2024 NFL Free Agency Tracker: Defense


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2024 NFL Free Agency Tracker: Defense

Eight NFL teams hired a new head coach in 2024. Five of these coaches have defensive backgrounds, three of which were defensive coordinators and two of which were linebacker coaches last year. In addition, 15 teams hired a new defensive coordinator this off-season. There is a definite focus on the defensive side of the ball in team leadership heading into the new year. It would not surprise us to witness teams dishing out bigger-than-expected contracts for players on the defensive side of the ball during free agency or for teams to draft more IDPs than offensive players in the first two days of the 2024 NFL Draft.

As of the initial publication of this article, many teams have released seasoned veterans and quality IDPs to help create cap space just prior to the onslaught of free agency. Veterans like Tre’Davious White, Avonte Maddox, Jordan Poyer, and Justin Simmons were released. Many more players could be released or restructure their current contract between now and June in an effort to alleviate financial restrictions teams face.

The players listed below are based more on fantasy relevance (past performances and future opportunities) than NFL reality (future team and defensive scheme, coaches, etc.). Obviously, contract asking prices and general manager priorities govern the final landing spots for all free agents. Still, these players have the highest fantasy upside potential if they sign with the right team and land in the most opportune defensive system.

UPDATE 3-10: Just prior to the start of free agency on March 13, Two of our top defensive tackle free agents came off the board. Chris Jones re-signed with Kansas City on a 5-year contract that includes $95 million guaranteed. This guarantee is the fourth highest in current contracts among defensive players. Fletcher Cox announced his retirement after 12 seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles. With these two becoming unavailable to teams, the depth at defensive tackle in free agency takes a significant hit. The 49ers asked Arik Armstead to take a pay cut and he refused. He is likely to be released and added to our list but until he is a free agent, Armstead will remain off our list.

UPDATE 3-15: A number of trades took place this week that included a few serviceable IDP fantasy options. Detroit acquired CB Carlton Davis, a 2024 6th rounder, plus a 2025 6th rounder from Tampa Bay for a 2024 3rd rounder. Carolina sent EDGE/DE Brian Burns and a 2024 5th rounder to the Giants for 2024 2nd and 5th rounders plus a 2025 conditional 5th round pick. Pittsburgh acquired CB Donte Jackson and a 2024 6th rounder from Pittsburgh for WR Diontae Johnson and a 2024 7th rounder.

UPDATE 3-20: Edge rusher Romeo Okwara retired after eight seasons. There are many solid EDGE options but most of them have already signed. Consequently, Romeo was removed from our EDGE listing and replaced by Randy Gregory who is currently a free agent.

UPDATE 3-23: The Chiefs franchised tagged L’Jarius Sneed back on March 4th. Now, they have traded him and a 2024 seventh-round draft pick to Tennessee for a 2024 seventh round and a 2025 third-round pick. UPDATE 3-25: The Titans immediately signed Sneed to a four-year contract extension worth $76M with $55M guaranteed.

UPDATE 3-29: Philadelphia traded Edge rusher Haason Reddick to the New York Jets for a conditional 2026 third round draft pick that could bump up to a second round pick if Reddick plays 67.5% of the snaps and records 10 sacks in 2024.

UPDATE 4-7: Carolina signed DT Derrick Brown to a four-year contract extension worth $96M with $63.165M guaranteed. Brown thrived last year under defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero’s new 3-4 based defense and Carolina rewarded him with the fourth highest contract for a defensive tackle in the NFL.

UPDATE 4-10: Jacksonville signed franchised tagged EDGE rusher Josh Allen to a five-year contract worth $150M with $88M guaranteed. Allen was set to make $24M in 2024, but is now with the Jaguars at $30M a year through 2028.

UPDATE 4-16: Indianapolis signed DT DeForest Bucknwer to a two-year contract extension worth $46M. Buckner is a dominant three-down force that has not missed a game in three straight seasons.

UPDATE 4-25: Dallas picked up the fifth year option on DE/LB Micah Parsons just before the NFL Draft. Parsons is scheduled to make $21.234M in 2025. Denver picked up the fifth year option on CB Pat Surtain II and he will make $19.8M in 2025. Both teams now have just under two years to sign Parsons and Surtain to contract extensions. Meanwhile, Washington declined the fifth year option on LB Jamin Davis. Pittsburgh restructured LB Alex Highsmith’s contract to free up $7M in 2024.

Unrestricted Free Agents

An unrestricted free agent is a player with four or more accrued seasons and an expired contract who is free to negotiate and sign with any team. The age for each player is the age he’ll turn in the 2024 calendar year.

Defensive End

Leonard Williams (Sea, 29)

Simons’ Prediction: Carolina Panthers

Actual Signing: Seattle Seahawks, 3-year contract worth $64.5M

Williams was the only player in the NFL last year to play in 18 games. He was traded from the Giants to Seattle after his Week 8 outing and thus did not get a bye week. Following the trade, Williams posted 41 total tackles in ten games with the Seahawks. In those games, his stat sheet read 24-17-4. Seattle would love to re-sign The Big Cat, but his asking price could be too steep for the new coaching staff. Las Vegas will show interest in him, as will the Panthers, as each team would love to pair him with a star in DE Maxx Crosby or DT Derrick Brown.

Chase Young (SF, 24)

Simons’ Prediction: New Orleans Saints

Actual Signing: New Orleans Saints, 1-year contract worth $13M

Young did not meet expectations after being drafted with the second overall pick by Washington in 2020. He missed 24 of a possible 58 games during his three-and-a-half seasons with the Commanders. After posting 7.5 sacks in his rookie year, Young tallied just 9 total sacks in the following three seasons. Young did record 4 sacks in nine regular-season games after being traded to the 49ers, and notched a sack in the Super Bowl. His asking price will be close to $10M per year. Teams like Arizona, Baltimore, Houston, and Chicago might be interested in his services. The sleeper here is New Orleans, which restructured Cameron Jordan's contract to get in on the bidding for Young. UPDATE 3-15: Young underwent a neck procedure that will force him to miss part of the Saints camp. New Orleans knew about the issue prior to signing him.

Denico Autry (Ten, 33)

Simons’ Prediction: Cleveland Browns

Actual Signing: Houston Texans, 2-year contract worth $20M with $10.5M guaranteed

Autry is coming off a year in which he set single-season career highs in total tackles (50), solos (30), assists (20), and sacks (11.5). He is well-versed in 3-4 base defenses and mans a DT position but can play DE or be an edge rusher for a new team. Teams like Cleveland, who likely do not re-sign Za’Darius Smith, could be in the market for Autry and be willing to sign him for around $10M a year.

Jonathan Greenard (Hou, 26)

Simons’ Prediction: Indianapolis Colts

Actual Signing: Minnesota Vikings, 4-year contract worth $76M with $42M guaranteed

The biggest knock against Greenard is missing games. He has yet to play a full 16 or 17-game year in his four NFL seasons. Unfortunately, Greenard has missed 19 of a possible 67 career games. Greenard is coming off a career year and should get a solid payday after posting 12.5 sacks in 15 games in 2023. Houston will make every effort to re-sign him, but they may not want to fork over top dollars for a player who has yet to complete a full season in the NFL. Teams like Chicago and Indianapolis could be spenders for his services. The Colts must be drooling over the thought of playing him beside DeForest Buckner.

Dorance Armstrong (Dal, 26)

Simons’ Prediction: Washington Commanders

Actual Signing: Washington Commanders, 3-year contract worth $45M

Armstrong has recorded 16 sacks in his last two seasons combined. While he is not a big tackle supplier, he has serious fantasy relevance in big-play-scoring fantasy leagues. This is especially true for fantasy leagues that reward big fantasy points (four or more) per sack. Armstrong had a two-year, $12M contract expire after last season. His asking price is going to be the key to his landing spot. If he does not get what he asks for, he could re-sign with his former team.

Defensive Tackle

Christian Wilkins (Mia, 28)

Simons’ Prediction: Minnesota Vikings

Actual Signing: Las Vegas Raiders, 4-year contract worth $110M

The Dolphins opted not to place a tag on Wilkins and allow him to hit the open market. His production dropped off significantly last year compared to his previous season, as his total tackles dipped by 33, solos by 21, and assists by 12. During his first four seasons combined, Wilkins totaled 11.5 sacks. Teams will look at his nine sacks in 2023 and be intrigued enough to offer him big money. New England could be a suitor but Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores might be the one who lands Wilkins. Flores drafted Wilkins out of Clemson in 2019.

Arik Armstead (SF, 30)

Simons’ Prediction: Detroit Lions

Actual Signing: Jacksonville Jaguars, 3-year contract worth $51M

Armstead was released on March 13th after failing to come to a new contract agreement with the 49ers. Apparently, the team did not feel he was worth the money he was seeking, especially since he has missed 13 of a possible 32 games in the last two seasons combined and has a history throughout his career of not completing a full season (has done so just once).. Immediately following his release, the 49ers acquired Maliek Collins from Houston to fill his position. Armstead recorded five sacks during 12 games in 2023. He is in the 50-60 total tackle range per year and is good for 4-6 sacks. In 2019, he collected double-digit sacks (10) for the first and only time during his 9-year career. Miami will have interest in Armstead, but so will a handful of other teams. This could boost his final contract and that might eliminate Miami because of their current cap situation. Detroit and Houston are two other teams with cap space to sign him who are in need of a DT.

D.J. Reader (Cin, 29)

Simons’ Prediction: Las Vegas Raiders

Actual Signing: Detroit Lions, 2-year contract with $27.25M with $9M guaranteed

Reader has yet to play a full season since 2018. He has played in just 105 of a possible 131 games during his eight-year NFL season. Back in December, Reader suffered a torn quadriceps for the second time in his career Thus, teams will be gun shy pulling the trigger on a contract as Reader could start the season on the PUP list or IR. A team like Detroit could sign him as an investment for late in the season or into 2025, but the Raiders could go after him immediately if they think he will be ready to play by Week 6.

Justin Jones (Chi, 27)

Simons’ Prediction: Kansas City Chiefs

Actual Signing: Arizona Cardinals, 3-year contract worth $30.1M with $19.75M guaranteed

In consecutive seasons with the Bears, Jones has posted close to 50 total tackles and around four sacks per year He also has approached double-digit big plays per year as well. Jones is a solid rotational run defender but is not much of a pass rusher. Thus, Jones is considered a two-down defensive tackle at best and has higher fantasy value in tackle-heavy scoring leagues.

Sheldon Rankins (Hou, 29)

Simons’ Prediction: New York Jets

Actual Signing: Cincinnati Bengals, 2-year contract worth $26M

Rankins is entering his ninth NFL season and will likely join his fourth career team in 2024. Rankins has consistently posted 35-40 total tackles and averaged four sacks in his last three seasons combined, His ten QB hits last year marked the second time in his career that he posted double-digit QB hits. Rankins gambled on a one-year contract with Houston last year and it could very well pay off in free agency this year. He played for the Jets in 2021 and 2022, who could be looking to acquire an interior pass rusher who would fit into their defensive line rotation.

Inside Linebacker

Patrick Queen (Bal, 24)

Simons’ Prediction: Seattle Seahawks

Actual Signing: Pittsburgh Steelers, 3-year contract worth $41M

The Ravens placed their Franchise Tag on Justin Madubuike, thus a chunk of cap space will get swallowed up by the defensive tackle. This will make it harder on the Ravens to re-sign Queen. With Seattle hiring his former defensive coordinator, Mike Macdonald, he could end up following him to the Pacific Northwest. Still, Queen has publicly stated he would like to remain in Baltimore. In the end, he will likely go where the money is. With the Seahawks in dire need of linebackers and Queen coming off a Pro Bowl year that saw him set career single-season highs in total tackles (133), solos (84), and assists (49), he could land in Seattle if he gets too expensive for the Ravens.

Lavonte David (TB, 34)

Simons’ Prediction: Kansas City Chiefs

Actual Signing: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1-year contract worth $10M

David led the Buccaneers with 134 total tackles and he tied for the team lead in 2022 with 124. He has posted 100 or more total tackles in ten of his twelve NFL seasons, While he is not a huge big play producer, he has been in the 8-10 big play per season range during the past five seasons. Both he and fellow starting ILB Devon White are free agents. It is more likely that the team tries re-signing David over White, but that will be tough. Tampa Bay has very little cap space and they may not be able to afford David. With Kansas City likely losing Willie Gay Jr. to free agency (they re-signed Drue Tranquill), David will be a target for the Super Bowl champions.

Bobby Wagner (Sea, 33)

Simons’ Prediction: Dallas Cowboys

Actual Signing: Washington Commanders, 1-year contract worth $8.5M

Last year, Wagner led the NFL with 183 total tackles, ranking fourth with 97 solos. He has recorded 100 or more total tackles in all twelve of his NFL seasons. For the second year in a row, Wagner tallied double-digit tackles for a loss. This should quiet critics, including this writer, who felt he lost a step following his 2021 season in which he posted just three tackles for a loss. Seattle would love to re-sign him, as he is a huge fan favorite. Unfortunately, this may not be possible if the Seahawks sign Patrick Queen or another top-end 3-4 base free agent ILB. Wagner played under new Washington head coach Dan Quinn in 2013 and 2014, but Dallas is better suited to make a Super Bowl run.

Frankie Luvu (Car, 27)

Simons’ Prediction: Carolina Panthers

Actual Signing: Washington Commanders, 3-year contract worth $36M

Carolina tried to work out a contract extension with Luvu back in the summer of 2023, but did not come to an agreement. Luvu proved to be a vital piece of the Panthers’ defense last year. Thus, re-signing is a top priority for management this off-season. With him coming off a season that saw him set career single-season highs in total tackles (125), assists (59), passes defended (5), and forced fumbles (2), Luvu should be in the $12M per year, give or take a million, territory.

Azeez Al-Shaair (Ten, 26)

Simons’ Prediction: Tennessee Titans

Actual Signing: Houston Texans, 3-year contract worth $34M

The former 49er linebacker was signed as a free agent last year. Al-Shaair proceeded to rank fifth in the NFL with 163 total tackles in 2023. He proved to be a respectable run defender and flashed decent coverage skills. Thus, he was a three-down linebacker option as well as the green dot wearer for the Titans. Al-Shaair has expressed interest in remaining in Nashville with the Titans.

Outside Linebacker

Danielle Hunter (Min, 29)

Simons’ Prediction: Los Angeles Rams

Actual Signing: Houston Texans, 2-year contract worth $49M (up to $51M) with $48M guaranteed

In 2023, Hunter ranked 5th overall in the NFL with 16.5 sacks. He recorded multiple sack outings four times last year. Hunter set career highs pretty much across the board in 2023. This should allow him to approach a $20M a year deal. Minnesota wants him back. Yet, are the Vikings willing to pay him what he wants? If they are not, then teams rumored to be interested like Jacksonville and Chicago could seek his services. If it is not Minnesota, then it makes more sense that a team like the Rams would be a likely landing spot, as they have plenty of cap space to work with.

Michael Hoecht (LAR, 26)

Simons’ Prediction: Los Angeles Rams

Actual Signing: Los Angeles Rams, 3-year contract worth $2.297M

Outside linebacker is the weakest free agency position this year, and the drop off from Hunter begins here. The Rams have plenty of cap space, and they could be in the market for an edge rusher like Danielle Hunter. In 2023, Hoecht took 918 defensive snaps for the Rams. He posted 81 total tackles (45 solos and 36 assists) while ranking fourth on the team with six sacks. The team could look at re-signing Hoecht if the price is right, otherwise, they will let him hit the open market and seek someone else’s services.

Leonard Floyd (Buf, 31)

Simons’ Prediction: Carolina Panthers

Actual Signing: San Francisco 49ers, 2-year contract worth $20M ($3.418M in 2024, $10.108M in 2025, $6.474M in 2026)

Floyd has averaged nearly ten sacks per in his last four seasons combined. Be careful with Floyd as his tackle production dropped off, thus his fantasy value is high in big play scoring leagues but not in tackle-heavy scoring systems. Buffalo opted to let Floyd hit the open market as the Bills are counting on the return of Von Miller and could go after a cheaper free agent like Jadeveon Clowney. Two teams that could show interest in Floyd are the Giants (GM Joe Schoen worked with Buffalo) and the Panthers. Carolina would love to team Floyd up with Brian Burns, but at what cost?

Nicholas Morrow (Phi, 28)

Simons’ Prediction: Miami Dolphins

Actual Signing: Buffalo Bills, 1-year contract worth $1.5M

In his last two seasons combined, Morrow has averaged 105 total tackles. He recorded double-digit big plays with the Eagles in 2023, even though he only started 12 of the 16 games he played for them. Morrow did take 772 defensive snaps for Philadelphia last year. Obviously, his landing spot will govern whether he has fantasy relevance in 2024, so stay tuned. Ken Norton Jr. is the new Washington linebackers coach, and he was the defensive coordinator for the Raiders during Morrow’s rookie year. Miami could also take a long look at Morrow since they released Jerome Baker and need to fill his spot.

Bud Dupree (Atl, 30)

Simons’ Prediction: Los Angeles Chargers

Actual Signing: Los Angeles Chargers, 2-year contract worth $3M with incentives up to $10M

Dupree is a high injury risk. He tore his ACL in 2020, which hindered him into 2021. Then, he suffered an abdominal injury in Week 10 of 2021. In 2022, he suffered multiple hip strains Weeks 3 and 4. Dupree has missed 17 games in his last four seasons combined. Yet, his 11.5 sacks with Pittsburgh in 2019 still intrigue teams who think he could help them off the edge. Dupree did play in 16 games last year while posting 17-22-6.5 with three PDs and two FFs. Teams like Denver and Jacksonville will likely kick the tires on Dupree this off-season.


Kenny Moore II (Ind, 28)

Simons’ Prediction: Indianapolis Colts

Actual Signing: Indianapolis Colts, 3-year contract worth $30M

Moore is one of the top slot cornerbacks out there, and he has been very serviceable for fantasy owners. In his seven NFL seasons, Moore has 17 career interceptions, three of which came in 2023. If he stays healthy, Moore can approach 90-95 total tackles and put up double-digit big plays. The Colts would be hard pressed to find a replacement and should make a hard effort to re-sign him.

Kendall Fuller (Was, 28)

Simons’ Prediction: Arizona Cardinals

Actual Signing: Miami Dolphins, 2-year contract worth $16.5M

An excellent cover man who has taken 1000 or more defensive snaps in three straight seasons, makes Fuller one of the top cornerbacks in free agency this year. This is especially true with franchise tags being placed on L’Jarius Sneed and Jaylon Johnson (who has since signed an extension). Fuller is a reliable 75-80 total tackle and double-digit big play cover guy.

Myles Bryant (NE, 26)

Simons’ Prediction: Houston Texans

Actual Signing: Houston Texans, 1-year contract worth $2M

While starting just 15 of a possible 34 games over the past two years, Bryant has posted over 70 total tackles and approached double-digit big plays in each of those seasons. Not bad for a guy who took just 816 defensive snaps last year and 689 the year before. Bryant has ties to Texans general manager Nick Caserio. He was signed as an undrafted free agent by Caserio back in 2020. With a serious lack of depth at cornerback, Houston is a solid fit for Bryant. He not only can challenge for a starting job, but he also has punt return and limited kick return experience.

Keisean Nixon (GB, 26)

Simons’ Prediction: Atlanta Falcons

Actual Signing: Green Bay Packers, 3-year contract worth $19.2M

Nixon started just 13 of his 17 games and took only 778 defensive snaps last year. Yet, he posted 80 total tackles while notching an INT and five passes defended. Nixon is a solid slot cornerback that can also return kickoffs and/or punts. Atlanta is in dire need of both and could fill two roles with one signing.

Stephon Gilmore (Dal, 33)

Simons’ Prediction: New England Patriots

Actual Signing: TBD

Gilmore is entering his thirteenth NFL season. In 2023, he set career single-season highs in total tackles (68), solos (54), and assists (14). Gilmore also recorded double-digit passes defended for the eighth time in his career. He has averaged over two interceptions a year during his twelve seasons. Gilmore is an excellent press cover guy, and the Lions will be looking for exactly that in free agency and/or the draft. Thus, Detroit would be a good fit for Gilmore, seeking a deep run in the playoffs.


Xavier McKinney (NYG, 24)

Simons’ Prediction: Chicago Bears

Actual Signing: Green Bay Packers, 4-year contract worth $68M

McKinney is coming off his first career 100 total tackle season and is primed to make serious money in free agency. He also recorded double-digit big plays for the second time in three years (he had 7 in 9 games during 2022). McKinney started all 17 games for the first time in his four NFL seasons last year. We do need to point out that he missed half a year in every other season since his rookie year in 2020. Still, he played 17 games in two of his last three seasons. With Eddie Jackson gone, the Bears are seeking a solid playmaker to suit up alongside youngster Jaquan Brisker, but Chicago will not be the only suitor seeking his services.

Kamren Curl I\(Was, 24)

Simons’ Prediction: New York Jets

Actual Signing: Los Angeles Rams, 2-year contract worth $13M

If there is one negative constant with Curl, it would be that he has missed games in the last three seasons. He missed one last year, five the year before, and one in 2021. With that said, the total tackles in each of his four NFL seasons are impressive (88,99,83,115). Curl produced double-digit big plays once in his rookie season of 2020, but has one or more sacks in every year of his NFL career. Curl fits best in an aggressive defensive scheme and head coach Robert Saleh relies heavily on that system. With the departure of Jordan Whitehead, the Jets are in need of someone with Curl’s particular skill set.

Jordan Poyer (Buf, 32)

Simons’ Prediction: Los Angeles Rams

Actual Signing: Miami Dolphins, 1-year contract worth $2M

The fact he has not played a full season in his last three years, and he was scheduled to make $6.25M in 2024 are why the Bills decided to release the 11-year veteran. He posted 100 total tackles last year, marking the fourth time in his last six seasons that he achieved this. Poyer is still a solid safety and will land on his feet somewhere. In fact, he could re-sign with Buffalo but it would have to be at a lower cost. Yet, a team like the Rams could be looking to replace the departed Jordan Fuller.

Geno Stone (Bal, 24)

Simons’ Prediction: Green Bay Packers

Actual Signing: Cincinnati Bengals, 2-year contract worth $15M

Stone started in 11 of his 17 games last year. Once he claimed the starting role, he never looked back. His tackle numbers are not impressive at first look (44-24-0), but his big play totals (16) pop out at you. Stone ranked second in the NFL last year with seven interceptions and he has eight career picks in 19 games started. Seattle’s new head coach Mike MacDonald would love to get Stone in the fold in the Pacific Northwest as he and his coaching staff rebuild a 3-4 base defense from the ground up. Unfortunately, general manager John Schneider may choose to invest in the interior front seven players and use the draft or next year’s free agency to secure the backend of their new defense.

Jordan Whitehead (NYJ, 26)

Simons’ Prediction: Atlanta Falcons

Actual Signing: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2-year contract worth $9M

Whitehead fell short of 100 total tackles by three. He has never dipped below 69 total tackles in his six NFL seasons. So, while he has not achieved the century mark in total tackles, he is consistent. That makes him very attractive on the free agent market. Whitehead has double-digit big plays in five consecutive seasons. His four interceptions last year ranked him tied for seventh in the NFL. The Falcons have a huge chunk of cap space available and would love to improve their safety position with the addition of Whitehead.


D.J. Wonnum (Min, 26)

Simons’ Prediction: Washington Commanders

Actual Signing: Carolina Panthers, 2-year contract worth $14.5M

Washington will try securing a couple of edge rushers this off-season after trading away Chase Young and Montez Sweat mid-season last year. New head coach Dan Quinn is known for stockpiling edge rushers in 3-4 base defenses and that trend should continue in Washington. Last season, Wonnum set career highs in total tackles (62), solos (33), assists (29), and passes defended (6) while tying a career-high in sacks (8). Wonnum took 828 defensive snaps in 2023 and that shows he can be a three-down player.

Jadeveon Clowney (Bal, 30)

Simons’ Prediction: Miami Dolphins

Actual Signing: Carolina Panthers, 2-year contract worth $20M with incentives up to $24M

Clowney is coming off his best fantasy season over his last five years. His 9.5 total sacks tied a single-season career high. He fit well into the Ravens' defensive scheme and took advantage of this by logging 654 defensive snaps (second-highest total over his past five seasons). The Dolphins signed Ravens’ defensive line coach Anthony Weaver as their new defensive coordinator and Clowney could follow him to southern Florida.

Calais Campbell (Atl, 37)

Simons’ Prediction: Denver Broncos

Actual Signing: TBD

Last year, Campbell had his best fantasy season since 2019. He posted 56 total tackles and recorded 6.5 sacks, plus a handful of other big plays. The biggest concern with Campbell is his age as he enters free agency, over 37 years old. He is entering his seventeenth NFL season. While he did play a full 17-game season in 2023, he entered last year, coming off three straight seasons in which he missed games (nine total). His fantasy value will rely heavily on two key factors, the defensive scheme he lands in and his health.

Marcus Davenport (Min, 27)

Simons’ Prediction: San Francisco 49ers

Actual Signing: Detroit Lions, 1-year contract worth $10.5M

Davenport underwent surgery on a high ankle sprain back in November. He is a buy-low-edge rushing free agent option that teams could also use on the interior of their defense. His fantasy value is best in big-play scoring fantasy leagues, as he has little to know value in tackle-heavy scoring leagues. His best fantasy season in his six-year NFL career was in 2021 with New Orleans, when he posted 39 total tackles and nine sacks.

Randy Gregory (SF, 31)

Simons’ Prediction: Seattle Seahawks

Actual Signing: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1-year contract worth $3M with incentives up to $5M

Gregory is a 31 year old free agent with his best years behind him. Still, in the right system, he can provide pressure off the edge. Gregory has never recorded more than six sacks in a single season, thus he is good for 3-5 sacks at best. He has 117 total tackles and 20 sacks in his seven year career that started back in 2015. Keep in mind, Gregory did not play in 2017 or 2019 (suspended both years due to failed drug tests).

A savvy veteran of fantasy football since 1990, Thomas specializes in IDP and Special Teams. When he is not delving into fantasy football, Thomas works as an instant or slow-motion replay technician for national and regional clients.