2022 Fantasy Free Agency Preview

Feb 21, 2022
2022 Fantasy Free Agency Preview

The NFL's free agency period begins on March 16, though teams can legally negotiate with players' agents beginning on March 14. In the table below, I've compiled the "key" free agents at the four primary fantasy positions (QB, RB, WR and TE), sorted mainly by their 2021 per game average (half-PPR), though I moved a few players around to form loose free-agent rankings. Their status indicates whether the player is unrestricted, restricted, or an exclusive rights free agent. I've also included the Average Annual Value (AAV) of their contract in 2021, which I found at the wonderful site Spotrac.com.

Here's a quick refresher on the NFL's (oftentimes-convoluted) free agency rules.

  • An unrestricted free agent (UFA) can sign with whomever he wants with no compensation going to his old team.
  • A restricted free agent (RFA) has three years of service in the NFL and an expired contract. He's free to negotiate with other teams, but once he signs an offer sheet, his old team has seven days to match the deal and retain the player. If his old team declines to match, his new team may have to send a draft pick as compensation, depending on what type of RFA tender the old team offered the player.
  • A team can apply a franchise tag to a player in order to guarantee that the team retains the player's rights for another season in the hopes that the two sides can work out a long-term deal. The price is steep -- it's a formula based on a certain percentage of the salary cap and the salaries of the top five players at the position. (The window to tag a player this season is February 22 to March 8.)
  • Under the franchise tag, a player can be labeled an exclusive or non-exclusive franchise player. Exclusive franchise players cannot negotiate with other teams. Like restricted free agents, a non-exclusive franchise player can sign an offer sheet from another team. If his old team declines to match, they'll receive two first-round picks as compensation.
  • If a team doesn't apply a franchise tag, it can elect to apply a transition tag instead. The tender is cheaper because it uses the top 10 salaries at the position, but if another team negotiates a deal and his old team elects not to match, they won't get any draft picks as compensation. In previous years, teams could use both the franchise and transition tags, but under the new CBA, a team can use one or the other, but not both. The transition tag is rarely used in the NFL.

As is my approach with the Draft, I don't spend a lot of time speculating about landing spots for the top players because it's a waste of time since things will typically be solidified in a few weeks. Just tell me where everyone lands and let me start my 2022 projections!

2022 Key Free Agents By Position
PLAYER
POS.
AGE
TEAM
G
2021 AAV
STATUS
2021 PPG
Jameis Winston QB 28.1 NO 7 $ 5,500,000 UFA 16.8
Teddy Bridgewater QB 29.2 DEN 14 $ 4,437,000 UFA 14.5
Cam Newton QB 32.8 CAR 8 $ 6,000,000 UFA 12.3
Tyrod Taylor QB 32.5 HOU 6 $ 5,500,000 UFA 13.6
Tyler Huntley QB 24.0 BAL 7 $ 780,000 ERFA 12.6
Andy Dalton QB 34.2 CHI 8 $ 10,000,000 UFA 9.8
Marcus Mariota QB 28.2 LV 9 $ 3,500,000 UFA 1.6
Geno Smith QB 31.3 SEA 4 $ 1,212,500 UFA 13.6
Trevor Siemian QB 30.1 NO 6 $ 990,000 UFA 15.9
Sean Mannion QB 29.8 MIN 1 $ 990,000 UFA 13.0
Joe Flacco QB 37.1 NYJ 2 $ 3,500,000 UFA 11.9
Mike White QB 26.8 NYJ 4 $ 850,000 RFA 11.0
Jacoby Brissett QB 29.2 MIA 11 $ 5,000,000 UFA 6.6
Ryan Fitzpatrick QB 39.2 WAS 1 $ 10,000,000 UFA 0.7
Mitch Trubisky QB 27.4 BUF 6 $ 2,500,000 UFA -
Leonard Fournette RB 27.0 TB 14 $ 3,250,000 UFA 15.8
James Conner RB 26.8 ARI 15 $ 1,750,000 UFA 15.4
Cordarrelle Patterson RB 30.9 ATL 16 $ 3,000,000 UFA 13.8
Melvin Gordon RB 28.8 DEN 16 $ 8,000,000 UFA 11.0
Raheem Mostert RB 29.8 SF 1 $ 2,900,000 UFA 2.0
Rashaad Penny RB 26.0 SEA 10 $ 2,691,360 UFA 10.4
Darrel Williams RB 26.8 KC 17 $ 1,600,000 UFA 10.4
Chase Edmonds RB 25.8 ARI 12 $ 728,090 UFA 10.2
J.D. McKissic RB 28.5 WAS 11 $ 1,635,000 UFA 9.7
Boston Scott RB 26.8 PHI 16 $ 920,000 RFA 9.2
James White RB 30.0 NE 3 $ 2,462,500 UFA 8.4
Devonta Freeman RB 29.9 BAL 16 $ 1,075,000 UFA 8.4
Sony Michel RB 27.0 LAR 17 $ 2,406,674 UFA 8.2
Derrick Gore RB 27.2 KC 11 $ 660,000 ERFA 6.1
Justin Jackson RB 25.8 LAC 14 $ 570,000 UFA 6.1
Jeff Wilson RB 26.2 SF 9 $ 2,050,000 UFA 6.0
Latavius Murray RB 32.0 BAL 14 $ 1,075,000 UFA 6.0
D'Ernest Johnson RB 25.9 CLE 17 $ 585,000 RFA 5.8
Alex Collins RB 27.4 SEA 11 $ 990,000 UFA 5.8
Brandon Bolden RB 32.0 NE 17 $ 1,850,000 UFA 5.6
David Johnson RB 30.2 HOU 13 $ 5,000,000 UFA 5.0
Peyton Barber RB 27.9 LV 10 $ 990,000 UFA 5.0
Matt Breida RB 26.9 BUF 9 $ 1,055,000 UFA 4.9
Ronald Jones RB 24.5 TB 16 $ 1,767,977 UFA 4.6
Tevin Coleman RB 28.8 NYJ 11 $ 1,100,000 UFA 4.5
Giovani Bernard RB 30.2 TB 12 $ 1,212,500 UFA 4.0
Le'Veon Bell RB 29.9 TB 8 - UFA 3.9
Damien Williams RB 29.8 CHI 12 $ 1,500,000 UFA 3.8
JaMycal Hasty RB 25.4 SF 11 $ 695,000 ERFA 3.5
Dare Ogunbowale RB 27.8 JAC 17 $ 675,000 RFA 3.3
Phillip Lindsay RB 27.5 MIA 14 $ 3,250,000 UFA 3.0
Malcolm Brown RB 28.8 MIA 7 $ 1,750,000 UFA 3.0
Salvon Ahmed RB 23.1 MIA 12 $ 695,000 ERFA 2.7
Royce Freeman RB 25.9 HOU 15 $ 985,005 UFA 2.5
Wayne Gallman RB 27.3 MIN 8 $ 990,000 UFA 2.2
Marlon Mack RB 25.9 IND 6 $ 2,000,000 UFA 2.0
Ty Montgomery RB 29.0 NO 14 $ 1,127,500 UFA 1.6
Jalen Richard RB 28.3 LV 10 $ 3,500,000 UFA 1.5
Jerick McKinnon RB 29.8 KC 13 $ 990,000 UFA 1.5
Corey Clement RB 27.2 DAL 17 $ 990,000 UFA 1.4
Buddy Howell RB 25.8 LAR 10 $ 920,000 UFA 1.1
Jonathan Ward RB 24.3 ARI 13 $ 695,000 ERFA 1.1
Dwayne Washington RB 27.8 NO 14 $ 1,127,500 UFA 1.0
Kalen Ballage RB 26.1 PIT 17 $ 920,000 UFA 0.7
Davante Adams WR 29.1 GB 16 $ 14,500,000 UFA 18.3
Chris Godwin WR 25.9 TB 14 $ 15,983,000 UFA 13.8
Mike Williams WR 27.3 LAC 16 $ 4,937,482 UFA 12.4
Christian Kirk WR 25.2 ARI 17 $ 1,473,717 UFA 10.2
Jakobi Meyers WR 25.2 NE 17 $ 588,333 RFA 8.6
A.J. Green WR 33.5 ARI 16 $ 6,000,000 UFA 8.4
Michael Gallup WR 25.9 DAL 9 $ 880,995 UFA 8.2
Russell Gage WR 26.0 ATL 14 $ 654,049 UFA 8.2
Odell Beckham WR 29.2 LAR 14 $ 1,250,000 UFA 8.0
Emmanuel Sanders WR 34.9 BUF 14 $ 6,000,000 UFA 7.9
D.J. Chark WR 25.3 JAC 4 $ 1,111,807 UFA 7.7
Jamison Crowder WR 28.7 NYJ 12 $ 9,500,000 UFA 7.5
Deonte Harris WR 24.2 NO 13 $ 588,333 RFA 7.5
Marquez Valdes-Scantling WR 27.3 GB 11 $ 669,388 UFA 7.4
Allen Lazard WR 26.2 GB 15 $ 675,000 RFA 7.2
Dante Pettis WR 26.2 NYG 3 $ 920,000 UFA 6.8
Cedrick Wilson WR 26.2 DAL 16 $ 2,183,000 UFA 6.6
T.Y. Hilton WR 32.2 IND 10 $ 8,000,000 UFA 6.4
Byron Pringle WR 28.2 KC 17 $ 2,133,000 UFA 6.1
Josh Reynolds WR 27.0 DET 12 $ 1,750,000 UFA 5.9
Kalif Raymond WR 27.5 DET 16 $ 1,127,500 UFA 5.9
Braxton Berrios WR 26.3 NYJ 16 $ 644,602 UFA 5.8
Allen Robinson WR 28.4 CHI 12 $ 17,880,000 UFA 5.7
Tre'Quan Smith WR 26.1 NO 11 $ 855,131 UFA 5.6
JuJu Smith-Schuster WR 25.2 PIT 5 $ 8,000,000 UFA 5.5
Laquon Treadwell WR 26.7 JAC 12 $ 990,000 UFA 5.1
Zach Pascal WR 27.1 IND 16 $ 3,384,000 UFA 5.0
Jalen Guyton WR 24.7 LAC 16 $ 540,000 RFA 4.9
Zay Jones WR 26.8 LV 17 $ 2,500,000 UFA 4.8
Sammy Watkins WR 28.7 BAL 13 $ 5,000,000 UFA 4.7
DeSean Jackson WR 35.2 LV 16 $ 2,000,000 UFA 4.4
Olamide Zaccheaus WR 24.5 ATL 17 $ 586,667 RFA 4.3
DeAndre Carter WR 28.8 WAS 17 $ 970,000 UFA 4.2
Danny Amendola WR 36.2 HOU 8 $ 1,800,000 UFA 4.0
Keelan Cole WR 28.8 NYJ 15 $ 5,500,000 UFA 3.7
Adam Humphries WR 28.6 WAS 17 $ 1,190,000 UFA 3.6
James Washington WR 25.8 PIT 15 $ 1,125,336 UFA 3.6
Marquise Goodwin WR 31.2 CHI 14 $ 1,212,500 UFA 3.5
Malik Turner WR 26.0 DAL 14 $ 835,000 UFA 3.5
Chris Conley WR 29.2 HOU 16 $ 1,500,000 UFA 3.4
Chris Moore WR 28.7 HOU 12 $ 990,000 UFA 3.4
Will Fuller WR 27.8 MIA 2 $ 10,625,011 UFA 3.3
Demarcus Robinson WR 27.3 KC 17 $ 1,127,500 UFA 3.3
Mack Hollins WR 28.4 MIA 17 $ 1,127,500 UFA 3.3
Brandon Zylstra WR 28.8 CAR 13 $ 920,000 UFA 3.3
Cameron Batson WR 26.1 TEN 4 $ 762,500 RFA 3.3
Antoine Wesley WR 24.2 ARI 15 $ 660,000 ERFA 3.3
Cam Sims WR 26.1 WAS 14 $ 2,133,000 UFA 3.2
Mohamed Sanu WR 32.4 SF 8 $ 1,140,000 UFA 3.2
Chester Rogers WR 28.1 TEN 16 $ 990,000 UFA 3.2
Jauan Jennings WR 24.6 SF 16 $ 660,000 ERFA 3.1
Rashard Higgins WR 27.3 CLE 15 $ 2,377,500 UFA 3.0
Tavon Austin WR 31.9 JAC 13 $ 1,075,000 UFA 3.0
Isaiah McKenzie WR 26.8 BUF 15 $ 1,127,500 UFA 2.9
Marcus Johnson WR 27.5 TEN 7 $ 1,127,500 UFA 2.9
Damiere Byrd WR 29.0 CHI 17 $ 1,127,500 UFA 2.8
Albert Wilson WR 29.6 MIA 14 $ 3,000,000 UFA 2.7
Ray-Ray McCloud WR 25.3 PIT 16 $ 1,000,000 UFA 2.7
Tajae Sharpe WR 27.1 ATL 15 $ 990,000 UFA 2.5
Ashton Dulin WR 24.8 IND 17 $ 540,000 RFA 2.4
Noah Brown WR 26.1 DAL 13 $ 1,127,500 UFA 2.2
Jakeem Grant WR 29.2 CHI 15 $ 2,300,000 UFA 2.0
Greg Ward WR 26.6 PHI $ 850,000 RFA 2.0
KhaDarel Hodge WR 27.1 DET 16 $ 1,000,000 UFA 1.9
Auden Tate WR 25.0 CIN 7 $ 570,000 UFA 1.6
Preston Williams WR 24.8 MIA 8 $ 588,333 RFA 1.4
Jeff Smith WR 24.8 NYJ 12 $ 780,000 ERFA 1.3
Trent Sherfield WR 25.9 SF 17 $ 920,000 UFA 1.1
Equanimeous St. Brown WR 25.3 GB 13 $ 850,000 UFA 1.1
Dede Westbrook WR 28.2 MIN 15 $ 1,127,500 UFA 0.8
Mike Thomas WR 27.5 CIN 12 $ 1,015,000 UFA 0.7
Penny Hart WR 25.6 SEA 17 $ 780,000 ERFA 0.6
Gunner Olszewski WR 25.2 NE 16 $ 585,833 RFA 0.6
Alex Erickson WR 29.2 CAR 17 $ 990,000 UFA 0.5
Trenton Irwin WR 26.2 CIN 7 $ 660,000 ERFA 0.5
Christian Blake WR 25.7 ATL 16 $ 850,000 RFA 0.4
Marcus Kemp WR 26.5 KC 16 $ 850,000 RFA 0.2
Jake Kumerow WR 30.0 BUF 15 $ 920,000 UFA 0.1
Stanley Morgan WR 25.4 CIN 17 $ 762,500 RFA 0.1
Malik Taylor WR 26.1 GB 10 $ 780,000 ERFA 0.0
Rob Gronkowski TE 32.8 TB 12 $ 8,000,000 UFA 11.5
Dalton Schultz TE 25.6 DAL 17 $ 728,090 UFA 9.6
Zach Ertz TE 31.2 ARI 17 $ 8,500,000 UFA 8.2
Mike Gesicki TE 26.3 MIA 17 $ 1,652,981 UFA 7.8
Maxx Williams TE 27.8 ARI 5 $ 3,500,000 UFA 6.7
Jared Cook TE 34.8 LAC 16 $ 4,500,000 UFA 6.6
Tyler Conklin TE 26.5 MIN 17 $ 685,258 UFA 6.6
C.J. Uzomah TE 29.1 CIN 16 $ 6,100,000 UFA 6.5
Gerald Everett TE 27.6 SEA 15 $ 6,000,000 UFA 6.5
David Njoku TE 25.6 CLE 16 $ 2,381,274 UFA 5.8
Evan Engram TE 27.4 NYG 15 $ 2,679,576 UFA 5.6
James O'Shaughnessy TE 30.1 JAC 7 $ 1,590,000 UFA 5.5
Robert Tonyan TE 27.8 GB 8 $ 3,384,000 UFA 5.2
Ricky Seals-Jones TE 26.9 WAS 13 $ 990,000 UFA 4.2
Mo Alie-Cox TE 28.3 IND 17 $ 3,384,000 UFA 4.0
Hayden Hurst TE 28.4 ATL 13 $ 2,759,007 UFA 3.9
Tyler Kroft TE 29.3 NYJ 9 $ 2,000,000 UFA 3.8
Geoff Swaim TE 28.4 TEN 16 $ 2,500,000 UFA 3.6
Anthony Firkser TE 26.9 TEN 15 $ 3,000,000 UFA 3.5
Donald Parham TE 24.5 LAC 14 $ 695,000 ERFA 3.5
Eric Ebron TE 28.8 PIT 8 $ 6,000,000 UFA 3.3
Durham Smythe TE 26.5 MIA 17 $ 773,059 UFA 3.1
Jimmy Graham TE 35.2 CHI 15 $ 8,000,000 UFA 2.9
MyCole Pruitt TE 29.8 TEN 16 $ 990,000 UFA 2.6
Will Dissly TE 25.6 SEA 15 $ 777,568 UFA 2.6
Jordan Akins TE 29.8 HOU 13 $ 831,271 UFA 2.3
Jacob Hollister TE 28.2 JAC 7 $ 990,000 UFA 2.2
Stephen Anderson TE 29.0 LAC 17 $ 920,000 UFA 1.9
O.J. Howard TE 27.2 TB 17 $ 2,773,655 UFA 1.7
Ian Thomas TE 25.7 CAR 17 $ 801,999 UFA 1.7
Jesse James TE 27.7 CHI 14 $ 1,650,000 UFA 1.2
Lee Smith TE 34.2 ATL 16 $ 3,000,000 UFA 1.1
Blake Bell TE 30.5 KC 15 $ 1,127,500 UFA 0.9
Eric Saubert TE 27.8 DEN 17 $ 990,000 UFA 0.9
Ross Dwelley TE 27.0 SF 17 $ 1,600,000 UFA 0.8
Antony Auclair TE 28.7 HOU 16 $ 990,000 UFA 0.8
Chris Herndon TE 25.9 MIN 16 $ 792,841 UFA 0.8
Derek Carrier TE 31.5 LV 5 $ 1,075,000 UFA 0.6
Garrett Griffin TE 27.9 NO 13 $ 850,000 RFA 0.5
Demetrius Harris TE 30.5 ARI 14 $ 1,075,000 UFA 0.2
Johnny Mundt TE 27.2 LAR 6 $ 920,000 UFA 0.2
Dominique Dafney TE 24.7 GB 10 $ 695,000 ERFA 0.1
Darrell Daniels TE 27.2 ARI 15 $ 1,127,500 UFA 0.0
About Author
Most Popular
Latest Articles