While the top NFL free agents will weigh their options with multiple contract offers on the table, general managers can get the most bang for their cap-space dollars with bargain-bin pickups. Players who didn't quite fulfill expectations with the team that drafted them, bounced around the league or lost snaps in a crowded rotation can become steals on the open market.

Last offseason, the Kansas City Chiefs signed JuJu Smith-Schuster to a one-year, $3.8 million contract, and he finished second on the team in catches (78) and receiving yards (933).

The Chiefs capitalized on Smith-Schuster's low market value after he played in just five games with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2021. In hindsight, they made a shrewd move that helped them fill a void at wide receiver following their decision to trade Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins. He outperformed teammate Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who signed a three-year, $30 million contract.

Who are the potential low-cost, high-reward free agents for the 2023 offseason?

We took a look at various position groups to highlight seven players who could fill starting spots at a relatively cheap cost. Oddly enough, our list includes a couple of former first-round picks.


QB Baker Mayfield

In 2022, Baker Mayfield made three stops across the league. He went through a portion of the offseason with the Cleveland Browns, and they traded him to the Carolina Panthers, who waived him in December. The Los Angeles Rams claimed Mayfield, and he had a decent showing as a fill-in for Matthew Stafford.

In five games (four starts) with the Rams, Mayfield threw for 850 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions with a 63.6 percent completion rate. He went 1-3 as a starter in Los Angeles but posted decent passing numbers without starting wideouts Cooper Kupp and Allen Robinson II.

Under Rams head coach Sean McVay, Mayfield likely salvaged his declining free-agent market value, though he's still unlikely to command a lucrative deal after a flameout in Cleveland and his struggles as a six-game starter with the Panthers (1,313 passing yards, six touchdowns and six interceptions with a 57.8 percent completion rate).

Nonetheless, the Washington Commanders, Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans, Las Vegas Raiders and the entire NFC South division need a starting quarterback, though obviously Mayfield isn't going back to Carolina.

With a quality offensive coordinator, Mayfield can post solid passing numbers as he did under McVay. When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hire an offensive play-caller, they have a situation that makes sense for the free-agent quarterback.

Tampa Bay holds the 19th overall pick in the 2023 draft. So, without a move up, they're out of position to select a top quarterback prospect. Following Tom Brady's retirement announcement, the club only has one quarterback under contract in Kyle Trask, and he's thrown just nine passes in the regular season.

By the way, Spotrac estimates Mayfield will command $6.5 million on the open market. In Tampa Bay, on a modest deal, he could go into the 2023 campaign as arguably the best quarterback in the NFC South.

Remember, Mayfield won a playoff game with the Browns two years ago, and he has a decent career touchdown-to-interception ratio (102-64).


RB Myles Gaskin

The Miami Dolphins' new regime led by head coach Mike McDaniel phased out Myles Gaskin, divvying up the bulk of their carries between Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson Jr. and Chase Edmonds, though they opted to trade Edmonds in the Bradley Chubb deal before the deadline.

Gaskin only suited up for four games through the 2022 season. Miami listed him as a healthy scratch for several weeks and then placed the running back on injured reserve (shoulder) late in December. He finished the campaign with 14 touches for 54 scrimmage yards.

At his next stop, Gaskin will likely take on a role within a backfield committee, but he's capable of leading a platoon in a three-down role. Between 2020 and 2021, Gaskin racked up 1,818 yards and 12 touchdowns from scrimmage, though he did lose three out of four fumbles.

If an offensive play-caller doesn't see Gaskin's size (5'10" 194 lbs) and occasional ball-security issues as reasons to limit his workload, he can handle 12-15 touches per game for a team that wants a complete back at a bargain.

Perhaps the Arizona Cardinals show interest in pairing Gaskin with a stout 6'1", 233-pound ball-carrier in James Conner for a solid one-two punch out of the backfield while quarterback Kyler Murray recovers from a torn ACL.