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Players in a Contract Year in 2023

Many fantasy relevant players are playing for a possible new contract in 2024 - @CoachStevenP looks at the guys playing for new contacts.

While the most significant portion of free agency is behind us, let’s glance over to 2024 free agency. As a dynasty owner, knowing about player contracts and how they can impact your overall team is essential. Whether a player is switching teams for the best or the worst, knowing these contracts will better help you understand your fantasy team and what you must do to prepare. 


UFA: Lamar Jackson, Kirk Cousins, Jalen Hurts, Ryan Tannehill 

The quarterback class of free agency of 2023 got paid in this year’s offseason as guys like Derek Carr, Daniel Jones, and Jimmy G got good money. Even some backups saw decent two-year contracts. The questions about Jackson could spiral into the 2024 offseason, so his current dynasty status is a concern. Cousins and the Vikings seem at odds to separate after the 2023 season. It could be wise to move off Cousins because he’ll be pushing 36 in the 2024 offseason. As a win-now team, I understand holding him as he does prove QB2 numbers, but that could all change after this season.

Hurts is NOT leaving Philly, so he’ll likely be off this list by March 2024. Tannehill could more likely find a job over Cousins simply due to money. Tannehill will probably come at a more significant discount than Cousins’ name value. Cousins and Tannehill are likely to be in new situations in 2024. 

Club Options: Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, and Jordan Love 

Likely three of these players will see a fifth-year option. The Packers would be wise to pick up the option over risking it if Love does turn out to be a good quarterback for the team. 

Running Backs

UFA Rookie Contracts: JK Dobbins, D’Andre Swift, AJ Dillon, Jonathan Taylor, Cam Akers, Antonio Gibson

How have times changed for the 2020 draft class for the running backs? This was supposed to be class during their rookie seasons. They were the next group of elite running backs to dominate in the NFL. Currently, I can only see Taylor and Dillon likely to resign with their respective teams. Dobbins needs a big year for the Ravens to consider bringing him back, but that’s why Dobbins has sleeper breakout potential. We know that players in contract years usually overperform due to trying to get a new contract the following season. Dobbins is a sneaky buy-low option right now for a contending team due to his rushing ability, and he is now almost two years out from his injury. 

Akers, like Dobbins, will also need a big season for the team to consider re-signing him. He played decent down the stretch in 2023. He finished with three straight 100-yard games. Akers also is a good sleeper target in dynasty, as the Rams will need him to run a ton. As for Swift and Gibson, the teams are at odds with them. They don’t want to use them as full-time players or trust them to be healthy with a significant workload. Hence, we’ve seen both teams bring in Brian Robinson and David Montgomery over the last year. Both players could be on the move in 2024 and have the potential for the better since they are great running backs. Outside of Taylor, this class of running backs are good buy-lows and hope they regain form or move on to better situations. 

UFA Non-Rookie Contracts: Damien Harris, D’Onta Foreman, Tony Pollard, Josh Jacobs,  Devin Singletary, Austin Ekeler, Saquon Barkley, Derrick Henry, Gus Edwards

For Harris, Foreman, Singletary, and Edwards, their 2023 performance will dictate their dynasty value for the future. All have reason to be able to perform, but they are likely the backup on their teams. They are likely to only receive one to two-year contracts in 2024 and beyond. Pollard, Jacobs, and Barkley hope to sign long-term contracts, as they were all franchised in 2023. If anyone is concerned with their future value, it’s an excellent time to buy low on them. They could all sign four-year contracts, and all are in the prime of their career. I would be surprised if they land as free agents in 2024. 

Ekeler and Henry will be 28 years and older in 2024. It will be interesting to see their value as free agents. Unless you’re contending, I won’t buy either until the 2024 off-season. Both their dynasty values will take a significant hit due to age and being a free agent. Due to their talent, both can stick in these leagues as backup or 1B in an offense. Listen, if Latavius Murray, who was 33 in 2022, can produce, so can both these players. 

Club Options: Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Joe Mixon

CEH and Mixon have some club option in 2024 that I think both teams would decline. CEH could have been better as a former first-round pick, so picking up his option is unlikely. If he plays well at any point in 2023, sell him off. Mixon, I’ve been saying to sell as quickly as you can. He isn’t an effective back and could be terrible in a new situation. There are even rumors that he could be cut this offseason. 

Wide Receivers

UFA Rookie Contracts: Gabriel Davis, Darnell Mooney, Tee Higgins, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Michael Pittman, Van Jefferson, KJ Osborn, Chase Claypool, Marquise Brown

The 2024 receiver class looks slightly better than the 2023 class as of right now. Higgins, Brown, and Pittman headline it regarding players coming off rookie deals. They will likely resign with their teams and see a big payout in 2024. Higgins can potentially leave because the Bengals have a lot of money invested in the offense. Brown will likely need a big season post-DeAndre Hopkins trade to get value, but he is an excellent buy-low player now. Pittman should be locked into staying unless he asks for some absurd money.

The rest of this class will need a big season in 2023 to stay fantasy relevant for their future dynasty value. Davis and Osborn play in high-passing value offenses that I still like in 2023. Both players are worth investing in now. Mooney and Claypool are stuck behind DJ Moore in a run-first offense. Their values are likely to take significant hits in 2023. I could see one of them moving on in 2024. Jefferson and Peoples-Jones are WR3 that will need to show out; they have a lot riding on their future dynasty values.

UFA Non-Rookie Contracts: DJ Chark, Tyler Boyd, Calvin Ridley, Mike Evans, Curtis Samuel

Evans is the big name on this list, but he’ll be hitting free agency as a 31-year-old receiver. His value is better suited to buy now since we are still determining what Baker Mayfield will do. Evans’ value could rise if it lands in a good situation in 2024. Ridley could easily resign with the Jaguars if he has a good season. Ridley is also pushing 30, so his future dynasty is small. Chark, Boyd, and Samuel are WR3 players that could find a new home but don’t possess the upside anymore. I’d be looking to sell them off in trade packages.

Club Options: Justin Jefferson,  Brandin Aiyuk, Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb

Jefferson and Lamb will break the bank, so I don’t see them making it to the 2024 market. Aiyuk and Jeudy both could have their fifth-year options declined. There have been trade rumors for both players, and they could have new homes in 2024. The middle of the season is when I’d be looking to buy.

Tight Ends

UFA Rookie Contracts: Cole Kmet, Noah Fant, TJ Hockenson

Kmet and Hockenson are more likely to resign with their respective teams. The Vikings traded for Hockenson, so they would likely try to re-sign him. Kmet may want to test free agency because it could be better for his fantasy value. Fant is likely looking for a new home, as he hasn’t done well with Seattle.

UFA Non-Rookie Contracts: Mike Gesicki, Hunter Henry, Tyler Higbee, Gerald Everett, Dalton Schultz, Irv Smith

This group will likely wait and see how the 2023 season goes. All still can make a fantasy impact, but we’ve seen the tight-end market sign many one-year deals instead of long-term contracts. Gesicki, Schultz, and Smith are good ones to buy into since they are still young and could find long-term situations. 

It’s important to look ahead when evaluating your dynasty roster, as it could look very different a year from now—understanding which players who could be on the move can hurt or help your fantasy roster. Imagine in the 2022 offseason having Darnell Mooney, DJ Moore, and Chase Claypool, all on separate teams with a big target share. Now in the 2023 offseason, they are all on the same team. It’s essential to keep watch and potentially move players to better fit your future dynasty run.

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