NFL free agent rankings: Top 5 Wide Receivers includes gambles galore

NFL free agent rankings: Top 5 Wide Receivers includes gambles galore

Teams don’t let their best players become free agents, and that’s especially true for receivers.

Last season’s free agency had a very weak receiver class, and this year’s class lost some key names well before the legal tampering deadline. Tee Higgins would have been a great buy for a team with plenty of cap space, but the Cincinnati Bengals placed him on the franchise tag. Mike Evans was a legitimate No. 1 prospect on the market, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed him to a two-year extension. The Indianapolis Colts then gave Michael Pittman Jr. the franchise title.

There are still some viable options at receiver, but not as many as some teams struggling at the position would like. The top five free agent wide receivers are:

1. Arizona Cardinals WR Marquise Brown  

Two years prior, Brown was traded by the Baltimore Ravens to the Cardinals for a first-round selection pick. In two seasons with the Cardinals, he only had 1,283 yards and seven touchdowns while missing eight games because of injuries. Poor quarterback play during Kyler Murray’s injury contributed to that. With Patrick Mahomes throwing passes to him during a one-year prove-it deal, he receives a significant increase. At just 26 years old, Brown is still a former first-round pick who had a 1,000-yard year in 2021.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars’ Calvin Ridley

Ridley was a top-10 receiver not so long ago. In 2020, he had 1,374 yards and nine touchdowns. After that, he had an odd 2021 in which he appeared in just five games, a losing 2022 as a result of a gambling suspension, and an average but unimpressive 2023 season. His 1,016 yards came from a very strong Jaguars offense. At 29 years old, Ridley looks like the 2020 season was a long time ago. However, he stands out in a thin WR class.

3. Los Angeles Chargers WR Mike Williams

Williams was cut for salary cap reasons, much to the Chargers’ disappointment. Williams appeared in just 16 games over the past two seasons. But when Williams plays, he’s a top performer. He was the No. 7 pick in the 2017 draft, has two 1,000-yard seasons under his belt, and is only 29 years old. Williams is recovering from his ACL injury, which may deter some teams from playing. But in a very thin receiver market, Williams’ talent stands out.

4. Gabe Davis, Buffalo Bills

The Bills probably would have liked to have Davis back, but they don’t have much cap space. The Jaguars saw Davis’ quality and bought him. He was inconsistent, but he was great in the big games. He is a strong threat averaging 16.7 yards per catch and scoring 27 career touchdowns in four seasons. He has never surpassed 836 yards in a season and shouldn’t be considered the Jags’ number one prospect, but surprisingly he’s only 24 years old and will be a strong addition for years to come. It may become.

5. Cincinnati Bengals’ Tyler Boyd

Boyd, who turns 30 this season, is still a potent slot receiver whose output was constrained by the Bengals’ two elite wide receivers. Boyd had two seasons with 1,000 yards on his record and produced respectable stats despite Tee Higgins and Ja’Marr Chase getting a lot of targets.

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