By: Kyler Gammon
Sadly, the 2021-2022 season for the NFL has wrapped up with the Los Angeles Rams going "all in" and winning Super Bowl 56 over the Cincinnati Bengals. With the season ending, the next step is the players who are leaving or staying and also where is their next step in their NFL career. We take a look at the upcoming players who are destined to be free agents and where are they going for the upcoming season.
10. ODell Beckham Jr.
Coming off a disappointing start to the season with the Cleveland Browns, Odell shined in Los Angeles when he was signed by the Rams. The signing would pay huge dividends for LA as star wide receiver Robert Woods went down with a ACL injury. Odell fit perfectly into that role and won a ring out of it, but tearing his ACL in Super Bowl 56. The ACL injury might be a scare for some teams, but he is one of the many, great wide receivers to hit the market this offseason
Destination - LA Rams
I think he loves Matthew Stafford, Sean McVay, and the Rams to much for him to want to go somewhere else. Also I can see a scenario where the Rams and McVay want a three headed monster receiver core in Kupp, Woods, and Beckham. This just makes to sense for me. He is staying in LA.
9. Stephon Gilmore
Just a couple of years ago, Gilmore was a DPOTY winner after having a stellar season with the New England Patriots. In October, the Carolina Panthers made the trade for Gilmore for just a sixth round pick in 2023. Gilmore proved he can still play as in eight games, he recorded two interceptions and sixteen combined tackles.
Destination - Kansas City Chiefs
Gilmore is 31, he isn't looking to go to a team that is in rebuild mode. The Chiefs have needed a great defensive presence to pair with their star studded offense. Gilmore is going to be chasing a ring and the Chiefs have been to four straight AFC Championships. Gilmore again just makes to much sense for the Chiefs
8. Mike Gesicki
Gesicki has been very good for the Miami Dolphins since coming into the league in 2018. In the 2021 season he was productive, racking up 780 yards on 73 receptions, but only catching two touchdowns this year. Nonetheless, Gesicki is a top ten tight end in the league and an even bigger bonus for NFL teams is he is only 26 years old.
Destination - Tennessee Titans
The Titans need a top tier tight end in that offense. This past season Julio Jones couldn't stay healthy and AJ Brown had missed time due to an injury as well. All on top of Derrick Henry missing the whole regular season. The last piece to the puzzle is the tight end position. Gesicki would fit into that role perfectly for Ryan Tannehill and the Titans
7. Jessie Bates III
Jessie Bates has been an absolute stud for the Cincinnati Bengals since he came into the league in 2018. He has 10 career interceptions and one defensive touchdown. This past season wasn't his best though, probably his worst of his career. He only racked up one interception compared to three in the 2018, 2019, and 2020 seasons and he only had 88 combined tackles compared to his 100+ combined tackles in the previous three seasons. Either way, when a arguable top five safety in the league hits the market, teams have to be calling. Reports have said he is not wanting to be franchise tagged and is wanting a long term deal!
Destination - Cincinnati Bengals
As of today (2/24/22) the Bengals haven't made an offer yet to Bates. Cincinnati surprised everyone this past year, coming up just one game short of the Lombardi Trophy. The Bengals also have the fourth best cap space in the league. Keeping Bates and getting offensive linemen have to be their top priority this year. He is staying in Cincy!
6. Von Miller
What hasn't Von Miller accomplished in his NFL career? He was the Super Bowl 50 MVP, 2x Super Bowl champion, 3x All Pro, 8x Pro Bowler, and the 2011 DROTY (Defensive Rookie Of The Year), on the HOF All-2010s Team. He will be a first ballot Hall of Famer when his time comes to be placed on the ballot, undoubtedly. The big question is, what's next for Von Miller and his career?
Destination - Retires
It might be shocking that I say he will retire but he's just done it all. The only thing you can argue is that he hasn't won a Defensive Player of The Year award and he could return to the Denver Broncos to have one farewell season, but I think all of the accolades speak for themselves. Coming off another Super Bowl ring, I think it would be fit if he hung up the cleats.
5. Allen Robinson
When you look at his 2021 statistics, it's pretty fair to ask the question on why would a team want to pay high end money for Robinson? The pretty clear answer is, Matt Nagy's staff was just a mess in Chicago. Robinson was coming off back to back 1000 yard seasons for the Bears, and in the 2021 season he only accounted for 410 yards and one touchdown. It has been reported that he had his snap counts cut in half which could be an excuse, but you would like to see some production there. Nonetheless, when you pair Allen Robinson in a great system and scheme, he can be dangerous weapon for quarterbacks around the league.
Destination - New England Patriots
Mac Jones proved to be the guy in New England for years to come. Jakobi Meyers has been an upside and Nelson Agholor made some plays, but the Patriots and Jones need that true WR1 weapon and Robinson fits the bill. N'Keal Harry who New England spent a first round pick on, hasn't been great, at all. Having a three person receiving core with Robinson, Meyers, and Agholor is great weapons for Jones and Belichick.
4. JC Jackson
Jackson has been sensational for the Patriots the last four years, racking up 25 total career interceptions so far, which is insanity for a guy who has only been playing since 2018. The dude is a straight up ball hawk. Jackson wants high end money, which for me personally, I'm not sure why the Patriots haven't resigned him yet. He has proved year in and year out he can ball, and when a guy has 17 interceptions combined from the 2020 and 2021 seasons, you have to pay him. That being said, I could very well seeing him go somewhere else to get paid, if New England doesn't want to give him the higher end contract.
Destination - New York Jets
The Jets might be a surprising choice but remember Robert Saleh is a defensive coach. The Jets have the 6th best cap space in the league are could give Jackson the top contract for a cornerback. Also, if Jackson wants to play the revenge card against his former team, he can play the Patriots twice a year. The Jets are obviously in a rebuild, but are looking for players to make an immediate impact. Jackson certainly does that, and would be a nice addition to Saleh's squad.
3. Terron Armstead
Armstead has been a staple offensive linemen for the New Orleans Saints for many years. He is a All-Pro and a 3x Pro Bowler. He has just been so consistent for the Saints, it's hard to say that he is the best offensive linemen to hit the market, you can make the argument for Orlando Brown, but Armstead has proven his worth in the league. The Saints have the worst cap situation in the league, so it's really a miracle for them to resign him as they need to figure out how to get out of the negative cap mess they are in. Teams should easily have interest in the 30 year old.
Destination - Chicago Bears
This might be a shock to some people as the common answer would be the Bengals, but when you think about it, the Bears make total sense here. Ryan Poles is the new GM of the Bears replacing Ryan Pace. Poles used to be a linemen in the league, so he understands the importance of needing guys up front and to protect Justin Fields. The Bears are 10th in the league when it comes to cap space, so they have some money to spend, don't be surprised if Armstead goes here, this is gonna be my sleeper pick.
2. Chris Godwin
Chris Godwin has a stud for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers since he was drafted in 2017. He has had two 1000 yard seasons in 2019 and 2021. Not to mention the fact that he is a Pro Bowler and a Super Bowl Champion. He unfortunately tore his ACL in the late stretch of the 2021 season, sidelining him for the postseason. Wherever he goes, he should produce and has to be one of the best immediate playmakers on the market, given he's only 26 years old, practically in his prime.
Destination - Philadelphia Eagles
Yes, I have him going to my Philadelphia Eagles. He would be the perfect fit for Jalen Hurts and Nick Sirianni. DeVonta Smith had a pretty good year as well as Quez Watkins, but clearly Jalen Raegor isn't working out, so they need someone to pair with Smith. GM Howie Roseman has already said it is a pivotal offseason for the Eagles and they are 17th in the league when it comes to the cap space, so they have some money to make some offers. With Nick Sirianni being a former wide receivers coach, the move only makes sense. Get Godwin to Philly, I need it in my vains. Go Birds!
1. Davante Adams
Yes, my number one free agent this year has to be Davante Adams. Adams has been insane the past two seasons for the Packers, easily a top five, maybe even top three receiver in the league Obviously, there is a lot of series of events to where he could stay in Green Bay if Aaron Rodgers returns, however the Packers 31st, yes 31st in cap space in the whole entire league. That is not very ideal for a guy who has said he wants high end receiver money, and rightfully so. All eyes will be on the Packers, Rodgers, and Adams this offseason.
Destination - Las Vegas Raiders
Derek Carr was Adams teammate at Fresno State, where they both went to college. The move just seems inevitable at this point for him to head to Las Vegas. The Raiders are 14th in cap space so they can certainly pay him that contract. The Raiders do need some wide receiver help as the whole Henry Ruggs situation happened
this past season. Carr needs that true playmaker WR1, and who else
could that be other than Davante Adams. Viva Las Vegas!