NFL Free Agency: Who might get paid?

Joshua Breeden, Sports Editor

As the NFL regular season came to a close and teams were in the midst of reevaluating their coaching staffs and player contracts, the NFL’s 2023 marketplace of free agents was growing with big names who have become big question marks. 

The quarterback pool is one of the deepest the NFL has had in recent years. Tom Brady and the Buccaneers were eliminated in the wild card round by the Cowboys, and Brady is left with a big decision between retiring for the second time, or joining a new team. I find it very unlikely that he’ll return to Tampa because his offensive line failed him miserably. Brady now holds the record for most sacked quarterback in league history.  Buccaneers’ wide receiver Julio Jones is also a free agent, so if Brady leaves, I find it very unlikely that Jones will return. This would leave the Bucs with a massive hole offensively. It’s very hard to tell where these two will go but if Brady comes back for another season, I’m positive it won’t be with Tampa Bay. 

The New York Giants had one of their best seasons in years and made it into the divisional round. However, the Giants have three big free agents: quarterback Daniel Jones, running back Saquon Barkley, and wide receiver Sterling Shepherd. The Giants have a run-dominated offense, so Barkley is a keeper. Daniel Jones is where it gets tricky because he played great during the season but none of his stats finished in the top 10. If Jones is willing to take less money, then I think the Giants can afford him and Barkley. Shepherd has been injured since week 3 and another player like Isiah Hodgins and Darius Slayton have stepped up and made big plays for New York so I wouldn’t be shocked if Shepherd and the Giants part ways. 

Lamar Jackson turned down a guaranteed $133 million contract on the first Sunday of the season, and contract negotiations have been quiet since then. With the Ravens being bounced out of the wild card by the Bengals, it becomes obvious that Jackson isn’t just thinking about money in this situation because had he accepted the contract, he would have become one of the league’s highest-paid quarterbacks. The Ravens’ defense has blown a number of leads in the past few years. Jackson already won the MVP award in 2019, so his next goal is making it to the Super Bowl. But the Ravens haven’t gotten close. Jackson’s decision will affect the Ravens’ playoff chances for next year. 

Lastly, Baker Mayfield is a free agent, but his career has taken a turn for the worse. He was the No.1 pick in 2018 only to get traded to the Panthers and after a disappointing first half of the season the Panthers cut him from the team. The Rams picked him up because of their quarterback injuries but aside from winning his first game with them, he was quickly benched after Mathew Stafford came out. Unless a team like the Bucs, Jets, or Colts lose a quarterback, I don’t see Mayfield landing another NFL contract.