Can you believe we're already in Week 12 of the 2022 NFL season? Time has flown by since the Buffalo Bills and Los Angeles Rams opened the campaign on September 8. We're now almost exactly halfway between that game and Super Bowl LVII.
After the Super Bowl, the big focus will be on 2023 free agency, and you can bet that some teams are already looking ahead to the open-market period. Players like Lamar Jackson, Orlando Brown Jr. and Saquon Barkley headline a loaded free-agent class, and we can expect them to command hefty contracts once teams are allowed to negotiate.
However, teams looking for bargains can find value in players who aren't among the top-ranked fee agents of 2023. It's this group of value free agents that we're here to examine.
Below, you'll find a list of eight impending free agents who could be sneaky-good additions this offseason. We'll examine what sort of value each can add and why teams should be tracking them over these final few weeks. Production was the main factor under consideration here, though age, past performance, player health and positional value were also considered.
Players are listed in alphabetical order.
Vonn Bell, S, Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals safety Jessie Bates III made our list of top 2023 free agents, and the 25-year-old—who is playing on the franchise tag this season—should be a coveted defender this spring.
However, teams shouldn't sleep on teammate and fellow safety Vonn Bell.
Bell has typically performed well as a box safety and struggled in coverage. Last season, for example, he racked up 97 tackles and five tackles for loss but allowed an opposing passer rating (OPR) of 113.6 in coverage. Over his past four seasons, Bell has never allowed an OPR below 98.9.
However, the 27-year-old has seemingly morphed into a dangerous ball hawk this season. Bell has logged five passes defended, a career-high four interceptions and allowed an OPR of only 45.2.
Teams will want to track Bell for the remainder of the season to see if he continues his strong play or reverts to being a subpar cover man. He's been fantastic thus far and will quickly rise up free-agent wish lists if his early-season breakout is no fluke.