The NFL’s All-Free Agent Team

The NFL's All-Free Agent Team
Oct 22, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) talks to New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports.

NFL Free Agents

Pretend for the day one of the most populous cities in the United States without an NFL team was awarded a franchise in 2022. Such cities include San Antonio, San Jose, Columbus, El Paso, and Oklahoma City.

If there was no expansion draft [for some reason], this is the roster the hypothetical general manager could construct as of May 24 via free agency.


QB – Cam Newton

Cam Newton
Dec 10, 2017; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Newton’s days as a bonafide starter are kaput in the NFL, but he’ll make a serviceable QB2 somewhere — if he’d accept such a gig.

RB – Peyton Barber

Aug 28, 2021; Landover, Maryland, USA; Washington Football Team quarterback Kyle Allen (8) hands the ball off to Washington Football Team running back Peyton Barber. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Barber is suddenly a journeyman running back, spending time with Buccaneers, Commanders, and Raiders. He’s 27.

WR – Julio Jones

Tennessee Titans wide receiver Julio Jones. © George Walker IV / Tennessean.com / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Either Julio Jones had a quiet 2021 and is poised for a resurgence — or he’s nearing the end of the road.

WR – Odell Beckham

Odell Beckham
Feb 13, 2022; Inglewood, CA, USA; Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports.

Whichever team signs on the dotted line for Beckham will receive a damn good football player ready for a playoff push. But he won’t be healed from injury until October or November.

WR – Will Fuller

Nov 26, 2020; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Fuller will be signed before too long, but he never remains healthy, so teams aren’t flocking to his free-agent doorstep.

TE – Rob Gronkowski

Jan 23, 2022; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski. Mandatory Credit: Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

We had to tap Gronkowski for this spot, and he’ll just re-sign with Tampa Bay this summer.

LT – Riley Reiff

Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle Riley Reiff. © Sam Greene via Imagn Content Services, LLC.

Reiff’s team reached the Super Bowl in February without him. Bummer.

LG – Ereck Flowers

Dec 21, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Washington Football Team guard Ereck Flowers. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Not great; not bad. Flowers is a decent guard who should sign with a team this summer.

C – JC Tretter

Dec 20, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns center JC Tretter. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports.

The two-month-long mystery about Tretter’s strange free agency revolves around health.

RG – Billy Price

Dec 5, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; New York Giants center Billy Price. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Price, 27, started 15 games for the Giants in 2021. He was a 1st-Round pick in 2018.

RT – Daryl Williams

Jan 2, 2022; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills offensive tackle Daryl Williams. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports.

Wiliams fired up a solid 67.5 score from Pro Football Focus in 2021.

EDGE – Carl Nassib

Sep 19, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib (94) looks on from the tunnel before playing the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Nassib, 29, will land on his feet as a situational pass rusher in 2022.

DT – Akiem Hicks

Sep 15, 2019; Denver, CO, USA; Chicago Bears defensive tackle Akiem Hicks. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports.

A Viking killer, Minnesota should sign Hicks just so he doesn’t play somewhere else.

NT – Linval Joseph

Jan 2, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Chargers defensive tackle Linval Joseph. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Joseph is old, has a sweet Vikings tattoo on his body, and is a free agent. At this age, he should chase rings.

DT – Ndamukong Suh

Jan 23, 2022; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Ndamukong Suh. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

This Super Bowl champion hasn’t missed a football game since 2011.

EDGE – Carlos Dunlap

Oct 25, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Seahawks defensive end Carlos Dunlap. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Dunlap is a two-time Pro Bowler who, like Nassib, will sign with a team as a situational pass rusher.

LB – Anthony Barr

Dec 20, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings outside linebacker Anthony Barr. Mandatory Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports.

Vikings fans thought Anthony Barr would be a relatively hot commodity in free agency. He wasn’t. Barr has been linked in the rumor mill to the New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys.

LB – Joe Schobert

Nov 14, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Joe Schobert. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Schobert had a down year in 2021, but he’s a tackling machine otherwise.

CB – Joe Haden

Nov 8, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Joe Haden. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Haden, like many free agents on this list, is getting old. He’s a three-time Pro Bowler around the same age as Patrick Peterson.

CB – Xavier Rhodes

Dec 2, 2019; Seattle, WA, USA; Minnesota Vikings middle linebacker Eric Kendricks (54) and Minnesota Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Rhodes stunk during the season finale of his Vikings career, but he was revitalized in Indianapolis, to an extent. He isn’t quite done.

FS – Landon Collins

Dec 12, 2021; Landover, Maryland, USA; Washington Football Team safety Landon Collins. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Collins was a tyrant during his first four seasons with the New York Giants but never really took off in Washington — at least at an All-Pro or Pro Bow level.

SS – Tashaun Gipson

Nov 21, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears safety Tashaun Gipson. . Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

Safety availability in free agency is arid at the moment, and Gipson makes the cut here almost by default.

Kicker – Michael Badgley

Indianapolis Colts kicker Michael Badgley. Stadium in Indianapolis. © Robert Scheer/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

Badgley was a part of the snakebitten special teams culture with the Chargers. He’ll be the first guy signed when another team’s kicker infuriates its general manager.

Punter – Michael Palardy

Dec 19, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins punter Michael Palardy. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Obligatory anonymous punter commentary.


Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).