NFL's best free agents still available: Odell Beckham Jr., Bobby Wagner among top names
With more than a week having passed since players and teams first began striking deals, NFL free agency's first wave seems long gone.
This year's open market seemed downright reasonable when compared to the big-dollar, market-resetting deals that had become commonplace in past offseasons. Whether due to lessons learned from past spending sprees or merely a reflection of what seemed like an underwhelming collective of top talent, the long-term contracts with massive guarantees were in short supply. Instead, even many of the most notable names looking to cash in instead had to settle for more modest payouts or deals that spanned merely a year or two.
But even with teams having allotted much of their cap space and an overwhelming majority of the best players already spoken for, there are still meaningful contributors waiting to find their landing spots.
Here's our look at the top players still available:
NFL FREE AGENCY WINNERS, LOSERS: How signings reshaped top contenders
NFL NEWSLETTER: Sign up now to get football news delivered to your inbox
1. LB Bobby Wagner
As far as short-term contributors for potential contenders go, there's no better option out there than the eight-time Pro Bowl selection. Even amid a disappointing Super Bowl defense for the Los Angeles Rams last season, Wagner squeezed out a second-team All-Pro performance at 32. The six-time All-Pro will bring strong leadership and sure tackling to whatever team he links up with next, likely elevating a playoff-caliber outfit.
2. WR Odell Beckham Jr.
Even before deals started materializing, the three-time Pro Bowler was NFL free agency's ultimate unknown, as he sat out all of last season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in the Rams' Super Bowl 56 victory last February. This much is clear: There's a solid chance that Beckham, 30, is the best pass catcher available for any team to add this offseason. But there's more uncertainty on exactly how high of a bid it will take to secure Beckham's services given the veteran's patience to this point.
3. G Dalton Risner
There's value in stability, especially when it comes to the offensive line. That much can be expected from Risner, who started 62 games in four years for the Denver Broncos. With his pass-blocking competence, Risner, 28, should still be a solid starter for several years.
4. DE Jadeveon Clowney
The former No. 1 overall pick has never posted a double-digit sack season, and it's unlikely he ever will as he enters his age-30 season. Still, Clowney creates consistent pressure, handles the run admirably and shows flashes of his immense ability. But as he prepares to play for his fifth team in six seasons after he openly criticized the Cleveland Browns' coaching staff last year, there's a legitimate question of whether Clowney is prepared to accept the complementary role he resisted while playing alongside Myles Garrett.
5. CB Marcus Peters
When it comes to free-agent cornerbacks, it often pays to buy low, given the year-to-year volatility of coverage performance for most players. That strategy worked out last offseason for the Eagles, who got great returns from James Bradberry on a one-year deal. Could Peters be in line to follow that trajectory? Last season certainly wasn't the three-time Pro Bowler's best, and injuries robbed him of his 2021 campaign and the final three contests of his 2022 season. But Peters, 30, is still a savvy playmaker in a league that always seems to be short on starting-caliber cornerbacks.
6. C Connor McGovern
The NFL's other Connor McGovern, who previously played offensive guard for the Dallas Cowboys, landed a three-year deal with the Buffalo Bills earlier in March. But this Connor McGovern, a center who started 48 games in the last three years for the New York Jets, remains unsigned. Several teams should be lining up for this kind of steadying presence on the interior.
7. CB Rock Ya-Sin
There's plenty of upside to be found in a 26-year-old former second-round cornerback who handles man coverage well. Ya-Sin has been hampered by injuries and never completed a full season in any of his four years in the NFL. But he's still potentially a strong value at this stage of free agency.
8. OT Isaiah Wynn
Timing is paramount in free agency, and Wynn hits the market at an inopportune moment. The former first-round pick and steady starter at left tackle was bounced to right tackle and struggled through a rash of ailments, eventually landing on season-ending injured reserve in December. Wynn might need to re-establish himself with a new outfit, but he has strong potential to enjoy a bounce-back season if healthy.
9. WR DJ Chark
It's easy to see the appeal of a 26-year-old receiver who stands at 6-4 and 205 pounds with 4.34-second speed in the 40-yard dash, even if injuries over the last two years (18 games missed) have sapped Chark of some of his juice. He might never be a consistent presence in the passing game, but he finished strong for the Detroit Lions in 2022, averaging 16.7 yards per catch for the year. Any team looking to unlock or enhance its downfield passing attack would be wise to take a look.
10. DE Yannick Ngakoue
Pass-rushing prowess is his selling point, as the soon-to-be 28-year-old has never had fewer than eight sacks in any of his seven NFL seasons. But that hasn't been enough for him to find a toehold with any one team, as he will be in search of his sixth franchise in five years. Even though the 6-2, 246-pounder is a liability against the run, he's worth a flier for a team in search of a low-cost defensive spark.
Follow USA TODAY Sports' Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz on Twitter @MikeMSchwartz.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NFL's best free agents remaining: Odell Beckham Jr. among big names