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2022 NFL Free Agency: One impending 2022 free agent every NFL team should bring back

Atlanta, Georgia, USA; New England Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson (27) runs after intercepting a pass against the Atlanta Falcons during the fourth quarter at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

NFL free agency is treated as a shopping spree — a chance to add shiny new pieces to a roster and build something better than the season before. Often just as important, though, is maintaining the roster from the year prior. Being able to retain key players from a team can be just as important and valuable as signing new ones, particularly given how the NFL balances free agency net losses with compensatory draft picks.

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Here is one player every NFL team should look to retain.

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NFC East

DALLAS COWBOYS

WR Cedrick Wilson

Michael Gallup the better receiver Dallas has scheduled to hit the open market, but he will likely earn a much richer payday. Wilson has shown the ability to step up and fill some of the void after Gallup was hurt this season and could be retained for a much more modest fee, allowing Dallas to retain the depth in the receiving corps that made the offense so dangerous. Passes thrown Wilson’s way this season generated a passer rating of 116.2.

NEW YORK GIANTS

TE Evan Engram

Giants fans won’t like this suggestion, but Engram still has elite physical talent, and it’s obvious the structures around him have been bad for some time. Given his disappointing play, the price tag likely isn’t high, and there’s a good chance he becomes a much better player under the new regime than he was in the old one. The Giants would be smart to see if Engram can become their Dawson Knox in the new Brian Daboll offense. The Ole Miss product has averaged 5.4 yards after the catch for his career in New York.

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

G Nate Herbig

Philadelphia ended up using 15 different offensive linemen during the season, although some only appeared in the final week of the season. The personnel was far from what the Eagles expected it to be in the offseason, and Herbig ended up playing solidly across 481 snaps of action in 10 games. He likely will not command a significant contract in the offseason, and Philly could see good value bringing him back as a backup.

WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM

RB J.D. McKissic

You could argue McKissic is a redundant skill set within the Washington offense, but as long as it keeps using him, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to retain his services. He played at least 20 snaps in every game before getting injured this past season, averaging 4.4 yards per attempt and another 1.8 yards per route run as a receiver. Maybe Washington wants to split his workload between Antonio Gibson and Curtis Samuel — players they have more investment in — but McKissic has been a useful member of the offense.

NFC South

ATLANTA FALCONS

RB Cordarrelle Patterson

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