Change is constant. It's that way in life and it's that way in the National Football League. And when the NFL's new league year officially starts, you can be sure there will be meaningful change across the landscape of every division.

Every team is trying to get better, and this is a time when their actions express how they think they're going to do it. Sometimes it's a philosophical change that warrants a club adding a player who fits what they want to do. Sometimes it's just replacing a player with someone who is similarly skilled but will take less money. But each transaction tells a story.

Moreover, the Fantasy Football managers who stay on top of this change are the ones who won't be caught by surprise later. Knowing the changes and being able to understand what they mean is critical in helping you win your Fantasy leagues. Thinking about them in the spring will better prepare you for the summer.

These are the lists of players who are set to be free agents along with those who are potential salary-cap casualties. Identifying these players now will help you figure out how they'll impact your Fantasy teams later.


Free agents to be (age)Cap casualties? (age)
Kirk Cousins (36)Russell Wilson (35)
Baker Mayfield (29)Geno Smith (33)
Joe Flacco (39)
Gardner Minshew (28)
Josh Dobbs (29)
Carson Wentz (32)

Most definitely will change teams: Russell Wilson

The former Fantasy legend is expected to get cut from the Broncos and be on his third team. His efficiency wasn't that bad in 2023, but he continued having spurts of not looking comfortable in the pocket and missing open receivers. It would have to take a franchise that has a good O-line in place and a comfortable offensive scheme for Wilson to have a shot at reclaiming some of his past glory.

Probably not changing teams: Kirk Cousins

As soon as the Vikings' season ended, Cousins essentially said it was not about the money and was more about "everything that isn't the dollars." For a guy who's made as much as he has, it makes sense for him to seek a chance to win a ring. The Vikings should remain a contending team, perhaps with an upgraded pass rush. Cousins said he hopes to re-sign, but he cannot be franchise-tagged as his contract voids after the deadline players can get tagged. This could get interesting if the Vikings somehow botch their negotiations with him.

The veteran who could be a bridge QB: Joe Flacco

Flacco's late-season surge with the Browns catapulted him into the discussion of being an early-season starter, if not a full-season starter, for a squad in 2024. It will be interesting to see what kind of market develops for Flacco and whether or not he can keep up his loose but accurate passing style. It wouldn't be a surprise to see a team that takes a quarterback in the NFL Draft sign Flacco.

The top 5 Fantasy QB landing spots

  • Vikings: Justin Jefferson is an alpha, Jordan Addison figures to be among the best No. 2 receivers around the league, and T.J. Hockenson is a reliable tight end once he rehabs fully from his torn ACL. Kevin O'Connell's track record of being pass-heavy means a lot of attempts and a lot of numbers. No wonder why Cousins would want to stay.
  • Falcons: Arthur Smith wasn't a standout coach or playcaller but the dude did a great job building an offense for someone else to run. The offensive line, while a little old, is considered a plus, and the trio of Drake London, Bijan Robinson and Kyle Pitts offers a lot of options for a quarterback to succeed with. 
  • Raiders: Another strong group of receivers for a signal-caller to lean on ... assuming Davante Adams stays for another year. The offensive line could take another step forward as well. Who they hire to call plays will be important.
  • Broncos: It's tough to look at the players currently on the roster and fall in love with this destination, but Sean Payton figures to reshape the offense enough to make Denver a fun place to play. Look for this team to land at least one playmaker for its passing game.
  • Commanders: Get a nod over the Titans and the Patriots because they have Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson. One of those two might have been grossly misused in 2023 and could bounce back with a savvy quarterback. Chances are they'll have a young one, not an old one.

Running backs

Free agents to be (age)Cap casualties?
Josh Jacobs (26)Alvin Kamara (29)
Saquon Barkley (27)Joe Mixon (28)
D'Andre Swift (25)Aaron Jones (30)
Tony Pollard (27)Nick Chubb (29)
Austin Ekeler (29)
Derrick Henry (30)
J.K. Dobbins (25)
Devin Singletary (27)
Antonio Gibson (26)
A.J. Dillon (26)
Zack Moss (26)
Gus Edwards (29)
Ezekiel Elliott (29)
Kareem Hunt (29)

Most likely to change teams: Josh Jacobs

Still just 26 years old, Jacobs is coming off a year where he tried betting on himself, wound up signing a one-year deal, eventually flashed the talent we fell in love with in 2022 for a spell, then finished his season on the sideline after suffering a quad injury. It would cost the Raiders more to tag Jacobs this year than it did last year, so no one should expect that. Instead, he figures to be available to a team interested in revamping its run game without spending a top-100 pick on a quality running back. Several teams with a lot of cap space (Commanders, Texans, Bengals, Cardinals) could view Jacobs as an upgrade.

Maybe he changes teams: Saquon Barkley

This might hurt to read, but Barkley averaged under 4.0 yards per rush for the second time in his past three seasons (three out of four if you're heartless enough to include the two games he played in 2020). He also missed time with injuries for the fourth time in five seasons, and that might be what especially scares the Giants off of franchise-tagging him for the second straight year. Barkley will be 27 years old in February. 

Maybe he changes teams, part II: D'Andre Swift

The youngest free-agent running back this summer (at least among the notable options) is Swift, who is coming off a career year in terms of carries (229) and rush yards (1,049) but career-lows in receptions (39) and total touchdowns (six). As a franchise, the Eagles don't mind paying up to keep a player they value, but it's been a while since they shelled out big bucks for a running back. Someone else might spend to have Swift for his age-25 season.

Can they bounce back? Tony Pollard, Austin Ekeler, Derrick Henry

Pollard (27) got over 300 touches but was just short of matching last year's total yardage number and was way short of his touchdown total (scored half as many as in 2022). Ekeler (29) got hurt in Week 1, came back in Week 6, had a rush in Weeks 8 through 10, then basically bottomed out and had his worst year in terms of efficiency. Henry (30) put up nearly 1,400 total yards and totaled 14 touchdowns including passing scores, but he was pretty boom-or-bust and will find himself in a new situation in 2024.

The top 3 Fantasy RB landing spots

  • Cowboys: It would make sense if they move on from Tony Pollard to find a dominant runner to explode behind that still-good offensive line. We know the passing offense will keep the box free of safeties most of the time, too.
  • Chargers: There's a clean slate in L.A. with the only sure things being Justin Herbert under center and the offensive line having some good pieces in place. Salary cap issues could force them to take a veteran running back on a cheap one-year deal, too. For whatever it's worth, there's a really good track record of running backs with the Chargers, too.
  • Texans: This is a team with a great quarterback, the makings of a great receiving corps and an offensive line that can be improved. The scheme is perfect for a patient, one-cut runner to come in and dominate.

Wide receivers

Free agents to be (age)Cap casualties?
Tee Higgins (25)Keenan Allen (32)
Michael Pittman (27)Amari Cooper (30)
Mike Evans (31)DeAndre Hopkins (32)
Calvin Ridley (30)Courtland Sutton (28)
Marquise Brown (27)Chris Godwin (28)
Gabe Davis (25)Tyler Lockett (32)
Odell Beckham (31)Diontae Johnson (28)
Michael Thomas (31)Mike Williams (30)

Brandin Cooks (30)

The big name: Tee Higgins

Cincinnati has a big-time math problem that they have to solve this offseason or next offseason. To summarize, they have a number of quality starters set to be free agents, including Higgins. Additionally, Ja'Marr Chase is due for a new deal by 2026; there's a 0% chance the team would let him go ... and there's a 100% chance his deal will cost them more than Higgins'. It puts the Bengals in a tough spot this offseason because they have cap space to keep a bunch of players, but a franchise tag for Higgins will cost them a massive chunk for just one year (estimated at $21.7 million). The Bengals aren't known as a franchise that wheels and deals, so a tag-and-trade isn't an obvious answer.

Most likely to change teams: DeAndre Hopkins

A fresh coaching staff in Tennessee should lead to Hopkins getting trimmed because of his age (32) and salary (they avoid a $4.5 million roster bonus and save $14 million on the cap if they cut him before March 19). Hopkins suffered his lowest catch rate in his past six seasons, but it didn't help that nearly 20% of his targets were uncatchable. Advanced metrics like his yards per route run (2.09) and explosive catch rate (19.7%) suggest he can still play at a relatively high level.

Probably not changing teams: Michael Pittman

Pittman said after the season that he'd be OK with getting the franchise tag from the Colts, but also said he intended to do his due diligence to see what other options are out there. It's an expensive price tag for the Colts to pay for Pittman (estimated at $21.7 million), who finished top-10 in all of the raw target and reception metrics this year but outside the top-30 among qualifiers in yards per catch, ADOT, yards per target, yards after catch per reception, explosive catch rate and touchdowns. Shaking free from the Colts' RPO-heavy offense might not be a bad thing for Pittman, but it seems unlikely.

Chargers cap problem: Keenan Allen, Mike Williams

The Chargers will have a new GM and a new head coach but a familiar problem: salary cap issues. Williams is 30 years old and coming back from a torn ACL, so removing his contract and saving $20 million from the cap seems like an easy decision. Allen, 32, might be a candidate for a restructure for the second straight offseason. He still can contribute to the offense, but his release would save the Chargers just over $23 million in cap space. Literally, their cap problems are minimized if they drop both receivers, but that would mean Quentin Johnston and Josh Palmer as the Chargers' top two wideouts going into 2024. Yikes.

The top-3 Fantasy WR landing spots

  • Chiefs: It's fun to think about Rashee Rice as the new Chiefs go-to receiver, but we might be anointing him too soon. That franchise has a shot to add an established receiver to take pressure off of everyone. Catching throws from Patrick Mahomes is a good thing ... so long as you actually catch them.
  • Cardinals: Kyler Murray returned to form late last season and definitely could use a big-play receiver. Odds are the receiver they get for this role is in the NFL Draft, not via free agency.
  • Bills: Gabe Davis is a free agent, Khalil Shakir is a wild card and Stefon Diggs might try to move his way out of Buffalo this offseason. Even if the latter doesn't happen, the door's open for Josh Allen to add another established weapon to the offense.

Tight ends

Free agents to be (age)Cap casualties?
Dalton Schultz (28)Darren Waller (32)
Hunter Henry (30)Taysom Hill (34)
Gerald Everett (30)Jonnu Smith (29)
Noah Fant (26)Logan Thomas (33)

The top-3 Fantasy TE landing spots

  • Chargers: Justin Herbert has used tight ends plenty throughout his career. If the team dumps at least one veteran receiver, a fresh tight end could snag a solid share of targets while helping the offense stay on schedule.
  • Broncos: I'm counting on Sean Payton's track record at identifying talent and utilizing tight ends as reasons to like this destination. Maybe he already thinks he has someone, but there are upgrades in both free agency and the draft.
  • Patriots: Under Bill O'Brien, this offense finished 11th in tight-end target share last year with 22.4% dispersed mostly to two guys who are both free agents. New England figures to have a new young quarterback who could lean on a reliable tight end, making this a better option than, say, the Jets or Texans.