NFL Scouting Combine: The latest buzz on top wide receiver free agent targets, including Michael Gallup, Chris Godwin and Odell Beckham Jr.

Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin (14) reacts after making a catch during the fist quarter against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

INDIANAPOLIS – NFL teams hoping to get discounts on some of the top free-agent wide receivers recovering from in-season knee injuries might be disappointed this offseason, based on some buzz out of the NFL Scouting Combine.

Impending free-agent wideouts Michael Gallup, Chris Godwin and Odell Beckham Jr. are recovering from torn ACLs suffered late in the 2021 NFL campaign. Still, the injuries aren’t expected to impact their value on the open market, as long as they’re willing to sign long-term contracts.

A team will be willing to pay two or three years down the road even if those players miss some time in 2022. By the time those wide receivers get to the third year of their contracts, they’ll likely look like steep discounts based on the rising salary cap.

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Notes from Wednesday at the combine

• Godwin tore his ACL in Week 15. Gallup suffered his knee injury in Week 17. Beckham injured his knee in Super Bowl 56. It wouldn’t be surprising if Gallup stayed with the Dallas Cowboys, Godwin stuck with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Beckham re-signed with the Los Angeles Rams.

• The wide receiver market is expected to be bountiful. Allen Robinson II, D.J. Chark and Marquez Valdes-Scantling will all cash in, potentially more than most people expect. Robinson was at the NFL Scouting Combine this week, which is rare for a current player.

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Andy Isabella has been permitted to seek a trade, his agent Bradley Blank told Josina Anderson of CBS Sports HQ and USA Today. Maybe it works out for Isabella, the Cardinals’ 2019 second-round pick out of UMass. 

• One high-level NFC executive noted that players who are granted permission to seek a trade rarely find partners, however.

• There’s a strong case for tight end Dalton Schultz to get paid more than some of last season’s free-agent tight ends, including Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith, both of whom signed for an average annual value of $12.5 million.

Dalton Schultz
Hunter Henry
Jonnu Smith
PFF Grade 78.2 69.3 74.0
Receiving grade 77.4 67.4 77.3
Run blocking grade 69.4 68.8 62.1
Games 18 14 16
Receptions 85 60 43
Yards 897 613 457
Touchdowns 8 4 8
Drop rate 3.4% 4.8% 4.4%

• In 2021, Schultz recorded more catches, yards and touchdowns than Henry in 2020. It could be difficult for the Cowboys to bring back Gallup, Schultz and defensive end Randy Gregory, who is expected to command a lot of attention in free agency and could get paid more than most expect as one of the top pass-rushers on the open market. Gregory, 29, is also younger than other free-agent pass-rushers Chandler Jones (32) and Von Miller (32).

• Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels said Wednesday they haven’t had contract extension talks with quarterback Derek Carr but that there’s “no doubt” he’ll be the Week 1 starter.

• Scouts are eagerly awaiting to see how Arkansas wide receiver prospect Treylon (pronounced TREY-lun) Burks tests. Burks is expected to post impressive 40-yard dash and agility scores for his size. But it’s important to remember that Burks is 6-foot-2, 225 pounds.

• Burks has a fascinating story (more on that later) but is a prospect that NFL teams will be able to trust at the next level.

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