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NFL free agency rumors 2023: Derek Carr and quarterbacks in focus early

It’s time for our annual NFL free agency rumors with continual updates throughout the process leading up to the start of the legal tampering period.

This offseason sees several big-name players potentially set to hit the open market. That includes star running back Saquon Barkley and a quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo who is expected to be met with a strong market.

Former Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr gets a head start in comparison to others set to hit the open market. He was released by Las Vegas and is currently a free agent.

Meanwhile, it stands to reason that fellow quarterbacks Lamar Jackson and Geno Smith won’t even hit the open market. They’ll either be re-signed or have the franchise tag placed on them. It’s in this that we check in on the latest NFL free agency rumors for 2023 and where things stand.

Related: Top 250 NFL free agents of 2023

Derek Carr set to meet with the New York Jets

nfl free agency rumors: derek carr, new york jets
Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Primarily, teams in need of an upgrade at quarterback are going to wait until Aaron Rodgers exits his “darkness retreat” and makes a decision on his future. It was noted recently by Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer that the Jets might actually miss out on Carr due to the timeline for Rodgers to make his decision.

That changed in short order with other reports noting that Carr is set to visit with the Jets ahead of the start of free agency.

A four-time Pro Bowl performer, Carr does have a strong initial market. In addition to the Jets, he’s been linked to the Tennessee Titans, Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints. In fact, Carr enjoyed a two-day visit with New Orleans prior to being granted his release by the Raiders.

Related: Likely NFL salary cap casualties this offseason

NFL free agency rumors: Additions to the market

nfl free agency rumors: carson wentz
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

It won’t be long before Carson Wentz (Washington Commanders) and Ryan Tannehill (Tennessee Titans) are released by their current teams. Things are certainly trending in that direction right now.

The New York Jets have already been linked to Tannehill (like pretty much every other available quarterback). Meanwhile, Wentz’s market will be as nothing more than a backup due to his struggles over the past three seasons.

Other big-name players who could hit NFL free agency via a release include Pro Bowlers Harrison Smith, Shaq Barrett, Michael Thomas, Frank Clark, Khalil Mack and Ezekiel Elliott.

Related: Teams that must be most active in NFL free agency

Javon Hargrave among the top free agent defenders

NFL: NFC Championship-San Francisco 49ers at Philadelphia Eagles
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off yet another brilliant season with Philadelphia, Hargrave is going to be in demand. The defensive tackle recorded 11 sacks this past season in anchoring an historically good Eagles pass rush. Pro Football Focus estimates his potential market to be at $55 million over three years. That could be too rich for the Eagles’ blood.

Saquon Barkley asking price in free agency revealed

nfl free agency rumors: saquon barkley
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The top non-quarterback set to hit the open market, it seems highly unlikely that the New York Giants are going to place the franchise tag on Barkley. They have to worry about retaining young quarterback Daniel Jones and are focused more on him moving forward.

Giants insider Jordan Raanan of ESPN notes that many around the NFL believe Barkley will earn $14 million per season on the open market. That would put the former Offensive Rookie of the Year at $14 million, a number that equates to the fourth highest per-year total for a running back in the NFL.

Related: Salary cap situations for all 32 teams heading into NFL free agency

Green Bay Packers to keep Aaron Jones off the market

nfl free agency rumors: aaron jones
USA Today NETWORK-Wisconsin

There was some widespread speculation that Jones might hit free agency given his relatively high cap hit for the 2023 season and the fact that Green Bay would save a ton of cash by releasing the Pro Bowl running back.

That’s no longer the case. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Jones has agreed to a new deal with the Packers that will pay him $11 million next season. A total of $8.52 million of that will come via a signing bonus, lowering his cap hit for Green Bay in the process. Jones, 28, is averaging 1,430 total yards and 12 touchdowns over the past four seasons.

NFL free agency rumors point to Geno Smith re-signing in Seattle

nfl free agency rumors: geno smith
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off a season in which he earned NFL Comeback Player of the Year honors, it’s now believed that Smith will return to the Seahawks at some point before the start of NFL free agency.

Multiple media reports indicate that talks are positive between the quarterback and his organization with something expected to be worked out. Smith, 32, replaced Russell Wilson as the Seahawks’ starter and was brilliant in that role last season.

It stands to reason that any new deal for Smith will come in at north of $30 million per season. Given his track record ahead of the 2022 season (34 TD, 37 INT), the guarantees are going to be interesting in this regard.

Related: NFL free agency rumors, a look at potential salary cap casualties

Daniel Jones market value and potential return to the New York Giants

NFL: NFC Divisional Round-New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

As you might be able to tell, free agent quarterbacks are going to cash in big time this offseason. It’s all about supply and demand. While the Giants would prefer not to place the franchise tag on Daniel Jones, it’s something the team might have to do in order to avoid a bidding war for his services.

The former top-six pick out of Duke was stellar as a fourth-year player in 2022, accounting for 22 total touchdowns compared to just five interceptions en route to leading New York to a surprise playoff appearance. It has his market value at roughly $35 million per season according to various reports.

Jimmy Garoppolo expected to be met with a strong market

NFL: Miami Dolphins at San Francisco 49ers
Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Garoppolo’s decision to return to the San Francisco 49ers for another season came after he restructured his contract. Said restructure included a no franchise tag clause, which means he’s guaranteed to hit NFL free agency.

As of right now, the market for Garoppolo seems to be pretty robust with the Tennessee Titans, New York Jets, New England Patriots, Houston Texans, Washington Commanders, Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints already linked to the Super Bowl quarterback.

Despite suffering another season-ending injury in 2022, Garoppolo hits the open market at the perfect time. Supply and demand is on his side. Meanwhile, he has a track record of success (40-17 career record as a starter) and has played well recently (28 TD, 11 INT, 103.2 QB rating over past 18 starts).

Bookmark this page for evolving NFL free agency rumors as the market plays out in the coming weeks.

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