Former NFL player and scout Bucky Brooks knows the ins and outs of the league, which he details in his notebook. Today’s episode explores the explosion of contracts this off-season at wide receiver…
If you want to know how general managers, head coaches and scouts feel about the importance of the position in the team building process, just watch the money. As a passing league in the modern era, the NFL constantly pays a premium for passers, pass rushers, and pass guards. But this offseason, a host of wide receivers have joined the financial elite, calling the position one of the most important pieces of the championship puzzle.
Since March, a whopping 11 companies have signed contracts worth at least $20 million a year. Last beneficiary? Deebo Samuel, who just signed a three-year, $73.5 million contract to remain the San Francisco 49ers’ top offensive threat.
Obviously, the WR market has changed significantly in 2022. In fact, not only do teams pay conscientious #1 receivers what we used to call “quarterback money,” but they’re willing to pay big bucks to minor WR1/WR2 types. Just look at the money raised by Mike Williams and Chris Godwin, who each signed a three-year, $60 million deal in March, and you can see top executives busting the bank to surround their quarterbacks with strong playmakers on the perimeter.
I’m like a former player love seeing these young pass catchers cashing big checks. At the same time, the former spy in me wonders how many of them will be able to provide enough returns to help this trend continue.
Consequently, I decided to look into the situations of all 11 receivers who had just joined the $20 million club by evaluating contracts, quarterbacks, and coaching staff. Here’s my ranking – countdown style, from 11 to 1 – of those who offer the most value.
CONTRACT: Three years, $61.9 million (average $20.6 million per year).
it loaded list of the best playmakers, so there’s no shame in finishing in 11th place. The WR1 Panthers may not be a household name, but he is an accurate route runner with outstanding timing and rhythm. Most importantly, the fifth year is a reliable pass catcher with strong hands and a fearless attitude. Although his total touchdowns (14 in 63 career games) leave a lot to be desired, it’s hard to score when you’re playing against non-standard quarterbacks and play-callers. If the Panthers fix these issues, Moore will put up big numbers and finally get the credit he deserves as a top 20 player in that position.
CONTRACT: Three years, $60 million ($20 million per year).
The sixth year is the perfect #2 wide receiver in today’s game. At 6ft 1in and weighing 208lbs, Godwin has the knack of making a tough grab in a crowd. With a couple of 1,000-yard seasons under his belt and a solid overall game that continues to improve, the experienced pass catcher is a solid option on the perimeter. While a torn ACL could rob him of his speed and explosive power, Godwin should continue to thrive as the Buccaneers’ designated chain mover against Mike Evans.
CONTRACT: Three years, $60 million ($20 million per year).
Entering the second 1,000 yard season of his career, team mate Keenan Allen became one of the most dangerous deepballers in the league, averaging 16.1 yards per catch. While many teams would love the WR2 with Williams’ gifts as a 50-50 ball specialist, it’s hard to imagine him edging out his teammate as the No. pure “.get unlocked” ability.
CONTRACT: Three years, $70 million ($23.3 million per year).
McLaurin put in an impressive performance despite playing with the revolving door at quarterback. The fourth-year pro already has a couple of 1,000-yard seasons under his belt, averaging nearly 14 yards per catch on a walking offense that fails to maximize his talents as a big threat with electric catch-and-run skills. If McLaurin ever plays a top-notch quarterback, he’ll enter the conversation as a top-five player and look like one of the best deals on this list.
CONTRACT: Three years, $72 million ($24 million per year).
Heavy-duty touchdown is a problem for a defense lacking in size or speed on the island. With a speed of 4.3 at 6-4 and 235 pounds, Metcalfe can run past or run over defenders in a solo sweep. And his improving trail running skills allow him to find weaknesses in coverage areas. While the Seahawks quarterback’s unclear situation may dampen his impact as a playmaker in 2022, Metcalfe’s potential as a major threat will continue to change how opposition defenders intend to hit rock and throw across the field.
CONTRACT: Four years, $100 million ($25 million per year).
The Eagles traded for Brown to ease pressure on DeVonta Smith and provide Jalen Hurts with a catch-and-run beast. Although Brown and Smith will share the load as WR1a and WR1b, the rookie in town has the size and strength to handle 50-50 balls in the clutch. With defensive coordinators looking to slow Hearts & Co. down on the ground, the addition of a big playmaker gives the Eagles an effective counter to the loaded boxes and lone cover they will face this season. How often Hurts communicates with Brown may ultimately determine whether the double-threat playmaker remains at the Philadelphia quarterback for the foreseeable future.
CONTRACT: Four years, $96 million ($24 million per year).
It’s no coincidence that Josh Allen became the top MVP contender after Diggs was signed to fill the role of the Bills in WR1 ahead of the 2020 season. The slick runner wins in any light, and his reliability has helped Allen learn to trust his playmakers in the passing game. With Allen’s growing confidence leading to more aggressive out-of-pocket play, Buffalo’s aerial attack became a must-see on TV, with the flamethrower finding its No. 1 pick early and often in games.
CONTRACT: Three years, $80 million ($26.7 million per year).
The current Super Bowl MVP and triple crown receiver is the centerpiece of an offense that relies on his extraordinary skills as a chain mover. As a third-fall/red-zone specialist with exceptional trail-running skills and sticky hands, Kupp lets Sean McVeigh’s imagination run wild when designing games for the No. 10. And he provides Matthew Stafford with a reliable playmaker to target in the clutch. .
CONTRACT: Five years, $141.25 million ($28.25 million annually).
The route master joins an already dangerous offense with a pair of powerful pass catchers in slot receiver Hunter Renfroe and tight end Darren Waller. The arrival of number 17 from the outside turns the Raiders offense into a true defensive nightmare, and the explosive air attack complements the gritty running game led by Josh Jacobs. Given Josh McDaniels’ creativity as an organizer and game designer, Adams’ influence as the most important chess piece on the board sets the stage for Las Vegas to become a Super Bowl contender over the next few seasons.
CONTRACT: Four years, $120 million ($30 million a year).
The hype is real when it comes to the six-time pro bowler’s impact on Miami’s offense. Hill’s speed and explosiveness will not only lead to frequent number 10 runs, but will also set his teammates up for big wins against an overstretched defense. As…