2024 NFL Free Agency: Potential landing spots for top linebackers | NFL News, Rankings and Statistics

• The Texans will be in the market for a top linebacker: Frankie Luvu, Patrick Queen and Azeez Al-Shaair all could be on the team’s radar in free agency.

• Patrick Queen projects for the most lucrative contract among free-agent LBs: Click here to view all of PFF’s contract projections for the top 200 free agents.

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We started our free agent landing spots series with quarterbacks and wide receivers, rounded out the skill position players with running backs and tight ends and wrapped up the offensive side of the ball with offensive linemen.

We examined one of the most promising interior defender classes in years after looking at a deep and diverse edge defender group. And now, we round out the front seven with a lengthy list of linebackers. We’re operating under the assumption here that teams do not retain their own top pending free agents at the respective positions.

For our full list of the top 200 free agents, check out our free agent rankings page loaded with player analysis, PFF data and contract projections.


34. LB Frankie Luvu, Carolina Panthers

Potential landing spot(s): Houston Texans, Tennessee Titans

Not only was Texans head coach DeMeco Ryans a great linebacker as a player, but he also had the elite tandem of Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw in San Francisco when he served as the defensive coordinator. Houston will be a popular pick throughout this article.

Tennessee could lose Azeez Al-Shaair, who plays like his hair is on fire and does well coming forward crashing gaps, in free agency. Luvu’s versatility as a pass rusher could go a long way in revamping the Titans’ defensive front.

Top free agent comparison: Kaden Elliss, 2023
Player Run-defense grade Coverage grade in the box Forced incompletion rate Run-stop rate APY as % of Cap at signing
Frankie Luvu 86.8 59.0 3.6% 7.5% ?
Kaden Elliss 84.0 57.8 4.9% 7.2% 3.2%

*All data in tables reflects two years prior to UFA contract signing

Contract projection: Available in PFF’s free agency rankings


39. LB Lavonte David, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Potential landing spot(s): Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Rams

Kansas City Chiefs defensive line coach Joe Cullen spent two seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the early years of David’s career, and Kansas City could lose two linebackers they trust in coverage in Willie Gay Jr. and Drue Tranquill this offseason. Kansas City is the new ring-chasing destination, which we unapologetically haven’t shied away from mentioning in these articles.

The Rams have one of the best young sideline-to-sideline tackling machines against the run who is also a weapon coming forward as a pass rusher, so they add the veteran David as the coverage backer who can take Ernest Jones under his wing in the final year of his rookie contract.

Top free agent comparison: Karlos Dansby, 2014
Player Run-defense grade Coverage grade in the box Forced incompletion rate Run-stop rate APY as % of Cap at signing
Lavonte David 80.5 90.2 5.2% 7.9% ?
Karlos Dansby 79.8 86.9 8.5% 11.2% 4.5%

*All data in tables reflects two years prior to UFA contract signing

Contract projection: Available in PFF’s free agency rankings


45. LB Patrick Queen, Baltimore Ravens

Potential landing spot(s): Houston Texans, Tennessee Titans

Queen figures to be the big splash at off-ball linebacker in free agency, and Houston could line him up all over their defense after his continued growth in every facet of play.

New Titans defensive coordinator Dennard Wilson was the defensive backs coach with the Baltimore Ravens in 2023, so there’s a connection there to Queen. Tennessee had the lowest pass-rush grade from their off-ball linebackers in the NFL in 2023.

Top free agent comparison: Jamie Collins, 2017
Player Run-defense grade Coverage grade in the box Forced incompletion rate Run-stop rate APY as % of Cap at signing
Patrick Queen 65.8 70.2 4.3% 6.3% ?
Jamie Collins 74.7 67.5 3.7% 9.0% 7.5%

*All data in tables reflects two years prior to UFA contract signing

Contract projection: Available in PFF’s free agency rankings


50. LB Jordyn Brooks, Seattle Seahawks

Potential landing spot(s): Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles Rams

Dallas was bullied out of the playoffs in large part due to a lack of healthy linebackers, with undersized, safety hybrids logging the majority of snaps against a heavy personnel-centric Packers offense. Brooks, a Texas Tech alumnus, is what is now considered a big linebacker at 245 pounds and still had very good range coming off a torn ACL in 2023.

Los Angeles adds a partner for Ernest Jones who can cover well and work as the weakside linebacker, stealing an ascending NFC West talent away from the Seattle Seahawks in the process.

Top free agent comparison: Bobby Okereke, 2023
Player Run-defense grade Coverage grade in the box Forced incompletion rate Run-stop rate APY as % of Cap at signing
Jordyn Brooks 57.5 44.9 5.0% 8.3% ?
Bobby Okereke 67.3 62.0 1.7% 7.8% 4.4%

*All data in tables reflects two years prior to UFA contract signing

Contract projection: Available in PFF’s free agency rankings


58. LB Bobby Wagner, Seattle Seahawks

Potential landing spot(s): Dallas Cowboys, Washington Commanders

Wagner may not be quite as smooth working laterally or dropping in coverage, but with his elite instincts and solid straight-line speed, he ranked second in solo tackles and defensive stops among linebackers in 2023. Dallas adds a veteran leader and a high-end run defender for a crucial 2024 campaign.

New Commanders head coach Dan Quinn was Wagner’s defensive coordinator with the Seattle Seahawks for his second and third NFL seasons, and perhaps Quinn values a consummate professional with a Super Bowl to his name as he works to establish a new culture in Washington.

Top free agent comparison: Daryl Smith, 2016
Player Run-defense grade Coverage grade in the box Forced incompletion rate Run-stop rate APY as % of Cap at signing
Bobby Wagner 93.1 66.5 3.7% 8.9% ?
Daryl Smith 77.5 62.7 5.0% 8.5% 1.6%

*All data in tables reflects two years prior to UFA contract signing

Contract projection: Available in PFF’s free agency rankings


70. LB Azeez Al-Shaair, Tennessee Titans

Potential landing spot(s): Houston Texans, New York Giants

DeMeco Ryans coached Al-Shaair with the San Francisco 49ers, and here he recruits the tenacious thumper over to Houston after a strong season in a full-time role with the Tennessee Titans.

New Giants defensive coordinator Shane Bowen was the Titans’ defensive coordinator in 2023, and finding a running mate for linebacker Bobby Okereke will be important, though New York also desperately needs help along the defensive line and in the secondary. Nonetheless, the duo would form one of the better run-defending linebacker tandems in the NFL.

Top free agent comparison: Todd Davis, 2018
Player Run-defense grade Coverage grade in the box Forced incompletion rate Run-stop rate APY as % of Cap at signing
Azeez Al-Shaair 79.7 61.9 2.6% 8.1% ?
Todd Davis 85.3 52.5 2.6% 9.1% 2.8%

*All data in tables reflects two years prior to UFA contract signing

Contract projection: Available in PFF’s free agency rankings


73. LB Devin White, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Potential landing spot(s): Las Vegas Raiders, Minnesota Vikings

Raiders linebackers coach and run game coordinator Mike Caldwell was the inside linebackers coach for White’s first three seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, so White returns to play for the man who helped coach him up right out of the gate as a top-five pick in 2019. The Raiders also have a former NFL linebacker at head coach, and while the team got strong play down the stretch from the duo of Robert Spillane and Divine Deablo, both are entering contract years in 2024. A high-upside flier on a tremendous talent is a good way to fill out the depth chart.

We know Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores loves to blitz, and White has arguably been the best pass-rushing off-ball linebacker in the NFL over the past several years. Minnesota can bet on traits and upside, as they did with Marcus Davenport last offseason, in the hope of achieving better results this time around.

Top free agent comparison: N/A
Player Run-defense grade Coverage grade in the box Forced incompletion rate Run-stop rate APY as % of Cap at signing
Devin White 29.5 50.4 5.8% 6.2% ?
N/A

*All data in tables reflects two years prior to UFA contract signing

Contract projection: Available in PFF’s free agency rankings


78. LB Josey Jewell, Denver Broncos

Potential landing spot(s): Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers

The Eagles have long avoided investing significant resources at off-ball linebacker, so maybe we’re getting the party started too early here. Jewell is a jack of all trades and master of none, which fits his profile, and he will be 29 years old in 2024.

Steelers general manager Omar Khan didn’t seem overly optimistic about Cole Holcomb’s status for the early portion of 2024 as he returns from a knee injury, and he mentioned linebacker as a position of interest in the upcoming draft. Perhaps Pittsburgh gets started early and adds a good coverage backer to play alongside thumper Elandon Roberts.

Top free agent comparison: Wesley Woodyard, 2014
Player Run-defense grade Coverage grade in the box Forced incompletion rate Run-stop rate APY as % of Cap at signing
Josey Jewell 74.3 72.3 3.4% 5.7% ?
Wesley Woodyard 61.2 75.5 1.6% 8.8% 2.9%

*All data in tables reflects two years prior to UFA contract signing

Contract projection: Available in PFF’s free agency rankings


80. LB Blake Cashman, Houston Texans

Potential landing spot(s): Minnesota Vikings, Pittsburgh Steelers

Cashman broke onto the scene in 2023 while taking on a larger role, and he could be a strong complement to Vikings undrafted rookie Ivan Pace Jr., working well moving backward and holding up well in coverage. Texans general manager Nick Caserio saw fit to trade for Cashman, and perhaps his former Patriots colleague Brian Flores will be a fan, as well.

We’ve mentioned the Steelers a few times already, as they were signing linebackers off practice squads or the street by the end of the 2023 campaign due to a bevy of injuries.

Top free agent comparison: Zaire Franklin, 2022
Player Run-defense grade Coverage grade in the box Forced incompletion rate Run-stop rate APY as % of Cap at signing
Blake Cashman 80.6 69.4 6.3% 9.3% ?
Zaire Franklin 74.9 73.0 5.6% 6.0% 1.6%

*All data in tables reflects two years prior to UFA contract signing

Contract projection: Available in PFF’s free agency rankings


81. LB Drue Tranquill, Kansas City Chiefs

Potential landing spot(s): Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers

Tranquill, from Indiana and having played at Notre Dame, could be a great third linebacker in Green Bay alongside De’Vondre Campbell and Quay Walker. New Packers defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley plans to bring an attacking 4-3 base defense, which could make Tranquill a great fit after he excelled on Steve Spagnuolo’s Chiefs unit, extremely efficient as a blitzer and ever-reliable in coverage.

Top free agent comparison: Kyzir White, 2022
Player Run-defense grade Coverage grade in the box Forced incompletion rate Run-stop rate APY as % of Cap at signing
Drue Tranquill 48.2 71.5 3.0% 7.0% ?
Kyzir White 53.5 70.6 3.7% 6.3% 1.4%

*All data in tables reflects two years prior to UFA contract signing

Contract projection: Available in PFF’s free agency rankings


96. LB Jordan Hicks, Minnesota Vikings

Potential landing spot(s): Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos

Hicks crossed paths with Browns defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz on the Philadelphia Eagles at the beginning of his career and could be a veteran replacement for the departing Anthony Walker Jr. and Sione Takitaki. He’d be a good pairing with the wrecking ball that is Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah.

Broncos defensive coordinator Vance Joseph took the Arizona Cardinals head coaching job in 2019, and one of his first big moves was signing Hicks to a four-year, $36 million contract in free agency. The two reunite here a few years down the road.

Top free agent comparison: Kevin Burnett, 2013
Player Run-defense grade Coverage grade in the box Forced incompletion rate Run-stop rate APY as % of Cap at signing
Jordan Hicks 81.4 48.9 4.3% 8.3% ?
Kevin Burnett 73.2 50.8 4.6% 9.2% 2.3%

*All data in tables reflects two years prior to UFA contract signing

Contract projection: Available in PFF’s free agency rankings


105. LB Willie Gay, Kansas City Chiefs

Potential landing spot(s): Carolina Panthers, Philadelphia Eagles

Carolina needs to add several pieces at off-ball linebacker this offseason, and the explosive former second-round pick brings the edge that new general manager Dan Morgan could be looking for as he aims to establish a new tone on defense.

Philadelphia buying low on a recent early draft pick who works best as the member of a committee at linebacker is their modus operandi.

Top free agent comparison: Cody Barton, 2023
Player Run-defense grade Coverage grade in the box Forced incompletion rate Run-stop rate APY as % of Cap at signing
Willie Gay 63.6 56.2 1.0% 6.7% ?
Cody Barton 64.5 53.3 3.3% 7.3% 1.6%

*All data in tables reflects two years prior to UFA contract signing

Contract projection: Available in PFF’s free agency rankings


109. LB Tyrel Dodson, Buffalo Bills

Potential landing spot(s): New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers

Giants general manager Joe Schoen was a member of the front office that added Dodson as an undrafted free agent in 2019, and he finally got to showcase his skills in 2023 following a bunch of injuries. New York may need to focus its real spending in the trenches, so the team adds a low-cost, agile backer with familiarity.

Top free agent comparison: Nick Kwiatkoski, 2020
Player Run-defense grade Coverage grade in the box Forced incompletion rate Run-stop rate APY as % of Cap at signing
Tyrel Dodson 77.2 66.2 4.7% 10.3% ?
Nick Kwiatkoski 69.3 64.8 4.7% 7.7% 3.5%

*All data in tables reflects two years prior to UFA contract signing

Contract projection: Available in PFF’s free agency rankings


112. LB Oren Burks, San Francisco 49ers

Potential landing spot(s): Atlanta Falcons, Houston Texans

New Falcons assistant head coach/defense Jerry Gray crossed paths with Burks for several years with the Green Bay Packers, and Morris comes from coaching roots that suggest he may continue to run a hybrid 3-4/4-3 like Ryan Nielsen transitioned to in 2023.

This is another hypothetical reunion with DeMeco Ryans and Burks. The former third-rounder also brings special teams value, which is a clear emphasis of Ryans’ new coaching staff.

Top free agent comparison: Zaire Franklin, 2022
Player Run-defense grade Coverage grade in the box Forced incompletion rate Run-stop rate APY as % of Cap at signing
Oren Burks 76.1 76.5 2.4% 6.8% ?
Zaire Franklin 74.9 73.0 5.6% 6.0% 1.6%

*All data in tables reflects two years prior to UFA contract signing

Contract projection: Available in PFF’s free agency rankings


140. LB Nicholas Morrow, Philadelphia Eagles

Potential landing spot(s): Miami Dolphins, Washington Commanders

Miami may need to add talent at off-ball linebacker as Jerome Baker recovers from an injury suffered at the tail end of 2023, and Morrow can play all over.

New Commanders linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr. was Morrow’s defensive coordinator in his rookie season, and the Commanders need a few additions alongside Jamin Davis.

Top free agent comparison: Kyzir White, 2023
Player Run-defense grade Coverage grade in the box Forced incompletion rate Run-stop rate APY as % of Cap at signing
Nicholas Morrow 58.5 63.9 3.4% 7.9% ?
Kyzir White 64.8 67.0 4.4% 7.8% 2.2%

*All data in tables reflects two years prior to UFA contract signing

Contract projection: Available in PFF’s free agency rankings


155. LB Cody Barton, Washington Commanders

Potential landing spot(s): Carolina Panthers, Los Angeles Chargers

Barton is coming off a down 2023 but is a sound tackler who would benefit from playing behind Derrick Brown in Carolina, keeping him clean to operate.

Top free agent comparison: Nigel Bradham, 2016
Player Run-defense grade Coverage grade in the box Forced incompletion rate Run-stop rate APY as % of Cap at signing
Cody Barton 52.5 57.7 1.6% 6.3% ?
Nigel Bradham 55.4 63.4 3.3% 7.3% 2.2%

*All data in tables reflects two years prior to UFA contract signing

Contract projection: Available in PFF’s free agency rankings


162. LB Zach Cunningham, Philadelphia Eagles

Potential landing spot(s): New York Giants, Los Angeles Chargers

New Giants defensive coordinator Shane Bowen added Cunningham off waivers in 2021 and kept him aboard for 2022. Cunningham is still a very capable run defender who can shed tackles and make plays around the line of scrimmage.

The two never crossed paths, but new Chargers defensive coordinator Jesse Minter held the same role at Vanderbilt in 2021, where Cunningham played college football. If Harbaugh and Minter want a fast, physical and downhill backer while also recognizing their financial limitations, they can’t do much better.

Top free agent comparison: Denzel Perryman, 2023
Player Run-defense grade Coverage grade in the box Forced incompletion rate Run-stop rate APY as % of Cap at signing
Zach Cunningham 64.9 70.9 7.5% 9.5% ?
Denzel Perryman 78.5 63.4 2.8% 11.1% 1.1%

*All data in tables reflects two years prior to UFA contract signing

Contract projection: Available in PFF’s free agency rankings


174. LB Sione Takitaki, Cleveland Browns

Potential landing spot(s): Arizona Cardinals, New Orleans Saints

Saints defensive coordinator Joe Woods was the defensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns from 2020 to 2022, so New Orleans doesn’t spend a ton but brings in a familiar face to supplement Demario Davis and Pete Werner.

Top free agent comparison: N/A
Player Run-defense grade Coverage grade in the box Forced incompletion rate Run-stop rate APY as % of Cap at signing
Sione Takitaki 68.2 65.0 5.1% 5.7% ?
N/A

*All data in tables reflects two years prior to UFA contract signing

Contract projection: Available in PFF’s free agency rankings


178. LB Anthony Walker Jr., Cleveland Browns

Potential landing spot(s): Kansas City Chiefs, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Walker could be the 2024 version of Drue Tranquill in Kansas City if he ultimately goes elsewhere, serving as the undersized coverage backer alongside the bruising Nick Bolton and Leo Chenal.

It seems unlikely, but Tampa Bay could be looking to replace both Lavonte David and Devin White this offseason. With major contracts potentially expected at quarterback, wide receiver, safety and offensive tackle, the Buccaneers probably can’t spend a ton at linebacker.

Top free agent comparison: N/A
Player Run-defense grade Coverage grade in the box Forced incompletion rate Run-stop rate APY as % of Cap at signing
Anthony Walker Jr. 58.1 78.6 12.5% 7.5% ?
N/A

*All data in tables reflects two years prior to UFA contract signing

Contract projection: Available in PFF’s free agency rankings


180. LB Shaquille Leonard, Philadelphia Eagles

Potential landing spot(s): Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens

Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon coached Leonard with the Indianapolis Colts in the early stages of his career, and he helps him get his career back on track here on a defense that needs reinforcements and leadership.

The Ravens have done well to get the most out of respected veterans on defense in recent seasons, and Leonard could be the weakside backer alongside fellow 2018 draftee Roquan Smith.

Top free agent comparison: N/A
Player Run-defense grade Coverage grade in the box Forced incompletion rate Run-stop rate APY as % of Cap at signing
Shaquille Leonard 66.5 55.8 0% 5.1% ?
N/A

*All data in tables reflects two years prior to UFA contract signing

Contract projection: Available in PFF’s free agency rankings


186. LB Denzel Perryman, Houston Texans

Potential landing spot(s): Buffalo Bills, Indianapolis Colts

The Bills can’t afford to spend much but need quality linebacker play, especially as Matt Milano continues to recover, and Perryman can man the middle as the Mike before and after that happens.

Gus Bradley coached Perryman with the Los Angeles Chargers for years, and here he would join a young crop of linebackers in Indianapolis as a veteran stalwart against the run on early downs.

Top free agent comparison: N/A
Player Run-defense grade Coverage grade in the box Forced incompletion rate Run-stop rate APY as % of Cap at signing
Denzel Perryman 85.8 54.1 2.9% 10.5% ?
N/A

*All data in tables reflects two years prior to UFA contract signing

Contract projection: Available in PFF’s free agency rankings

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