January 19, 2023 

The Next’s 2023 free agency projections, part 1: Restricted free agents

Projecting Pancake Gustafson's landing spot and much more

Welcome to free agency, everybody — we’ve made it! Here at The Next, we’re ever-dedicated to both fun projects and creating original resources, so I am especially excited to bring you our second annual free agency predictions. This year, 15 of our reporters, analysts, and contributors each submitted their thoughts on how the 2023 WNBA free agent market would play out. We looked at recent markets, team cap sheets, and league trends to help set some expectations for impending offseason moves across the league, starting with restricted free agents.

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Listed below are all the restricted free agents, sorted by total projected contract value. Their average contract projections and team predictions are visible. And where there were enough responses, a visual breakdown of our predictions can be seen by clicking “See more detail.” There you have a graph of our responses for contract length and a histogram to show the distribution of average annual values (AAV, i.e. salaries).

Please note that our staff was surveyed prior to teams providing qualifying offers to their restricted free agents. So while there were players were picked by some staff to not sign a WNBA contract, all eligible RFAs received QOs over the past week.

(Note to email subscribers: click the headline to see all the fancy charts and graphs!)

Coming in Part II: unrestricted free agents.

Note: There are 40 graphs in this article — it will take slightly longer than usual to load. It is recommended that you hit “Show less detail” when done with a given player.

Restricted free agents

1. Marina Mabrey, wing, 26 years old

2. Gabby Williams, wing, 26 years old

3. Teaira McCowan, center, 26 years old

4. Sophie Cunningham, combo forward, 26 years old

5. Natisha Hiedeman, combo guard, 26 years old

6. Victoria Vivians, combo forward, 28 years old

7. Bridget Carleton, off-ball guard, 26 years old

8. Shey Peddy, point guard, 34 years old

Note: Peddy suffered a ruptured right Achilles tendon last August, and will likely miss at least most of the 2023 season.

9. Emma Cannon, big, 34 years old

10. Megan Gustafson, center, 26 years old

Written by Em Adler

Em Adler (she/they) covers the WNBA at large and college basketball for The Next, with a focus on player development and the game behind the game.

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