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NFL free agents 2023: Ranking top 10 linebackers

/ by Justin Leger
Presented By NISSAN-NFL
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Does your favorite team need help at the linebacker position? If so, you can take solace in the plethora of talented LBs in free agency this spring.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers veteran Lavonte David headlines an impressive list of linebackers who can immediately help a defense in 2023. Even when David and the other top names are off the table, teams looking to bolster their LB depth will have no shortage of intriguing options.

2023 NFL free agents: Top 25 overall | QB | RB | WRTE | OL | DL | DB

Here are the top 10 linebackers scheduled to become free agents in March.

10. Drue Tranquill

Age: 28

2022 stats (Chargers): 5 sacks, 146 tackles, 1 forced fumble

Tranquill is coming off a career year in L.A. He started in 16 games after starting in only 11 total in his previous three NFL seasons. As a result, he played a vital role on the Chargers' defense both as a pass rusher and in coverage.

UPDATE (March 17): The Chiefs are signing Tranquill to a one-year deal worth up to $ 5 million, per The Score's Jordan Schultz.

9. Alex Singleton

Age: 29

2022 stats (Broncos): 163 tackles, 1 forced fumble

Singleton was one of the few bright spots for the Denver Broncos in 2022. His 163 combined tackles ranked fifth in the NFL and he was solid in coverage, tallying three pass breakups. He also had three quarterback hits and six tackles for loss.

UPDATE (March 13): Singleton is re-signing with Denver on a three-year, $ 18 million deal, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.

 

8. Kaden Elliss

Age: 28

2022 stats (Saints): 7 sacks, 78 tackles, 2 forced fumbles

Elliss was among the best pass-rushers at the position in 2022 as he notched seven sacks and 10 QB hits. His 78 tackles (seven for loss) also were career-highs.

UPDATE (March 13): Elliss is signing a three-year, $ 21.5 million deal with the Falcons, per NFL Media's Ian Rapoport.

7. Leighton Vander Esch

Age: 27

2022 stats (Cowboys): 1 sack, 90 tackles, 1 forced fumble

Vander Esch has been plagued by injuries in his career but he bounced back with a rock-solid 2022 season for Dallas. The former Pro Bowler should be rewarded after producing on a one-year "prove-it" deal.

UPDATE (March 14): Vander Esch is re-signing with the Cowboys on a two-year, $ 11 million deal, per NFL Media's Ian Rapoport.

6. Bobby Okereke

Age: 27

2022 stats (Colts): 151 tackles, 2 forced fumbles

Okereke stepped up in the absence of star linebacker Shaquille Leonard to produce an all-around terrific campaign. He was outstanding against the run and solid in coverage (five pass breakups), making him one of the most attractive LB options out there.

UPDATE (March 13): Okereke will sign a four-year, $ 40 million contract with the Giants, per NFL Media's Ian Rapoport.

5. Germaine Pratt

Age: 27

2022 stats (Bengals): 2 INT, 1 sack, 99 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 10 passes defended

Pratt's final moment of the 2022 season wasn't great, but it shouldn't take away from what otherwise was a stellar year for the Bengals linebacker. He led Cincinnati in passes defended (10) and was second on the team in tackles.

UPDATE (March 13): Pratt reportedly will re-sign with the Bengals on a three-year, $ 21 million deal.

4. T.J. Edwards

Age: 27

2022 stats (Eagles): 2 sacks, 159 tackles

Edwards has come a long way since going undrafted in 2019. He was a pivotal contributor to the Eagles' stout defense in 2022, starting all 17 regular-season games and racking up the seventh-most solo tackles (99) in the league.

UPDATE (March 13): The Bears will sign Edwards to a three-year contract, according to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport.

3. Tremaine Edmunds

Age: 25

2022 stats (Bills): 1 sack, 1 INT, 102 tackles

Edmunds is a tackling machine as 2022 marked his fifth consecutive season with 100+ tackles. He's also outstanding in coverage as he comes off a year in which he notched an interception and seven pass breakups.

UPDATE (March 13): The Bears are signing Edmunds to a four-year, $ 72 million contract, per NFL Media's Ian Rapoport.

2. David Long

Age: 26

2022 stats (Titans): 2 INT, 86 tackles

Long did a little bit of everything for Tennessee in 2022, his best season yet as a pro. He enters free agency after setting career-highs in tackles for loss (seven) and quarterback hits (three). While wreaking havoc in the backfield, he also stood out in coverage with five pass breakups and two interceptions. He's arguably the top linebacker available.

 

UPDATE (March 13): Long is heading to the Dolphins on a two-year deal worth $ 11 million, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.

1. Lavonte David

Age: 33

2022 stats (Buccaneers): 3 sacks, 124 tackles, 1 forced fumble

Despite his age, David remains one of the most productive linebackers in the game. As long as father time doesn't hit him like a freight train, he'll be well worth the price in free agency.

UPDATE (March 15): The Bucs are re-signing David to a one-year, $7 million contract according to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport.

Honorable mentions: Devin Bush, Jaylon Smith, Cole Holcomb, Anthony Walker, Denzel Perryman.