2022 NFL Free Agency – Top 5 Free Agents By Position

2022 NFL Free Agents Top 5 By Position List Graphic With NFL Logo And Stack Of Money

When I read the term 2022 NFL Free Agency two people pop into my mind: Washington Redskins/WFT/WTF team owner Daniel Snyder and last year’s top free agent WR Kenny Golladay.

Snyder, for his lustful pursuits of big-name, high-dollar NFL free agents (Albert Haynesworth 7 years, $100 million & Donovan McNabb’s 5 year deal with $40 mil guaranteed) over the years which has culminated in zero Super Bowls but a ton of increased revenue season over season.

And New York Giants WR Golladay, who jumped ship from Detroit to join the Giants. In 2021 NFL free agency, Golladay was roundly regarded as the best free agent skill position player available.

Oft-injured during his final season in Detroit in 2020, he was trending upward after back to back 1,000 yard seasons in a bad offense and led the NFC with 11 TD receptions in 2019.

In 2021, the Giants signed him to a lucrative 4-year contract worth $72,000,000 including a $17,000,000 signing bonus, $40,000,000 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $18,000,000. And in 2021 he repaid them with 37 catches for 521 yards and ZERO touchdowns.

Twitter user @ClevTA sums up the riskiness of free agent NFL wide receivers with some awesome data here:

“U want a #1 WR? Well u arent finding one in FA. 32 WRs signed as UFA since 2018 for $8M or more in total contract value. 2 reached 1000+ receiving yards and 0 had >6 TDs. The avg season has been 41 rec, 503 yds, 3 TD. Its an absolute wasteland. Go cheap, trade or draft:

Picture of NFL Free Agent Wide Receivers signed as UFA since 2018

But, you also have to consider the success of NFL free agents like Reggie White, who left the Philadelphia Eagles for the Green Bay Packers and led them to a Super Bowl championship in tear one.

The 2022 NFL Free Agency period will be a high risk high reward scenario.

This post is meant to be a simple summary of the best available 2022 NFL free agents by position. To provide some context during your AM drive to work, listening to Screamin’ A Smith or Dan Patrick scream their heads off about an “obvious” free agency move that needs to be made.

The 2022 NFL free agency period starts on March 16th.

2022 NFL Free Agency – Top 5 Quarterbacks

– Jameis Winston – New Orleans Saints
– Teddy Bridgewater – Denver Broncos
– Marcus Mariota – Las Vegas Raiders
– Mitch Trubisky – Buffalo Bills
– Ryan Fitzpatrick – Washington Redskins/WFTs

Top 5 Free Agent Running Backs

– Leonard Fournette – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
– Cordarrelle Patterson – Atlanta Falcons
– James Conner – Arizona Cardinals
– Chase Edmonds – Arizona Cardinals
– Sony Michel – Los Angeles Rams
– Melvin Gordon III – Denver Broncos
– Rashaad Penny – Seattle Seahawks

Top 5 Free Agent Wide Receivers

– Davante Adams – Green Bay Packers
– Chris Godwin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
– Mike Williams – Los Angeles Chargers
– Allen Robinson – Chicago Bears
– Michael Gallup – Dallas Cowboys
Antonio Brown – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Odell Beckham Jr. – Los Angeles Rams
– Juju Smith-Schuster – Pittsburgh Steelers
– Christian Kirk – Arizona Cardinals
– Braxton Berrios – New York Jets

Top 5 Free Agent Tight Ends

– Mike Gesicki – Miami Dolphins
– Dalton Schultz – Dallas Cowboys
Rob Gronkowski – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
– David Njoku – Cleveland Browns
– Zach Ertz – Arizona Cardinals
– Gerald Everett – Seattle Seahawks
– Evan Engram – New York Giants
– Mo-Alie-Cox – Philadelphia Eagles

2022 NFL Free Agency – Top 5 Offensive Tackles

– Orlando Brown Jr. – Kansas City Chiefs
– Terron Armstead – New Orleans Saints
– Duane Brown – Seattle Seahawks
– Eric Fisher – Indianapolis Colts
– Trent Brown – New England Patriots
– Riley Reiff – Cincinnati Bengals

NFL Free Agency – Top 5 Interior Defensive Linemen

– Akiem Hicks – Chicago Bears
– Calais Campbell – Baltimore Ravens
– Linval Joseph – Los Angeles Chargers
– BJ Hill – Cincinnati Bengals
– DJ Jones – San Francisco 49ers

Top 5 Free Agent Edge Rushers

– Chandler Jones – Arizona Cardinals
– Von Miller – Los Angeles Rams
– Jadaveon Clowney – Cleveland Browns
– Randy Gregory – Dallas Cowboys
– Melvin Ingram III – Kansas City Chiefs
– Jason Pierre-Paul – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Top 5 Free Agent Linebackers

– De’Vondre Campbell – Green Bay Packers
– Dont’a Hightower – New England Patriots
– Leighton Vander Esch – Dallas Cowboys
– Anthony Barr – Minnesota Vikings
– Josey Jewell – Denver Broncos

Top 5 Free Agent Cornerbacks

– JC Jackson – New England Patriots
– Stephon Gilmore – Carolina Panthers
– Carlton Davis – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
– Darious Williams – LA Rams
– Casey Hayward Jr. – Las Vegas Raiders
– Charvarious Ward – Kansas City Chiefs

Top 5 Free Agent Safeties

– Marcus Williams – New Orleans Saints
– Jessie Bates III – Cincinnati Bengals
– Tyrann Mathieu – Kansas City Chiefs
– Quandre Diggs – Seattle Seahawks
– Devin McCourty – New England Patriots
– Xavier Woods – Dallas Cowboys
– Jabrill Peppers – New York Giants

Another consideration for the class of 2022 NFL free agents is the Franchise Tag.

The NFL franchise tag deadline for 2022 is 3/8/22

The 2022 franchise tag can be applied between 2/22/22 until 3/8/22.

Franchise tags were 9% lower in 2021 with the salary cap dropping from $198.2 million in 2020 to $182.5 million, as league revenues declined due to THE VID.

For 2022, the numbers will surely increase as revenue will be higher and the salary cap for each team will be at $208.2 million.

Here are the 3 variations of the Franchise Tag:

Non-exclusive franchise tag: When most refer to the “franchise tag,” they generally talk about the non-exclusive version. This is a one-year tender of the average of the top five salaries at the player’s position over the last five years, or 120 percent of his previous salary, whichever is greater. The player can negotiate with other teams. The player’s current team has the right to match any offer or receive two first-round draft picks as compensation if he signs with another club.

Exclusive franchise tag: Unlike the non-exclusive version, the tagging team retains the sole right to negotiate with the player. The exclusivity comes with a bump in pay scale (current average salary versus averaging of the previous five years). This one-year tender offer of the average of the top five salaries at the player’s position for the current year, or 120 percent of his previous salary, whichever is greater. The rise in pay scale means only a select few get this tag. Usually, players for whom other teams would gladly give up two first-round picks receive this version of the tag — generally, quarterbacks.

Transition tag: The transition tag is a one-year tender offer for the average of the top 10 salaries at the position — as opposed to the top five for the franchise tag. It guarantees the original club the right of first refusal to match any offer the player might receive from another club. The tagging team is awarded no compensation if it chooses not to match a deal.

Here are the 2022 franchise tag projected salaries by position for 2022:

Quarterback: $29,703,000
Linebacker: $18,702,000
Wide Receiver: $18,419,000
Defensive End: $17,859,000
Defensive Tackle: $17,396,000
Cornerback: $17,287,000
Offensive Line: $16,662,000
Safety: $12,911,000
Tight End: $10,931,000
Running Back: $9,570,000
Punter/Kicker: $5,220,000

And here are the Top 10 2022 Franchise Tag Candidates:

  1. Davante Adams, Wide Receiver
  2. Jesse Bates, Safety
  3. Harold Landry, Linebacker
  4. JC Jackson, Cornerback
  5. Mike Williams, Wide Receiver
  6. Orlando Brown, Left Tackle
  7. Carlton Davis, Cornerback
  8. Dalton Schultz, Tight End
  9. Marcus Williams, Safety
  10. Mike Gesicki, Tight End
I’ve been a freelance journalist since 2000 and have had my work published via AskMen, Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report, Busted Coverage, and Autotrader. I’ve done stand-up comedy. I'm a dad, youth soccer club President, and former team statistician for the oldest indoor football team in the world, the Omaha Beef. I’ve married six couples in 10 years and my Marriage to Still Married ratio is 6:6. I always say, it isn’t so much about the “love,” as it is the tasteless jokes that became vows. I started the I-80 Sports Blog to have all the work I've published located in one place and to write about things I want to write about. I don't take anything too seriously and it is a real time saver.

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