Skip to content
  1. NFL

NFL Free Agency Preview: Lamar Jackson and Saquon Barkley on the move?

Several starting caliber quarterbacks are set to hit free agency next month when hundreds of out-of-contract NFL players and their agents can officially hear what teams are ready to offer.

But, just like last year when the feeding frenzy was particularly lucrative for the NFL's best wide receivers, it is the re-signings and under-the-radar deals that usually determine which teams challenge for the Lombardi Trophy.

The 2023 NFL free agency period begins on March 15, which is the first day of the new league year.

WhatNFL free agency
WhenFrom Wednesday, March 15, 2023
How to watchNFL Network's 'Free Agency Frenzy' coverage kicks off on Sunday, March 12 at 1.00pm ET, while NFL Total Access will recap the day's developments when it airs each night at 7.00pm ET from Sunday, March 12
OddsNFL Championship (to win outright) - KC Chiefs +550, BUF Bills +650, SF 49ers +650, PHI Eagles +800, CIN Bengals +900, DAL Cowboys +1200

What can teams do in the days prior to NFL free agency?

There will be one last chance for teams to keep their impending free agents, either by using the franchise or transition tags prior to the 4.00pm EST deadline on March 7th.

A week later, on March 13th, teams will get a chance to hold contract negotiations with unrestricted free agents from 12.00pm EST until 3:59pm EST - this is termed the legal tampering period.

The league does not allow teams to tamper with any of their rivals' players, but has created a short window before the official start of NFL free agency for teams to open negotiations with those who are now certain to hit the market.

During this time between the start of legal tampering and the opening of the NFL free agency window, there will be many reports from NFL insiders of deals that are done but that can't be officially registered with the league yet.

When can teams make trades?

Also at 4.00pm on March 13th, teams can officially make trades. The biggest offseason trade of last year was announced on day one of the league season when the Seattle Seahawks traded QB Russell Wilson and a 2022 fourth-round draft pick to the Denver Broncos for a 2022 first-round pick, a 2022 second-round pick, a 2022 fifth-round pick, a 2023 first-round pick, a 2023 second-round pick, TE Noah Fant, DE Shelby Harris and QB Drew Lock.

Related NFL News

NFL Offseason Schedule: What to look out for until NFL returns

NFL Scouting Combine: Events, schedule, dates & odds

Who are the top pending free agents of 2023?

Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson won the NFL MVP award in 2019 and followed it up by becoming the first quarterback to have multiple 1,000 yards rushing seasons as he led the team to a third consecutive playoff appearance.

So it is a strange set of circumstances indeed that have led him to be on this list. He represents himself and walked away from the negotiating table over long-term deal talks last summer.

An exclusive franchise tag would keep Jackson in Baltimore for $45 million in 2023. A non-exclusive tag would cost $32.4 million and allow other teams to sign him to an offer sheet before giving the Ravens one last chance to match it or let him walk in exchange for two first-round picks.

Likewise, the Seattle Seahawks, +6600 to win the NFC Championship in 2024, may get a new deal done with QB Geno Smith before a franchise tag is necessary.

Two big men from the NFL Championship game trenches could be on the move with Eagles defensive tackle Jason Hargrave set to his free agency after putting together back-to-back seasons of brilliance in Philadelphia and Orlando Brown destined to join his third NFL team after playing on the Kansas City Chiefs' non-exclusive franchise tag last season.

The New York Giants left themselves in a position where their starting QB and RB are both hitting free agency at the same time, but they are projected to have over $50 million of cap space this offseason. Most analysts expect Big Blue to prioritize the retention of Daniel Jones on either a franchise tag or a short-term deal that will eat into over half their cap space. 

So Saquon Barkley, +15000 to Regular Season MVP, could be allowed to walk, or at least explore what is out there in terms of rival interest. After a bounce-back year in 2022 when he only began to run out of juice in the playoffs, there will be plenty of potential buyers for Barkley's unique range of rushing and playmaking talents.

After last spring's rush to recruit all the elite wide receivers around, there are few top-echelon talents available this year - so the free agent running back market looks more interesting.

Josh Jacobs could not have timed his best season as a pro any better as he enters free agency after finishing 2022 as the league's rushing champion. Some general managers will worry about the prospect of over-paying for a player who saw a league-high 393 touches last season, but Jacobs proved durable throughout his four years in Oakland/Las Vegas.

Related Articles

bet365 uses cookies

We use cookies to deliver a better and more personalised service. For more information, see our Cookie Policy

New to bet365? Get up to $100 in Bet Credits

Become a member of the world's favorite online sports betting brand

Join Now

Returns exclude Bet Credits wager. T&Cs , time limits and exclusions apply