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GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - JANUARY 02: Wide receiver Davante Adams #17 of the Green Bay Packers walks off the field after the Packers defeated the Minnesota Vikings 37-10 to win the game at Lambeau Field on January 02, 2022 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

The offseason is officially here for the whole National Football League. So it’s time to ask one of the biggest questions every year: who are the top NFL free agents of 2022?

We’ve already seen the best memes from last night’s game, so let’s look ahead to next season.

This year could very well be described as the Year of the Receiver. Several high-end wideouts are on track to become unrestricted free agents when the 2022 league year begins on March 16. But anyone who’s followed the league recently knows that many of the biggest names will have agreements in place at some point during the legal tampering period from March 14-16.

So it’s quite possible that we’ll know days, perhaps even weeks, before NFL free agency “officially” begins, who is landing the likes of Davante Adams, Chris Godwin, Mike Williams, and other impactful players at receiver.

Many of the top NFL free agents of 2022 will come at wideout, but there are other high-end talents hitting the open market at important, highly-paid positions. Some of the best free agents are just entering their prime, while others are squarely in it.

Either way, expect a lot of big-money contracts to be handed out during the off-season. And it’s very likely most of the highest-paid players land on this list of the top 25 NFL free agents of 2022.

This article originally appeared on 985 The Sports Hub so it may have a bit of a Boston bias on some of these choices. Pete knows.

  • 1. WR Davante Adams

    Seattle Seahawks v Green Bay Packers

    GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN – NOVEMBER 14: Davante Adams #17 of the Green Bay Packers waits for a timeout during a game against the Seattle Seahawks at Lambeau Field on November 14, 2021 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Seahawks 17-0. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

    Adams is simply a force. He’s caught over 100 passes, amassed over 1,300 yards, and caught double-digit touchdowns in three of his last four seasons. Adams will be a game-changing, transformational kind of player no matter where he goes. But he would make the most sense for a team that has both the cap space to easily facilitate his contract, and a quarterback in place with a need for an impact pass-catcher.

    With that criteria, the Chargers, Jaguars, and Jets would qualify as Adams’ biggest suitors. And since the Packers are reportedly all-in on retaining Aaron Rodgers, it’s possible they’d be forced to make a big move to keep Adams, too.

  • 2. EDGE Von Miller

    INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 30: Von Miller #40 of the Los Angeles Rams reacts after defeating the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game at SoFi Stadium on January 30, 2022 in Inglewood, California. The Rams defeated the 49ers 20-17. (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

     

    Miller will be 33 years old at the start of the 2022 season, so it’s unclear what kind of term he can get at this point. But what is clear is that Miller can still make a significant impact as an edge rusher. The future Hall of Famer made 9.5 sacks and 17 QB hits in 15 games, split between the Broncos and Rams, then made four more sacks in four postseason games to earn his second Super Bowl ring with Los Angeles.

    He may be closer to the end of his career than the beginning, but Miller still has plenty left in the tank and would be a sensible signing for a contending team that can clear the space for a “mercenary” type of deal, with a reasonably high AAV and only one year guaranteed. Keep an eye on the Bengals, Patriots, Seahawks, and Steelers.

     

  • 3. WR Chris Godwin

    ATLANTA, GEORGIA – DECEMBER 05: Chris Godwin #14 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers carries the ball after a reception against the Atlanta Falcons during the fourth quarter at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 05, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

     

    He should make an immediate impact with his next team, but he’d be best suited in an offense and quarterback that excels throwing over the middle of the field. The Patriots, Raiders, Browns, and Texans seem like solid fits, if they can afford him.

  • 4. EDGE Chandler Jones

    GLENDALE, ARIZONA – JANUARY 09: Chandler Jones #55 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrates after hitting Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks during the second quarter at State Farm Stadium on January 09, 2022 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

     

    Since being traded to the Cardinals in 2016, Jones has almost quietly built a Hall-of-Fame-caliber resume. He racked up 10.5 more sacks in 15 games this past season, and is up to 107.5 in his career. He was named a First Team All-Pro in 2017 and 2019.

    Jones is 31 years old, but could possibly still fetch a deal for 3-4 years if someone’s willing to commit. He should certainly continue to make good pass rusher money. The Dolphins, Jaguars, Jets, and Colts will certainly have the financial capabilities to take him on

  • 5. CB J.C. Jackson

    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – FEBRUARY 06: J.C. Jackson #27 of the New England Patriots runs the ball out of the end zone after making an interception for the AFC against the NFC in the second quarter of the 2022 NFL Pro Bowl at Allegiant Stadium on February 06, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The AFC defeated the NFC 41-35. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

     

    Jackson checks in at No. 5 as the best cornerback on the market and the first who will still be under 30 years old at the end of the 2022 season. He may be a tier slightly below the makeup of an elite shutdown cornerback, but his ball skills are undeniable (17 interceptions in the past two seasons) and he will make a lot of plays as long as quarterbacks keep throwing in his area.

    Jackson makes sense for a team that can install him as their No. 1 cornerback without having to lean on him as the anchor of the defense. So the Chargers, Colts, Raiders, and Steelers qualify as good potential suitors in that regard.

  • 6. OT Terron Armstead

    SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – OCTOBER 25: Terron Armstead #72 of the New Orleans Saints in action against the Seattle Seahawks during the fourth quarter at Lumen Field on October 25, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

     

    Armstead is 30 years old and has missed 11 games the past two years, but he’s one of the better left tackles in the league and hitting the open market squarely in his prime. So you can expect him to draw plenty of interest among tackle-needy teams, and cash in big-time.

  • 7. S Marcus Williams

    FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – SEPTEMBER 26: Zack Baun #53, Marcus Williams #43 and Malcolm Jenkins #27 of the New Orleans Saints react after a defensive play against the New England Patriots during the game at Gillette Stadium on September 26, 2021 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

     

    Williams should become one of the highest-paid safeties in the league. Could he top the Broncos’ Justin Simmons, who made $15.1 million in 2022? Williams is only 25 years old and has not just recovered from the sting of the “Minneapolis Miracle” play with Stefon Diggs, but established himself as one of the best young safeties in the NFL. He’ll find a new home with a team that hasn’t invested in safety at the draft and could use an injection of talent there.

  • 8. WR Mike Williams

    Wild Card Round - San Diego Chargers v Baltimore Ravens

    BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – JANUARY 06: Mike Williams #81 of the Los Angeles Chargers celebrates a catch against the Baltimore Ravens during the second half in the AFC Wild Card Playoff game at M&T Bank Stadium on January 06, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

     

    Despite landing at No. 8, Williams could have ranked even higher on this list if he didn’t drop off after an incredible start. Through five games, Williams was on pace for 105 catches, 1,601 yards, and 20 touchdowns. He finished with a line of 76-1,146-9. Still very good, but not the kind of numbers that would get him top-of-the-market money. The Chargers can afford to keep him, but he should have no shortage of suitors, despite his underwhelming second half of the season.

  • 9. OT Orlando Brown

    GLENDALE, ARIZONA – AUGUST 20: Offensive tackle Orlando Brown #57 of the Kansas City Chiefs warms up before the NFL preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium on August 20, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

     

    Despite ranking lower than Terron Armstead on this list, it’s possible Brown ends up with the longest term and/or most guaranteed money at tackle, because of his age. Brown is jut 25 years old and has made the Pro Bowl for three straight seasons. He’ll slide right in as a starting left tackle wherever he signs, and he’ll at least come close to topping the market.

  • 10. EDGE 10. EDGE Randy Gregory

    PHILADELPHIA, PA – NOVEMBER 11: Defensive end Randy Gregory #94 of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates sacking quarterback Carson Wentz #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles in the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field on November 11, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

     

    Gregory doesn’t come without risk. He missed the entire 2017 and 2019 seasons due to suspensions under the league’s substance abuse policy, and missed five games due to injury in 2021. But Gregory hasn’t faced major discipline since his reinstatement, and he emerged as a productive starting edge rusher for the Cowboys with six sacks, 17 QB hits, and three forced fumbles. Because of his past transgressions, it’s possible Gregory can only get a one-year deal, but someone will gamble on his talent. The Patriots, Seahawks, and Chiefs seem like the kind of teams who would.

  • 11. OG 11. OG Brandon Scherff

    GLENDALE, AZ – DECEMBER 04: Offensive guard Brandon Scherff #75 of the Washington Redskins looks on during the fourth quarter of a game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium on December 4, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Redskins 31-23. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

     

    Patriots fans saw with Joe Thuney’s move to the Chiefs in 2021 that guards can get paid, too. Scherff has lived up to his first-round billing as one of the best starting guards in the NFL during his time in Washington, and should be able to find a team willing to give him multiple years at more than $15 million annually.

  • 12. CB Carlton Davis

    TAMPA, FLORIDA – JANUARY 16: Carlton Davis #24 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers reacts after a penalty during the second quarter in the NFC Wild Card Playoff game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Raymond James Stadium on January 16, 2022 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

     

    The Bucs are facing a massive talent exodus, beyond just Tom Brady’s retirement. On offense they’re likely to lose Chris Godwin, and defensively, they’ll probably have to replace Davis, who has started 50 of his 51 career games at cornerback. He’s 25 years old, so Davis gets a bump up this list over corners with higher pedigrees. But he’ll be a good starter in his prime years, so expect a team to pay up for that on the open market.

  • 13. WR Allen Robinson

    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – OCTOBER 10: Wide receiver Allen Robinson #12 of the Chicago Bears reacts after his catch for a first down against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half of a game at Allegiant Stadium on October 10, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Bears defeated the Raiders 20-9. (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)

     

    Robinson has had kind of a strange career. When healthy, he’s one of the best big-play threats at outside receiver in the league and a dominant 1-on-1 player. But he’s dealt with major injuries, offensive systems in flux, and inconsistent quarterbacks throwing him the ball. So you shouldn’t blame Robinson if he insists on going to a team with a franchise quarterback in place. The Chargers, Ravens, and Patriots would make logical sense, if they’re willing to pay.

  • 14. CB Stephon Gilmore

    ATLANTA, GEORGIA – OCTOBER 31: Stephon Gilmore #9 of the Carolina Panthers looks on in the fourth quarter Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on October 31, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)

     

    Gilmore may have been a top-3 player on this list if he’d stayed healthy over the past two seasons. But he’s now 31 years old and has missed 14 games in the past two years, mainly due to knee problems. So it’s unlikely he’ll ever play at the same speed that he did in New England, where he won Defensive Player of the Year in 2019. But Gilmore’s not done yet. If he can stay on the field, Gilmore should still be a very good starting cornerback for whoever’s willing to take the chance.

  • 15. LB De’Vondre Campbell

    BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – DECEMBER 19: De’Vondre Campbell #59 of the Green Bay Packers sacks Tyler Huntley #2 of the Baltimore Ravens in the first quarter at M&T Bank Stadium on December 19, 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

     

    Campbell was a dynamic inside linebacker before it became cool. He’s squarely in his prime at age 28, and in the era of Darius Leonard, Devin White, et al., his playing style has become more valuable. So it’s possible Campbell resets the market as the top inside linebacker available. The Chiefs, Raiders, Patriots, and Eagles could use a guy like him.

  • 16. DT Akiem Hicks

    CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – DECEMBER 20: Akiem Hicks #96 of the Chicago Bears is seen on the sidelines before a game against the Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field on December 20, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. The Vikings defeated the Bears 17-9. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

     

    One of the league’s best late bloomers, Hicks emerged as a premier interior pass rusher during his time with the Bears. He’s 32 years old and missed eight games in 2021, so it’s likely Hicks won’t get a long-term offer. But on a classic one-year prove-it deal? He could immediately infuse his new team with impact talent at a relatively scarce position.

  • 17. S Tyrann Mathieu

    CINCINNATI, OHIO – JANUARY 02: Joe Burrow #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals is pressured by Tyrann Mathieu #32 of the Kansas City Chiefs in the first quarter of the game at Paul Brown Stadium on January 02, 2022 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

     

    The “Honey Badger” is still 29 years old and enjoyed a career resurgence through his prime years with the Chiefs. Mathieu is quietly a three-time First Team All-Pro and can still make plays with the best of them at safety. There may not be a ton of demand for safeties on the open market, but someone should be willing to pay him over $10 million annually.

  • 18. LB Harold Landry

    NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – JANUARY 02: Harold Landry #58 of the Tennessee Titans celebrates after a sack during the third quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Nissan Stadium on January 02, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Silas Walker/Getty Images)

     

    The former Boston College alum took his game to another level in a contract year for the Titans, racking up 12 sacks and 22 QB hits. He’s only 25 years old and has the numbers – and the durability, with full seasons in three straight years – to command a lucrative long-term deal. Anyone in need of pass-rushing help should be calling.

  • 19. S Jessie Bates III

    INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 13: Jessie Bates #30 of the Cincinnati Bengals catches an interception during the second quarter of Super Bowl LVI against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium on February 13, 2022 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

     

    Bates may have bumped himself up a lot of free agent lists after making a big interception against Matthew Stafford in the Super Bowl. But the former second-round pick was already on the trajectory of a well-paid long-term starting safety for his next team. The Bengals have the space to retain him if they want to. Bates is only 24 years old, so he’ll certainly cash in long-term here, and could be able to score another big contract after that.

  • 20. WR Odell Beckham Jr.

    INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 30: Odell Beckham Jr. #3 of the Los Angeles Rams takes photos with fans after defeating the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game at SoFi Stadium on January 30, 2022 in Inglewood, California. The Rams defeated the 49ers 20-17. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

     

    Health is the biggest question for Beckham coming out of the Super Bowl. He appeared to be on his way to making a major impact in the game before appearing to injure his knee or leg in a non-contact injury. Those are always scary, but the fact that Beckham stood on the sidelines for the rest of the game was possibly a good sign. We’ll see how much teams are willing to commit to Beckham in terms of years, but he’s clearly still a dynamic receiver when healthy

  • 21. DE Emmanuel Ogbah

    NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – DECEMBER 27: Emmanuel Ogbah #91 of the Miami Dolphins reacts after defeating the at Caesars Superdome on December 27, 2021 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

     

    The 32nd overall pick in the 2016 draft, Ogbah has been slower than expected to ascend. The Browns moved on from him after three seasons and he lasted just one year in Kansas City, but Ogbah seemed to finally put it together under Brian Flores in Miami. He’s made nine sacks in each of the past two years, and in 2021 he batted down a mind-blowing 12 (!) passes at the line. Still just 28 years old, Ogbah may have shown enough to get a surprisingly big contract.

  • 22. WR JuJu Smith-Schuster

    KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI – JANUARY 16: JuJu Smith-Schuster #19 of the Pittsburgh Steelers warms up before the game against the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 16, 2022 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

     

    Since a 111-catch season for Smith-Schuster in 2018, the emergence of Chase Claypool and Diontae Johnson has pushed him down the pecking order in Pittsburgh. That, and he played only five games in 2021. So he won’t get a big contract, but if he can stay healthy, he could deliver great value for a team in need of a dynamic inside receiver.

  • 23. TE Mike Gesicki

    Philadelphia Eagles v Miami Dolphins

     

    The young tight end’s catch totals have gone up in each of the last three seasons, culminating with 73 grabs in a passing-challenged offense. He may not get Hunter Henry/Jonnu Smith money on the open market, but he’ll certainly get a long-term commitment from a TE-needy team. And if he lands with the right quarterback in the right situation, Gesicki could make a leap forward in the coming years.

  • 24. WR D.J. Chark

    Tennessee Titans v Jacksonville Jaguars

    It would make sense for the Jaguars to retain Chark, but it would make even more sense for the receiver to explore the open market first. A broken ankle limited Chark to just four games in 2021, so teams may have pause on how much they’re willing to commit financially. But he’s only two seasons removed from a 1,000-yard season and should be a productive outside receiver in the right situation with good health. Someone will take the plunge on him, with the potential for good value.

     

  • 25. S Marcus Maye

    INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 20: Gerald Everett #81 of the Los Angeles Rams has a pass broken up by Marcus Maye #20 of the New York Jets during the fourth quarter of a game at SoFi Stadium on December 20, 2020 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

     

    Maye finally has a chance to escape the Jets, but he’s coming off a season in which he played only six games before suffering a torn Achilles. The injury almost certainly crushed his earning potential in this particular off-season, but if Maye can prove he’s close to the same level he played at before his Achilles injury, he’ll at least be able to parlay a one-year deal into something more lucrative in 2023. Assuming he stays on the field, he’ll make a good mercenary.