The 2022 free agent class is full of talented pass catches. However, there were several big name players who would had the franchise tag placed on them yesterday. Davante Adams, Chris Godwin, Dalton Schultz, Mike Gesicki, and David Njoku were all tagged. The Los Angeles Chargers were the one team able to reach a multi-year contract with Mike Williams. The list of 10 below still consists of good talent. The main honorable mention at wide receiver was Russell Gage and Durham Smythe at tight end. If Amari Cooper ends up being released, he would be the top player listed here. Along with that, the likely extension of Michael Gallup for the Cowboys kept him off here, or he would be near the top as well.
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10. Cedrick Wilson, Dallas Cowboys
Wilson spent his first four NFL seasons with the Cowboys. In a couple of games early in the 2020 season, he got some chances and showed some potential. Ultimately, having Cooper, Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb made it hard for Wilson to get many opportunities. In 2021, Wilson was targeted 61 times, catching 45 passes for 602 receiving yards, and six touchdowns. He had two 100 yards receiving games late in the season. Wilson will be turning 27 this upcoming season. There is some upside for him with a more significant role. Wilson should have multiple suitors.
9. Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Green Bay Packers
Valdes-Scantling had a solid four years with the Packers and is a fascinating free agent. He has elite-level speed and big-play threat ability vertically. He is also a tall and long target. Each year of his career, Valdes-Scantling has had at least a 60-yard reception. For his career, he averages 17.5 yards per catch. With a unique skill set, Valdes-Scantling should have a good market in free agency.
8. Robert Tonyan, Green Bay Packers
Tonyan will be entering the sixth year of his career. His most productive season was in 2020 when he finished with 52 catches for 586 yards and 11 touchdowns. Tonyan has also proven he is a capable blocker. His 2021 season was cut short as a result of an injury. He will be turning 28 in April and should still have some good football in front of him. Tonyan can improve the tight end position in a significant role for the team he signs with.
7. Tyler Conklin, Minnesota Vikings
Last year, Conklin finally was a featured target in the Vikings passing game. He had a productive 2021 season. On 87 targets, Conklin totaled 61 catches for 593 receiving yards and three touchdowns. The fifth-year tight end will be turning 27 this July. With more targets as a receiver, it is fair to expect Conklin to continue to be productive. He should have multiple teams interested in him this free agency.
6. DJ Chark, Jacksonville Jaguars
Chark is a young player who should be much improved in a better situation. The best season Chark has had was in 2019. That year, he had 73 catches for 1,008 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. He is a tall receiver who can run. Chark is a vertical threat with his speed. He will turn 26 in September. There is a good chance Chark will be productive like he was in 2019 in the right place.
5. Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Following two years with the Buccaneers, Gronkowski is set to be available. Over the last two seasons, he totaled 100 catches, 1,425 receiving yards, and 13 touchdowns. He is still a great blocker who can help a team in the running game. At this late point in his career, anticipate Gronkowski wanting to go to a winning team. His veteran presence and production over the last two years can help a winner.
4. Zach Ertz, Arizona Cardinals
After seeing a surprising drop in production with the Philadelphia Eagles, Ertz was traded to the Cardinals last October. With the Cardinals, Ertz got back his to typical production. In 11 games with the team, he had 56 catches go for 574 receiving yards and three touchdowns. He will turn 32 next season in November. His production in the second half of last season shows Ertz still does have good football left in him.
3. Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears
The 2021 season was a frustrating one for Robinson. He missed five games with an injury. In the 12 games he played, he got targeted a total of only 66 times. Robinson recorded 38 catches for 410 receiving yards and one touchdown. However, the production Robinson had in 2019 and 2020 will give him a strong market. Those two seasons, he had 200 catches, 2,397 receiving yards, and 13 touchdowns. He will be turning 29 years old in August. A few teams should be in Robinson’s market.
2. Christian Kirk, Arizona Cardinals
Kirk is a young player coming off a career year and should be ascending. He will turn 26 in November. All four years of his career, Kirk has had respectable production. In 2021, he had 77 catches on 103 targets, 982 yards receiving, and five touchdowns. Kirk brings good speed and deep-threat ability. He also has the versatility to play in the slot. Many teams will likely have an interest in Kirk.
1. Odell Beckham Jr., Los Angeles Rams
For Beckham, it looked like the best of his career was long gone when he was released by the Cleveland Browns. When he signed with the Rams, he got back to himself. Beckham had 27 catches for 305 receiving yards and five touchdowns in eight games with the Rams. Without adding Beckham, the Rams may not win the Super Bowl. His contributions to their team were invaluable, and they missed him after his injury in the Super Bowl. Even after his ACL injury, he is the best wide receiver set to be available. In November, he will turn 30. However, he showed late last season he still has something left. Expect Beckham to ultimately stay with the Rams.
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