Ranking top value signings of NFL free agency, plus winners and losers of Day 3 and top 10 available players



Welcome to the Thursday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!

We are now in Day 4 of free agency. I haven’t seen my family in 72 hours, I’m on my 14th pot of coffee this week and I haven’t slept since Monday, but it’s all been worth it, because free agency has been a wild ride. 

We’re going to continue our free agency coverage today by breaking down some of the best value signings so far, plus, we’ll be taking a look at the biggest names left on the market. Also, I should point out that there will be deals going on all day, and if you want to stay on top of all those deals, then you’re definitely going to want to click here so you can follow all the action in our free agency live blog. If you’re too busy to follow a live blog, you can also click here to check out our free agent tracker that will be updated any time one of the top 100 free agents signs a deal. 

As always, here’s your daily reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the newsletter. To get them signed up, all you have to do is click here. Let’s get to the rundown. 

1. Today’s show: Winners and losers of free agency on Day 3

We’ve been doing the same thing on the podcast every day this week and that thing is talking about free agency, so you can probably guess what we talked about on today’s episode, which featured Will Brinson, Tyler Sullivan and, of course, myself. 

We spent the hour-long episode breaking down Day 3 of free agency, and one thing we did during the show was hand out some winners and losers. 

Here’s a look at our winners. 

WINNERS

  • Brinson: Lamar Jackson. The Ravens had one of the best offenses in the NFL in 2023 and that offense just got better with the addition of Derrick Henry. Putting Jackson and Henry on the same offense almost seems unfair. The addition of Henry should take some serious pressure off Jackson. 
  • Sullivan: The Commanders’ future QB. The Commanders will almost certainly be taking a QB with the second overall pick and they’re already setting that guy up for success. Not only have they beefed up their offensive line by signing Tyler Biadasz and Nick Allegretti, but they’ve also added offensive weapons like Austin Ekeler, Zach Ertz and Jamison Crowder. Not to mention, the new QB will get to learn from another QB who once went second overall in Marcus Mariota. 
  • Breech: Texans. I love almost everything the Texans have done this week. DeMeco Ryans improved his defense by adding Danielle Hunter, Denico Autry, Azeez Al-Shaair, Folorunso Fatukasi and Jeff Okudah. They also made an upgrade at running back by trading for Joe Mixon. And let’s not overlook the fact that they also signed a former All-Pro punter (Tommy Townsend) in free agency. The Texans are on a roll. 

If you want to know who our losers are or if you just want to hear the three of us break down the third day of free agency, you can listen to our full show by clicking here. You can also watch today’s show on YouTube by clicking here. 

2. Ranking the top value signings of free agency

Every team’s goal in free agency is to get the biggest bang for their buck, so we decided to take a look at which teams are doing the best at that so far. Cody Benjamin stayed up all night sifting through every deal that’s been handed out this week so that he could figure which teams have gotten the best value so far. 

Here are the top five deals on his list in terms of best value: 

  • Steelers sign Russell Wilson (one year, $1.21 million). “Is Wilson past his prime? The numbers and eye test suggest as much. But Pittsburgh is literally paying him less than what the Buffalo Bills are paying Mitch Trubisky to sit behind Josh Allen. At 35, with a pretty deep ball still in the arsenal, the ex-Seahawks star is built to operate the Steelers’ old-school offense, leaning on the run and play-action.”
  • Vikings sign Aaron Jones (one year, $7 million). “Why move on from Dalvin Cook only to add another aging ball carrier one year later? For one, Jones still appears to have a second gear, fresh off a hot finish to 2023. … pairing Jones with youngster Ty Chandler could be truly dynamic.”
  • Chargers sign Gus Edwards (two years, $6.5 million). “With 700+ yards — and a 5.0 yards-per-carry clip — in four of six seasons with the Ravens, the track record is there. He projects as a perfect 1B at a very minimal cost.” 
  • Jaguars sign Mitch Morse (two years, $10.5 million). “The former Bills stalwart is getting up there, entering his age-32 season, but it’s not often you can secure a nine-year veteran at center — and a Pro Bowl-caliber one, at that — for such a discount.”
  • Rams sign CB Darious Williams (three years, $22.5 million. “Big money? Not anymore, at this position. Williams is returning to Los Angeles on a deal that doesn’t even crack the list of top 20 earners at corner, yet he’s fresh off a ball-magnet season for the Jaguars in which he logged four picks and a career-high 19 pass breakups.”

You can check out Cody’s full list of value signings here

3. NFL free agency: Here are the biggest moves over the past 24 hours 

During free agency, it’s nearly impossible to keep track of everything that happens, but the good news for you is that you don’t have to because CBS pays me to do it for you. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the biggest moves that have gone down around the league over the past 24 hours.  

  • Titans pull off surprise by landing Calvin Ridley. Heading into free agency, it looked like it was a two-horse race to sign Ridley between the Patriot and Jaguars, but then Tennessee Titans came out of nowhere. The Titans through a lot of money at Ridley, who will be getting a four-year, $92 million deal that includes $50 million in guaranteed money. 
  • Titans add Mason Rudolph. Not only did the Titans sign Ridley, but they also added a backup quarterback in Mason Rudolph. The former Steelers QB has agreed to a one-year deal in Tennessee, where he’ll serve as the backup to Will Levis. 
  • Colts sign Joe Flacco. After watching the Browns sign Jameis Winston this week, Flacco knew his time in Cleveland was over, so he decided to sign with the Colts. The reigning Comeback Player of the Year has agreed to a one-year, $8.7 million deal. Flacco will now serve as the backup to Anthony Richardson, who missed most of the 2023 season with a shoulder injury. 
  • Cowboys finally make their first free-agent signing. The biggest drama from free agency happened between the Cowboys and 49ers. A few hours after agreeing to a deal in San Francisco, linebacker Eric Kendricks changed his mind and decided he wanted to play for the Cowboys. Kendricks will now be reuniting with Mike Zimmer, who coached him for seven seasons in Minnesota. The addition of Kendricks made the Cowboys the final team to sign an outside free agent this year.  
  • Jets make trade for Morgan Moses. The Jets beefed up their offensive line on Wednesday by making a trade for Moses, who spent the past two seasons as the starting right tackle for the Ravens. To make the deal happen, the Jets sent a 2024 fourth-round pick (112th overall) and a sixth-rounder (218) to Baltimore in exchange for Moses and a 2024 fourth-rounder (134).
  • Bengals make deal with former first-round pick. The Bengals added some serious depth to their offensive line by signing Sheldon Rankins to a two-year, $26 million deal. Rankins racked up six sacks at defensive tackle while playing for the Texans in 2023. The Bengals also signed safety Vonn Bell, who started 48 games for them over three seasons (2020-2022) before bolting to Carolina for 2023. 

If you’re looking for more signings, we’re keeping tabs of every deal that’s going down in free agency, and you can check that out by clicking here

4. Top 10 free agents left on the market 

We’re less than 24 hours into the “official” start of free agency, and we’ve already seen 18 of the top 20 available players get signed. If you’re sad because your team seems to have forgotten that free agency is happening and hasn’t signed anyone yet, I have some good news for you: There are plenty of good players still available. 

With that in mind, let’s check out the 10 highest-ranked players from Prisco’s top 100 list who are still available (they’re listed with the team they played for last season):  

1. CB Kendall Fuller (Commanders)
2. OT Tyron Smith (Cowboys)
3. S Kamren Curl (Commanders)
4. EDGE Chase Young (49ers)
5. CB Stephon Gilmore (Cowboys)
6. EDGE Jadeveon Clowney (Ravens)
7. OT Trent Browns (Patriots)
8. WR Marquise Browns (Cardinals)
9. OG Kevin Zeitler (Ravens)
10. NT D.J. Reader (Bengals)

Note: We did not include tagged players on this list even though they are free to speak with other teams. 

Day 4 of free agency will be rolling along today, and since it won’t be easy to keep track of every signing, here’s another reminder that we’ve put together a free agent tracker so that you can stay up to date on what has happened so far. If you’d like to check out the tracker, just click here. We also have a live blog that will cover signings AND trades as they happen, and you can check that out by clicking here.  

5. NFL to consider several major rule changes for the 2024 season

The NFL adds several new rules every year, and we got a good idea of what some of those rules might be this week when the teams offered up their rule proposals for the 2024 season (The Competition Committee will also offer a few proposals, but those likely won’t come out until next week). 

Here’s a look at the team proposals that are on the table for 2024:

  • Eagles are proposing an alternative onside kick. The Eagles seem to make this proposal every year. Instead of attempting an onside kick to get the ball back, teams would have the option to convert a fourth-and-20 from their own 20-yard line. The rule was popular enough in the NFL that it was proposed in 2019, 2020 and 2021, but in each case, nothing changed (The rule was voted down in 2019 and the owners decided to table the discussion in both 2020 and 2021, which meant that no vote was held). With the future of the onside kick up in the air, thanks to the new kickoff proposal, it will be interesting to see if more teams are on board with this proposal.   
  • Eagles want an NBA-style game clock. This proposal is pretty simple: In the final minute of each half, the Eagles want the game clock to show tenths of a second. 
  • Colts want to expand the challenge system. The Colts want to give coaches the ability to challenge any foul that has been called in the final two minutes of each half. 
  • Lions want to make it easier to get a third challenge. Under the current rules, a coach has to win each of his first two challenges to get a third challenge. Under the Lions’ proposal, a coach would just have to win ONE of his first two challenges to gain a third challenge. The Lions also proposed this last year, but it didn’t get anywhere. 
  • Bills want to expand the third QB rule. Last year, the NFL approved a rule that allowed teams to dress an extra player on game day, but that player had to be an emergency third quarterback. The Bills want to add to that rule by making it possible for practice squad quarterbacks to serve in the emergency spot. Under the current rule, the emergency QB has to be a player on the active roster. 
  • Several teams want the trade deadline moved back. The Browns, Lions, Jets, Eagles and Commanders are proposing to move the trade deadline back two weeks. The deadline currently happens on the first Tuesday after Week 8, but they want it pushed to Week 10. The Steelers have a separate proposal that would push the deadline back to the Tuesday after Week 9.

You can check out all the rule proposals here. As for whether we’ll see any changes, each rule would have to be approved by 24 of the 32 owners before it can officially be added to the rule book for the 2024 season. Each of these rules will likely be voted on at the next league meeting, which runs March 24-27 in Orlando. 

6. Extra points: Russell Wilson is finally released, but with a small twist

It’s been a busy 24 hours in the NFL, and since it’s nearly impossible to keep track of everything that happened, I went ahead and put together a roundup for you. 

  • Broncos set to take largest dead cap hit in NFL history. The Broncos have officially released Russell Wilson and they’ll be taking a dead cap hit of $85 million over the next two seasons for dumping their QB. Based on Wilson’s contract, it looked like the Broncos would take a cap hit of $35.4 million in 2024 and $49.6 million in 2025, but instead, they’ll be taking a bigger chunk this year. The Broncos will now be taking a cap hit of $53 million in 2024, which will be the largest dead cap hit in NFL history. Denver will then take a $32 million dead cap hit in 2025.  
  • Ravens dump Odell Beckham Jr. The Ravens decided to cut Beckham after just one season, which means the veteran receiver is now a free agent. Beckham caught 35 passes for 565 yards and three touchdowns during his one year with the team. 
  • Chargers release Mike Williams. The Chargers had to get under the salary cap by 4 p.m. ET yesterday, and to make that happen, they decided to cut Williams in a move that freed up roughly $20 million in cap space. We came up with a few landing spots for Williams. You can check those out here
  • Eagles give Jake Elliott record-setting contract. The Eagles kicker signed a four-year extension on Wednesday that’s worth a total of $24 million. With an average annual value of $6 million, Elliott is now tied with Justin Tucker for the title of highest-paid kicker in NFL history. 
  • 49ers make trade for Maliek Collins. The 49ers have already added three defensive linemen this week — Leonard Floyd and Yetur Gross-Matos and Jordan Elliott — and they added another by acquiring Collins from the Texans. To make the deal happen, the 49ers are sending a seventh-round pick (232nd overall) to Houston. 
  • Dan Campbell gets extension from Lions. After watching Campbell lead the Lions to their first NFC title game in 30 years, the team has decided to give him an extension. Campbell and general manager Brad Holmes both had their deals extended through the 2027 season. This only adds one year to each contract, which means the deals were probably done to give each guy a nice raise. 





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