When the Super Bowl ended, the countdown began toward the next NFL year. And technically speaking, that year doesn't start in September when the regular season kicks off, nor does it begin when training camp starts or when the NFL Draft is over. The new league year starts at 4 p.m. ET on a weekday in March. Every. Single. Year.
This year it's on March 15. Mark your calendars.
This means we better be ready for the first part of the new league year where new contracts can be signed and trades can be executed. Teams must adhere to the salary cap and be able to "fit" their players' contracts under the nearly $225 million mark.
It's an important time for Fantasy managers also. This is when we learn from team's actions, not necessarily their coaches and players' words. When a team cuts a player, it might signal that they believe said player is no longer any good. Or it might mean a philosophical change in direction. Offseason moves tell the story of how a team views itself and it begins in earnest at this time.
This is why we list the key free agents at each position along with the players who might get cut or traded because they make too much money (or they're just not part of the team's plans anymore, or both). Under each position below you'll see a table of players names sorted by two headings: The list of actual free agents and the list of those who MIGHT change teams despite not being free agents. They could become free agents if their teams cut them, of course.
So look along, and keep track of the action right here. And remember: every move has a domino effect, some larger than others. The sharp Fantasy managers see the domino effect in the offseason and apply it to their drafts. We'll help with that too.
|Free agents||On the move?|
|Lamar Jackson||Aaron Rodgers|
|Daniel Jones||Jameis Winston|
|Jimmy Garoppolo||Tyrod Taylor|
|Sam Darnold|| |
|Andy Dalton|| |
|Carson Wentz|| |
|Baker Mayfield|| |
|Marcus Mariota|| |
|Tom Brady|| |
The big name: Lamar Jackson
Jackson is most likely going to get franchise-tagged and stay in Baltimore for his age-27 season. It wouldn't make sense for the Ravens to trade Jackson unless they had some fantastic plan to overhaul their entire offense (they will already have a new offensive coordinator in 2023). Jackson has been below 23.0 Fantasy points per game in his past two seasons and would benefit greatly from some help at receiver. Expect him to be a top-8 Fantasy quarterback no matter where he goes.
Most likely to change teams: Aaron Rodgers
The Packers have a salary cap problem if they keep Rodgers at his current price tag. They could restructure his deal (again) and make it more manageable for another go-round in 2023, or they could trade him and get his lofty contract off their books and turn to the future with Jordan Love. He's been linked to the Raiders (they have cap space) and the Jets (they'd need to make cap space), but there are others who could make a move. The better the landing spot, the more likely Rodgers becomes a consensus late-round draft pick in spite of his ugly 2022.
The top-4 Fantasy QB landing spots:
- Raiders: Easily the best trio of receivers to throw to among the possible destinations, and a defense that seems perpetually a year away from being good will force plenty of passing. Josh McDaniels' playcalling skills are a benefit.
- Buccaneers: The O-line figures to get altered, but if it's done right and they don't drop Mike Evans then there's still a very potent offense here for a quarterback to do well with.
- Falcons: There remains oodles of potential with Kyle Pitts and Drake London, and resourceful playcaller Arthur Smith wouldn't adamantly run the ball if he had a quarterback he completely trusted. Plus the defense might be slow to rebound, thus leading to some shootout games.
- Jets: Throwing to Garrett Wilson seems like a great thing, but the Jets will still try to identify as a run-first offense unless their quarterback play is spectacular. Nathaniel Hackett's arrival as offensive coordinator might make some folks squirm.
The big name: Saquon Barkley
The only good reason why the Giants would let Barkley leave is if they think they can replace him for a smaller financial commitment. Good luck with that -- Barkley followed up his two injury-saddled seasons with 1,650 total yards and 10 scores, numbers that are better than most others at his position. The franchise tag is a distinct possibility since it keeps Barkley from leaving while cutting short any pitfalls of a long-term contract. Expect him to stay in the Big Apple, and expect him to become a sure-fire top-10 pick in every draft this August.
Most likely to change teams: Devin Singletary
Buffalo hasn't spent major resources on the running back position in what seems like forever, and it's unlikely they'll start now. Save for Singletary taking a serious hometown discount, assume he leaves Buffalo and signs with a team that values running the ball. Singletary's a good back but he's unlikely to land a workhorse role and catapult himself into a legit Fantasy must-start guy. At best he'll be useful as a No. 3 Fantasy option.
The top-3 Fantasy RB landing spots:
(assuming the Giants and Raiders tag their free-agent running backs)
- Miami: Their entire 2022 RB depth chart is set for free agency. At least one figures to re-sign, but if a cheaper-than-expected zone-run scheme free agent presents himself, the Dolphins could reel him in and give him a lot of work.
- Carolina: Christian McCaffrey's gone, D'Onta Foreman is a free agent, the offensive line is strong, the defense has serious potential and Frank Reich is a playcaller without a certainty at quarterback.
- Chicago: A possible workhorse role awaits alongside running quarterback Justin Fields, and the offensive line figures to be better in 2023.
The big name: DeAndre Hopkins
An early January report from TheScore.com's Jordan Schultz said the Cardinals "plan to try and trade" Hopkins. He proved in his age-30 season that he's still more than capable of making an impact. Any playoff contender in need of a wideout would want his services; the better offense he lands in, the better his numbers figure to be. He has top-10 potential.
Most likely to change teams: Michael Thomas
The soon-to-be 30-year-old looked as though he regained his form last September, only to be out for the year by October. The horrible truth? Since September 2020, Thomas has played 10 games due to various lower-body injuries. It's heartbreaking because he's such a swift route-runner and valuable hands man. If his new team can keep him healthy then he'll wind up as a Draft Day bargain.
The next Christian Kirk: Jakobi Meyers
There are many teams desperate for receiver help and not a lot of free-agent receivers to go 'round. It should make Meyers among the most highly-paid wideouts this spring. That's definitely not bad for his bank account, but it also might not be bad for his Fantasy future depending on where he goes and what role he plays. We could be talking about him as a Round 8 pick come mid-August.
The top-4 Fantasy WR landing spots:
- N.Y. Giants: When Stefon Diggs went to Buffalo, Josh Allen's numbers popped. Brian Daboll was there then, and he may attempt to give Daniel Jones (presuming he re-signs) a similar boost in the passing game.
- Baltimore: A humongous opportunity awaits, but the Ravens have had a tough track record with Fantasy studs at receiver. Maybe their new playcaller would change that.
- Dallas: There's probably no unseating CeeDee Lamb as the No. 1 guy, but the No. 2 guy could wind up getting a lot of attention, especially if the Cowboys don't do much to upgrade at other positions.
- Chicago: The Bears already traded for Chase Claypool and they'll get Darnell Mooney back from his injury, but they still could use another big-time target for Justin Fields.
|Free agents||On the move?|
|Evan Engram*||Tyler Higbee|
|Dalton Schultz||Gerald Everett|
|Juwan Johnson - RFA||Hunter Henry|
|Mike Gesicki||Logan Thomas|
|Hayden Hurst|| |
|Irv Smith|| |
|Robert Tonyan|| |
The big name: Evan Engram
What a difference a year makes -- after being buried by his coaches in New York, Engram flourished in his first year with the Jaguars. It helped that he had a good quarterback and a playcaller who would utilize him in a bunch of different ways. The big guy should have a shot at testing free agency given some cap restraints on the Jaguars, so as long as he's in a similar place in 2023 he'll remain a top-10 Fantasy tight end.
Most likely to change teams: Dalton Schultz
If Dallas lets Schultz go, it's because of the salary cap and not a reflection of what he's meant to the team. We've seen him evolve into a terrific red-zone weapon and a reliable short-area target for Dak Prescott, so he could bring those skills to any team looking for a big tight end who also happens to be pretty good at run blocking. Even in a lukewarm scenario, Schultz would garner top-12 attention in Fantasy.
Most definitely will change teams: Mike Gesicki
It's pretty clear Gesicki was miscast in Mike McDaniel's offense this past season. Not a strong enough blocker and not fast enough to stretch defenses as other Dolphins can. But we've seen enough from Gesicki through the years to know he's a wideout at a tight end position, and if given an opportunity (like Evan Engram had in 2022) he could surge. Don't be surprised to see Gesicki as a trendy late-round pick.
The top-2 Fantasy TE landing spots:
- L.A. Chargers: Gerald Everett could be a salary cap casualty, opening the door for someone to take his spot at a lower price. If the tight end has speed, he could be very intriguing for an offense that just upgraded playcallers.
- Green Bay: No one's sure who the quarterback will be, but if Allen Lazard leaves like he suggested in January and Robert Tonyan isn't re-signed, then whoever is the tight end there could compete for some significant target chances. It's not nothing.