New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) heads to the goal line in the second quarter past Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Nolan Smith (3), Sunday, January 7, 2024.

Top 10 Offensive Skill Players Set to be Free Agents

The NFL offseason is now in full swing. The NFL Combine will start in a couple weeks and not long after that, NFL free agency will be open. There’s been an increase of 30 million to each team’s salary cap. With that, teams will have more opportunities than ever to improve their team with the veteran players on the market. Here are ten players who can make the biggest impact on their new teams. 

Top 10 Offensive Skill Players Set to be Free Agents

1. Kirk Cousins, Quarterback

No surprise here. Kirk Cousins is the best veteran quarterback on the market and could be the last piece to help a team make a playoff run. Even at 35, he seems to slightly improve each year as he ages. Although Cousins is coming off an Achilles tear, he wasn’t exactly known to use his legs much. The only question for Cousins will be to prioritize winning, or a larger contract. 

2. Saquon Barkley, Running Back

Saquon Barkley is one of many high-level running backs set to test the market this offseason. It was a tough decision, but he ended up at the top in terms of his position for the following reasons. Barkley is still in the prime of his career at age 27, the New York Giants offensive line never did him any favors and when splitting hairs and he has ability that Derrick Henry and Josh Jacobs simply don’t have. Any team that signs Barkley gets nearly a guaranteed top-five running back. 

3. Baker Mayfield, Quarterback

To define the Baker Mayfield experience in one word would be tricky. The former No. 1 overall pick has had plenty of ups and downs in his career. However, he’s about to hit the open market at a time when his value has never been higher. Mayfield likely won’t ever be a top-ten quarterback in the league but can certainly get a team to the playoffs like we saw in 2023. Whoever signs Mayfield will have to be alright with a high-floor, low-ceiling quarterback. 

4. Mike Evans, Wide Receiver

One of the biggest reasons for Mayfield’s career renaissance was none other than Mike Evans. Evans has been one of if not the most consistent receivers of his generation. Although he seemed to be slowing down at 29, he posted his 2nd best receiving yards total (1,255) in his career. Injuries have yet to be a factor in his career, which is a massive plus for someone entering the wrong side of 30. Whoever signs Evans will be getting a 2nd tier wide receiver one. 

5. Josh Jacobs, Running Back

2022’s NFL rushing leader is finally set to join a team of his liking. Although Josh Jacobs had a massive 2022 season, 2023 was much different in all the wrong ways. Whether due to misutilization or general coaching incompetence, he only managed 805 yards on a meager 3.5 yards per carry. Much of that was likely not his fault, but we must factor that in when analyzing how he stacks up to Saquon Barkley and Derrick Henry. Still, Jacobs is only 26 and his talent is far from drying up. Whoever is lucky enough to sign Jacobs likely gets a top-ten running back. 

6. Derrick Henry, Running Back

The most known name on the market lands at six. The NFL hasn’t seen the likes of a dominant power back like Derrick Henry in decades. While it’s hard to see him playing in anything but Navy and that Titan blue, that’s where things are currently headed. As long as Henry can stay relatively healthy, he can be the guy who turns a contender into a Super Bowl favorite. He’s never averaged below 4.2 yards per carry. He might be best served to play in a lesser capacity than his usual workhorse ways. 

7. Tee Higgins, Wide Receiver

While it’s weird to think that the Bengals would let Tee Higgins hit the market, talks on an extension are far apart. Before an injury-riddled 2023 campaign, Higgins had solidified himself as a near top-15 receiver and one the best jump ball catchers the league had to offer. There’s no question that ability is still there. Only being 25 with an explosive 6’4 220 pound frame points to there still being upside for the former Clemson product. Whoever signs Higgins likely gets a legitimate wide receiver one. 

8. Michael Pittman Jr., Wide Receiver

Although Michael Pittman Jr. has been stuck in a run-first offense for much of his career, he’s still been able to show his talents. From the moment Pittman Jr. entered the league as a second-round pick, he’s shown that he belongs. Whether it was Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz or Gardner Minshew, Pittman Jr. has made it work. Similar to Higgins, he boasts great physicality with underrated run-after-catch ability. Wherever Pittman Jr. lands, he’ll be a great asset for the team’s passing attack. 

9. Calvin Ridley, Wide Receiver

Calvin Ridley has had an up-and-down career, to say the least. After flashing star potential in Atlanta, he landed in Jacksonville where he had mixed results. His 76 catch and 1,000-yard season looks much better on paper than in reality. There were many games where Ridley was simply nowhere to be found. He clearly wasn’t on the same page with Trevor Lawrence for parts of the season. Still, Ridley has great deep speed and runs a refined route tree. In 2024, Ridley will be either a low-end receiver one or a very high-end wide receiver two.

10. Dalton Schultz, Tight End

Over his time in both Dallas and Houston, Dalton Schultz has proven to be one of the league’s better tight ends. While usually not a huge receiving factor, Schultz still has the talent to scare defenses. His 10-catch, 130-yard performance against Tampa Bay this year proves that. He’d be a valuable piece in any offense that doesn’t have the tight end spot filled out. For teams drafting a rookie quarterback especially, Schultz could be their safety blanket and a great red zone target. He could end up being a top-ten tight end next season.

Main Image: © Kevin R. Wexler / USA TODAY NETWORK

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