For fans of the 30 NFL teams not playing in Super Bowl LVIII, there will more to do than chow down on chicken wings and hoping for their betting squares to hit.
It’s also time to scout the rosters of the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs when it comes to 2024 NFL free agency. Both teams have some solid pending free agents. Let’s rank the top 10 free agents playing in the game:
1. Chris Jones:
Jones is the very best pending free agent available in the NFL this offseason. He is a dominant defensive tackle for the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs will likely do everything in their power to retain their special interior defensive lineman, but it won’t be easy. He held out briefly last season and his franchise tag number this year would be more than $32 million. That would be very difficult for the Chiefs to do. They will likely try to keep him with a long-term deal, but it’s going to be super pricey as well. Either way, Jones is going to get paid this offseason and his market in free agency would be wild. Players like Jones, who turns 30 in July, don’t become available often.
2. L’Jarius Sneed:
Jones isn’t Kansas City’s only impact defensive player who may leave, Sneed is a top-10 free agent as well. The Chiefs may have a difficult time retaining both players. Young, big-time cornerbacks get paid. Sneed would be swooped up in free agency immediately if he gets there.
3. Chase Young:
The pass rusher hasn’t been great since the 49ers acquired him in a trade-deadline deal in October. Yet, the former No. 2 overall player has skills and edge rushers are darlings in free agency. He’d have a nice market.
Turn on the tape and watch the #Chiefs OL and DL go to work yesterday, and you will never again associate finesse with an Andy Reid coached football team.
And I stated this yesterday and will say this again.#Chiefs LB Drue Tranquill was the best player in the field when KC…
— Louis Riddick (@LRiddickESPN) January 29, 2024
4. Drue Tranquill:
The linebacker didn’t make many waves when he left the Los Angeles Chargers to sign a one-year, $3 million deal with the Kansas City Chiefs last offseason. That probably won’t be the case this offseason. But he’s ballplayer who has come big in important games. Steady, productive linebackers will always have a market. Expect Tranquill to get a much-better deal somewhere this offseason.
5. Willie Gay:
Gay is a solid linebacker and there is a good chance he will leave the Chiefs. He’s an athletic player who’s played in a lot of big games. There will be interest on the open market.
6. Mike Danna:
Danna is yet another Kansas City defensive player who could take off in free agency. He’s a nice rotational player who some pass-rush burst. He had a career-high 6.5 sacks in 2023 and has 17 sacks in his career. He should facing a nice pay day.
7. Donovan Smith:
Smith isn’t a perfect player, but the nine-season veteran is a solid tackle and there is great value in that. He signed a one-year deal with the Chiefs after spending eight seasons with Tampa Bay. He will be a starter somewhere in 2024.
8. Javon Kinlaw:
The former first-round pick hasn’t had the career the 49ers envisioned. But he is talented and he has some value. There will likely some interest on a short-term deal.
9. Oren Burks:
He is an active linebacker for the 49ers. He will likely not break the ban, but there will interest.
10. Tashaun Gipson:
The 49ers’ safety has had a nice career. He will be entering his 13th NFL season in 2024. He’s been a starter for most of his career. He’s a pro. He’ll land somewhere.