NFL News & Analysis

2023 NFL Free Agent Rankings: Wide receivers

Orchard Park, New York, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Jakobi Meyers (16) runs with the ball against the Buffalo Bills during the second half at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

With the first day of the 2023 NFL calendar now just three months away, it's time for most teams around the league to turn their attention to NFL free agency in a bid to improve their rosters for a new campaign.

Here are the top free agents at wide receiver, taken from PFF's list of the top 50 players set to enter free agency.

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Free agent rank: 8

After every big-name wide receiver in the 2019 NFL Draft class who was set to hit free agency this offseason signed monster extensions before the year began, Meyers found himself as the top free agent at a position that is growing in importance (and value) every single week. Meyers was an undrafted free agent find of the Patriots in 2019 who has blossomed into a very good player, returning to New England in 2022 on a restricted free agent tender and comfortably outperforming all the other major investments the team made at the position over the past two offseasons.

New England may certainly try to keep Meyers around, likely letting Nelson Agholor reach free agency at the least, but they’ve also made it a habit of letting players walk after their rookie contract value is gone, notably with another former undrafted free agent in cornerback J.C. Jackson last offseason.

Meyers is predominantly a slot receiver but is certainly not just that, logging a little more than one-third of his snaps out wide. What he lacks in physical tools — his 4.63-second 40-yard dash ranks in the 14th percentile among wide receivers in PFF’s database — he more than makes up for with sharp route running and great hands. Over the past three seasons, his 3.1% drop rate ranks ninth among qualifying wide receivers, and at 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, he can use his frame to make contested catches. His 63.2% contested catch rate is a top-five mark among all wide receivers over the same span.


Free agent rank: 33

Smith-Schuster signed an incentive-laden, one-year deal for 2022 that paid him close to nothing in base value but included a ton of upside that he took major advantage of down the stretch. Smith-Schuster earned an additional $1.5 million with his 78 receptions, another $1.5 million with his 933 receiving yards and another $1.5 million for playing more than 65% of offensive snaps. His $3.25 million base value deal is already at $7.75 million with room for $2 million more if he’s a full participant in the AFC championship game and Super Bowl.

Entering his seventh NFL season, Smith-Schuster will still be just 26 years old for the majority of the 2023 campaign. He’s tough over the middle of the field and takes a handful of big shots each season, which is certainly not ideal but never causes him to hear footsteps and alligator-arm tough catches with a defender bearing down on him. While he’s likely not going to get a huge multi-year deal, he could be the primary benefactor of a very weak free-agent class at wide receiver, representing one of the better options with a high floor.

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