Three Underrated 2023 NFL Free Agency Signings

Three Underrated 2023 NFL Free Agency Signings


Three Underrated 2023 NFL Free Agency Signings


Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The start of the new NFL league year kick started the free agent market and legal tampering period. Players and teams could finally negotiate with one another, and big signings could be made. Understandably, the headlines belonged to the superstar acquisitions. Mike McGlinchey, Tremaine Edmunds, Jimmy Garoppolo, Javon Hargrave, Allen Lazard, etc., led the SportsCenter bulletins and got the social media hits. However, not all free agent signings need to make the headlines. Sometimes, unspectacular transactions are the most important ones. The role-players or depth pieces become linchpins throughout an NFL season. And as always, several under-the-radar moves could prove to be shrewd signings come September. Here are five of the most underrated signings from across the NFL. 


Braxton Berrios – Miami Dolphins 

After getting waived by the New York Jets, Braxton Berrios signed on the dotted line with the Miami Dolphins. The 27-year-old wideout inked a one-year contract with the ‘Fins on Thursday. The former University of Miami product has returned home and fills an essential need on special teams. As a returner, Berrios is a shifty, intelligent return man. He has averaged 24.9 yards on kick returns and has a kick return touchdown under his belt.

Furthermore, Berrios was fifth in punt return average in 2022 and led the NFL in 2021 in kickoff return average. Head coach Mike McDaniel said at the combine that the special team’s performances were suboptimal last season. Berrios’ arrival will provide Miami’s return game with juice. 

However, it is not just on special teams that Berrios may have an impact. The former Jet is a toolsy slot receiver. Berrios’ agility and fleet feet could add another element to Miami’s offense. Mike McDaniel’s offense is predicated on motions, mismatches, and winning with speedy players in space. Berrios is someone that ticks those boxes. If he wins a roster spot, expect Berrios to work out of the slot and from the backfield. On screens, swing passes, and short hitches between the hash marks, Berrios will be tough to defend. Lastly, he adds more speed to an already lightning-fast offense; Berrios recorded a 4.4 40-yard time and hit 21 miles per hour on a kick return touchdown in 2021. Add that to Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill, and it will not be just the F1 cars that zoom in South Beach in 2023. 

Berrios feels like a sneaky pickup. And the Dolphins may have gotten a steal here. 


Drue Tranquill – Kansas City Chiefs 

Is Drue Tranquill the defensive steal of free agency? Quite possibly. Ranked 73rd overall on The Athletic’s free agent big board, the 27-year-old linebacker signed a $3 million contract that could rise to $5 million depending on incentives. Tranquill is a thumping, highly athletic linebacker. He can crash downhill in a hurry on designed blitzes. Tranquill recorded a career-high five sacks and eight quarterback hits last season. He is adept at getting after the quarterback. Overall, Tranquill enjoyed a career-high year in tackles, tackles for a loss, and pass breakups. A versatile linebacker, Tranquill joins a talented, athletic linebacker room in Kansas City. He should complement Nick Bolton, Willie Gay, and Leo Chenal. Tranquill is also strong enough to mirror tight ends in coverage and can wear the green dot if necessary. Tranquill had offers from other teams but chose the Chiefs. The Chiefs have just signed a 27-year-old every-down linebacker coming off a career-best season for a minimal fee. And they weakened a direct divisional rival. 


D’Onta Foreman – Chicago Bears

After losing David Montgomery to the Detroit Lions, the Chicago Bears signed D’Onta Foreman to a one-year, $3 million deal. Foreman enjoyed a solid 2022 season as he notched 914 rushing yards, five touchdowns, and five 100-yard rushing games. Foreman demonstrated real power, speed, and one-cut ability last season. Despite seeing eight-man boxes 35.4% of the time last year, Foreman averaged 4.5 yards per carry against those stacked boxes. Overall, Foreman saw stacked boxes at the fourth-highest rate across the NFL. After Christian McCaffrey’s trade, Foreman was fifth overall in RYOE. Moreover, Foreman was second in rush yards gained than expected per Next Gen Stats. New teammate Khalil Herbert was fourth in that metric. Herbert and Foreman will form a physical, aggressive tandem, and Foreman is excited by the challenge. As a one-season shot, Foreman could be a snip.


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