The NFL is primarily a young man's game. Many of the league's most explosive playmakers are under 25 years old. The average age of CBS Sports' entering 2023, excluding a nearly 40-year-old Aaron Rodgers, is just under 27.
And yet, this offseason alone, we've had plenty of evidence that older players still hold influence. Take Rodgers, whose move from the Packers to the Jets suddenly has New York . Or Tom Brady, whose retirement at 45 has most experts betting against the division-winning Buccaneers. Or the Ravens, whose biggest gift to Lamar Jackson at wide receiver was Odell Beckham Jr., who will turn 31 this year, his 10th in the NFL.
It's still possible, it seems, to age gracefully in the NFL. For further proof, we turn to this year's ranking of the top 30 players 30 and over, chock-full of difference-makers on every side of the ball.
- What is the age-30 cutoff? Players are eligible if they are 30 or older when the 2023 season officially begins on Sept. 7.
- What goes into the ranking? Past performance, future projection and, to a lesser degree, positional value. At the end of the day, it's a hodgepodge of where guys stand right now and how much they've got left in the tank.
Without further ado, this year's top 30 players 30 and over:
30. Brandon Graham
Position: DE | Team: Eagles | Age: 35
He's never been a stat-sheet king, and he's best deployed in a rotation. But he's been insanely consistent -- and often clutch -- when healthy, all while serving as a beloved longtime captain for the Eagles.
29. Keenan Allen
Position: WR | Team: Chargers | Age: 31
Limited to 10 games in 2022, Allen is best suited in a complementary role, where he can lean into his skills as a mid-range possession target. But 575 catches over the last six years? That's not a fluke.
28. Leonard Floyd
Position: OLB | Team: Bills | Age: 30
Von Miller is the bigger name with the bigger ceiling in Buffalo (more on him below), but Floyd has quietly been a steady starter since 2020, totaling 29 sacks and 59 QB hits in his three seasons with the Rams.
27. Stephon Gilmore
Position: CB | Team: Cowboys | Age: 32
His days as a shutdown star are probably behind him, but after so-so stops with the Panthers and Colts, the former Patriots and Bills standout is poised for a rebound opposite the playmaking Trevon Diggs in Dallas.
26. Brandon Scherff
Position: OG | Team: Jaguars | Age: 31
Injuries robbed him of too many starts during a seven-year run in Washington, but he's been a top-notch pass blocker when healthy. His experience is vital as part of the line protecting Trevor Lawrence in Jacksonville.
25. Xavien Howard
Position: CB | Team: Dolphins | Age: 30
Though his impact has varied throughout his career, Howard has always been a threat to opposing QBs, with 28 picks and nearly 80 pass breakups over his last six seasons. Under Vic Fangio, he might be even better.
24. Tyler Lockett
Position: WR | Team: Seahawks | Age: 30
He's never had the gaudy heights of the game's most feared pass catchers, but Lockett has long been Mr. Reliable in Seattle, fresh off his fourth straight 1,000-yard season opposite DK Metcalf.
23. Kirk Cousins
Position: QB | Team: Vikings | Age: 35
He'll have rightful detractors as long as his top 10 production fails to result in big-game results, but year in, year out, Cousins is among the NFL's most efficient and quietly resilient pocket passers, all but guaranteeing a wild-card push.
22. DeAndre Hopkins
Position: WR | Team: Titans | Age: 31
At his best, D-Hop is one of the NFL's best route-runners and tight-window receivers. But after missing 15 games the last two seasons, he's got to prove he's still a game-changer in Tennessee.
21. James Bradberry
Position: CB | Team: Eagles | Age: 30
He'll be unfairly associated with the infamous holding call that helped seal the Chiefs' latest Super Bowl win, but his physicality at the catch point has translated to big seasons for three different teams now.
20. Darius Slay
Position: CB | Team: Eagles | Age: 32
Corners don't always age gracefully, but the ex-Lions standout has quietly gotten better every year since joining the Eagles. While he's susceptible to the deep ball, his handsy confidence remains a real asset.
19. Javon Hargrave
Position: DT | Team: 49ers | Age: 30
The definition of a solid, if unspectacular, defender, the former Steelers and Eagles gap-plugger finally broke out as a pocket disruptor during Philly's 2022 title bid, and he's primed for more feasting with the 49ers.
18. Kevin Byard
Position: S | Team: Titans | Age: 30
Tennessee's secondary has been too mercurial for him to get the praise he deserves, but Byard does it all on the back end, taking turns excelling as both a run defender and ball hawk over the years.
17. Cameron Jordan
Position: DE | Team: Saints | Age: 34
Entering his 13th season, Jordan may not be feared as much as he once was. But you can't deny the track record as the headliner of New Orleans' stout front, including 12 straight seasons with at least 7.5 sacks.
16. Demario Davis
Position: LB | Team: Saints | Age: 34
It can be hard to stand out as an off-ball linebacker in today's NFL. Unless you're Davis, who's somehow added tenacity with age, combining old-school physicality with underrated range at the heart of Dennis Allen's "D."
15. Matthew Judon
Position: OLB | Team: Patriots | Age: 31
There might not be a more underrated pass rusher. In his last five seasons, split between the Ravens and Patriots' stingy defenses, he's totaled 50.5 sacks and 61 tackles for loss, never logging fewer than 20 QB hits in a single year.
14. Von Miller
Position: OLB | Team: Bills | Age: 34
He's now had two season-ending injuries in the last three seasons, but Miller's smooth edge-rushing hasn't aged much otherwise. Whether in Denver, Los Angeles or Buffalo, he's been a steady difference-maker.
13. Cooper Kupp
Position: WR | Team: Rams | Age: 30
His resume says he should be much higher, but a couple of serious injuries have robbed him of two half-seasons over the years. When active, you might not find a more technically sound, space-creating possession target.
12. Mike Evans
Position: WR | Team: Buccaneers | Age: 30
Entering Year 10 with an uncertain QB situation in Tampa Bay, could he finally be due for a drop-off? Nine straight 1,000-yard seasons actually suggest he's relatively QB-proof as a big man who can still win deep downfield.
11. Dak Prescott
Position: QB | Team: Cowboys | Age: 30
The jury is still out on Prescott as a big-game QB, and he's missed extended time in two of his last three seasons. But as a more traditional pocket passer who generally does everything well,at the game's most important position.
10. Zack Martin
Position: OG | Team: Cowboys | Age: 32
America's Team gets annual hype for its playmakers, but Martin has been a mainstay of the Cowboys' mostly sturdy trenches for the better part of a decade. Whenever he's healthy, he's one of the NFL's best.
9. Joel Bitonio
Position: OG | Team: Browns | Age: 31
Interior linemen don't always get the love they deserve, and Bitonio is a prime example. Despite playing for the mediocre Browns, he's had five straight All-Pro seasons powering Nick Chubb's effortless rushing success.
8. Jason Kelce
Position: C | Team: Eagles | Age: 35
Jalen Hurts may be the face of the Eagles, but Kelce still has monumental sway as the QB of the line and unofficial team spokesman. He hasn't missed a game in almost a decade and remains a road-grader on the move.
Position: DE | Team: Steelers | Age: 34
Profoundly underrated on a national level, Heyward isn't just good at everything along Pittsburgh's front, racking up 53.5 sacks and 122 QB hits over the last six years; he's also the heartbeat of Mike Tomlin's locker room.
6. Lane Johnson
Position: OT | Team: Eagles | Age: 33
While the athletic big man hasn't played a full season in eight years, his toughness and unwavering run-blocking prowess have helped power two different Super Bowl bids in Philly. There may not be a better right tackle.
5. Aaron Rodgers
Position: QB | Team: Jets | Age: 39
He may be past his MVP prime, but even approaching 40 the longtime Packers star possesses Hall of Fame-level confidence, touch and vision. As long as he stays upright, he's due for rejuvenation as Gang Green's leader.
Position: OT | Team: 49ers | Age: 35
One of the biggest reasons the 49ers were able to seamlessly transition from one injury-plagued QB to the next in 2022, Williams pairs a mammoth frame with years of top-shelf experience. He's the lynchpin of Kyle Shanahan's front.
Position: WR | Team: Raiders | Age: 30
With four 1,300-yard receiving seasons in the last five years, Adams remains a standard-bearer for do-it-all wideouts, perhaps matched only by Justin Jefferson, Stefon Diggs and Tyreek Hill as a downfield difference-maker.
2. Aaron Donald
Position: DT | Team: Rams | Age: 32
A future Hall of Fame lock thanks to his ridiculous production, averaging 11+ sacks and 25+ QB hits per year over nine seasons, Donald was a bit quieter in an injury-shortened 2022, but there's no teaching his imposing interior force.
1. Travis Kelce
Position: TE | Team: Chiefs | Age: 33
Ageless and uncoverable, his annual reliability as Patrick Mahomes' No. 1 target is probably taken for granted. Looking for an eighth straight 1,100-yard receiving season, he's been MVP-caliber for the NFL's best offense.