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2022 NFL Quarterback and Tight End Free Agents

2022 NFL Quarterback and Tight End Free Agents

2022 NFL Quarterback and Tight End Free Agents

As we enter the fantasy football playoffs and the NFL playoffs are approaching, it’s never too early to start looking ahead. Maybe your favorite NFL team is just like your fantasy football team, needing help in multiple positions. Perhaps you’re cap-strapped and can’t keep them all on your fantasy roster. Or it could be time for your favorite team and your fantasy football team to turn over a new leaf. Either way, free agency always brings exciting changes and new faces to new teams as we look at the top 2022 free agent quarterbacks and tight ends.  As with all changes players may find themselves in a perfect position to make a bigger fantasy impact!

Top 2022 Free Agent Quarterbacks

No position is more important in the NFL than quarterback. That being said, if a quarterback has the talent to lead a team, they rarely hit the free agency. The list of free agents has plenty of former starters, the keyword being former. Few of the quarterbacks on the list could maintain their starting roles, however, maybe the next step in their career will rejuvenate them enough to be fantasy relevant. Here’s a look at the bigger names in a less than inspiring class of 2022 free-agent quarterbacks.

1. Jameis Winston

Current team: New Orleans Saints
Measurables: 27 years old, 6-4, Drafted: 2015 (Bucs)
2021 Stats: 1,170 yards, 14 touchdowns, 3 interceptions
Career Stats: 20,982 yards, 135 touchdowns, 91 interceptions
Projected Contract: 1 year, $10 Million
Potential Landing Spots: Saints, Steelers, Lions

With plenty of starting experience, Jameis Winston got his opportunity to lead a team again in 2021 with the Saints. Unfortunately, his time was cut short by a season-ending injury. The biggest question is did Winston do enough to create a market this off-season prior to his injury? The biggest concern with Winston from his time with Tampa Bay was turnovers as he threw 30 interceptions in his last season with them in 2019. In 2021 Winston was playing much cleaner, throwing for 1,170 yards, 14 touchdowns, and only 3 interceptions.

With seven years in the NFL and starting six of those years, Winston has the talent and experience to compete for a starting position. Teams will be hesitant due to the torn ACL but we’ve seen professional athletes come back as good as new over the past years. The Saints picked Winston as the starter over Taysom Hill and it is possible they saw enough to bring him back. If not, there are plenty of quarterback rooms that could use competition, especially if big names such as Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson get moved. An intriguing fit would be the run-heavy scheme with the talented pass-catching room of the Steelers if Roethlisberger retires as expected. Winston will most likely have to play on another one-year prove-it deal unless a team really liked what they saw.  He sits as one of the top options among the 2022 free agent quarterbacks and can be fantasy-relevant in the right place.

2. Teddy Bridgewater

Current team: Denver Broncos
Measurables: 29 years old, 6-2, Drafted: 2014 (Vikings)
2021 Stats: 2,954 yards, 18 touchdowns, 7 interceptions
Career Stats: 14,339 yards, 71 touchdowns, 43 interceptions
Projected Contract: 2-3 years, $15-20 Million
Potential Landing Spots: Panthers, Texans, Lions

A once-promising rookie for Minnesota in 2014, Teddy Bridgewater suffered a terrible leg injury that held him out of football in 2016 and 2017. Traveling from Minnesota, New Orleans, and Carolina, Bridgewater found himself leading Denver this year. In doing so he has posted his best year as far as touchdown passes, and needs 779 more passing yards to eclipse his career-high set last year with the Panthers. Bridgewater isn’t a super flashy quarterback but he manages the game well and has led the Broncos to seven wins so far this year.

Reportedly wanting to obtain a multi-year contract ranging from $20 to 25 million per year, Bridgewater may not have done enough for a team to shell out that kind of money. The Broncos have already expressed they aren’t likely to spend that type of capital but maybe a quarterback-hungry team like the Texans or Lions would. Bridgewater is consistent and can win games for a team but is best served on a team that already has a well-established offense with a strong running game like he has this year. Still, under the age of 30, Bridgewater should be able to compete somewhere. However, he may need to rethink the market and the value he brings before reaching a deal that works for both him and the team signing him as a 2022 free agent quarterback.

3. Mariota

Current team: Las Vegas Raiders
Measurables: 28 years old, 6-4, Drafted: 2015 (Titans)
2021 Stats: N/A
Career Stats: 13,433 yards, 77 touchdowns, 45 interceptions
Projected Contract: 1 year, $10 Million
Potential Landing Spots: Steelers, Panthers, Falcons

Drafted in 2015 by the Titans, Marcus Mariota started 12 games as a rookie throwing for 2818 yards, 19 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. The next year he had the best season of his career throwing for 3426 yards, 26 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions. Mariota started the next 2 years with mixed results before losing his starting job in 2019 to current Tennessee starter, Ryan Tannehill. Mariota then found himself on the Raiders, however, he has only played in limited action sitting behind Derek Carr.

Still only 28 years old, Mariota has plenty of arm talent and rushing ability to go along with his experience. The team that makes the most sense to me is the Steelers if Big Ben steps out. Mason Rudolph hasn’t done anything to solidify that he’s the guy and Mariota’s rushing ability will only help as he learns the new offense. An electrifying quarterback at Oregon, Mariota still has plenty of talent to help lead a team. I expect it to be on a one-year prove-it deal, but in the right offensive scheme, Mariota is a very solid 2022 free agent quarterback with good rushing ability for fantasy football purposes.

4.  Mitchell Trubisky

Current team: Buffalo Bills
Measurables: 27 years old, 6-2, Drafted: 2017 (Bears)
2021 Stats: N/A
Career Stats: 10,637 yards, 64 touchdowns, 38 interceptions
Projected Contract: 2 years, $15 million
Potential Landing Spots: Steelers, Broncos, Panthers

Putting Mitch Trubisky on this list as one of the top 2022 free agent quarterbacks may seem weird, but he may have more value than you’d think. Drafted to the Bears in 2017 under the John Fox era, Trubisky got thrown into a mess in Chicago during his rookie year. After that, he was in Matt Nagy’s scheme which has seen neither Nick Foles, Andy Dalton, nor Justin Fields succeed.

Mitch is still a young player who has underrated athleticism and the ability to make plays with his legs. In the right scheme, he can compete for a starting position. Even if he loses he provides value as a backup who has been in the league for 5 years. Trubisky would be best suited for a run-heavy scheme, which may limit his fantasy value, however, he can still bring value with his rushing ability. Crazy as it seems, Trubisky is only 3 years removed from a 354 passing yard, 6 passing touchdowns, 53 rushing yard performance in 2018. He’s an intriguing prospect in the 2022 free agent quarterback class who can compete.

5.  Nick Foles

Current team: Chicago Bears
Measurables: 32 years old, 6-6, Drafted: 2012 (Eagles)
2021 Stats: N/A
Career Stats: 13,753 yards, 81 touchdowns, 43 interceptions
Projected Contract: 1 year, 8 million
Potential Landing Spots: Falcons, Broncos, Panthers

Are Nick Foles‘ best playing days behind him?  Probably.  Can he still bring value to a team?  Absolutely.  Foles was drafted in 2012 by the Eagles and cemented his role as starter fairly quickly.  In 2013 Foles had the best year of his career throwing for 2,891 yards, 27 touchdowns, and only 2 interceptions.  Foles then bounced around from Los Angeles, Kansas City, back to Philly, then to Jacksonville, and finally Chicago.

Injuries have always seemed to supplant Foles as the starter.  He’s likely to land on a team where he serves as a bridge quarterback that can help a team compete while he shows a rookie or young player the ropes. There’s no doubt Foles has had magical moments in his career and it is possible he has one or two more.  Nobody thinks Foles can look like his 2013 form where he had a game with 406 yards and 7 touchdowns, but he can still remain relevant as he hits the 2022 free agent quarterback market.

The Rest

Other 2022 free agent quarterbacks could remain relevant on the right team if they win a starting job.  Andy Dalton used to be a steady quarterback for the Bengals. Cam Newton continues to find jobs before losing them. He has incredible rushing ability but the passing game and ability to read defenses haven’t been consistent since his first couple of years. Tyrod Taylor looked good in limited action for the Texans this year, unfortunately continuing to struggle with injuries. Ryan Fitzpatrick may decide to return even after injuries this year and somehow every year puts on a little Fitzmagic.

Most of the 2022 Free Agent quarterbacks will be fighting for a backup position and roster spot altogether. Previous starters such as Mike Glennon, Colt McCoy, Geno Smith, Blaine Gabbert, and Josh Rosen have continued to struggle to make an impact anywhere. Certain veterans may hang around rosters such as Joe Flacco, Chase Daniel, and Jacoby Brissett. Here’s a look at some of the big names among the 2022 free agent quarterbacks.

Player Current Team Potential Contract Potential Teams
Jameis Winston New Orleans 1 year, $10 million Saints, Steelers, Lions
Teddy Bridgewater Denver 2-3 year, $15-20 million Panthers, Texans, Lions
Marcus Mariota Las Vegas 1 year, $10 million Steelers, Panthers, Falcons
Mitch Trubisky Buffalo 2 years, $15 million Steelers, Broncos, Panthers
Nick Foles Chicago 1 year, $8 million Falcons, Broncos, Panthers
Andy Dalton Chicago 1 year, $6 million Falcons, Texans, Lions
Cam Newton Carolina 1 year, $5 million Texans, Lions, Steelers
Tyrod Taylor Houston 1 year, $5 million Falcons, Lions, Saints
Ryan Fitzpatrick Washington 1 year, $5 million Texans, Broncos
Geno Smith Seattle 1 year, $6 million Broncos, Panthers, Lions

Top 2022 Free Agent Tight Ends

Another group of free agents to watch is the tight end position. While tight end free agency pickups rarely make big splashes, tight ends can impact in both the passing and rushing game. If your pass-catching tight end is also a good run blocker, he’ll be on the field more, leading to more opportunities. The top fantasy football players this year so far have been Mark Andrews, Travis Kelce, George Kittle, and Dawson Knox. T.J. Hockenson and Darren Waller also made big impacts but have battled injuries. Here’s a look at 5 of the top 2022 free agent tight ends.

1.  Rob Gronkowski

Current team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Measurables: 32 years old, 6-6, Drafted: 2010 (New England Patriots)
2021 Stats: 38 Receptions, 498 yards, 6 touchdowns
Career Stats: 8,982 yards, 92 touchdowns, 604 receptions
Projected Contract: 1 year, $7 Million
Potential Landing Spots: Buccaneers, Broadcast Booth

Over the last 11 years, few tight ends have been as impactful as Rob Gronkowski. After being drafted to the Patriots in 2010 Gronk has been a top tight end from the start. Having double-digit touchdowns out of 5 of his first 6 years (injured the other year), Gronk’s play has declined but he still remains relevant in fantasy football. After retiring and broadcasting in 2019, Gronk reunited with Brady the past two years. After starting the first 3 games this year with 16 receptions, 179 yards, and 4 touchdowns, Gronk has battled injuries off and on. Still, in games he hasn’t been injured Gronk has received 18% of the target share.

It is hard to picture Gronk playing with any other quarterback aside from Brady. In fact, he retired at the end of 2018 reportedly after the Bucs were working on a trade to the Lions. Due to battling injuries and age if Gronk wants to return I don’t think he’ll be able to obtain the 1 year $10 million deal he had this year, however, if it isn’t the Bucs I think it’ll be retirement and back to the booth for Gronk as a 2022 free agent tight end.

2.  Zach Ertz

Current team: Arizona Cardinals
Measurables: 31 years old, 6-5, Drafted: 2013 (Eagles)
2021 Stats: 28 Receptions, 321 yards, 3 touchdowns
Career Stats: 607 receptions, 6,588 yards, 41 touchdowns
Projected Contract: 2 years, $15-20 Million
Potential Landing Spots: Cardinals, Chargers, Packers, Saints

Drafted by the Eagles, Zach Ertz wanted to be traded after last year and was granted his wish mid-season this year. After six weeks playing for the Eagles, Ertz was traded to the Cardinals with a restructured deal that canceled the last two years of his contract, making him a free agent at the end of the year. Ertz has averaged 45.8 yards a game since joining the Cardinals in week 7.

Ertz is a talented tight end who isn’t only a polished route runner but can also assist in run blocking. For both the Eagles and the Cardinals Ertz has accounted for 16% of the target share, proving no matter what team he is on he will remain important in the passing game. With a handful of tight ends leaving their team as well as some teams that haven’t produced at the position all year, Ertz should have a market similar to his current 7 million dollar contract as a 2022 free agent tight end.

3.  Mike Gesicki

Current team: Miami Dolphins
Measurables: 26 years old, 6-6, Drafted: 2018 (Dolphins)
2021 Stats: 59 Receptions, 642 yards, 2 touchdowns
Career Stats: 185 receptions, 2,117 yards, 13 touchdowns
Projected Contract: 3-4 years, $30-40 Million
Potential Landing Spots: Jets, Giants, Chargers

Drafted in 2018, Mike Gesicki has improved his receiving yards each year. Gesicki has also improved each year in his run blocking grade, something he was criticized for out of the draft. This year Gesicki has accounted for 18% of the target share in Miami and even with inconsistent quarterback play has averaged 49.4 yards a game. Gesicki’s biggest downfall this year has been touchdowns, where he has only two.

At only 26 years old, with great athleticism, Gesicki should have a market value of around $10 million a year. His talent and ability are comparable, if not better, to Austin Hooper who signed a 4 year, $42 million contract last year. Plenty of teams like the Jets or Giants could use a play-making tight end like Gesicki. As Evan Engram becomes a free agent for the Giants, Gesicki could fill in nicely and easily eclipse his 15% target share, 33.4 yards per game average as well as continue to improve his run blocking game to help get the Giants back on track in the 2022 free agent tight end race.

4.  Dalton Schultz

Current team: Dallas Cowboys
Measurables: 25 years old, 6-5, Drafted: 2018 (Cowboys)
2021 Stats: 53 Receptions, 584 yards, 4 touchdowns
Career Stats: 129 receptions, 1,321 yards, 8 touchdowns
Projected Contract: 3-4 years, $20-30 Million
Potential Landing Spots: Cowboys, Rams, Titans

Perhaps nobody has done more to improve their stock at the tight end position than Dalton Schultz. Viewed as an excellent run blocker Schultz began excelling in a Cowboys offense that has a lot of mouths to feed. Still, Schultz held his own, accounting for 16% of the target share, including three weeks over 24% of the target share.

Becoming more of a playmaker in the passing game this year and excelling at run blocking could prove to get Schultz a decent contract. The Cowboys drafted Schultz and may want to wrap him up in another contract now that his rookie contract has expired. However, if Schultz wants to test the market other teams like the Titans could come in to play. Being a run-heavy team that needs playmakers in the passing game outside of A.J. Brown, Schultz would be able to help them in multiple ways. He’s an intriguing prospect in the 2022 free agent tight end class.

5.  David Njoku

Current team: Cleveland Browns
Measurables: 25 years old, 6-4, Drafted: 2017 (Browns)
2021 Stats: 27 Receptions, 407yards, 3 touchdowns
Career Stats: 139 receptions, 1,686 yards, 14 touchdowns
Projected Contract: 3-4 years, $15-25 Million
Potential Landing Spots: Browns, Giants, Cowboys

There’s no doubting David Njoku’s athletic ability. Even though he has battled some injuries the past two years, his ability to be an elite tight end is present. In week 5 for example, he had 7 catches out of 7 targets for 149 yards and a touchdown. And with Austin Hooper signing a big contract with the Browns this year, Njoku has still had a 13% target share, just 2% less than Hooper’s.

While Njoku has expressed interest in staying with the Browns it is possible they decide to move on with Hooper on the books for another 3 years. Njoku could excel in multiple different offenses with his athleticism. If the Cowboys move on from Schultz, Njoku could step in as a replacement and be another offensive weapon for them. Another good fit would be the Giants as Evan Engram looks to be on his way out and Kyle Rudolph hasn’t exactly paid off. Njoku should garner some attention as a 2022 free agent tight end.

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The Rest

The remaining tight ends have some talent to be found and some guys that should compete for jobs.  While Jimmy Graham isn’t the same as his younger days, he is still a reliable redzone target.  C.J. Uzomah had flashes this year with multiple 2 touchdown games.  Gerald Everett hasn’t made the impact expected in Seattle but is a talented pass-catcher with a lot of athletic ability.  O.J. Howard is another name with a lot of talent that hasn’t been able to fully capitalize on it in Tampa, especially due to injuries getting in the way.  Both Eric Ebron and Jared Cook are guys who can run block and be good redzone targets while bringing veteran talent to a team.  Here’s a look at some of the top 2022 free agent tight ends.

Player Current Team Potential Contract Potential Teams
Rob Gronkowski Tampa Bay 1 year, $7 million Buccaneers, Retirement
Zach Ertz Arizona 2 years, $15-20 million Cardinals, Chargers, Packers, Saints
Mike Gesicki Miami 3-4 years, $30-40 million Jets, Giants, Chargers
Dalton Schultz Dallas 3-4 years, $20-30 million Cowboys, Rams, Titans
David Njoku Cleveland 3-4 years, $15-25 million Browns, Giants, Cowboys
Jimmy Graham Chicago 1 year, $5 million Saints, Jets, Titans
C.J. Uzomah Cincinnati 2 years, $12 million Jets, Titans, Giants
Gerald Everett Seattle 2 years, $12 million Cowboys, Bucs, Packers
O.J. Howard Tampa Bay 1 year, $8 million Jags, Packers, Cowboys
Jared Cook Los Angeles 1 year, $6 million Giants, Texans, Jags

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Born and raised in Iowa Justin Mark is an avid Chicago Bears fan. He is a self-published author and loves writing almost as much as he loves sports. He lives in the great town of Winterset, IA with his wife and their dog and cat. He is excited to join the #degen nation of The Sports Gambling Podcast Network.

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