The weeks leading to NFL free agency are loaded with wishes and prayers about landing a top player on the market.
Unfortunately for many fans, several of these dreams will go unfulfilled. Top free agents may return to their previous teams, or a franchise might move in a different direction—maybe not even pursue the player.
Still, a handful of big-name talents will choose new destinations this March. And as we generate early predictions for the 2023 class, five of our position-best players are indeed on the move.
The list is subjective but considers the rosters and cap situations of both the current and potentially interested teams.
QB: Lamar Jackson
One way or another, the Baltimore Ravens will re-sign Lamar Jackson.
The intrigue, however, is whether the 2019 league MVP will effectively force his way to a new team. Jackson's relationship with the organization has become a major offseason question.
As of today, the expectation is Jackson and Baltimore will attempt to work out an extension. Barring a new agreement, the Ravens will slap (a form of) the franchise tag on Jackson—who, in turn, could decide to hold out. Especially if that happens, a trade lingers as a possibility.
The overall point is the Ravens are exceedingly unlikely to simply let Jackson walk in free agency. Losing an MVP-caliber quarterback for nothing would be an absolute failure of roster management.
Both sides should hammer out a palatable deal. But if negotiations take a negative turn, Jackson has leverage too.
Prediction: Baltimore Ravens
RB: Saquon Barkley
At least in one opinion, the New York Giants have the most fascinating free-agent predicament of the offseason.
Daniel Jones assembled a mini-breakout year, although he still showed clear limitations as a passer. Saquon Barkley played a pivotal role in New York's resurgent season, yet there's a mountain of evidence to suggest that a high-dollar deal for running backs is bad business.
But the Giants, fresh off a playoff trip with $44.3 million to spare, can't possibly let them leave in free agency, right?
Look, if it wasn't clear already, I am skeptical about re-signing either Jones or Barkley. That would be a bold, fire-me-soon level of risk for an NFL executive if that decision backfires.
The safest route is retaining both players, keeping Barkley for his versatility and connection with Jones.
Prediction: New York Giants