The 2023-24 league year has begun with NFL free agency, and there’s plenty of new faces in new places. Some moves were league-changing, such as the long awaited trade of […]
The 2023-24 league year has begun with NFL free agency, and there’s plenty of new faces in new places.
Some moves were league-changing, such as the long awaited trade of Aaron Rodgers from the Green Bay Packers to the New York Jets. Other teams acquired valuable reinforcements, while a few teams stood largely pat ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft.
Which Super Bowl contenders from last season doubled down on their title aspirations, and which ones will be left playing catch-up? Which non-playoff teams now have the tools to compete for a postseason berth in 2023?
Read on for my Post-Free Agency Power Rankings, and if you’d like to debate or discuss any rankings, or want to follow for more NFL content including Picks and Power Rankings, be sure to connect with Sak Sports Blog on Twitter or on Facebook!
The Super Bowl 57 champions lost Orlando Brown and Frank Clark this offseason, but added Jawaan Taylor and Charles Omenihu. With Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid in championship defense mode, the Kansas City Chiefs’ are positioned as the strongest team in the NFL heading in to the 2022-23 season.
Philadelphia Eagles [Final 2022 Rank:2]
The Philadelphia Eagles possessed perhaps the most talented roster in the NFL from top to bottom last season. Locking up Jalen Hurts with the largest deal in NFL history was necessary for the NFC champions this off-season, but it may hamper Philadelphia’s ability to keep the band together moving forward. But even if the time with this roster will be shorter, there are still few teams better equipped to compete for Super Bowl 58 than the Eagles.
Cincinnati Bengals [Final 2022 Rank: 3]
After addressing the offensive line last off-season in free agency, the Cincinnati Bengals doubled down, poaching Orlando Brown from the Chiefs to help give Joe Burrow more time to get the ball to his talented receivers. The Bengals were among the hottest teams in the league in the second half of the season and in to the playoffs, and are on the cusp of being the best team in the league after back-to-back strong years.
Buffalo Bills [Final 2022 Rank:5]
The Buffalo Bills didn’t make any major splashes in free agency, but have consistently been one of the best teams in the AFC, with Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs leading one of the league’s top offenses. It’s a shame Buffalo hasn’t broken through to the Super Bowl yet, as they certainly have the tools to get there.
San Francisco 49ers [Final 2022 Rank: 4]
If you compared all 32 NFL rosters without the quarterback position, it would be hard not to rank the San Francisco 49ers as a Top 3 team in the league. While the position isn’t a disaster for San Francisco, it’s a huge question mark at best. Brock Purdy was nothing short of a rookie phenom last season, but has undergone reconstructive elbow surgery. Trey Lance has only played a handful of NFL games, and is coming off ankle surgery himself. The 49ers had a couple options in free agency following the departure of Jimmy Garoppolo, and ended up with former Panthers and Jets quarterback Sam Darnold as a serviceable insurance option. It will be interesting to see how the 49ers offense operates in its first full season with Christian McCaffrey.
Dallas Cowboys [Final 2022 Rank: 6]
Another strong pound-for-pound roster took one step forward and one step backwards on offense this offseason: gaining wide receiver Brandin Cooks but losing dependable tight end Dalton Schultz. Ezekiel Elliot is officially out of the picture, but Tony Pollard still spearheads an effective rushing game to supplement Dak Prescott’s efforts on offense.
Minnesota Vikings [Final 2022 Rank: 7]
The Minnesota Vikings played a lot of close games last season, earning a pretty elite 13-4 regular season record. Minnesota sputtered at the finish and in the playoffs though, and hasn’t done much to double down this offseason. The Vikings cut ties with long time pass-catcher Adam Thielen, but of course still have T.J. Hockenson from last year’s surprising in-season trade.
New York Giants [Final 2022 Rank: 8]
Coming off a gritty season that ended in a playoff appearance and win for first-year coach Brian Daboll, the New York Giants didn’t stand pat this off-season. In a somewhat uncharacteristic move for the organization, the Giants traded for pass-catching Raiders tight end Darren Waller. With another consistent weapon on offense, Daniel Jones could take his passing game to the next level.
Detroit Lions [Final 2022 Rank: 10]
Dan Campbell and the Detroit Lions will look to ride last season’s red-hot finish in to a full season of contention in 2023. The Lions got some much needed additions on defense, bringing in cornerbacks Cameron Sutton and Emmanuel Moseley along with former Eagles safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson. Throw in some solid draft positioning, and the Lions could be poised to make some serious noise next season.
Baltimore Ravens [Final 2022 Rank:12]
The Lamar Jackson saga has taken some twists and turns for the Baltimore Ravens, but after adding Odell Beckham Jr., it looks like Jackson may be headed back to the Ravens despite his non-exclusive franchise tag (UPDATE 4/28: The Ravens have locked up Jackson long-term with the new richest deal in NFL history.) The Ravens have been right there with the best teams in the AFC for the past three or four seasons now… so long as Jackson is healthy. It’s a big if, and the Ravens might not be done adding weapons to go all-in. But if Jackson can stay on the field for an entire regular season and then some, there’s no reason Baltimore can’t compete for Super Bowl 58.
Jacksonville Jaguars [Final 2022 Rank:9]
After last off-season’s spending frenzy, the Jacksonville Jaguars have laid pretty low in this free agency period. Last year’s team didn’t look too special until the very end, and did bring in a playoff win to their credit. Jacksonville’s biggest change will come in the form of reinstated former Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley, giving Trevor Lawrence another weapon.
Los Angeles Chargers [Final 2022 Rank:11]
On paper, the Los Angeles Chargers should have been a very good team last season: making their 10-7 finish feel mediocre. To make matters worse, the Chargers blew a huge lead in the playoffs against the Jaguar, resulting in a disappointing early exit. Still, Los Angeles has a strong base built around Justin Herbert: they just have to focus on keeping touchdown machine Austin Ekeler on the roster.
New York Jets [Final 2022 Rank:24]
The New York Jets easily made the biggest move of the off-season: the finally confirmed acquisition of four-time MVP Aaron Rodgers. The Jets already had a strong roster, sans the quarterback position, and literally just needed a middle-of-the-road guy to push them to an above-.500 team. With a quarterback of Rodgers’ caliber, even if his very best days are behind him, New York is primed to make a return to relevancy. Throw in former Packers teammate Allen Lazard, and the Jets offense should be churning like it hasn’t in years for New York.
Miami Dolphins[Final 2022 Rank:14]
The Miami Dolphins largely kept the band together with a roster that was off to a promising start last season. The deciding factor for Miami will be the health of Tua Tagovailoa, who has weapons for days on the Dolphins offense. Miami did add some depth in free agency, such as KR/WR Braxton Berrios and backup QB Mike White, both from the New York Jets, as well as WR Chosen Anderson, LB David Long, and as icing on the cake, Miami acquired star cornerback Jalen Ramsey from the Los Angeles Rams.
Seattle Seahawks [Final 2022 Rank:16]
The Seattle Seahawks shattered all expectations last season in a competitive NFC West, earning a playoff spot in the process. Seattle worked to shore up their once great defense this offseason, adding Broncos defensive lineman Dre’Mont Jones and Steelers linebacker Devin Bush. Can Geno Smith lead the Seahawks to another winning season in 2023?
Pittsburgh Steelers [Final 2022 Rank:13]
The Pittsburgh Steelers also surpassed expectations last season, especially mine, turning a slow start in to a 9-8, near playoff finish. Cameron Sutton left in free agency, but the Steelers became the latest team to employ eight-time Pro Bowler Patrick Peterson. With a dynamic young offense coming in to its own, Kenny Pickett may have a fighting chance to lead the Steelers to the playoffs next season.
New England Patriots [Final 2022 Rank:15]
The post-Tom Brady era hasn’t been horrible for the New England Patriots. But after Bailey Zappe’s incredible run at the end of last season, here’s a ton of pressure on Mac Jones to perform in Year 3. Jakobi Meyers has been replaced with JuJu Smith-Schuster, who doesn’t feel like a typical Bill Belichick player, but that could be an interesting X-factor on New England’s offense.
New Orleans Saints [Final 2022 Rank:22]
The New Orleans Saints had a decent if not inconsistent season in 2022. Quarterback play, whether inconsistent itself or hampered by injury, was a major reason the talented roster only finished with a 7-10 record. With former Raiders quarterback Derek Carr assuming the starting position, the Saints can focus on getting the ball to playmakers like Chris Olave, Michael Thomas, Juwan Johnson, and new spell running back Jamaal Williams.
Washington Commanders [Final 2022 Rank:17]
The Washington Commanders are a franchise struggling to find an identity in more ways than one. Whether its the revolving door at quarterback or the literal name of the team, Washington hasn’t been consistent over the last few years. Despite the disastrous Carson Wentz experiment, Washington finished 8-8-1 last season, in shooting distance of a playoff spot. But Taylor Heinicke skipped town, leaving a quarterback room of Sam Howell and Jacoby Brissett. Depending on how these two pass-slingers play, Washington could be a gritty team in 2023, or a forgettable one.
Los Angeles Rams [Final 2022 Rank:27]
The Los Angeles Rams just experienced one of the most disappointing seasons for any NFL team in recent memory, following up a Super Bowl 56 victory with a 5-12 record in 2022. To be fair, Los Angeles battled the injury bug hard, playing much of the season without several key pieces. The Rams still have a ton of talent, but will look different in 2023 with no Bobby Wagner (released,) Jalen Ramsey, or Allen Robinson (traded.)
Carolina Panthers [Final 2022 Rank:21]
The Carolina Panthers have really blown things up, trading away Christian McCaffrey and Robbie “Chosen” Anderson last season, parting ways with both Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield, and trading away D.J. Moore in a package for the first overall pick. It’s essentially a reset for Carolina, but after finishing last season stronger after making subtractions, here’s definitely hope for this Panthers rebuild. In the offseason, Carolina added quarterback Andy Dalton, wide receiver Adam Thielen, running back Miles Sanders, and tight end Hayden Hurts.
Green Bay Packers [Final 2022 Rank:18]
I don’t think the Green Bay Packers will be horrible in 2023, but losing franchise cornerstone Aaron Rodgers will obviously change the trajectory of this franchise. It’s Jordan Love’s team now, and besides Christian Watson, Love doesn’t have a ton of tools to elevate himself to instant success.
Las Vegas Raiders [Final 2022 Rank:20]
Dumping borderline Top 10 quarterback Derek Carr after a fairly successful season will always be a head-scratching move for me. But luckily for the Las Vegas Raiders, the team honestly played better than it’s 6-11 record suggests. Enter Jimmy Garoppolo, who won’t have reliable tight end Darren Waller, but will of course have the luxury of one of the best pass catchers in the game, Davante Adams.
Chicago Bears [Final 2022 Rank:31]
The Chicago Bears entered the offseason in an enviable position: with their presumed quarterback of the future in one hand and the first overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft in the other. The Bears were able to flip that pick for a king’s ransom from the Panthers, hauling many picks as well as wide receiver D.J. Moore. With plenty of cap space to boot entering the offseason, the Bears have already made their roster deep on both sides of the ball, and have plenty of draft capital to do even more.
Tennessee Titans [Final 2022 Rank:23]
The Tennessee Titans completely fell apart at the end of last season. Getting healthy should help, but the Titans competitive window seemingly closed overnight and without warning. Derrick Henry is still o the roster, but with less elite weapons for Ryan Tannehill to work with, Tennessee may have peaked already.
Denver Broncos [Final 2022 Rank:28]
The Denver Broncos’ biggest hope is that a clean slate and a new year is just what Russell Wilson needs. That’s not to say Denver stood pat, however, bringing in head coach Sean Payton and shoring up the offensive line with former 49ers tackle Mike McGlinchey and former Ravens guard Ben Powers. If the Broncos can get any consistency on offense to back up their stellar defense, Denver could have a turnaround year.
Cleveland Browns [Final 2022 Rank:25]
I’m sill convinced the Deshaun Watson trade will set the Cleveland Browns back a decade. My opinion aside, the Browns did add some defensive talent in free agency, with defensive lineman Dalvin Thompson, safety Juan Thornhill, and pass-rusher Ogbonnia Okronkwo joining the team. But until the Waston-era Browns find a true identity, I see them in the middle of the pack at best in 2023.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers [Final 2022 Rank:19]
The Tom Brady era was never going to last forever for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and without the future Hall of Famer at quarterback, the team will obviously take a step back. Baker Mayfield is no slouch as a passer, but Tampa Bay’s roster has continued a steady decline since their Super Bowl win.
Atlanta Falcons [Final 2022 Rank:26]
The Atlanta Falcons have moved on from Marcus Mariota, entering the 2023-24 season with a quarterback room featuring second-year passer Desmond Ridder and former Commanders quarterback Taylor Heinickie. Atlanta has a few bright spots on their roster, and somehow finished with a 7-10 record with some wacky wins last season, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Falcons win less games in 2023.
Arizona Cardinals [Final 2022 Rank:29]
On paper, having Kyler Murray should be enough to keep the Arizona Cardinals competitive in today’s NFL. But Murray has seen better days, and won’t be available to start next season. Throw in a disgruntled DeAndre Hopkins and a retired J.J. Watt, and Arizona is primed for a step back.
Indianapolis Colts [Final 2022 Rank:32]
The Matt Ryan experiment crashed and burned, leaving the Indianapolis Colts with Gardner Minshew, Nick Foles, and Sam Ehlinger: all fine role players, but not exactly starting material. The Colts have a lot of work to do to turn around their 4-12-1 record from last season.
Houston Texans[Final 2022 Rank:30]
The Houston Texans are in need of a talent injection, plain and simple, and hopefully the second overall pick in the NFL Draft will help in that department. Houston traded Brandin Cooks to the Cowboys and acquired Robert Woods in essentially a lateral move.
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