, is one of the more effective passers in the NFL. But in a worst-case scenario, if Tagovailoa is forced to miss an extended period of time, Miami signed a quarterback who can keep the ship afloat and then some. White has seven career starts and surpassed 300 passing yards in three of them. — Marcel Louis-Jacques

Way-too-early ranking: 7

Top under-the-radar move: Re-signing defensive end Morgan Fox

A 2016 undrafted free agent from Colorado State-Pueblo, Fox has spent most of his career under the radar despite consistently making big plays at key moments — as a member of the Los Angeles Rams and now with the Chargers’ defense. “When I think of Morgan, I think of a glue guy,” coach Brandon Staley said near the end of the 2022 season. “I think of tough and rugged, a playmaker, versatile, do whatever it takes to help the team win.” Last season, Fox put together a career-best showing with 6.5 sacks. The Chargers’ defensive front is an ongoing project, but Fox’s return provides stability and a consistent threat from a dependable role player. — Lindsey Thiry

Way-too-early ranking: 6

Top under-the-radar move: Re-signing linebacker Leighton Vander Esch

Vander Esch is a vital part of Dan Quinn’s defense. Forget the tackles — he had 100 last year despite missing three games — he gets everybody lined up correctly. When the Cowboys did not have him, that played a part in their run game woes. Rookie Damone Clark looked to Vander Esch for guidance in certain situations the way Vander Esch looked to Sean Lee when he was young. He can make sure the defensive line is in the correct gaps. That’s important to a defense that needs all 11 players on the same page. — Todd Archer

Way-too-early ranking: 12

Top under-the-radar move: Ben Johnson returning as offensive coordinator

After Johnson led one of the NFL’s most dynamic offenses, many believed he would be jetting out of Detroit. However, despite interviewing, and being a top candidate, for multiple head-coaching vacancies, the 36-year-old decided to stay in Detroit. The Lions’ offense ranked fifth in the league in points scored with 26.6 per game and Johnson’s creative playcalling, coupled with his tight-knit relationship with quarterback Jared Goff, was a big reason behind that. — Eric Woodyard

Way-too-early ranking: 10

Top under-the-radar move: Signing defensive tackle Roy Robertson-Harris to an extension

There was an expectation at the start of the 2022 season that Robertson-Harris would be cut this offseason with one year remaining on his contract. But he played well, especially down the stretch, and provided some much-needed interior push as a rusher (12 QB hits, 3 sacks, 4 pass breakups). The Jaguars gave him a two-year extension through 2026 and are counting on him to be as consistent as he was during the second half of last season. — Michael DiRocco

Way-too-early ranking: 9

Top under-the-radar move: Giving running back Alexander Mattison $6.35 million in full guarantees over two seasons

NFL teams don’t like to pay running backs, and the Vikings don’t often give guaranteed money in a second season of a contract, so this deal made knowledgeable observers sit up and take notice. Mattison had a career-low 89 touches behind Dalvin Cook in 2022 and seemed primed to find a new opportunity elsewhere. The Vikings’ decision to pay Mattison not only shows their confidence in him but also indicates a changing of the guard over the next two seasons. At that salary level, there is no way Mattison will be a mere backup in 2023. He’s going to have a major role in the Vikings’ offense, one way or the other. — Kevin Seifert

Way-too-early ranking: 13

Top under-the-radar move: Re-signing quarterback Drew Lock

The Seahawks re-signed starting quarterback Geno Smith before free agency and then kept their QB room intact by bringing Lock back after he tested the market. Lock’s deal is for one year and $4 million, with another $3.5 million available in incentives. Although Lock didn’t beat out Smith last offseason the way many in the organization expected, the Seahawks remain high on him, believing he’s young and talented enough to develop into a high-end starter. He gives the Seahawks a backup with experience and upside, but his return doesn’t necessarily preclude them from picking a quarterback early in the upcoming draft. — Brady Henderson

Way-too-early ranking: 14

Top under-the-radar move: Re-signing defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi

Ogunjobi took a one-year prove-it deal with the Steelers a year ago after a failed physical derailed his plans to sign a multiyear contract in Chicago. Although Ogunjobi battled a series of nagging injuries throughout the season, he proved his worth, especially in the run defense, and earned a three-year, $28.7 million contract this offseason. He was key in bolstering a run defense that ranked dead last in 2021, filling the hole left by Stephon Tuitt after his early retirement. With Ogunjobi’s help, the Steelers had a top-10 rushing defense in 2022. — Brooke Pryor



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Way-too-early ranking: 11

Top under-the-radar move: Hiring Todd Monken as offensive coordinator

The Ravens are banking on Monken to boost an offense that averaged 20.6 points last season, Baltimore’s fewest points since 2016. In helping Georgia win back-to-back national titles, Monken guided an explosive offense that averaged 39.8 points per game, which was the fifth-best in the country. The big question is when QB Lamar Jackson, who received the nonexclusive franchise tag, will report to Baltimore and learn Monken’s system. — Jamison Hensley

Way-too-early ranking: 15

Top under-the-radar move: Re-signing defensive end Jihad Ward

Ward serves a big purpose in Wink Martindale’s defense. He’s the tough, set-the-edge outside linebacker this team needs to complement Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari. The Giants need him to improve the 27th-ranked run defense. Ward tied for the team lead with seven tackles for a loss last season. He led all Giants outside linebackers with six “stuffs” and a 2.3 stuff percentage, per NFL Next Gen Stats data. “Haddy”, as they call him, is also a Martindale favorite. — Jordan Raanan

Way-too-early ranking: 20

Top under-the-radar move: Trading for safety Chuck Clark

Clark’s arrival was overshadowed by the Aaron Rodgers hysteria, but Clark will be a solid starter in the Jets’ secondary. He’s a relatively low-cost addition ($4.1 million cap) who will improve the back end with his tackling ability. You certainly can’t knock the man’s durability. Clark, who replaces Lamarcus Joyner (free agent), hasn’t missed a defensive snap since Week 15 of the 2021 season — a league-high 1,248 consecutive snaps on defense, according to the Jets. Clark, acquired from the Ravens for a 2024 seventh-round pick, has five interceptions in six seasons. That’s the one knock on him; he’s not a ball hawk. — Rich Cimini



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Way-too-early ranking: 17

Top under-the-radar move: Re-signing safety Jabrill Peppers

Peppers, who is 5-foot-11 and 215 pounds and entered the NFL as a first-round draft choice in 2017, came back from a ruptured right ACL last season and gradually saw his role increase. He brings a physical edge to the defense, with retired safety Devin McCourty identifying him as a key part of the team’s plans. — Mike Reiss

Way-too-early ranking: 21

Top under-the-radar move: Signing long-snapper Jacob Bobenmoyer

Although punter AJ Cole and kicker Daniel Carlson both received contract extensions in 2021, and each has since earned All-Pro honors, it only seemed natural that the third member of the trio, long-snapper Trent Sieg, would be next to get a new deal. Instead, the Raiders are seemingly tempting chemistry in giving Bobenmoyer a reported three-year, $3.815 million free agent deal and releasing Sieg. The trio of Cole, Carlson and Sieg had been together since 2019. — Paul Gutierrez

Way-too-early ranking: 19

Top under-the-radar move: Re-signing center Ethan Pocic

Upgrading the defense, specifically the defensive line, has been Cleveland’s chief priority this offseason. But bringing back Pocic could quietly prove to be the best move the Browns have made this offseason. Pocic took over the starting center job after projected starter Nick Harris suffered a season-ending knee injury in Cleveland’s preseason opener last year — and was dominant all season. He finished top five among centers in pass block and run block win rate, according to ESPN Analytics data. With him back, alongside Pro Bowl guards Joel Bitonio and Wyatt Teller, the Browns will boast one of the league’s top interior offensive lines once again. — Jake Trotter

Way-too-early ranking: 16

Top under-the-radar move: Running back Aaron Jones takes a pay cut

Quarterback Jordan Love is going to need all the help he can get as he takes over for Aaron Rodgers. And a potent running game is imperative. Jones’ willingness to come back for less money (he took a $5 million pay cut) rather than being released gives Love a chance. And don’t forget about the impact on the passing game, too. If Love’s penchant for the checkdown continues, Jones will be critical in that area, too. — Rob Demovsky

Way-too-early ranking: 23

Top under-the-radar move: Adding safety Vonn Bell

Not much the Panthers have done this offseason has been under the radar, from hiring Frank Reich as the head coach to trading for the 2023 No. 1 pick. But with all the focus on whether Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud will be the top pick, Carolina added a player in Bell who will allow defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero to move safety Jeremy Chinn back close to the line of scrimmage, where he was — and had his biggest impact — most of his rookie year. That could be huge for a team moving from a 4-3 scheme to the 3-4 because of Chinn’s versatility in terms of covering a tight end, blitzing the quarterback or stopping the run. — David Newton



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Way-too-early ranking: 18

Top under-the-radar move: Signing quarterback Jacoby Brissett

Hard to call a QB signing under-the-radar, but Brissett provides Washington with excellent insurance if Sam Howell struggles. Brissett said he’s coming off his best season — he posted the eighth-highest QBR last season, throwing 12 touchdowns and six picks in 11 starts before Deshaun Watson returned. Brissett has played with four other teams, so he’s not viewed as a high-quality starter. But he does represent an upgrade over Taylor Heinicke and will push Howell to earn the starting job. Brissett’s penchant for limiting turnovers would pair well on a team with a strong defense and desire to run the ball. — John Keim

Way-too-early ranking: 27

Top under-the-radar move: Signing cornerback/returner Tremon Smith

The Broncos certainly needed impact in the return game, and Smith has provided teams that as a kickoff returner — a 26.8 yards per return average in 2018 and a touchdown return in 2021. But Smith could add even more value if the Broncos can get more on defense from him. Smith was a late-round prospect in the 2018 draft, and many scouts thought he could develop into a reliable option in the slot and outside. He showed 4.38 speed at 200 pounds at his Central Arkansas pro day that year and had plenty of ball production in college, with 15 career interceptions and 53 passes defended. He gambled a lot in coverage in college, but the flashes are there. Yet he played 16% and 17% of the defensive snaps for the Texans in each of the past two years. If the Broncos can find the flashes, they could find some significant value from this signing. — Jeff Legwold

Way-too-early ranking: 28

Top under-the-radar move: Re-signing tight end Juwan Johnson

The additions of quarterback Derek Carr and running back Jamaal Williams were great, but keeping the team’s receiving TD leader from last season was a quietly important step. Johnson, a former wide receiver turned tight end, has gotten better in his new role every year. He has become a key part of the offense and has the potential to get even better over the next few seasons. A two-year deal for Johnson is a win for the Saints, who like to use their pass-catching tight ends in the red zone. — Katherine Terrell

Way-too-early ranking: 22

Top under-the-radar move: Hiring offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur

There aren’t too many options to pick from, as the Rams have had a relatively quiet offseason, especially compared with recent years. However, this offseason, coach Sean McVay revamped the Rams’ coaching staff, including hiring LaFleur to replace offensive coordinator Liam Coen. McVay praised LaFleur in his pre-free agency news conference, saying although the pair have “similar foundational philosophies,” LaFleur also “has some differences that will help add in a big way to our offensive approach and perspective.” The Rams’ offense ranked 23rd in Football Outsiders’ DVOA during the 2022 season. — Sarah Barshop

Way-too-early ranking: 24

Top under-the-radar move: Signing linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair

The Titans released Zach Cunningham, and David Long Jr. signed a free agent deal with the Dolphins. That left Tennessee relatively thin at inside linebacker. Al-Shaair provides much-needed playmaking ability in the middle of the defense. Like Long, Al-Shaair is an instinctive player who is consistently around the football, whether that be coming up and making plays against the run or dropping back into coverage. Al-Shaair should help make up for the presence Long provided on third downs as well. He will likely be the one relaying the plays from the sideline to the defensive huddle. — Turron Davenport

Way-too-early ranking: 29

Top under-the-radar move: Signing running back D’Onta Foreman

The Bears added to their backfield after the departure of David Montgomery by signing Foreman to a modest $3 million deal. Foreman became the lead back in Carolina after Christian McCaffrey was traded and finished with a career-best 203 carries for 914 yards and five touchdowns. The 26-year-old played every game for the first time in his five-year career and had at least 21 rushes in five outings. When healthy, Foreman can be a three-down running back and one of the most efficient rushers in the league. According to NFL Next Gen Stats data, he gained more rushing yards than expected on 49.0% of his carries in 2022, the second-highest rate among running backs (min. 100 carries). — Courtney Cronin

Way-too-early ranking: 26

Top under-the-radar move: Signing linebacker Kaden Elliss

The Falcons, with $233 million-plus spending in one day, didn’t do much under the radar. But bringing in Elliss could be a nice move for them. He doesn’t have huge stats — seven sacks in his first year as a true defensive starter — but if any staff would know his potential, it is Atlanta’s because of defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen. Nielsen and Elliss were in New Orleans together last season. — Michael Rothstein

Way-too-early ranking: 25

Top under-the-radar move: Signing quarterback Baker Mayfield

Sure, it’s hard to call a quarterback signing “under the radar,” especially when it’s following up a seven-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback in Tom Brady. But considering the quarterback and what the Bucs were up against — $55 million over the salary cap before free agency began — the fact that they were able to land a veteran who’s been to the postseason and won a playoff game really can’t be overstated, and they’re spending a max of $8.5 million for a year. The key to this deal will be accuracy. Mayfield’s 64 interceptions is the most by any quarterback in the league since 2018. — Jenna Laine

Way-too-early ranking: 30

Top under-the-radar move: Signing kicker Matt Gay

When you’re the second-lowest-scoring team in the NFL (17.0 points per game last season), points are precious. Considering the Colts haven’t done much yet to upgrade their offense and will possibly have a rookie quarterback in 2023, anything that puts points on the board should be considered a win. The Colts secured the best kicker on the market for the next four seasons, giving them a long-term answer at a critical spot. Now, as for the rest of the offense, the jury is still out. — Stephen Holder

Way-too-early ranking: 32

Top under-the-radar move: Trading for right guard Shaq Mason

The Texans acquired Mason and a seventh-round pick (No. 230) from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a sixth-round pick (No. 179) in the 2023 NFL draft. This trade upgraded their right guard position by replacing A.J. Cann. Last season, Cann had a pass block win rate of 92.6, which ranked 36th among guards, according to ESPN Analytics data. Mason’s PBWR was 94.2%, ranking 27th among guards. Also, Cann allowed nine sacks while Mason allowed three. Adding Mason to an offensive line that has the tackle duo of Laremy Tunsil and Tytus Howard, who allowed the second-fewest sacks from a tackle duo (12), should give the next Texans quarterback a cleaner pocket to operate from. — DJ Bien-Aime

Way-too-early ranking: 31

Top under-the-radar move: Signing linebacker Kyzir White

When you take a look at what White brings to the defense, this move can be a great under-the-radar signing. White being primarily an off-ball linebacker gives the Cardinals an option to play alongside Zaven Collins and, at times, Isaiah Simmons. With White on the field, Collins will be able to play a bit more freely, which could be beneficial for his growth in his third season. — Josh Weinfuss


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