Free Agency Primer on Everyone but the Quarterbacks | NFL Deep Dive

Free agency is heating up, are any WR's safe anymore?
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It's the "No QBs" edition of the MMQB NFL Podcast, as Conor Orr and Gary Gramling take a trip through the other 21 positions to see how the market might play out in an unusual offseason.

Wide receivers might feel the cap crunch more than any other position, as a lot of big names are available but plenty of teams will instead be eyeing a highly regarded draft class and those oh-so-cheap rookie contracts. Can guys like Chris Godwin, Kenny Golladay or Allen Robinson land big deals anyway? The offensive line group, meanwhile, presents a lot of steady options, which is all anyone is looking for up front anyway.

Tennessee Titans wide receiver Corey Davis (84) makes a catch past Indianapolis Colts cornerback Rock Ya-Sin (26) during the second quarter at Nissan Stadium Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020 in Nashville, Tenn. Aab6938

On the defensive side of the ball, will Shaq Barrett finally break the bank? Will the Giants let Leonard Williams get away? Plus a look at a deep cornerback market, and why safeties might be out of luck again.

The following transcript is an excerpt from The MMQB NFL Podcast. Listen to the full episode on podcast players everywhere or on SI.com.

Gary Gramling: A quick trivia question that everyone can think about as we sort of wrap up the receivers here. Total dollars last year on the free-agent market for wide receivers. Who is tops on that list? That is my trivia question for everyone on this Monday Morning NFL Podcast. And yeah, I will be the guy who ignores the important numbers here and just looks at the total dollars and makes a big deal out of it. But this guy was a bit eye opening at the top of this list. When it comes down to it, we have the press cap situation. And no doubt teams are looking at this receiver class and saying, OK, well, we're going to do the same thing the Titans did by getting A.J. Brown. We're going to do the same thing that the Seahawks have with DK Metcalf. The rookie wage scale has created such absurd values, especially at the receiver position where these guys are coming in NFL ready, not to mention extremely talented. And obviously, when you draft a guy, you're taking a risk. You can ask the Philadelphia Eagles who sometimes end up with a Justin Jefferson and sometimes you end up with a Jalen Reagor or JJ Arcega-Whiteside. So there's risk there, but A.J. Brown made literally one-tenth of what Allen Robinson did a year ago. And quite frankly, I'd take A.J. Brown or Allen Robinson at the moment and certainly for the future considering age. So it doesn't feel like the full-on scratcher lottery ticket type of deal with these guys anymore if you're taking him in the top 50, and the reward is just huge, it's so big as far as roster building goes. 

Conor Orr: It is, and it's a continuous cycle, right? You can keep replenishing that. I think back to the Giants who had Odell Beckham and then got down this avenue where they drafted Sterling Shepard. If you follow that life cycle, if you do it right, you really don't ever have to commit to that long term deal. And you can just keep replenishing that position. And it doesn't really matter what round, if you foster the right environment, you can keep getting these guys in here at lower deals. And especially if you have a younger quarterback, the quarterback gets better, makes the wide receivers better. All that stuff can kind of work a little bit harmoniously. It's going to make a lot less sense to pay them big money over time. And I think that this free agent market specifically might be one of those times that we're like, that makes a lot of sense. And these poor guys are going to be scrapping a little bit to get some good deals.

Gary Gramling: Yeah, that's what's so wild about it. It's such an important position, whereas maybe running back isn't so much. There's just so much depth and so much talent at it right now. I remember Ed Bouchette had reported like a year and a half ago that Juju Smith-Schuster might not ever get a long term deal from Pittsburgh. And it's kind of like, oh, no way, I couldn't imagine that. But you look at it now and it's just like, I don't know how they'd even do it. One, with their cap situation, and two, with the fact that I don't really know how badly they need him. I mean, if they come to a team-friendly agreement, maybe that's what it ends up being. And look, everything is set up for a lot of team friendly agreements here. Tennessee is another one to keep an eye on. Corey Davis is out there on the market. A.J. Brown can renegotiate after this upcoming season. And they did just move on from Adam Humphries. So you figure there might be room for Corey Davis on a one year deal here. I think you're right on the Bucs. I think they end up tagging Chris Godwin, I think they also bring back Antonio Brown because I think there are just not enough teams willing to lower themselves into that sewer at this point. But, a lot of these guys are going to be looking for those big money deals and they're just going to be bummed out. 

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