Estimating The Number Of 2023 UDFAs For Each Team

It’s been a while since I’ve done this exercise, but with two weeks before the draft, I thought I’d revisit an estimation on the number of UDFA signings that each team might sign. This is calculated with some very simple math: take the sum of current rostered players as estimated by OTC and draft picks each team holds, and subtract that from 90 to provide the estimated UDFA signings each team could make.

This year, the Rams have far and away the most room to sign UDFAs with 34 open roster spots, and that’s despite having 11 draft picks. It seems unlikely that they would actually sign that many UDFAs–what seems more likely is that, due to having the maximum number of compensatory picks slated for next year’s draft at four, that they will make some strategic veteran signings after May 1, after the deadline for compensatory free agent qualification passes. The #2 team in the Ravens may have a lesser but similar idea, with a 4th round comp pick for Ben Powers going to Denver on the line.

Other teams that could sign a lot of UDFAs include the Titans, Bucs, and Panthers that have been overhauling their rosters in general, and the Dolphins and Vikings, who have few draft picks and may offset that with acquiring more rookie talent on the UDFA market.

On the other end, the Raiders, Falcons, Patriots, Giants, Colts, and Commanders are among the teams that have little current room for signing UDFAs. Most of these teams have at least the median expected number of draft picks, so they are likely going to contain the lion’s share of their rookie class through the draft instead.

The table to the left contains the UDFA estimates for all 32 teams, and the paragraphs on the right describe some of the features and caveats that each team’s UDFA rookie class may contain.

TeamCurrent Rostered PlayersCurrent # Of Draft PicksEstimated UDFA Signings

Note that these estimates will not be exact. Numerous trades will be executed during the draft that will change these numbers. Teams may also terminate the contracts of some currently rostered players to make room for more UDFAs than they currently have available. Nonetheless, these estimates can provide us some insight on what teams may be planning for UDFAs, both during and after the draft.

Teams With High Estimated UDFA Signings

  • By definition, these teams will have more roster space to sign higher numbers of UDFAs if they so choose.
  • However, there is a tradeoff: because Art. 7, §1(i) of the CBA greatly limits the amount of signing bonus money that may be offered to all UDFAs, that means that they may need to individually offer less signing bonus money to each UDFA if they spread out their pool. This could limit their ability to include high priority UDFAs among their rookie class.
  • These teams may also be candidates to trade down within the 2023 NFL Draft, in order to get more drafted players to fill out the roster.

Teams With Low Estimated UDFA Signings

  • Conversely by definition, these teams currently have limited roster space to sign UDFAs.
  • Also conversely, by signing fewer UDFAs, these teams may have a positive tradeoff by being able to offer those fewer UDFAs more signing bonus money. This could give them an advantage in outbidding other teams for high priority UDFAs
  • These teams may also be candidates to either trade up, or trade picks in the 2023 NFL Draft for ones in 2024 or later, so they don’t risk having to cut drafted rookies after training camp and the preseason.
  • Current fringe roster players on these teams may also be at a higher risk of being cut once the draft is over and terms have been agreed upon with UDFAs.