Best NFL Free Agent Pickups Heading Into the 2022 Season

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A total of 395 players have signed free agent agreements with NFL teams as of June 29. In total, players have signed over $2.7 billion worth of contracts with roughly $1.4 billion of that being in guarantees, or around 52%. All data used in this article is sourced from Spotrac’s database of contracts.

There are some interesting nuggets to pull from this information before we dive deeper into individual signings. The top three positions by the number of contracts signed are wide receiver (50), cornerback (48), and defensive end (39). In terms of cash signed for, outside linebackers have combined to ink deals worth just over $380 million, followed by cornerbacks at $347 million and receivers with more than $319 million. No team spent even remotely close to the Jacksonville Jaguars this offseason, who signed 12 players for a staggering $268 million. Want to see how much this Jags spending spree impacts them on a week to week basis? Check out PicksforTonight’s computer picks for every Jaguars game this season. Their model runs 10,000 simulations for every game and picks a winner. Who knows maybe the Jags are headed back to the AFC Championship this season? 

Other Big Free Agent Spenders

Buffalo agreed to terms with 16 players for deals that totaled over $170 million, and the Miami Dolphins take third in this category with $165 million being distributed across 15 signings. The team that has spent the least in free agency this offseason is the Arizona Cardinals, which signed 12 players to just over $17 million in contracts. That marks a $250 million difference between the highest and lowest spending teams in the 2022 offseason.

Free Agent Played Highlights

Von Miller headlines this class in terms of years, total cash, and average annual value. He signed a 6-year, $120 million deal with the Bills after a stellar postseason run with the Super Bowl champion LA Rams. Miller’s deal makes up 70% of Buffalo’s total free agent contract money spent this offseason. His production is unquestionable currently, though it will be interesting to see how this contract evolves with Miller entering his age-33 season this fall. The likely Hall of Fame pass rusher will look to win back-to-back rings, with the Bills currently favored to win the Super Bowl in 2022.

Miami brought in left tackle Terron Armstead, who spent the first nine years of his career in New Orleans, on a five-year, $75 million contract to protect Tua Tagovailoa. Before elbow and knee injuries kept him out of 9 games in 2021, he’d made three consecutive Pro Bowls as Drew Brees’ left tackle and was second team All-Pro in 2018. He’ll anchor an offensive line that was desperate for services like his last season. The Dolphins finished 17th in passing yards and 30th in rushing yards in 2021 behind a makeshift group of linemen.

Although Tyreek Hill was acquired in a trade between Kansas City and Miami in the spring, the Chiefs made some moves in free agency to try and replace the speedy receiver’s level of production. One of these moves comes as a sort of reclamation project, as Juju Smith-Schuster hopes to shake off an injury that limited him to five games in 2021 and caused the Steelers to not re-sign him. His deal is for one year and $3.25 million. The other receiver the Chiefs signed is Marquez Valdes-Scantling from Green Bay. MVS has the speed that can stretch a defense, similar to what Hill provided for the Kansas City offense, but that has not materialized in the form of stats to nearly justify the 3-year, $30 million contract he signed with the Chiefs. For that reason, only $8.5 million of that is guaranteed at signing, and Valdes-Scantling will need to perform to fulfill the duration of this relatively large deal. 

Do you think the Chiefs’ moves put them in a position to get back to the Super Bowl, or are they just shuffling around chairs on the deck? Put your money where your mouth is and place a bet for the Chiefs to win the Super Bowl. Check out these sportsbook offers in your state to get free money to play with, and who knows maybe you will have a big bankroll ready to make some winning NBA picks when their season hits its stride. 

Jacksonville’s Big Free Agent Haul

Jacksonville’s offseason spending spree comes after a difficult season in which they fired their coach and finished at the bottom of the NFL with a 3-14 record. Their signings include a four-year, $72 million deal for wide receiver Christian Kirk to lure him away from Arizona, $49.5 million over three years for All-Pro guard Brandon Scherff, who leaves Washington after being franchise-tagged two seasons in a row, and a three-year, $45 million contract for linebacker Foyesade Oluokun, who arrives after a very productive rookie contract in Atlanta. Where most teams may have been done, the Jags kept spending. Three more deals of three years each were signed with cornerback Darious Williams ($30 million), defensive tackle Foley Fatukasi ($30 million), and wide receiver Zay Jones ($24 million). Tight end Evan Engram left New York for sunny Florida and a one-year, $9 million deal as well. When all was said and done, the Jaguars had agreed to contracts totaling north of $158 million in guaranteed money. While the team that wins free agency is often not the one who celebrates at the end of the next season, it will be interesting to watch the turnaround the Jags are hoping to make in 2022.

Finally, the Chargers defense were the dubious owners of the third-most points against in the NFL last season, and needed to do something about that in the offseason. How would that group rise to match the performance level of the offense that was top-five in the league in scoring and gaining yards? Aside from the trade for Khalil Mack with the Chicago Bears, they went out and signed the second most lucrative contract of the 2022 free agent cycle with former Patriots cornerback, JC Jackson. Jackson, who earned second team All-Pro honors and was named a Pro Bowler in 2021, led the NFL in pass breakups with a career-high 23. He started all 17 games last season, intercepting 8 passes which trailed only Trevon Diggs for the NFL lead. Both of these additions to the Charger defense should make an immediate impact in their ability to contain opposing offenses while Justin Herbert and company do their thing.

Which NFL Free Agents are Left?

After all of these signings, many productive players are still without a team as the 2022 season approaches. Wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr., Julio Jones, and Will Fuller remain unsigned. Defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh, Trey Flowers, and Sheldon Richardson are still available, as are offensive lineman Duane Brown, Eric Fisher, and JC Tretter. Teams with cap space will begin to pick away at this list as training camp injuries occur and gaps become more clear.

We can’t wait for the NFL season to finally kick off and we are equally excited for college football. Be sure to take a quick look a PicksforTonight before you make any wagers this season. They have college football computer picks for free, NFL, NBA and even college basketball. Start winning more this season! 

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