NFL News & Analysis

One free agent each NFL team should pursue in the 2022 offseason

Orchard Park, New York, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (19) reacts to his first down catch against the Buffalo Bills during the second half at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

One of the hardest things to figure out when it comes to NFL free agency is which players are actually open to signing with each team. While money drives most decisions, other factors like geography, market size and perceived scheme fit can play a large role.


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After discussing this reality with a handful of NFL agents, they estimated the average number of teams a player is truly considering each offseason is approximately three to five total.

There are, of course, exceptions where all 32 teams are ringing an agent's phone off the hook — such as with PFF’s No. 1 free agent Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams — and contrarily where a player can’t afford to be so selective. For this reason, it can be critical for teams to shrink their free-agent boards down a bit to only those players who have a desire to play for them — again, unless they’re just willing to outspend everyone else.

With that said, we identified one free-agent target each team should zero in on this offseason. 

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ARIZONA CARDINALS: CB Charvarius Ward

2021 Player Grade/Rank: 65.7 (50th)
2021 Team Position Grade/Rank: 59.0 (23rd)

The Cardinals’ lack of cornerback depth finally caught up to them in their playoff matchup against the Los Angeles Rams when quarterback Matthew Stafford averaged 11.9 yards per attempt and finished the game with a season-high 90.3 grade. 

Arizona reportedly wants to bring back cornerback Robert Alford, but he will be 34 in 2022 and has dealt with various injuries. Ward would be a good fit on the outside opposite 2021 rookie Marco Wilson and slot cornerback Byron Murphy Jr., with three straight seasons grading out at 64.8 or better despite often battling the opponent’s top receiving weapon.


ATLANTA FALCONS: EDGE Harold Landry III

2021 Player Grade/Rank: 63.0 (T-75th)
2021 Team Position Grade/Rank: 46.9 (32nd)

The Falcons fielded the worst edge defender unit grade by almost a full 10 points in 2021 and are in desperate need of help generating pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Falcons defensive coordinator Dean Pees was Landry’s defensive coordinator for his first two seasons with the Tennessee Titans, so there is certainly a familiarity.

Landry has racked up over 50 quarterback pressures in three straight seasons, and while a big part of that is volume, Atlanta could certainly stand to benefit from a consistent high-floor player alongside standout interior defender Grady Jarrett.


BALTIMORE RAVENS: DI Maliek Collins

2021 Player Grade/Rank: 64.0 (49th)
2021 Team Position Grade/Rank: 67.3 (7th)

This would be four different teams in as many seasons for Collins, and early indications are he’d like to come to an agreement to stay in Houston if possible. However, if the two sides can’t reach common ground, the Ravens should be interested. 

Baltimore's defensive interior enjoyed a strong 2021 campaign, so you may ask why they’d need to address it before other spots. Their two top players in 2021 were Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams, who are both free agents and who will be 36 and 33 years old, respectively, in 2022.

Collins and Ravens 2020 third-rounder Justin Madubuike could be a solid young tandem operating as three- and five-techniques in defensive coordinator Wink Martindale’s multiple-front scheme. Collins has generated at least 25 quarterback pressures in five of his first six NFL seasons.

BUFFALO BILLS: DI Larry Ogunjobi

2021 Player Grade/Rank: 50.4 (T-103rd)
2021 Team Position Grade/Rank: 59.5 (17th)

The Buffalo Bills got nose tackle Star Lotulelei back in 2021 after he opted out of the 2020 season, but the 32-year-old registered the worst overall and run-defense grades of his career. Bills 2018 third-round nose tackle Harrison Phillips has had his best season in the NFL thus far in 2021 but suffered an injury to the same left knee for the third time in his football career. 

Ogunjobi was knocked out of the Bengals' playoff game against the Las Vegas Raiders with an injury of his own, but he could be a solid, low-cost option for Buffalo this offseason with a huge contract extension potentially looming for star wide receiver Stefon Diggs.


CAROLINA PANTHERS: G Laken Tomlinson

2021 Player Grade/Rank: 76.0 (12th)
2021 Team Position Grade/Rank: 46.9 (32nd)

The Panthers' offensive line couldn’t keep any of its quarterbacks upright, and the unit could stand to improve at every spot besides right tackle. Tomlinson went to college in North Carolina at Duke University and has excelled in San Francisco’s wide-zone rushing attack after the Detroit Lions traded him to the 49ers. 

The Panthers have been interviewing a wide range of offensive coordinator candidates, with former Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak among them. Kubiak runs a similar system on offense, and if Carolina wanted to make a more seamless transition, they could sign Tomlinson this offseason.

Tomlinson’s 75.2 pass-block grade in 2021 was a career best, and he has earned back-to-back 75.0-plus run-blocking grades.


CHICAGO BEARS: WR Christian Kirk

2021 Player Grade/Rank: 72.7 (30th)
2021 Team Position Grade/Rank: 67.1 (26th)

The only wide receiver currently under contract with the Bears for 2022 is 2020 fifth-round pick Darnell Mooney. Chicago desperately needs to add more weapons for quarterback Justin Fields, especially without a first- or fourth-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, and Kirk could be a perfect fit. 

The Cardinals moved Kirk into the slot this season to deploy him as a field-stretching vertical threat over the middle, and he set career highs across the board with 77 receptions for 984 yards and a 72.7 PFF grade. A similar role in Chicago would make for a great one-two punch with Mooney out wide.


CINCINNATI BENGALS: iOL Ted Karras

2021 Player Grade/Rank: 73.0 (16th)
2021 Team Position Grade/Rank: 56.9 (26th)

The Bengals should be feeling pretty good about their decision to draft wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase in 2021, but rising star quarterback Joe Burrow is still taking way too many hits. Burrow’s 51 sacks taken in 2021 led all quarterbacks, and pressure up the middle was a consistent theme. 

Karras is a great fit because of his ability to play both center and guard, earning a career-high 76.9 pass-block grade primarily at left guard this season in New England. His versatility should greatly interest Cincinnati, and even if he doesn’t start, he can be the primary backup at all three spots along the interior.


CLEVELAND BROWNS: DI D.J. Jones

2021 Player Grade/Rank: 73.2 (T-18th)
2021 Team Position Grade/Rank: 41.1 (32nd)

The Browns' defense was a formidable group in 2021, with edge defender Myles Garrett named a PFF First-Team All-Pro and a vastly improved secondary working behind him. One notable weakness was up the middle, with Cleveland turning to stopgap veterans to play alongside recent draft picks. 

The New England Patriots averaged over five yards per carry in a blowout 45-7 victory over the Browns early in the season that highlighted their issue on the interior, and Jones could be the perfect solution. His 14 tackles for loss or no gain in 2021 ranked second among interior defenders — behind only the great Aaron Donald.

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DALLAS COWBOYS: S Quandre Diggs

2021 Player Grade/Rank: 71.6 (T-37th)
2021 Team Position Grade/Rank: 74.0 (8th)

Longtime Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas III famously told the Dallas Cowboys to “come get me” back in 2017, and five years later Dallas could stand to go get Diggs in free agency. 

Diggs suffered an unfortunate injury in Seattle’s final game of the season but is expected to be back in plenty of time for the 2022 season. He played over 1,200 snaps in 2021, a remarkable feat by itself, and recorded 70.0-plus overall, run-defense and coverage grades for the third time in four seasons.


DENVER BRONCOS: QB Marcus Mariota

2021 Player Grade/Rank: 58.2 (N/A)
2021 Team Position Grade/Rank: 70.7 (21st)

We’re not necessarily suggesting the Broncos target Mariota to be their starter in 2022, but a backup quarterback who brings a different skill set and can be deployed in certain packages has proven to be a growing trend in the NFL the past few years. 

Over the past two seasons with the Raiders, Mariota has 175 rushing yards on just 18 carries (9.7 yards per carry), 14 of which went for first downs. The Broncos don’t have to trade draft capital like they did to bring in Teddy Bridgewater and can have a serviceable option while they continue their quest to find the next franchise signal-caller.


DETROIT LIONS: CB Bryce Callahan

2021 Player Grade/Rank: 60.0 (88th)
2021 Team Position Grade/Rank: 52.9 (30th)

You could throw a dart at the Lions' depth chart and would most likely land on a position they need to upgrade, but more reinforcements in the secondary could be a cost-effective way to be more competitive while the rebuild and search for the next franchise quarterback continues. 

The Lions were asking safeties to play cornerback by the end of the season, and while defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn is as good a developer of secondary talent as the league has to offer, he’s not a magician. Callahan has been one of the league’s best slot cornerbacks for years and can play outside in a pinch. He struggled to stay healthy in 2021 but had three straight seasons with coverage grades above 75.0 before this season. He’d be a strong veteran presence on a young defense.


GREEN BAY PACKERS: LB Josey Jewell

2021 Player Grade/Rank: 83.5 (N/A)
2021 Team Position Grade/Rank: 67.1 (6th)

Green Bay struck gold when they signed former Arizona Cardinals linebacker De’Vondre Campbell to a one-year, $2 million deal this past offseason. They’d managed to overcome deficiencies at off-ball linebacker for a few years, but the lack of talent at the position was exploited come playoff time.

Whether or not Green Bay retains Campbell — which may be very difficult, given their salary cap situation — Jewell represents a phenomenal, high-floor option. Jewell was lost for the majority of the 2021 season with a torn pectoral muscle and could have a similar market as Campbell did — a one-year flier as he gets back to full strength. In 2020, Jewell graded out above 65.0 as a run-defender, a pass-rusher and in coverage. He may not be a game-changing athlete, but he could stabilize the position group for the Packers at a good price.


HOUSTON TEXANS: LB Foyesade Oluokun

2021 Player Grade/Rank: 43.7 (74th)
2021 Team Position Grade/Rank: 40.6 (25th)

The Texans had two of the highest-paid off-ball linebackers in the NFL in 2020 in Benardrick McKinney and Zach Cunningham, but neither finished the 2021 season with the team. Houston looked to cut costs and start fresh across its roster but now needs to build the defense back up. 

Oluokun set an NFL record with 192 combined tackles in 2021, and even with a 17th regular-season game helping his cause, averaging over 11 tackles/assisted tackles per contest is a remarkable feat of consistency and durability. He can also get after the opposing quarterback on the occasional pass-rush snap, with 36 pressures over the past two seasons. The former Yale Bulldog can be an every-down leader on this defense and wear the green dot — perhaps with general manager Nick Caserio calling the plays directly into his headset.


INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: WR JuJu Smith-Schuster

2021 Player Grade/Rank: 59.2 (N/A)
2021 Team Position Grade/Rank: 68.2 (23rd)

Colts quarterback Carson Wentz might be the most scrutinized player in the NFL, and perhaps rightfully so, but his lack of receiving options this season flew very under the radar. Second-year wideout Michael Pittman Jr. cemented his status as a clear No. 1 this season, going over 1,000 yards receiving and earning a 79.9 receiving grade that ranked 18th. 

Outside of Pittman Jr., legendary Colts wideout T.Y. Hilton once again struggled to stay healthy, as did 2019 second-round receiver Parris Campbell. The Colts' top two tight ends are also set to be free agents, leaving a huge void on an offense already looking for more.

Smith-Schuster is a sure-handed slot receiver who can feast underneath while Pittman Jr. works the outside, and Wentz could certainly stand to benefit from a consistent check-down option. Smith-Schuster has dropped just 4.8% of targets in his NFL regular-season career (ranking above the 75th percentile among qualifying wide receivers), and he was able to return several months early from what was expected to be season-ending shoulder surgery, so he should be 100% come Week 1, 2022.

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JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: TE Maxx Williams

2021 Player Grade/Rank: 78.8 (N/A)
2021 Team Position Grade/Rank: 57.6 (28th)

Jacksonville is another team where you could pick from a long list of positions to improve, but a lack of talent at tight end was a constant problem dating all the way back to bringing in Tim Tebow for training camp. Jacksonville then traded cornerback C.J. Henderson to the Carolina Panthers for tight end Dan Arnold, and Arnold put up 60 receiving yards in four of his first six outings before sustaining a season-ending knee injury.

Arnold and Williams are polar opposites in terms of tight end play, with Arnold a wiry 220 pounds and Williams a solid 252. They’d make a solid pairing in two-tight end sets, and Williams showed this year that he’s more than just a blocking tight end, with his 78.8 grade through Week 5 ranking fifth among tight ends and his 8.0 yards after the catch per reception ranking sixth.


KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: WR Jamison Crowder

2021 Player Grade/Rank: 64.9 (T-79th)
2021 Team Position Grade/Rank: 69.9 (19th)

We’ve discussed the importance of secondary receiving options here at PFF for a while now, and the Kansas City Chiefs have become the team most commonly mentioned when highlighting their importance. While wide receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce both have strong arguments for being the best players at their respective positions, the rest of the Chiefs' receiving group leaves a lot to be desired. 

Kelce will also be 33 years old in 2022, and Hill is likely seeking a massive contract extension. Crowder presents a solid, low-cost option at slot receiver for Patrick Mahomes to check the ball down to when a big play isn’t available. Crowder has earned receiving grades above 65.0 in every season of his seven-year career but one, and he dropped just four passes on 154 targets the past two seasons.


LAS VEGAS RAIDERS: G Andrew Norwell

2021 Player Grade/Rank: 67.1 (T-44th)
2021 Team Position Grade/Rank: 48.2 (31st)

The Raiders hit the reset button along their offensive line in 2021, and the results were not pretty, particularly on the interior. 

Norwell is as solid as pass-blocking guards come, never having finished a season with a pass-block grade below 70.0 — an impressive streak now entering his ninth season. At just 30 years old, Norwell still has good football ahead of him, and he may have something to prove after agreeing to a pay cut from the Jaguars before the 2021 season. 

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was used to longtime stalwart left guard Richie Incognito protecting him, but age and health finally caught up to him. Norwell would be a great replacement.


LOS ANGELES CHARGERS: DI Akiem Hicks

2021 Player Grade/Rank: 72.3 (24th)
2021 Team Position Grade/Rank: 50.9 (27th)

Hicks had two of his best seasons with the Chicago Bears when Chargers head coach Brandon Staley was the outside linebackers coach in 2017-18. Staley knows as well as anyone what a dominant three- to five-technique interior defender like Hicks can do to bolster a 3-4 pass rush, and Staley will go from scheming up Khalil Mack opposite Hicks to doing the same with Joey Bosa

Hicks has battled injuries the past few seasons but still flashes when he’s able to get on the field, generating 50 quarterback pressures in 2020 despite various ailments. He’s also very strong against the run, which may be just as important for this Chargers defensive front. Hicks fits with what Staley does so well because he eats up a ton of space and commands a lot of attention, which enables Staley to deploy his light box counts and two-high safety shells on the backend. This fit makes almost too much sense.


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LOS ANGELES RAMS: LB Alexander Johnson

2021 Player Grade/Rank: 80.1 (5th)
2021 Team Position Grade/Rank: 52.1 (18th)

Another Broncos off-ball linebacker going to another team that deploys a similar defensive system to former Denver head coach Vic Fangio. While the Rams have consistently shown they don’t feel the need to invest much in the linebacker position, Johnson may not come with a big price tag despite his elite play the past few seasons.

The 30-year-old is recovering from a torn pectoral, but he boasted an 80.1 grade through Week 6 of this season, led by an 89.4 run-defense grade and a 90.0 tackling grade. He has so much range from sideline to sideline that the Rams can trust him to cover running backs out of the backfield as well despite his 6-foot-2, 245-pound frame. He could be a nice chess piece on a defense with dominant players along the defensive line and in the secondary.


MIAMI DOLPHINS: T Eric Fisher

2021 Player Grade/Rank: 68.6 (47th)
2021 Team Position Grade/Rank: 50.8 (32nd)

The Dolphins' tackles earned the lowest unit grade by almost a full 10 points in 2021, with a lot of shuffling players around in the process. Rookie second-round pick Liam Eichenberg showed some promise at left tackle, but he probably fits best on the right side. Having Fisher serve as the blindside protector could go a long way in solidifying the entire unit.

Fisher played in 2021 fresh off an Achilles injury suffered in the 2020 AFC Championship game, and while there were undoubtedly some struggles, he performed admirably overall, given that it wasn’t a guarantee he’d be ready for the season. Prior to this season, Fisher earned pass-blocking grades of 70.0 or better in six straight years. He earned a 74.2 run-blocking grade in 2021, clearing the way for star running back Jonathan Taylor while also displaying his athleticism and ability to operate in space.


MINNESOTA VIKINGS: EDGE Emmanuel Ogbah

2021 Player Grade/Rank: 77.0 (22nd)
2021 Team Position Grade/Rank: 59.7 (30th)

This selection hinges on whether the new Minnesota Vikings general manager and head coach decide to bring back star edge defender Danielle Hunter. This first pivotal decision for the new regime must take place before Hunter’s $18 million roster bonus registers in early March, and while Hunter is an elite player, he’s now played just 384 snaps over two seasons. 

In a hypothetical scenario where Minnesota decides to move on, Ogbah has emerged as a strong 4-3 defensive end. He wouldn’t replace Hunter’s dominance, but his 127 quarterback pressures over the past two seasons would certainly go a long way in returning this Vikings front seven to the great unit it was for a long time under former head coach Mike Zimmer.


NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: CB Patrick Peterson 

2021 Player Grade/Rank: 63.0 (67th)
2021 Team Position Grade/Rank: 74.3 (4th)

Peterson’s one-year flier in Minnesota was not a success, but it doesn’t seem like the wheels have completely fallen off the soon-to-be 32-year-old cornerback. He still managed to log 884 snaps, albeit while earning a 61.0 coverage grade — the second-lowest of his career besides his rookie season.

When signing with the Vikings, Peterson mentioned that then-head coach Mike Zimmer had a track record of success working with older players in the secondary. Bill Belichick, of course, has done the same with a handful of notable players over the years, and Peterson could look for the same situation. Peterson even went so far as to discuss the possibility of playing safety if that’s what coaches deemed him best suited to do, and his experience and flexibility could be appealing to Belichick if he's looking to add a veteran to a young cornerback room.


NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: WR D.J. Chark Jr.

2021 Player Grade/Rank: 65.9 (N/A)
2021 Team Position Grade/Rank: 70.8 (18th)

Chark burst onto the scene as an electrifying kick returner and wide receiver at LSU, and a return to Louisiana could be a perfect fit for the young wideout. New Orleans is severely lacking in speed and size on the outside, and the 6-foot-4 Chark ran a 4.34-second 40-yard dash at the NFL combine. 

Chark fractured his ankle early in the 2021 campaign but should be good to go for offseason activities, and the prospect of an infinitely more stable organization could be appealing in addition to returning home. Chark earned back-to-back receiving grades above 70.0 in 2019-20, with big-play ability on every snap. Perhaps if the free-agent market that Chark is hoping for doesn’t materialize, he considers taking a one-year flier with head coach Sean Payton and the Saints to get his bright young career back on track.

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NEW YORK GIANTS: G James Daniels

2021 Player Grade/Rank: 71.8 (20th)
2021 Team Position Grade/Rank: 51.5 (29th)

The Giants’ handling of their interior offensive line this past offseason was baffling, to say the least, trading for two eventual starters just before the season began. They need to stop with the bandaids and make a big move to solidify the unit for quarterback Daniel Jones or whoever will be under center in 2022. 

Daniels will still be just 24 years old in Week 1 and has experience playing at all three spots on the interior. Starting at right guard in 2021, he earned a career-high 72.4 run-blocking grade as Chicago leaned further into an outside-zone rushing attack. Daniels has four straight seasons with grades above 65.0 despite constantly changing positions and with the Bears switching from a predominantly inside-zone scheme to the ever-popular wide-zone system. There may be serious untapped potential here.


NEW YORK JETS: TE Gerald Everett

2021 Player Grade/Rank: 63.5 (T-48th)
2021 Team Position Grade/Rank: 57.0 (30th)

The Jets effectively decided to punt on a few position groups for the 2021 season as they underwent a massive rebuild, and tight end was certainly one of them. New York did invest an early second-round pick in breakout wide receiver Elijah Moore and signed former Tennessee Titans wide receiver Corey Davis to a three-year, $37.5 million contract in free agency. The final piece to the puzzle could be a reliable pass-catching tight end to provide quarterback Zach Wilson with a security blanket over the middle. 

Everett really started to turn things on in the second half of the season following the return of Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, and he’s now gone over 400 receiving yards in three straight seasons. A former second-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Rams, Everett would fit in Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur’s system and be an upgrade at tight end without breaking the bank.


PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: WR Cedrick Wilson

2021 Player Grade/Rank: 73.8 (41st)
2021 Team Position Grade/Rank: 68.4 (22nd)

The Eagles traded up to draft Heisman wide receiver DeVonta Smith, and he’s already proven to be a legit No. 1 option. Yet, 2020 first-round wide receiver Jalen Reagor has been a major disappointment through his first two seasons. Philadelphia has speedster Quez Watkins in the fold as well but could use a do-everything type of player like Wilson for depth at the position.

Wilson primarily operates out of the slot and is coming off a career year in every statistical category. His 73.0 receiving grade is his best for a season by over 10 points, and his 602 receiving yards were almost triple his total before 2021.


PITTSBURGH STEELERS: T Trent Brown

2021 Player Grade/Rank: 78.3 (20th)
2021 Team Position Grade/Rank: 61.8 (30th)

Brown bounced back in a major way in 2021 after a disappointing stint with the Las Vegas Raiders, earning career highs with both his 81.2 pass-blocking grade and 71.6 run-blocking grade. The Steelers' offensive line struggled across the board, with right tackle Chukwuma Okorafor underwhelming since he was drafted in 2018 and scheduled to be a free agent.

Brown can play both right and left tackle, providing the Steelers with some flexibility. His addition would be massive both for the team's new quarterback and rookie running back Najee Harris, who often had to fight just to get back to the line of scrimmage.


SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS: CB D.J. Reed Jr.

2021 Player Grade/Rank: 78.6 (10th)
2021 Team Position Grade/Rank: 56.1 (28th)

Last offseason, the Seahawks signed longtime San Francisco 49ers cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon before subsequently trading him to the Pittsburgh Steelers. This time around, we have the reverse situation, with San Francisco making a big addition to their secondary with Reed. 

Reed started full-time in 2021 and earned a 78.6 overall grade, buoyed by an 85.8 run-defense grade and a 75.4 coverage grade. He excelled on the outside, even at just 5-foot-9. He could be a major upgrade at cornerback for the 49ers without taking up too much money earmarked for edge defender Nick Bosa and others.

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: TE Mo Alie-Cox

2021 Player Grade/Rank: 66.3 (19th)
2021 Team Position Grade/Rank: 63.9 (18th)

With Seahawks tight end Gerald Everett headed to the New York Jets in our hypothetical exercise, we send a new tight end to Seattle who brings a different skill set to the table. Alie-Cox is every bit of 6-foot-5 and can serve as a big red-zone target, much like Seattle envisioned when it brought another former college basketball player aboard in tight end Jimmy Graham

Alie-Cox is not Graham by any stretch of the imagination, but he earned a 76.6 receiving grade and averaged over 2.0 yards per route run in 2020. Four of his 24 receptions in 2021 went for touchdowns, and there’s still room for growth early in his football career.


TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: CB Joe Haden

2021 Player Grade/Rank: 63.4 (64th)
2021 Team Position Grade/Rank: 71.4 (7th)

The Buccaneers got key contributions from several veteran cornerbacks in 2021, including Richard Sherman, Ross Cockrell and Pierre Desir among others. The injury bug hit their secondary hard, but they managed to hold up relying on football IQ and instincts along with strong game-planning from defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. 

Haden was seeking an extension from the Pittsburgh Steelers before the 2021 campaign, but that didn’t come to fruition. He can now perhaps go ring-chasing with Tom Brady in Tampa before calling it a career. Though Todd Bowles may be leaving for a head-coaching gig, Haden would be a good fit in Tampa’s heavy zone system. Despite getting up there in age, Haden has earned coverage grades of 65.0 or better in five straight seasons.

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TENNESSEE TITANS: TE Lee Smith

2021 Player Grade/Rank: 70.1 (17th)
2021 Team Position Grade/Rank: 61.1 (24th)

The Titans are a run-first offense and utilize a fair amount of 12-personnel (two-tight end sets). The ageless veteran blocking tight end Lee Smith could be an underrated addition for 2022. Smith is currently coached by former Tennessee offensive coordinator Arthur Smith in Atlanta and should have system familiarity despite different personnel in Atlanta necessitating some other looks throughout the season. 

Smith has earned run-blocking grades above 65.0 in consecutive seasons, and prior to 2021, he had a six-season stretch of pass blocking grades above 70.0. The Titans don’t like to spend a ton in free agency and made a big splash move for wide receiver Julio Jones last offseason. This year, a smaller but still consequential addition from the Falcons could help keep running back Derrick Henry chugging along.


WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM: QB Mitchell Trubisky

2021 Player Grade/Rank: 68.4 (N/A)
2021 Team Position Grade/Rank: 58.9 (27th)

With a weak draft class at the quarterback position, Washington may once again struggle to find a long-term answer under center. While Ryan Fitzpatrick could return after a season-ending injury, retirement may be his preferred option. Regardless, Washington might as well take some bigger chances at quarterback and see if it can find a gem or help a guy turn his career around.  

After another failed offensive season in Chicago under head coach Matt Nagy, it’s fair to wonder if Trubisky deserves another chance to at least show what he can do. He certainly deserves his fair share of the blame for what went wrong, but Washington offensive coordinator Scott Turner has gotten more production out of lesser talent over the past several years.

Over Trubisky’s final five starts in Chicago, he averaged 7.6 yards per attempt, which ranked 15th, and posted a 73.9% adjusted completion percentage, which ranked third. The slate of opponents was not strong, but the Football Team have no right to be picky in their search for their quarterback of the future. Low-risk fliers like Trubisky are worth exploring.


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