Free agent Marquez Valdes-Scantling could make a moderate-to-sizable impact when he signs during this free agency period. A former fifth-round draft pick, he could immediately upgrade an ailing receiving corps. However, he could also wind up as a more tertiary option in a loaded WR group. Let’s take a look at the free agency rumors surrounding Valdes-Scantling’s potential 2022 landing spots.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling Rumors
Yesterday, PFN NFL reporter Aaron Wilson shared that the Raiders, Texans, Colts, Bears, Lions, Chiefs, and 49ers are showing interest in MVS. With Detroit reportedly adding DJ Chark as of this morning, the Lions are no longer as receiver hungry. With that in mind, let’s examine what role MVS might play on each of the other teams Wilson highlighted.
Las Vegas Raiders
With Zay Jones agreeing to terms in Jacksonville, the Raiders have lost one of their most pleasant surprises in recent memory, as Jones revitalized his formerly promising career in the season’s final seven games. If Jones could do it, MVS could too, and possibly even more effectively. As an experienced deep-ball threat, Valdes-Scantling could slide into that coveted role, which opened up after the Henry Ruggs tragedy.
Brandin Cooks dominated the Texans’ receiving game in 2021. To achieve some semblance of mediocrity, the team needs at least one more go-to receiving option. Nico Collins remains a work in progress. Valdes-Scantling could shine more in Houston than in most landing spots, as the team probably will be playing from behind most weeks, and their running game needs a complete makeover.
With the Colts bringing in Reggie Wayne as their WR coach, the search is on for an adequate complement to Michael Pittman Jr. T.Y. Hilton might still have a year or two left in those legs. But realistically, this team aches for at least a semi-reliable and experienced No. 2 pass catcher. While Indy should continue to operate a very run-friendly offense, MVS would be an immediate upgrade over Zach Pascal, at a minimum.
Darnell Mooney benefitted in 2021 as the most talented and healthy receiver alongside an injury-riddled Allen Robinson, a mostly underutilized Cole Kmet, and a lack of surrounding wideout talent. If Mooney can finish 11th in the league with 140 targets, surely MVS could garner at least 80 looks, provided the Bears don’t add another instant-impact receiver, as well. As a field stretcher, MVS could also give Justin Fields a much-needed tool to aid in the young quarterback’s development as a more complete QB.
Kansas City Chiefs
Candidly, it’s hard to envision where MVS would fit in this offense unless free agent Byron Pringle goes elsewhere. Pringle caught fire last season as a No. 4 option behind Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, and Mecole Hardman. The other three will be back in 2022. So at best, Valdes-Scantling would compete with Hardman for a combined 90-110 receptions and 1,100-1,400 yards. In other words, he could be just as productive as a No. 3 or No. 4 option for Patrick Mahomes as he would be as a No. 2 option in Chicago.
San Francisco 49ers
The Niners arguably already are a Super Bowl contender, even if Jimmy Garoppolo heads elsewhere before Week 1. So what role could MVS carve out on a team already loaded with talent at pass catcher (principally Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, and Brandon Aiyuk), but without an elite quarterback (although Trey Lance could become one eventually)? This would be a tough situation for Valdes-Scantling unless the team determines Aiyuk is not an untouchable starter.