NFL free agency opened with wide receiver as the deepest position group, and deep into the second day of the legal tampering period, that hasn’t changed. While more than a dozen receivers have agreed to contracts, the best of the best still remain. Here’s a breakdown of the top pass catchers still on the market.
Free agent wide receivers still available
The market is constipated for a number of reasons, but the two biggest are probably the actions of the Jacksonville Jaguars and the uncertainty of the quarterback market.
When they grossly overpaid Christian Kirk and Zay Jones, the Jags upended the market, and it might be taking a minute to recalibrate. Plus, the unresolved fates of Deshaun Watson and Jimmy Garoppolo are presumably causing some planning issues for teams in need of a QB.
The latter is a short-term inconvenience, and the following players should largely find homes sooner than later. They will presumably have to be OK with taking less than Kirk ($18 million AAV).
Odell Beckham Jr., Los Angeles Rams
Spotrac calculated market value: 2 years, $26.4M ($13.1M AAV)
The No. 1 receiver still available is No. 1 in injury uncertainty. Beckham Jr. tore his ACL in the Super Bowl and might not be ready for the opener, let alone the start of training camp.
Beckham tweeted through it early Tuesday morning:
“For anyone out there that had a rough day. Just kno u were not alone…. ‘Just keep goin’ I guess I gotta follow my own advice. One more thing, appreciate the small wins no matter how small they may be!”
Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears
Spotrac calculated market value: 4 years, $65.5M ($16.3M AAV)
The biggest mystery of this position group is where Robinson will land. NFL Network reports that several teams are “in the mix,” including the New York Jets, Detroit Lions, Cleveland Browns, and Las Vegas Raiders.
In eight NFL seasons, Robinson recorded 495 catches for 6,409 yards and 40 touchdowns — numbers all the more impressive when you consider the quarterbacks on the other end of the passes.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers
The rumor mill has been relatively quiet regarding Smith-Schuster, and it’s possible that he could fall to the second wave of free agency. If he does, some team is going to get great value.
While his 2021 season was a wash due to injury, Smith-Schuster had 97 receptions for 831 yards and 9 touchdowns in 2020.
Emmanuel Sanders, Buffalo Bills
Sanders turns 35 on Thursday. There’d be no better birthday present than one final payday, particularly with a team that is in contention for a title. Sanders had 43 receptions for 626 yards and 4 touchdowns in his lone season with the Bills.
Jarvis Landry, Cleveland Browns
Spotrac calculated market value: 2 years, $24.1M ($12.05M AAV)
We feel like there might have been too much of a market correction with Landry, who, like his friend OBJ, could go through a career renaissance once he gets away from Baker Mayfield.
The Saints are reportedly among the teams in the mix, and if they could somehow pair him with Watson, vintage Landry could return.
A.J. Green, Arizona Cardinals
Spotrac calculated market value: 4 years, $28M ($7M AAV)
How much does Green have left? He’ll be 34 years old before the start of the 2022 season. With Kirk gone, perhaps the Cardinals are motivated to bring Green back.
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