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The 33rd Team’s Expansion Roster: What a 2024 Team Could Look Like

NFL Expansion Roster

The 33rd Team conducted an expansion draft to examine how the NFL could add a new franchise. This final piece in the series outlines what a potential expansion roster could look like. 

>>MORE EXPANSION TEAM: Introduction | Team Infrastructure | Football Operations | Assembling Coaching Staff & RosterFantasy Outlook | Projected Win Total |

In 2002 the Houston Texans had 155 unprotected NFL veterans to choose from. Seventy-eight of those players had a seven-figure salary and were unprotected largely – if not only – because their club wanted to clear them from the books. Of the other 77 players, two-thirds were out of the league after Houston passed on them. The rest were bottom-roster fringe guys.

So, in other words, half the players available in an expansion draft are there as overpriced veterans. The other half are there because they might not make their team’s final roster anyway.

The pickings are slim. But remember: an expansion team has no longstanding bad contracts. It can afford to overpay a player or two. More importantly, it can afford to splurge on unrestricted free agents.

With that in mind, here is the best (realistic) veteran lineup that a 2024 expansion team could hope to put together, given who is likely to be unprotected and who is likely to reach free agency.


QB Kirk Cousins, MIN via draft

RB Austin Ekeler, LAC via free agency

WR Michael Thomas, NO via draft

WR Michael Gallup, DAL via draft

WR Curtis Samuel, WAS via free agency

TE Hayden Hurst, CAR via draft

OT Trent Brown, NE via free agency

OT Jonah Williams, CIN via free agency

G Andrus Peat, NO via draft

G Kevin Zeitler, BAL via draft

C Ryan Jensen, TB via draft


Edge Chandler Jones, LV via draft

Edge Derek Barnett, PHI via draft

Int DL Roy Robertson-Harris, JAX via draft

Int DL Grover Stewart, IND via free agency

Int DL Fletcher Cox, PHI via free agency

LB Devin White, TB via free agency

LB Isaiah Simmons, ARI via free agency

CB Xavian Howard, MIA via draft

CB J.C. Jackson, LAC via draft

Slot C.J. Henderson, CAR via free agency

S Jamal Adams, SEA via draft

S Budda Baker, ARI via free agency.