By Alex Kurpeski
I don’t think the free-agent class of receivers for this upcoming offseason has gotten enough credit. This could be a HISTORIC free agency period if all of these guys hit the open market. Now obviously, this won’t be the case. But if two or three of the top five names on this list are available…all hell could break loose. I found my estimations to be rather tame in this article, but who knows what could really happen.
Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
If Godwin leaves Tampa Bay someone needs to be fired. He was the best receiver in the league a year ago and would have been the best again this season had he not suffered so many minor injuries. This is a WR1 in the prime of his career and allowing him to leave would be a serious f*ck up by the Bucs’ front office.
Best Fit: Tampa Bay
Most Likely Landing Spot: Tampa Bay
JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers
I’m sure the Steelers would like to keep Smith-Schuster around. He’s a great character guy and a Pro Bowl talent at receiver. But Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool are legitimate WR1 caliber guys already. While I like JuJu’s fit with the Raiders a lot, I think the Dolphins will be the ones who push the hardest for him. With JuJu and Devante Parker, Miami could set up Tua Tagovailoa well to take the second-year leap.
Best Fit: Las Vegas
Most Likely Landing Spot: Miami
Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears
Robinson deserves to thrive as a WR1 for a contender — like Baltimore. The Ravens could use a big-bodied target to move the chains, freeing up Lamar Jackson to do Lamar Jackson things once again. Unfortunately, I think the Bears will find a way to keep him around. With an unresolved quarterback situation with few visible solutions, I can’t see Robinson being happy in Chicago, but if they wave enough money in his face he could feign happiness for a few months.
Best Fit: Baltimore
Most Likely Landing Spot: Chicago
Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions
Golladay should be retained by the Lions even if it means the franchise tag. To let a player like this walk — especially given the sad state of Detroit’s receiving core already — would be a huge disservice to Matt Stafford and fans of the team. Golladay isn’t Megatron by any means, but he’s a legitimate WR1 in his prime.
Best Fit: Detroit
Most Likely Landing Spot: Detroit
Will Fuller, Houston Texans
Fuller (finally) stayed healthy for a full season and was on pace to finish as a WR1 in fantasy. Then he got suspended for PEDs. Though the former first-round pick has developed excellent chemistry with Deshaun Watson, his name was floated in trade talks for a reason. I don’t think Houston trusts him to stay healthy. But a team like the Jets — who are expected to have north of 82 million in cap space this offseason — might. With Fuller, Jamison Crowder, and Denzel Mims, the New York could have a pretty formidable wide receiver trio in place for Trevor Lawrence.
Best Fit: Houston
Most Likely Landing Spot: New York Jets
Corey Davis, Tennessee Titans
Davis earned himself some money this season, taking his game to a new level following Tennessee’s decision to decline his fifth-year option. I see Davis as an easy target for the Patriots, who will value his strong hands and physicality. While I’m sure the Titans would like to retain him, they may have bigger fish to fry. Regardless of who New England’s QB is in 2021, an offense with Davis, Jakobi Meyers, N’Keal Harry, and Julian Edelman sounds pretty promising.
Best Fit: New England
Most Likely Landing Spot: New England
Curtis Samuel, Carolina Panthers
Samuel has really come on strong lately, looking more and more like a legit WR2 in Carolina. Unfortunately, the Panthers already have a WR1 (D.J Moore) and a WR2 (Robby Anderson), so it’s unlikely that they pony up a big deal for Samuel too. Only 25 years old, the former OSU star may be a good target for a team like Washington, where he can reunite with Ron Rivera and former Buckeyes teammate Terry McLaurin. There’s still a lot of untapped potential for Samuel, who has drawn rave reviews for years but has yet to put together a full season of top-flight production. He could be the steal of this class.
Best Fit: Carolina
Most Likely Landing Spot: Washington
T.Y Hilton, Indianapolis Colts
Hilton has been one of the best receivers in Colts history, but a split may be in the best interest of both parties this offseason. Indy can certainly spend money to upgrade from Hilton, while Hilton can certainly find a nice contract elsewhere. While he’d be a great fit alongside Davante Adams in Green Bay, Hilton seemed awfully chummy with Deshaun Watson last week. If Houston is priced out of Will Fuller, Hilton may be their best alternative.
Best Fit: Green Bay
Most Likely Landing Spot: Houston
A.J Green, Cincinnati Bengals
Green is no longer the superstar he once was. But he could still be a serviceable starter for a team looking to add a boundary receiver. Enter the Giants, who will likely be moving on from Golden Tate this offseason. Pairing Green with Darius Slayton and Sterling Sheperd would allow the Giants’ passing game to blossom in 2021, especially if Green can shake off the rust from this season. While he’d look awfully good in a Patriots uniform, Green’s window simply doesn’t align with New England’s right now.
Best Fit: New England
Most Likely Landing Spot: New York Giants
Antonio Brown, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Brown’s run in Tampa has been relatively quiet on and off the field. The second part is important when attempting to gauge Brown’s market this offseason. While he may no longer be a No. 1 wideout, there may be more than a few suitors willing to pay up for the veteran assuming he remains on good behavior for the rest of this season. Though I expect the Seahawks to make a push for him once again, I think Tom Brady will want his friend back in Tampa for at least one more year. If the Bucs lose Chris Godwin, resigning Brown should be a priority.
Best Fit: Seattle
Most Likely Landing Spot: Tampa Bay