The NFL free agency process is a way for teams to improve their roster before the start of (the upcoming) season. The salary cap, where every team in the league has an allotted amount they can spend on players each year, impacts this decision and gives a certain level of predictability to it all.
The “nfl free agency 2021” is when the NFL will allow players to become free agents and sign with any team. The “NFL free agency 2022” is when the NFL will release its new collective bargaining agreement, which could impact how players are paid.
25 January 2022
ESPN’s NFL Nation
The NFL playoffs are down to only four clubs, which means the remaining 28 are examining their rosters and preparing to make free agency choices in 2022.
Although it may seem like the regular season has just ended, the start of free agency is just a month and a half away on March 16.
Franchises must select how different or similar their rosters will be in 2022 between now and then. Will the Green Bay Packers be forced to rebuild? In the face of cap constraints, how will the Dallas Cowboys sign all of its free agents? Will the New Orleans Saints and Denver Broncos have a new quarterback?
We asked our NFL Nation correspondents for the biggest upcoming free-agent decision on each club to get an early peek at the market. Will Odell Beckham Jr., Jadeveon Clowney, and Mike Williams be able to return to their respective teams? Will Chandler Jones, Davante Adams, and Dalton Schultz be able to find better deals elsewhere? This is where each team stands right now.
Let’s take a look at the NFC East first.
ARI | ATL | BAL | BUF | CAR | CHI | CIN CLE | DAL | DEN | DET | GB | HOU | IND JAX | KC | LAC | LAR | LV | MIA | MIN NE | NO | PHI | PIT | SF SEA | TB | TEN | WSH
Table of Contents
TE Dalton Schultz is a free agent.
Schultz had 78 receptions for 808 yards and eight touchdowns in 2021, up from 63 for 615 yards and four touchdowns in 2020. He’s shown to be a trustworthy option for Dak Prescott, but will he be too expensive for the Cowboys? Look at the contracts New England gave Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith; Schultz could earn that much on the free market. Is there enough space for him to stay with the Cowboys? Maybe. The franchise tag might also be a possibility, although it’s likely Randy Gregory will get it. Todd Archer is a writer.
Lorenzo Carter, OLB, is a free agent.
This summer, the Giants must acquire pass-rushers rather than lose any valuable players at the position. Carter demonstrated his worth by racking up five sacks in the last four weeks of the season after failing to get to the quarterback for the first 14 games. His destiny will most likely be determined by the strategy used by incoming general manager Joe Schoen and the next coach. Unless another club is ready to take a chance on a long-term contract based on a few games, Carter might return on a one-year prove-it deal if he fits. Jordan Raanan is a writer.
S Rodney McLeod is a free agent.
McLeod returned from ACL rehab in Week 4 and had a strong end to the season, recording important interceptions in back-to-back games to help the Eagles clinch a playoff place. McLeod, a team captain, will be 32 years old next season and has had his share of ailments recently. However, with free agents Anthony Harris and Steven Nelson on the horizon, it’s worth attempting to re-sign McLeod on a one-year contract in the sake of back-end stability. Tim McManus, Ph.D.
G Brandon Scherff is a free agent.
The five-time Pro Bowl guard has spent the last two seasons on the franchise tag. Last summer, Washington GM Martin Mayhew stated that the club offered him a contract that would have made him the highest-paid guard in the NFL. It’s unclear how it was arranged, but it didn’t get the two parties any closer to a deal. Scherff is a fantastic guard, but he hasn’t played more than 13 games in a season since 2017 and has missed a total of 24 games over the last five seasons. ‘John Keim’
Akiem Hicks, DT, is a free agent.
The Bears may not be able to afford the excellent run-stopper. There’s no denying that his presence changes the shape of their defense, but the issue has been too much time lost due to injuries in recent seasons. When you consider the amount of money the Bears have committed to their front seven, which is among the most in the league, Hicks might be looking for a new home in 2022. The team needs to build around quarterback Justin Fields, and the money saved on Hicks could help with that. Rogers, Jesse
OLB Charles Harris is a free agent.
The Lions don’t have many must-keep players on the roster after a 3-13-1 season, but Harris is one of them. Harris had his greatest season as a pro with 65 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, and 7.5 sacks with a new coaching staff and in a new circumstance. Detroit needs as much depth as possible, and he’s already comfortable in the role, so bringing him back makes sense. Eric Woodyard’s remark
Davante Adams, wide receiver, is a free agent.
Adams aspires to be the highest-paid wide receiver in the league, but he also wants to play alongside Aaron Rodgers. There has to be a reason why Adams didn’t sign an extension during the season, and it isn’t simply because of the money. Rodgers might be the cause. If Rodgers chooses to play somewhere else next season, the Packers may have little choice but to utilize the franchise tag to keep Adams. Demovsky, Rob
CB, free agent Patrick Peterson is a writer who lives in the United States
In the summer, the Vikings will have to retool their secondary once again. Peterson, a free agent who signed a one-year agreement with Minnesota, was the Vikings’ most seasoned and well-prepared cornerback in 2021. Peterson, who has stated a desire to stay in Minnesota, will be 32 years old shortly. The organization can’t afford to give him a $8 million deal, and they shouldn’t for a cornerback reaching the end of his career. The Vikings should explore re-signing him if he’s willing to remain for less money, while also targeting a cornerback with their first-round choice. Last season, his advice paid off in terms of helping young defensive backs develop, and he’ll be useful for a defense that’s about to go through a major transition with a new coaching staff. Courtney Cronin (Courtney Cronin)
LB is a free agent. Oluokun Foyesade
This season, Oluokun was a thorn in Atlanta’s side. He recorded a career-high three interceptions and became a leader of Atlanta’s defense after leading the NFL in tackles (192). Despite the Falcons’ salary-cap limits, coach Arthur Smith described Oluokun as a “ascending player,” and general manager Terry Fontenot said that he would want to keep some of the team’s free agents. Oluokun, for one, said that he would want to return, although it’s probable that he is heavily sought after by a club. It’s too early to know how things will play out, but Atlanta and Oluokun seem to be interested in continuing to collaborate. Michael Rothstein is a writer and producer.
Edge Haason Reddick is a free agent.
Because some thought that the 12.5 sacks he had at Arizona in 2020 would be the norm, the team’s sack leader (11) signed a one-year prove-it agreement. On and off the field, he has shown to be a valuable contributor. The dilemma is whether the Panthers should spend their money on Reddick, who is more suited to a 3-4 system, or on getting larger on the edge to play more 4-3. Phil Snow, the defensive coordinator, wants to become larger up front, which might reduce Reddick’s usefulness. This one will most likely be decided by the market price. David Newton is an author.
Jameis Winston, quarterback, is a free agent.
When it comes to personnel selections, the Saints’ primary priority is clearly quarterback. All possibilities, including a blockbuster deal or the draft, should be considered. If the Saints are confident in Winston’s rehabilitation from a ruptured ACL, he may offer the finest mix of price and potential. In the six games he played in 2021, he went 4-2 with a 14-3 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Triplett, Mike
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G Alex Cappa is a free agent.
We can’t choose Tom Brady since he isn’t officially a free agent and has exclusive authority over his choice to retire. But there’s no denying that he’ll be the glue that holds this group together. The Buccaneers have 23 unrestricted free agents after Brady, and coach Bruce Arians indicated on Monday that the club would prioritize its own free agents in March. Even with an ACL tear, I don’t believe they’ll allow wide receiver Chris Godwin leave the building. Center Ryan Jensen, like safety Jordan Whitehead, had likely his greatest season. Carlton Davis is still the finest cornerback on the team. They must also contemplate Rob Gronkowski and Leonard Fournette’s comeback. So, where does that leave Cappa, the starting right guard, when there’s only so much money to go around and their cap space is now around $15 million? — Jenna Laine is a model and actress.
Chandler Jones, OLB, is a free agent.
Jones continues to establish himself as one of the top pass rushers in the NFL, but he might end up playing for a different club in 2022. He requested a contract extension before the season started, and when he didn’t receive it, he demanded a move, which he didn’t get either. In 2021, he earned $15.5 million and had 10.5 sacks, which was his sixth double-digit total in the previous seven seasons. He’ll most likely not receive the deal he wants from the Cardinals, so he’ll test the free-agent waters before choosing whether to return or, more likely, sign elsewhere. Josh Weinfuss (@JoshWeinfuss)
Odell Beckham Jr., wide receiver, is a free agent.
With November, the Rams acquired receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and traded for outside linebacker Von Miller as half-season rentals in the hopes of making a Super Bowl push. Now that both players are set to become unrestricted free agents, the Rams must decide if there is room on the roster and in the budget for them to return. In seven regular-season starts for the Los Angeles Rams, Beckham has caught 27 catches for 305 yards and five touchdowns, while Miller has five sacks and a forced fumble in eight appearances. Due to salary-cap constraints, it’s doubtful that both will be able to return, but the Rams should be able to retain at least one of them. Lindsey Thiry (Lindsey Thiry)
G Laken Tomlinson is a free agent.
For the last several seasons, Tomlinson has quietly been one of the Niners’ most steady and dependable players, forming a formidable duo on the left side alongside tackle Trent Williams. Tomlinson is expected to cash in on a deal that would more than double his previous contract’s average yearly worth of $5.5 million. Will the Niners want to make another large investment on the line after giving Williams a record-setting contract last offseason, and with right tackle Mike McGlinchey due for an extension soon? That might be contingent on how far Aaron Banks, a 2021 second-round choice, has progressed in his development. Nick Wagoner is a writer.
S Quandre Diggs is a free agent.
Last summer, the Seahawks were hesitant to extend Diggs, likely because they had just given their other major safety, Jamal Adams, a record-setting contract. In 2021, however, Diggs was arguably the team’s MVP. With five interceptions, he was a significant reason why the Seahawks’ defense was among the best in the NFL at minimizing explosive passing plays. The issue is whether they’ll take a chance and let him go unrestricted free agency, where his market could be dampened by his fractured right leg from Week 18, or they’ll lock him up ahead of time. The franchise tag, estimated to cost roughly $13 million, seems to be a possibility. Brady Henderson’s quote
Levi Wallace, CB, is a free agent.
The Bills needed Wallace to step up as their top cornerback after losing Tre’Davious White for the season due to a ruptured ACL. He did a good job in that capacity, and the Bills should welcome him back following his performance. They are short on depth at cornerback and might benefit from a range of capable defensive backs on the roster. Given the team’s cap predicament and his place on the roster, re-signing him is not a certain conclusion. He might be on his way to a larger job and more money somewhere. Alaina Getzenberg is a writer who lives in New York City.
DE Emmanuel Ogbah is a free agent.
Ogbah, who has 18 sacks in the last two seasons and is an important part of Miami’s pass rush, will be retained. In 2020, he signed a two-year, $15 million contract with Miami, and his next contract is expected to be in the three-year, $30 million range, according to Spotrac. It’s a move the Dolphins can afford with around $70 million in cap space before concentrating on the other side of the ball. — Louis-Jacques Marcel
CB J.C. Jackson is a free agent.
A contract won’t be cheap, but Jackson seems to have a soft spot for the Patriots, so if another offer comes close, the tiebreaker appears to go to the club that first gave him an opportunity as an undrafted free agent in 2018. However, how Jackson’s bad postseason performance against the Bills — as part of a comprehensive defensive disaster — affects the team’s assessment of the fifth-year pro is a point to ponder. — Reiss, Mike
Braxton Berrios, WR/KR, is a free agent.
Berrios, a diligent football lover who had a great finish (four touchdowns in the last three games) that endeared him to the fan support, is one of the Jets’ top targets. Berrios was a steady slot receiver with the ability to perform jet sweeps, and he made first-team All-Pro as a kick returner. The question is whether or not the Jets will pay him as a full-time offensive player. If he is just seen as a part-time gadget player, he will most likely be on the free market. Cimini, Rich
Bradley Bozeman (C) is a free agent.
For the last three seasons, Bozeman has been a consistent starter, starting at left guard before shifting to center. The parties haven’t come close to agreeing on a new contract, and Bozeman recently said that he isn’t sure whether he has played his last game in Baltimore. Patrick Mekari, who started at right tackle this season but might be a backup center if Bozeman doesn’t return, was just re-signed by the Ravens. Trystan Colon, who has stepped in at center for the last two seasons, is another option for Baltimore. Jamison Hensley (Jamison Hensley)
S is a free agent. Jessie Bates III is a character in the film Jessie Bates III
Bates was leaning toward a franchise-tag designation for 2022 even before the season began. Before the season began, Cincinnati decided not to provide Bates the long-term contract he desired. A franchise tag entitles him to a lucrative compensation for one year. When 2023 comes around, we’ll see how ready both parties are to compromise. – Ben Little
DE Jadeveon Clowney is a free agent.
Clowney was an excellent compliment to Myles Garrett, who was pressuring the quarterback from the other side. Following a strong season, Clowney is expected to want more than a one-year contract this time around. The Browns would be smart to retain Clowney and Garrett together in the future, even if it costs them. Jake Trotter’s remark
WR (free agent) Smith-Schuster, JuJu
Smith-Schuster is expected to return to Pittsburgh, where he was chosen in 2017, for the second season in a straight. Even a year ago, it looked impossible, but the Steelers were able to re-sign him for a one-year contract in 2021. In 2022, they’ll have even more cap room. It was clear how much the Steelers missed Smith-aggressiveness Schuster’s and intensity when he went down with a serious shoulder injury in Week 5. Smith-Schuster will definitely monitor the quarterback position, but don’t rule out a return to the Steelers next season. Brooke Pryor is an actress who plays Brooke Pryor.
S Justin Reid is a free agent.
Reid, a third-round choice in the 2018 draft, is one of the Texans’ top defensive players, but he is unlikely to return to Houston. Reid will fetch a higher price than the Texans will be willing to pay on the open market. After challenging David Culley’s coaching at a team meeting, he was banned for one game this season for breaching team rules. Sarah Barshop is a writer.
T.Y. Hilton, wide receiver, is a free agent.
Hilton is a favorite player of general manager Chris Ballard. However, the receiver has made it no secret that he is considering retirement from the NFL after ten seasons. Hilton, who has missed 16 games in the last four seasons, is coming off a season in which he had 23 catches for 331 yards and no touchdowns. The Colts’ problem is that they don’t have enough receiving depth beyond Michael Pittman Jr. It’s for this reason that re-signing Hilton is a top priority. If Hilton wants to play another season, that is. Mike Wells’ remark
Cam Robinson, LT, is a free agent.
The Jaguars have a lot of choices to make along the offensive line, starting with Robinson, who was on the franchise tag for the 2021 season. He performed well enough for the Jaguars to contemplate re-signing him, but they could potentially utilize the franchise tag again, which would cost about $17 million.
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Walker, Rookie With Robinson out, Little played well in the last two games of the season. Was it, though, enough to convince him that he could take over as starting in 2022 and beyond? Most likely not. In addition, the Jaguars have a significant problem at right tackle with Jawaan Taylor, who has had a difficult two seasons (17 penalties, tied for the NFL lead). It makes a lot of sense to bring Robinson back and move Little to right tackle. Michael DiRocco’s remark
Harold Landry III, OLB, is a free agent.
Landry’s 12 sacks this season were the most by a Titans pass rusher since Brian Orakpo had 10.5 in 2016. After so many swings and misses in free agency and the draft, Tennessee just cannot let a pass-rusher it nurtured to depart through free agency. The Titans will find a way to re-sign Landry, but it will be at a significant cost due to his position’s market value of $70 million over four years. Turron Davenport (Turron Davenport)
Teddy Bridgewater, quarterback, is a free agent.
RB Melvin Gordon III, S Kareem Jackson, CB Bryce Callahan, LB Alexander Johnson, and LB Josey Jewell are just a few of the Broncos’ notable free agents. Bridgewater, on the other hand, is a part of the team’s most important offseason decision: what happens at quarterback. Drew Lock is under contract through the 2022 season, but a decision must be made after the Broncos’ new coaching staff is in place. With few choices in free agency and the draft, particularly for an instant improvement, the Broncos will either have to make a blockbuster deal or determine if Bridgewater will be a stopgap for at least another season. Legwold, Jeff
Tyrann Mathieu, free agent
Kansas City wants to keep the nine-year veteran, and he wants to continue his career with the organization, therefore the two sides will ultimately work out a deal. The Chiefs will be unable to replace all of Mathieu’s contributions as a player and a leader in the locker room. He is just too important to the Chiefs in both areas to be allowed go. Adam Teicher’s remark
QB, free agent Marcus Mariota is a quarterback who plays in the NFL.
Yes, the most important upcoming free-agent choice is to sign an underutilized backup quarterback whose best skill set is in an area where the Raiders have an Achilles’ heel: red-zone effectiveness. Because the Raiders still have a lot of dominoes to fall, from a new general manager to a possible new coach, starting quarterback Derek Carr’s position is worth keeping an eye on. And if Mariota were to return to Las Vegas, it would almost certainly not be as a backup. Gutierrez, Paul
WR (free agent) Mike Williams is a well-known figure in the
Williams is coming off his most productive NFL season, with 76 receptions for 1,146 yards and nine touchdowns to lead the club. He and quarterback Justin Herbert get along swimmingly. Williams, who is 27 years old, would be highly sought after on the summer free-agent market, making it difficult for the Chargers to maintain him. If it comes down to it, a franchise tag for one more year of the Herbert-to-Williams link might cost more than $18 million. Shelley Smith says:
The “2022 free agents mlb” is a list of the top players who are set to become free agents in 2022. This list includes all MLB players, as well as NFL players.
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