Most Underrated Free Agents At Each Offensive Position
This years free agent class is loaded and here is a diamond in the rough at each position.
Quarterback: Marcus Mariota, Las Vegas Raiders
While quarterbacks like Jameis Winston and Teddy Bridgewater will be hot commodities in a weaker free agent quarterback class, Marcus Mariota could be the spark plug that a franchise needs.
Mariota is twenty eight years old and going into his eight NFL season. The Raiders used him this season as Derek Carrs backup and a good amount in wildcat formations. He rushed for 87 yards on 13 carries for a touchdown and 6 first downs. In the 10 games he played in this season, Mariota did only attempt two passes for one completions and 4 yards.
The top suitors for Mariota would be a team that probably has a quarterback already, but is unsure if they want to ride with that player at the helm. This would include Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, and Denver as they have somewhat viable options in their quarterback rooms, but ones that are either unproven or shaky players.
Mariotas dual threat ability can add a spark to any offense on a short term contract like a two year, twelve million dollar deal. I can’t wait to see Mariota play football again, hopefully as a starter, because when he’s good, he is really good.
Running Back: Cordarrelle Patterson, Atlanta Falcons
Patterson is a triple threat weapon that can catch passes out of the backfield and in the slot, run an effective counter, and return kicks with the best in the league. This season the Tennessee alum carried the ball 153 times for 618 yards and 6 touchdowns while snagging 52 catches for 548 yards and another 5 touchdowns. He was so versatile this year that Arthur Smith debated putting him at safety.
One drawback of a team signing Patterson, but a way that a squad can get him for cheap is that Patterson will be thirty one when the 2022 season begins. He still has a lot of talent and big play ability, but is nearing the twilight years of his career.
The two top spots for Patterson would be either Miami as a running back one or with the Chargers as a Swiss army knife while Austin Ekler gets the bulk of the carries in the backfield. Patterson is a game changer and one that will blow a game wide open in the blink of an eye.
Wide Receiver: Christian Kirk, Arizona Cardinals
This years wide receiver class is SO deep with such big names that any team that signs Christian Kirk will get a reliable wide receiver two. In 2021 with a loaded cast of characters around him in DHop, Isabella, and Max Williams, Kirk caught 77 balls for 982 yards and 5 touchdowns accounting for 44 first downs.
A good landing spot for Christian Kirk would be Detroit because they have around twenty million in cap space and he’d be a mix between a wide receiver one and two. Him with Amon-Ra St. Brown could create a deadly combo for any team facing the Lions.
Tight End: Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys
The tight end position this year is very top heavy with older players and Schultz is young with tremendous upside. With Americas Team this past season as the third option he caught 78 balls for 808 yards, sixth amongst all tight ends, and 5 touchdowns.
Schultz is good in the run game as a blocker and could be a phenomenal second or even first option for a young quarterback that loves the underneath routes. The two top spots for the Stanford alum would be either Miami to help Tua on check downs when Jaylen Waddle isn’t open deep because it looks like Gesicki won’t be back or with the Chargers who have seventy two million in cap space. Herbert would benefit from a young short route target as Jared Cook is aging and isn’t efficient.
Offensive Tackle: Andrew Wylie, Kansas City Chiefs
If Kansas City brings Orlando Brown back next season then Wylie won’t have a spot on the offensive line as Lucas Niang is turning into a starting tackle. Wylie has the versatility to play both tackle and guard so he’ll be a solid rotation piece to whoever signs him.
In 2021, Wylie allowed 4 sacks in 527 offensive snaps in a tough pass rushing division with Maxx Crosby, Bradley Chubb, and Joey Bosa. Chicago or Cincinnati could really use offensive line help and Wylie would be a cheap plug and play trench mauler. With him being able to play both right side positions, he’s an awesome fit with either team.
Wylie can expect a three year, nine to twelve million dollar deal. This will give him the opportunity to keep either Joe Burrow or Justin Fields on their feet which is needed if either squad wants to succeed.
Offensive Guard: Alex Cappa, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay had a great offensive line this season that was headlined by Ryan Jensen and Tristan Wirfs, but not many people talk about how good Alex Cappa is. Cappa played 1,182 snaps this year protecting Tom Brady and allowed only 5 sacks.
Again, Cincinnatis name comes up in the mix because they need LOTS of offensive line help and have just south of fifty million dollars in cap. Another landing spot could be in the AFC East for the New York Jets who also have an outrageous amount of cap with forty five million. Like I said before, if you want to succeed, you NEED to protect your quarterback.
Tampa won’t have the money to bring Cappa back because of how many players they have set to become free agents. Cappa could get a four year, eighteen to twenty one million dollar deal that would take him into his thirties.
Center: Bradley Bozeman, Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore has a handful of important player set to become free agents, and while their offensive line play is weak, Bozeman isn’t a top priority. On 1,125 snaps in 2021, he allowed 3 sacks with 1 penalty in a tough division where he battled with D.J. Reader, Cam Heyward, and Stephon Tuitt.
I think the best spot for Bozeman next year would be with Buffalo who had a middle of the pack offensive line. Bozeman would be tremendous help against good pass rushers and help pave the road for whoever is playing running back for the Bills in 2022. A good player with a high ceiling when he’s put in the right system.