2024 NFL free agency: Re-signing decisions for all 32 teams

ByESPN NFL Nation reporters ESPN logo
Tuesday, January 30, 2024

As 30 NFL teams look toward the 2024 offseasonand just one game remains in the playoffs --the San Francisco 49ers will meet theKansas City Chiefsin Super Bowl LVIII-- we're taking a look at what lies ahead over the next two months, with free agency set to kick off in March.

We asked our NFL Nation writers to pick the one player from the team they cover whose contract status will shape that franchise's offseason the most. Thelist includes a few quarterbacks who led their teams to the playoffs, a handful of top running backs, a star wide receiver from the AFC North and a Super Bowl-winning defensive tackle who had a lengthy holdout last offseason.

Which players could define the offseason? We'll start in the AFC East:

Jump to:




NE | NO | NYG | NYJ | PHI | PIT | SF



Buffalo Bills

DT DaQuan Jones

This could just as easily be wide receiver Gabe Davis, who said he plans to explore free agency in March, but the only defensive tackle from the 53-man roster under contract for 2024 is Ed Oliver. That's in addition to multiple free agents at defensive end. Jones was a key starter alongside Oliver when healthy (Jones missed nine games due to a torn pectoral suffered in Week 5), and bringing him back would make a lot of sense, but with Buffalo dealing with a tight cap situation, actually doing so might not be easy.

"We missed DaQuan when he got hurt in London, and I told him as much [Monday]," general manager Brandon Beane said. "... He's earned the right to test his market and see what it looks like. But we would be a fool not to entertain bringing him back." -- Alaina Getzenberg

Miami Dolphins

DT Christian Wilkins

The Dolphins and Wilkins failed to reach an agreement last offseason and agreed to table conversations until after the regular season. Well, the 2019 first-round pick turned in a career year with nine sacks and appears to be in a stronger position to negotiate than he was in 2023.

Miami extended Wilkins' partner at defensive tackle, Zach Sieler, two weeks before the season started but would still need to find a replacement for Wilkins if the sides are once again unable to reach an agreement. Money is tight in Miami -- the Dolphins are $55.3 million over the projected cap, according to Roster Management System -- but re-signing Wilkins should be a priority. -- Marcel Louis-Jacques

New England Patriots

OT/G Mike Onwenu

The 2020 sixth-rounder has developed into a capable starter at right guard and/or right tackle, putting him in line for a big payday. Team owner Robert Kraft said championship teams draft well, and Onwenu is a good example of the type of player the franchise has developed and thus should feel comfortable signing to a second contract. Failing to do so would create a hole to fill on the offensive line, which is already one of the team's top areas of need. -- Mike Reiss

New York Jets

DE Bryce Huff

Huff, who made the team four years ago as an undrafted free agent, is likely seeking at least $15 million per year after recording a career-high 10 sacks. The Jets want to keep Huff, their most dynamic edge player, but they drafted edge rushersWill McDonald IV and Jermaine Johnson in each of the past two first rounds. It will be hard to retain Huff, who wants to be an every-down player. The franchise tag is an outside possibility. -- Rich Cimini


Baltimore Ravens

DT Justin Madubuike

Madubuike wasarguably the biggest breakoutin the league this season, becoming the NFL's best interior pass-rusher. He had 13 sacks in his contract year after totaling 8.5 sacks combined in his first three seasons.

The Ravens, who have tried to sign Madubuike to a new deal, are expected to place the franchise tag on him to keep him from becoming a free agent. The tag, which was around $19 million for defensive tackles last year, would limit what an already-cap-limited team (the Ravens are $638K over the projected cap) can do in free agency. -- Jamison Hensley

Cincinnati Bengals

WR Tee Higgins

The Bengals will have to make an important decision on the 2020 second-round pick, who is at the end of his rookie contract. He had an off year in 2023 largely due to injuries, catching 42 passes for 656 yards and five touchdowns, but he averaged 71.7 receptions, 1,009.3 yards and 6.3 touchdowns per season from 2020-22.

Higgins is a prime candidate to receive the franchise tag, which is estimated to be worth $21.7 million. With Ja'Marr Chase still on his rookie contract and Joe Burrow's mega extension not set to take full effect until 2025, Cincinnati can afford to keep the trio together for at least one more season. -- Ben Baby

Cleveland Browns

QB Joe Flacco

The 39-year-old former Super Bowl MVP propelled the Browns to a four-game winning streak late in the year and a playoff berth, throwing for 1,616 yards and 13 touchdown passes in five games after being signed in late November.

Franchise quarterbackDeshaun Watson is on his way back from right shoulder surgery, however, and the Browns are $55.5 million over the cap for 2024. General manager Andrew Berry says the Browns would "absolutely love" to have Flacco back but admitted there will be "constraints" on how much they'll be able to pay a backup QB. -- Jake Trotter

Pittsburgh Steelers

QB Mason Rudolph

After not receiving much interest from the rest of the NFL last offseason, Rudolph wound up back in Pittsburgh on a one-year deal. He should field quite a few calls this time around after turning in solid performances in three regular-season starts and against the Bills in the playoffs, throwing five touchdown passes to one interception. He finished the regular season with a 70.6 QBR, significantly better than Kenny Pickett (38.2) and Mitch Trubisky (34.5).

While Mike Tomlin said Pickett will resume his status as QB1, the coach also said he wanted Pickett to be challenged, and Tomlin expressed a desire to continue doing business with Rudolph. The Steelers' entire quarterback room is in flux, and the front office will have to decide if -- or how -- to include Rudolph in the team's future plans. -- Brooke Pryor


Houston Texans

DE Jonathan Greenard

Greenard led the team in sacks (12.5), the most from a Texans defender since J.J. Watt had 16 in 2018. The Texans already have a Pro Bowler on the defensive line in rookie Will Anderson Jr., but coach DeMeco Ryans believes in a defense led by a dominant line powered by a wave of pass-rushers.

Last week, Ryans said, "Everything I believe in, it starts up front with the rush and also with the offensive line and protecting. So, we'll continue to build with our fronts. Start at the front and build backwards, that's how I envision it, and Jonathan had a really great year." With $61.8 million in available cap space, there's room to bring back Greenard. -- DJ Bien-Aime

Indianapolis Colts

WR Michael Pittman Jr.

No Colts receiver has been targeted at a higher rate than Pittman since Hall of Fame finalist Reggie Wayne in 2012. So, yeah, the Colts will work to find a way to retain Pittman, who is believed to be seeking a deal that compares favorably with those of some of the better wideouts in the league. Pittman has said he has some interest in seeing what free agency has to offer -- which makes the franchise tag a possibility -- but the Colts will undoubtedly be motivated to strike a deal with a player who was fifth in the NFL in receptions (109) in 2023. -- Stephen Holder

Jacksonville Jaguars

OLB Josh Allen

Allen had arguably the best season by a defensive player in franchise history(17.5 sacks) and accounted for nearly half of the team's 40 sacks. There's only one other pass-rusher on the roster (Travon Walker), so bringing back Allen on either the franchise tag or a contract extension should be the Jaguars' top offseason priority. The expectation is the team uses the franchise tag and tries to work out a deal before the season starts, which is what the team did this past offseason with tight endEvan Engram. -- Michael DiRocco

Tennessee Titans

RB Derrick Henry

Henry has been the cornerstone of the Titans' offense since 2019, as his 7,209 rushing yards the past five seasons are 1,664 more than the No. 2 player. But Tennessee's offensive philosophy will change under new coach Brian Callahan. Even though he's 30 years old and has 2,030 career carries, Henry is still a top-five running back and likely has two productive seasons left. The Titans will have a tough decision to make. -- Turron Davenport


Denver Broncos

LB Josey Jewell

Beyond the decision the Broncos make with quarterback Russell Wilson -- many in the league expect him to be released -- Jewell, who has posted 100-tackle seasons in three of the past four years, leads the team's list of unrestricted free agents. The Broncos, having traded plenty of draft picks in recent years, don't have a natural replacement for Jewell on the roster and will have one of the league's worst salary-cap situations if Wilson is released.

General manager George Paton has already admitted the team will almost certainly sit out the first wave of free agency, so it will be difficult for the Broncos to keep Jewell or their other frontline free agents unless they are willing to take less to stay. -- Jeff Legwold

Kansas City Chiefs

DT Chris Jones

The Chiefs wouldn't give Jones the money he wanted on a long-term contract last year when he was holding out, so it makes no sense for them to give it to him this time around. It also isn't logical for them to make him the franchise player, which means it's possible Jones will be moving on.

The Chiefs tried to prepare for that eventuality over the past two years, drafting defensive ends George Karlaftis and Felix Anudike-Uzomah in the first round, but losing Jones, who had 10.5 sacks this season and has 75.5 in his career, would still be immense. -- Adam Teicher

Las Vegas Raiders

RB Josh Jacobs

After his All-Pro 2022 campaign, Jacobs balked at the Raiders tagging him last spring, refusing to sign the tag and skipping the entirety of Las Vegas' offseason program, training camp and preseason. What followed was his worst season to date, with the 2019 first-rounder finishing with career lows in rushing yards (805), yards-per-carry average (3.5), touchdowns (6) and games played (13).

Still, he is a favorite of team owner Mark Davis and coach Antonio Pierce, though new general manager Tom Telesco has no relationship with Jacobs. Jacobs said he was all-in if Pierce returned. But at what price? Zamir White showed he could carry the load in Jacobs' late-season absence by rushing for 397 yards and a TD while catching nine passes for 60 yards in the games the veteran missed. -- Paul Gutierrez

Los Angeles Chargers

RB Austin Ekeler

Ekeler and the Chargers had a very public contract standoff ahead of the 2023 season, which included Ekeler requesting a trade before ultimately returning on a contract with added incentives. He struggled this season, however. He tied the highest drop percentage of his career (5.4%), and his 628 rushing yards were his fewest since 2020.

Ekeler said he wouldn't rule out a return to the Chargers but will be "selective" about where he plays next. With a new coach and GM, the Chargers investing significantly in the running back position on an already salary-cap-strapped roster (they're $54.2 million over the projected cap) seems far-fetched. -- Kris Rhim


Dallas Cowboys

OT Tyron Smith

The decision might not be the Cowboys' alone. Smith has to decide if he wants to play a 14th season. He missed four games with injuries in 2023, but he and the team found a practice plan that allowed him to get work off to the side and still be ready. He was still named a second-team All-Pro. Coach Mike McCarthy said it's the best he has seen Smith perform since he got to the Cowboys in 2020.

Smith is 33 and has a lot of wear and tear, but he has value. If he doesn't want to play anymore, do the Cowboys move Tyler Smith to left tackle or keep him at left guard? They do not have somebody else ready to play tackle. Tyron Smith is their best bet, but does he want to play, and can the Cowboys find the right price? -- Todd Archer

New York Giants

RB Saquon Barkley

The Giants need to decide if they want to pay (or tag) their best offensive player, who had 1,242 yards from scrimmage and 10 touchdowns despite missing three games. If they allow Barkley to walk, it will create another major void in an offense already filled with holes.

The Giants must address quarterback and also need a No. 1 wide receiver and multiple starting offensive linemen. Do they want to add running back to that list of needs? Not even talking with teams about moving Barkley at the trade deadline this past season seems to suggest they want him to return. -- Jordan Raanan

Philadelphia Eagles

RB D'Andre Swift

Swift was arguably underutilized by the Eagles and still finished fifth in the NFL in rushing yards (1,049), which was by far a career-high. He is a home-run threat out of the backfield and proved he can be a productive feature back, particularly behind this offensive line.

Philadelphia is generally hesitant to pay running backs, though. Instead of signing pending free agent Miles Sanders last offseason, they let him walk and traded for Swift, who was in the last year of his rookie contract. If history serves, they could take a similar approach with Swift. -- Tim McManus

Washington Commanders

S Kamren Curl

The Commanders have 20 unrestricted free agents, including receiver Curtis Samuel and cornerback Kendall Fuller. But one member of the previous staff said Washington must re-sign Curl because of his versatility. With only one career interception, he's not a playmaker, but he's a smart, steady player who plays well in the box and can also rotate deep. It's hard to know what the team will do, however, with a new coach still to be named -- and a new defense to come with him. -- John Keim


Chicago Bears

CB Jaylon Johnson

Bears GM Ryan Poles left little doubt that re-signing Johnson is Chicago's top priority this offseason. "Jaylon's not going to go anywhere, and we'll work through it to get something done," Poles said on Jan. 10. Johnson earned second-team All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors, as he nabbed a career-high four interceptions and allowed a 50.9 passer rating into his coverage, which was the lowest of the four All-Pro cornerbacks.

Johnson said he wants to remain in Chicago even after extension talks stalled last fall and said recently on a podcast that he's "definitely deserving of [being] the highest paid [at the] position," which would cost the Bears north of $20 million per year. That's a price they can afford to pay given their salary cap situation for 2024 (more than $49.1 million of space) if they choose to work out a long-term deal and not resort to using the franchise tag. -- Courtney Cronin

Detroit Lions

S C.J. Gardner-Johnson

After a Super Bowl run with the Eagles in 2022, where he was the NFL's co-leader in interceptions with six, Gardner-Johnson signed a one-year deal with the Lions as a possible window to a bigger deal this offseason. He suffered a torn pectoral during Week 2, however, which placed him on injured reserve, and didn't return until the regular-season finale versus Minnesota, where he picked off a pass.

When healthy, Gardner-Johnson brings experience and has been productive, but the likelihood of him returning to Detroit could depend on whether defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn returns. Glenn has fielded several interviews for head-coaching positions and shares a close bond with Gardner-Johnson, which is what drew the safety to the Lions organization. -- Eric Woodyard

Green Bay Packers

S Darnell Savage

The youthful Packers don't have a lot of must-sign free agents; running backAJ Dillon and guardJon Runyan probably will have to seek jobs elsewhere. But Savage could be one to return. The 2019 first-round pick has been praised for his leadership and communication skills and would probably prefer to return to the Packers, who might be looking for two new starting safeties if they don't bring back Savage. He had 51 tackles in 10 games in the regular season plus a key pick-six in Green Bay's wild-card upset of Dallas. -- Rob Demovsky

Minnesota Vikings

QB Kirk Cousins

Cousins' contract will void March 13, preventing the Vikings from using their franchise tag on him and guaranteeing him a path to the free agent market if he wants it. The team's key decision-makers are on record saying they will try to get Cousins re-signed, and the quarterback has said he wants to finish his career in Minnesota. The outcome likely will hinge on whether the Vikings are willing to give Cousins, who turns 36 in the summer, multiple fully guaranteed years in his new deal. That seems a 50-50 proposition at best. -- Kevin Seifert


Atlanta Falcons

DL Calais Campbell

This would have been a simpler decision had Arthur Smith had been retained as Falcons coach -- and it probably would have been Campbell's choice whether to return after a 56-tackle, 6.5-sack season. There are multiple layers to this: Does Campbell, who will be 38 next season, want to keep playing? If that answer is yes, does he believe in the vision and path to quick success of Raheem Morris' coaching staff? And does Morris' staff want to invest in Campbell, who had a $7.5 million cap hit in 2023? Those are the questions that will determine Campbell's future in Atlanta. -- Michael Rothstein

Carolina Panthers

OLB Brian Burns

It's really just a matter of if the Panthers get a long-term deal done with Burns or use the franchise tag on him. Despite a down season (eight sacks after having 12.5 in 2022), Burns still wants to be paid on par with the top five highest-paid edge rushers in the NFL. At 25, he's too good to let go to another team.

Burns' representatives couldn't get a deal done with former general manager Scott Fitterer, so much of what happens next will depend on new coach Dave Canales and new GM Dan Morgan. But it's safe to say they'll want to build around Burns, a two-time Pro Bowl selection who has proved that he can excel in a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme. -- David Newton

New Orleans Saints

WR Michael Thomas

Thomas isn't technically a free agent, but the Saints have to rework his contract before the third day of the 2024 league year or trigger massive future roster bonuses. That means he either is coming back on a new deal or will be a free agent for the first time in his career.

Thomas has not played a full season since his record-setting 2019, recording 39 catches for 448 yards and a touchdown in 10 games in 2023, which could mean the Saints could try to move forward with their younger group of receivers in lieu of Thomas, who turns 31 in March. -- Katherine Terrell

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

QB Baker Mayfield

The Bucs want Mayfield back, but with offensive coordinator Dave Canales gone, how much can they pay him while having to account for re-signingMike Evans, Antoine Winfield Jr. and Lavonte David, especially since there's sure to be competition for Mayfield's services? The Bucs are projected to have roughly $34 million in salary cap space.

Mayfield threw for 4,044 yards in the regular season -- ninth-best in the league -- while his 2.8 touchdown-to-interception ratio tied him with Brock Purdy for ninth in the NFL. His 28 touchdown passes were seventh most in the league.-- Jenna Laine


Arizona Cardinals

WR Marquise Brown

The Cardinals didn't give Brown the big extension he wanted heading into this season, making 2023 a lame-duck year. But herein lies the conundrum facing the Cardinals: Brown is injury-prone, having not played a full season since 2020, but is productive when healthy. He tried to play through a heel injury this season but played his last game on Dec. 3 and was eventually placed on injured reserve.

However, he's a close friend of quarterback Kyler Murray, so Arizona will have to weigh whether or not Murray wants to keep playing with Brown against how much to pay the receiver considering his injury history. -- Josh Weinfuss

Los Angeles Rams

G Kevin Dotson

Dotson, whom the Rams traded for during training camp, ended the season as Pro Football Focus' No. 2-ranked guard. The team would love to have him back, but it won't be cheap. The Rams are projected to have $27.2 million of cap space according to Roster Management System, so while they could re-sign Dotson, they might prefer to focus on adding to a young defense that finished No. 20 in the league in yards allowed per game. -- Sarah Barshop

San Francisco 49ers

DE Chase Young

The 49ers don't have many significant decisions on pending free agents, but Young presents an interesting case. The Niners gave up a third-round compensatory pick to acquire him and could get a pick back if he signs a big deal elsewhere.

But it seems unlikely that Young -- who had 2.5 sacks, 16 pressures and a 13.1% pass rush win rate in the regular season after the trade -- will get a deal large enough to bring a significant comp pick back to San Francisco. Which means he could be in for a short-term, incentive-heavy deal that the Niners could potentially afford. If he does leave, edge rusher once again becomes an offseason need, likely to be addressed early in the draft. -- Nick Wagoner

Seattle Seahawks

DT Leonard Williams

The Seahawks gave up a second-round pick (plus a 2025 fifth-rounder) when they acquired Williams and his expiring contract from the Giants in October, which left no doubt that they would try hard to re-sign him this offseason. But it won't be easy.

The Seahawks are projected to be about $4 million over the cap before subtractions and restructures, and they're already paying big money to linebacker Uchenna Nwosu and defensive endDre'Mont Jones. Williams outproduced and got more snaps than Jones in his 10 games with Seattle, making it hard to imagine him taking anything less than the $17.2 million yearly average that Jones is making. -- Brady Henderson

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