NFL Free Agents We Can’t Believe Haven’t Signed a Contract with New Team Yet

We’ve reached an interesting point in the NFL offseason, where several quality free agents remain but might not be bound for new teams on the immediate horizon. As franchises focus on evaluating the talent they have—along with their draft classes and undrafted free agents—some of the top veterans will simply wait for opportunities to arise.

A free agent can often benefit by waiting for roster deficiencies to become apparent or injuries to arise because it can give them financial leverage. Others simply may want to avoid the harsh heat of summer workouts.

“I have no desire to be in a training camp,” six-time Pro Bowler Ndamukong Suh said on NFL Total Access. “I will come in and watch and look and give some advice, but when Week 1 happens, I’ll be ready.”

Yet, there are a few veterans whose presence on the unsigned list in late May is surprising, due to positional value, past performance or potential upside. We’ll examine those players here, dive into the individual reasons why they shouldn’t remain unsigned for long, and look at a couple of logical landing spots for each.

Players are listed in alphabetical order.

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Quarterback is the most important position in today’s NFL, and established backups have a ton of value. Just consider the fact that the Baltimore Ravens recently signed journeyman backup Josh Johnson for the third time. He’s been signed by 14 different NFL squads to this point.

Johnson coming off the board before Teddy Bridgewater, who has 65 starts on his resume, was surprising. Bridgewater hasn’t been a Pro Bowl starter since 2015, but he’s been serviceable when called upon. In 2021, Bridgewater started 14 games for the Denver Broncos and finished with a respectable 94.9 quarterback rating.

Bridgewater started two games for the Miami Dolphins last year but suffered a finger injury at the end of the season. That injury might be a factor, but Bridgewater should still find a home before training camp.

Back in April, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported that Bridgewater had an offer from the Detroit Lions. With rookie Hendon Hooker now in Detroit, though, Bridgewater might not make sense as Jared Goff’s backup.

A return to Miami might also be off the table after the Dolphins signed Mike White. The rival New York Jets would make sense, however. The Jets shouldn’t trust Zach Wilson, and Bridgewater would be a tremendous insurance policy behind Aaron Rodgers.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers would also make sense. Then-head coach Bruce Arians was interested in Bridgewater before Tampa landed Tom Brady in 2020, according to, and there’s no guarantee that the competition between Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask yields a quality starter.

Logical Landing Spots: New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Seeing any productive pass-rusher on the open market at this point in the offseason is surprising. One with 13.5 career playoff sacks who won’t turn 30 until next month? We can’t believe it.

The Kansas City Chiefs parted with Frank Clark in order to get younger and cheaper on the edge—they used a first-round pick on Felix Anudike-Uzomah. However, Clark, who had 2.5 sacks in the 2022 postseason, can still get after quarterbacks at a high level.

A return to the team that drafted him, the Seattle Seahawks, would make a lot of sense for the team and for Clark. Seattle recently brought back linebacker Bobby Wagner, so they’re clearly open to returning players. The Seahawks also lost Quinton Jefferson, who had 5.5 sacks last season, in free agency.

While Seattle did draft pass-rusher Derick Hall, adding another veteran to the mix could help it repeat as a playoff team.

Clark could also make sense for the Cincinnati Bengals, who registered a mere 30 sacks last season. The Bengals did use a first-round pick on pass-rusher Myles Murphy, but they can afford more sack production.

Cincinnati is a legitimate title contender, and it can use any edge it can get in its quest for a first Lombardi Trophy. Clark has proved that he can provide a postseason advantage. Plus, the Bengals haven’t been shy about plucking players from the conference-rival Chiefs, as they signed offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr. early in free agency.

Logical Landing Spots: Seattle Seahawks, Cincinnati Bengals

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Veteran running backs typically aren’t in high demand this time of year. Teams are often eager to see if an undrafted rookie can fill a backfield role before turning to a pricey free agent who may have declining skills.

Seeing the likes of Leonard Fournette and Kareem Hunt on the market isn’t shocking. Fournette averaged just 3.5 yards per carry last season, while the Cleveland Browns believe that Hunt’s speed is “slipping,” according to Terry Pluto of

Ezekiel Elliott being available post-draft was a bit more unexpected. While he may have lost some of his burst (3.8 yards per carry in 2022), he’s still a fantastic goal-line back (12 rushing touchdowns) who can handle a large workload (248 touches last season).

Elliott could make sense for the Minnesota Vikings, who appear to be on the verge of parting with star running back Dalvin Cook. The Vikings have “come close” to trading Cook, according to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated. The social-media team also recently replaced Cook with Alexander Mattison in its Twitter banner (h/t Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk).

Naturally, Minnesota would clear Cook’s salary from the books before signing a back like Elliott to pair with Mattison.

The Buccaneers could also use Elliott, as they have very little proven depth on the roster. Tampa, which already had Ke’Shawn Vaughn and 2022 third-round pick Pachaad, added Chase Edmonds in free agency However, the Bucs had only five rushing touchdowns last season, and Patrick Laird is the only veteran back on the roster who reached 4.0 yards per carry in 2022.

Laird had one carry for four yards for Miami last year.

Logical Landing Spots: Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Leonard Floyd is another pass-rusher who was productive in 2022 and who should find a new team in short order. Last year with the Los Angeles Rams, he recorded nine sacks and 31 quarterback pressures to go with 59 tackles and a fumble recovery.

Floyd could help virtually any team in need of pass-rush assistance. The Detroit Lions could be one of those teams.

Despite using a 2022 first-round pick on pass-rusher Aidan Hutchinson, the Lions registered a good-not-great 39 sacks last season. They struggled overall defensively, finishing dead-last in yards allowed.

Even after adding players like C.J. Gardner-Johnson, Cameron Sutton and rookie linebacker Jack Campbell, Detroit could afford to add a sack artist like Floyd. In Detroit, Floyd could be a valuable member of a rotation that also includes Hutchinson and 2022 sixth-round pick James Houston, who recorded eight sacks in seven games last year.

The Vikings are in a similar situation, as their defense ranked 31st in yards allowed and recorded 38 sacks in 2022. Minnesota also recently traded away Za’Darius Smith, who recorded 10 sacks and 37 quarterback pressures last year.

Floyd could be a valuable replacement for Smith, and he has some familiarity with the coaching staff. Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell was the Rams offensive coordinator in 2020 and 2021, Floyd’s first two years with the franchise.

Logical Landing Spots: Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings

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The Browns replaced safety John Johnson III with Juan Thornhill in free agency this offseason, after Johnson struggled to lock down the back end of Cleveland’s defense (19 missed tackles in two years).

While Johnson wasn’t always a reliable back-line defender in Cleveland, it’s still surprising to see him unsigned. He’s a 27-year-old defender who has played both strong and free safety and who can be dependable in coverage. Last year, he allowed an opposing passer rating of only 82.8, and that was the highest mark he allowed in the past five seasons.

The Tennessee Titans are a logical landing spot for Johnson as, quite frankly, their pass defense stunk in 2022. The Titans ranked 32nd in passing yards allowed and 27th in yards per attempt allowed (6.6).

Strong safety Amani Hooker allowed an opposing passer rating of 101.6 in coverage last year, and the Titans have asked free safety Kevin Byard to take a pay cut. Byard has refused and did not attend voluntary workouts this offseason, according to Nick Suss of The Tennesseean.

Tennessee could use Johnson on its depth chart.

The Los Angeles Chargers should also give Johnson a look after losing starting free safety Nasir Adderley to retirement this offseason. Johnson could pair with Derwin James Jr. to form a potent safety tandem, and Chargers head coach Brandon Staley was Johnson’s defensive coordinator in his final season with the Rams before heading to Cleveland.

Logical Landing Spots: Tennessee Titans, Los Angeles Chargers

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Even though his 2022 campaign was cut short by throat surgery, we’re surprised that Yannick Ngakoue hasn’t found a new home yet. The 28-year-old can struggle to set the edge against the run but is a fantastic rotational pass-rusher.

Last season with the Indianapolis Colts, Ngakoue recorded 9.5 sacks and 27 quarterback pressures in 15 games. He has registered at least eight sacks in every one of his seven pro seasons.

The Atlanta Falcons have taken steps to improve a pass rush that logged just 21 sacks last season. They added Calais Campbell, Bud Dupree and Kaden Elliss to their pass-rushing rotation and drafted Zach Harrison in the third round. However, Atlanta could benefit from adding Ngakoue.

The Falcons will have a very real chance of winning the NFC South if they get a sizeable second-year leap from quarterback Desmond Ridder. Ngakoue could help them grasp that coveted division title and playoff berth.

The Browns could also use Ngakoue, even after adding Smith and Ogbonnia Okoronkwo to a rotation that includes Myles Garrett in the offseason.

The Browns and Ngakoue had “mutual interest” back in 2020, according to Mary Kay Cabot of, and revisiting that interest would make sense. Garrett was responsible for 16 of Cleveland’s 34 sacks last season, and no other player had more than three.

Adding Smith and Okoronkwo will help tremendously, but a team can never have too much pass-rushing depth.

Logical Landing Spots: Atlanta Falcons, Cleveland Browns

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Teams usually jump at the chance to sign a young dependable offensive lineman, and we’re surprised that no one has picked up 27-year-old guard Dalton Risner yet. In his four seasons with the Denver Broncos, the 2019 second-round pick missed only four games and typically played at an above-average level.

Last season, Risner was responsible for only one penalty and three sacks allowed, according to Pro Football Focus.

Risner would be a terrific addition for the Bengals, who took one step toward improving their offensive line by signing Brown. His addition will help, but Cincinnati should still be concerned about the fact that quarterback Joe Burrow has taken 124 sacks in only 42 regular-season games.

In Cincinnati, Risner would be an upgrade over left guard Cordell Volson, who was responsible for five penalties and five sacks allowed, according to Pro Football Focus.

Risner would also be a logical target for the Rams, who simply struggled to protect the quarterback in 2022 (59 sacks surrendered).

Los Angeles used a 2022 third-round pick on Logan Bruss and a 2023 second-round pick on Steve Avila, but Bruss suffered a torn ACL last year, and neither guard has played a regular-season snap.

The Rams should be interested in adding a proven veteran to the group, especially with quarterback Matthew Stafford coming off a season ended by a concussion and neck injury.

Logical Landing Spots: Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Rams

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Kyle Van Noy is a 32-year-old linebacker who might not seem like a player in high demand. However, we’re surprised that the versatile do-it-all defender hasn’t found a home because, well, he can fill so many roles on a defense.

Over the past two seasons with the Patriots and Chargers, Van Noy recorded 112 tackles, 72 solo stops, 10 sacks, 32 quarterback pressures, 13 passes defended, three fumble recoveries, three forced fumbles and an interception.

Van Noy played more of a run-defending role with the Chargers and was responsible for only two missed tackles last season. He could make a lot of sense for the Browns, who experienced several injuries at linebacker last season—Anthony Walker (quadriceps), Jacob Phillips (pectoral tear), Sione Takitaki (torn ACL) and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (foot) all landed on injured reserve—and struggled against the run.

The Browns finished the 2022 season ranked 25th in both rushing yards allowed and yards per carry (4.7) surrendered.

It’s also surprising that the Las Vegas Raiders haven’t picked up Van Noy yet. Head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler both come from New England, and the front office hasn’t been shy about picking up former Patriots—Jimmy Garoppolo, Jakobi Meyers, Brandon Bolden and Brian Hoyer being a few examples.

Las Vegas could also use the defensive help after ranking 23rd in yards per rush allowed (4.5), 28th in yards per pass attempt allowed (6.7), 28th in yards allowed and 26th in points allowed last season.

Van Noy could wear a lot of hats for the Raiders, filling roles on the field and helping McDaniels install the locker room culture he wants.

Logical Landing Spots: Cleveland Browns, Las Vegas Raiders

*Advanced Statistics from Pro Football Reference unless otherwise noted.