We’re continuing our contract analysis series, this time with wide receivers.
Top Free Agents for 2022
Davante Adams/GB: From what I’m told, the team made next to no effort in trying to extend his contract, so Adams could very well be playing elsewhere next season especially if Aaron Rodgers winds up being traded.
Allen Robinson/CHI: Neither side has totally given up doing business with each other next season, but Robinson will want to play in an offense that takes advantage of his ability to make plays. His chemistry with rookie QB Justin Fields will go a long way to determining if Robinson returns.
Mike Williams/LAC: The team decided to let him play on his 5th-year option this season, but didn’t not rule out re-signing him before free agency hits in mid-March. Williams is having his best season by far and it’s not out of the question that they try to re-sign him before the season ends if he stays healthy and continues to play at this high of a level.
Chris Godwin/TB: Because he’s not a first-round pick, the team did not have a 5th-year option to roll over, so they used their franchise tag on him and could do so again next year.
Courtland Sutton/DEN: He has done a nice job of coming back from a devastating knee injury and it’s likely the team will look to re-sign him if he ends the season well.
Tim Patrick/DEN: The talented but underutilized pass catcher likely will be playing elsewhere next season if the team re-signs Sutton. Patrick certainly could be a solid free agent pickup to play the “X” position.
JuJu Smith-Schuster/PIT: It was surprising when he turned down more money from the Chiefs in March. Smith-Schuster will almost certainly walk this time because the team wants Chase Claypool to have a larger role.
Michael Gallup/DAL: When the Cowboys re-signed Cooper a few years ago, most team observers felt Gallup would walk once his deal expired after the 2021 season. That seems rather likely based on the team drafting CeeDee Lamb and with Cooper on the other side.
D.J. Chark/JAC: He has had some bad luck with injury and bad QB play in his first 3 seasons, but Chark’s contract is up after this season. They have no one to replace him, so it’s not out of the question that they try to re-sign him.
Jamison Crowder/NYJ: It’s almost certain that the team will let Crowder’s contract expire after the season ends due to his injury history. And Eli Moore will wind up seeing a lot more time in the slot next season.
Christian Kirk/ARI: He’s on the final year of his rookie deal and rookie WR Rondale Moore might wind up seeing much more playing time in the future.
Possibly Free in 2022
Michael Thomas/NO: I’ve had some questions on this, so here’s his situation easily explained; He is signed through 2024, but Thomas has no fully guaranteed money left in his contract after this season. However, if he’s on the roster on the 3rd day of free agency his $15.3m salary becomes fully guaranteed. So, a decision on Thomas to return for his 7th season with the team will be decided by then.
Odell Beckham Jr/CLE: Based on his injury history and lack of high enough productivity, it’s hard to imagine that the Browns will pay him the $14m that he’s owed in 2022. And there is no guaranteed money left in his contract after this season, so look for them to move him or cut him unless he has a really good finish to the 2021 season.
Julio Jones/TEN: The former Falcon first-round pick is signed through 2025, but 2024 and 2025 void automatically (ATL used those voidable years for salary cap purposes when they extended his contract two years ago). And only $2m of his $11.513m salary for 2022 is fully guaranteed, so it wouldn’t be surprising if they traded or cut Jones after this season ends unless he really stays healthy (unlikely) and produces very solid numbers.
Brandin Cooks/HOU: The former Saints first-round pick is signed through 2024, but the final two seasons will automatically void. And none of his $13.75m total compensation is guaranteed. It’s also worth noting that Texans GM Nick Caserio didn’t draft or trade for Cooks, so there’s no allegiance to him.
Amari Cooper/DAL: At the time that the team did his contract, they knew it had a 2-year structure, meaning they would have to make a decision headed into the 2022 off-season.
Cooper’s $20m base salary becomes fully guaranteed on the 5th day of free agency next year, but based on the way he has played, it’s likely they’ll decide to keep him for next season.
Emmanuel Sanders/BUF: He signed a 2-year deal, but the 2nd season will void in March. This is obviously important to know if you have Gabriel Davis on your dynasty or keeper league team.
Jarvis Landry/CLE: Known in NFL circles as one of the top slot WRs, Landry is signed through next season, but is owed just over $15m and not if it is guaranteed. Because he’s durable and reliable, it’s hard to see the team cutting him.
Sterling Shepard/NYG: This fantasy points producer is reliable when it comes to putting up numbers in PPR leagues, but his injury history is very significant (missed 12 games over the past 3 seasons and including through Week 5 this season). The Giants owe him $8.5m next season, but there’s no guaranteed money left in his deal, so he’s no lock to return in 2022.
DeVante Parker/MIA: The oft-injured but talented 7th-year pro is signed through 2023, but there is no guaranteed money left in his deal after this season. And it’s also worth mentioning veteran WR Will Fuller is playing on a 1-year deal.
Tyler Boyd/CIN: The talented inside pass catcher is signed through 2023, but there is no guaranteed money left in each of the final two seasons. Based on his production, it’s hard to imagine they’d consider cutting him.
Marvin Jones/JAC: He’s signed through 2022, but there is no guaranteed money left in his deal after this season ends.
Possibly Free in 2023
Kenny Golladay/NYG: The former Lion draftee is signed through 2025. However, 2024 will void and the Giants would only owe him $4.5m if they cut him after the 2022 season. He’s owed a total of $18m for 2023, but only $4.5m is fully guaranteed.
Robby Anderson/CAR: While Anderson signed a 2-year extension, Anderson has no guaranteed money left in his deal after the 2022 season. They owe him a $3m roster bonus on the 5th-day free agency in 2023, so their decision whether he plays that year for them will be made before then.
Corey Davis/NYJ: While he’s signed through 2023, none of his $10.5m base salary for that season is guaranteed. So, he’ll likely have to play well in 2022 in order for the team to want to bring him back for that last year.