NFL Free Agent Preview: Five Moves I’d Love to See

Ryan Stuzin, Staff Writer

Sanitation crews may still be cleaning up from the Los Angeles Rams’ Super Bowl Parade, despite its sparse fan turnout, but it is never too early to look towards the 2022 season. So here are a few fun free agency predictions. I view these as definite possibilities, but more importantly, they are moves that I would like to see happen as a fan of the game.

Indianapolis Colts sign WR Davante Adams

When the best wide receiver in the NFL becomes available, you can expect a lot of teams to be interested. The Colts have the cap space ($41 million, according to USA Today) and are contenders (with a stout defense, high-powered running back Jonathan Taylor, and a serviceable quarterback in Carson Wentz), which could entice a guy like Adams. Whether he would leave Green Bay likely depends on whether the Packers lose QB Aaron Rodgers, but if that happens, the Colts could find their missing piece for a playoff run.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers sign QB Jameis Winston (he’s back)

With the retirement of the G.O.A.T. (Tom Brady), Tampa Bay is in desperate need of a quarterback. Winston missed the second half of last season with a knee injury, but he still has elite arm talent despite his infamous propensity for turnovers (91 career interceptions versus 135 career touchdowns). Bucs coach Bruce Arians is known for deft quarterback-handling (according to Bleacher Report), so this may be a match made in heaven. Bucs fans may not be so pumped about this one, considering Winston laid an egg in his first stint with the team, but with a potentially elite receiving corps (but see Chris Godwin below) and a steady improvement in his turnover margins, he could keep the Bucs in playoff contention.

New York Jets sign WR Allen Robinson

The New York Jets are currently the youngest team in the league, according to USA Today. They need to surround 2021 number two overall pick QB Zach Wilson with more weapons, and a clear WR1 would do just that. The Jets are sitting pretty with about $48 million in cap space, according to northjersey.com. The Jets are likely to let veteran WR Jamison Crowder walk due to his disappointing 2021 season. The Bears are unlikely to franchise tag A-Rob again, as that would use approximately $21 million of their available $30 million in cap space, according to Bleacher Report. Plus, Robinson is coming off the most disappointing season of his career, with only 38 catches, versus 102 in 2020. Robinson, together with two top-ten draft picks, could help boost Wilson up from his rookie struggles, and could potentially make the offense playoff-caliber.

Baltimore Ravens Sign WR Chris Godwin

In order for this to happen, the Ravens would need to clear some cap space, which they could do by letting DE Calais Campbell walk or retire, according to Bleacher Report. They need to give QB Lamar Jackson a more reliable first receiver in order to get back into the playoffs. Godwin is coming off a season-ending torn ACL, so he has some question marks, but he has been consistently a top 10-ish receiver in the league for the last four years (28 TDs over those seasons). Lamar’s passing touchdown production has dropped from 36 in 2019 to 26 in 2020 to 16 in 2021. Clearly, he needs a new target.

Miami Dolphins sign RB Leonard Fournette

Miami has a good passing offense, but their running game is severely lacking. With a new head coach in former 49ers offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel, Miami is looking to take some pressure off QB Tua Tagovailoa. Fournette does this in two ways: first, he chews up a lot of yards on the ground (812 yards on 180 carries last season), and second, as another receiving option (69 receptions last year). He has resurrected his career after a weak 2020, where his production was about half of what it was in 2021. If the Dolphins miss out on Fournette, they could also have a shot at RB Melvin Gordon III, who had similar rushing numbers but is not as prolific a receiver.

Free agency begins on March 16th. Stay tuned.