With NFL free agency open for almost two months now, most of the big-name players on the defensive side of the ball have already been signed. However, there are still some very talented players still without a team for next season.
Rather it is age starting to catch up with them, or down years last season, there are three defensive free agents that could make a huge difference in 2023 for any team that signs them.
Last season, he started in all fifteen games that he played in for the Indianapolis Colts, however, they declined to give him an extension after the year concluded.
Ngakoue is an extremely talented pass rusher and he has a knack for getting to the quarterback. With the Colts last season, he recorded 9.5 sacks and 16 hits on the quarterback. However, while he excels as a pass rusher, he likely is still sitting in free agency due to his inability to stop the run.
Despite this, he would still be a perfect player to bring in as a specialist and could really raise the ceiling of a defense. Being able to cut back on his snap count could potentially make him a more efficient pass rusher as well.
Another player on the defensive side that should not still be sitting in free agency is Jadeveon Clowney. Clowney had a very rough season in his final year with the Cleveland Browns.
He felt as if the Browns coaching staff favored their other defensive end, Myles Garrett, much more than Clowney and forced him to move around the defense to accommodate him. He was quoted as saying, “It’s just b.s. and I don’t have time for it”. After these comments, the Browns would deactivate him for the remainder of the season.
With Clowney being a player that has struggled to find his footing in the league after being the first overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft, these kinds of comments can be detrimental to his career. While Clowney did eventually apologize for his comments, it is clear that the damage has been done.
While he is still a talented player, NFL teams will not take the risk of bringing in a loose cannon like that. Despite this, Clowney is still a very talented player and has a lot left in the tank. Even after his rough final year in Cleveland, he could be a low-risk high-reward option for a team looking for a pass rusher.
The final defensive player that teams should be taking a look at in free agency is Marcus Peters. In his prime, Peters was one of the top cornerbacks in the league. He has been named to the Pro Bowl three times, the All-Pro team twice, and was the 2014-15 Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Many believed that Peters would not be the same player again after his ACL tear in the 2021 season, however, he bounced back incredibly well and had a very solid year with the Baltimore Ravens.
While he had a career-low in interceptions and his tackling stats also took a dip, Peters is still a more than capable cornerback. He may not be the number-one corner that he once was, he would still be a very solid starting option for any team.
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