We are in the thick of the NFL off-season, and the beginning of free agency is right around the corner. For teams that are looking for a linebacker, the 2023 class is absolutely loaded with talent.
Here are five of the best available linebackers left on the NFL free agent market.
NFL Free Agency 2023: Top-5 Linebackers
Edmunds may be the most sought-after name on the market during this cycle. He will be 25 years old at the start of next season, but he already has five seasons of NFL play under his belt. He has been one of the biggest producers on one of the league’s top defenses, though he is a couple of years removed from his Pro Bowl appearances.
Look for Edmunds to be one of the first names off of the board, as it looks as though his time with the Buffalo Bills has come to an end.
The most accomplished and most decorated linebacker on the list is Bobby Wagner, who will be a free agent after just one season with the Los Angeles Rams. Wagner made his name with the Seahawks during the 2010s, being named an All-Pro for eight straight years. He received the honor again with the Rams last season as he continued his high level of production.
Of the top linebacker choices, Wagner is one of the older options. But given his body of work, he should receive a nice final payday from a team in need.
The FA LB market is loaded:
Leighton Vander Esch
… & more
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) March 12, 2023
Like Wagner, Lavonte David is advancing in age and could be bypassed by teams who are looking for linebackers with fresher legs. But David is the perfect candidate for a team to take a one-or-two-year flier on to come in and be one of the strongest LB2 in the league. He played in all 17 games last season, racked up 124 tackles, and is a solid coverage backer as he had 5 passes defended as well.
Long doesn’t have the gaudy statistics that the others do, and he won’t be the first linebacker off of the board. But his age and solid production last season in just 12 games played to make him an interesting free-agent candidate. For teams that miss out on the likes of Wagner or Edmunds, Long could be a good backup option, as he accounted for 86 combined tackles and 2 interceptions last season.
Kendricks has been a mainstay on the defense for the Vikings for the last eight years. He has had 100+ tackles in every season since his rookie year and racked up 137 combined in 2022. His sack numbers were down, perhaps due to scheme and usage, but he is still one of the top available NFL linebackers. His age may play a factor in a team’s interest, as he will be 31 years old at the start of next season.
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