2021 Free Agent Wide Receivers The Patriots Could Be Targeting In The Off-season
There are a few good options for any team looking to dip a toe into the free-agent market in 2021. Some good talent can be had, and I expect the Patriots to be one of those teams standing at the edge of the pool.
Here is a list of the top free-agent Wide Receivers that could hit the open market on March 17:
Chris Godwin - Tampa Bay
Kenny Golladay - Detroit
Ju Ju Smith-Schuster - Pittsburgh
Allen Robinson - Chicago
Will Fuller - Houston
Corey Davis - Tennessee
Marvin Jones Jr. - Detroit
Curtis Samuel - Carolina
T.Y. Hilton - Indianapolis
Sammy Watkins - Kansas City
A.J. Green - Cincinnati
Some of the above may be slapped with a franchise or transition tag, which would most likely keep them from heading to a new team, but there should still be some proven talent that will be packing their bags for a new city and team.
The most likely to get a tag are Godwin and Golladay, and perhaps even Ju Ju.
The Steelers won't have a lot of money to go around in 2021 unless they extend Roethlisberger and push some money down the road, as he has a cap number of $41.25-million in 2021, but they have to consider the fact that Ben is nearing the end of his career and can't extend him too far.
Chicago's Allen Robinson could be the biggest WR fish to hit the open market.
The Bears will also be up against the cap in 2021 and it will be difficult to tag Robinson with the projected $16-million cap figure for wide receivers in 2021.
Robinson is 27-years old and is one of the top WR's in the league, but the Bears seem more intent on investing in their defense than they do in their offense.
Landing Allen Robinson in New England will certainly help an anemic positional group, and the Patriots will certainly have the cap space to make a serious run at his services.
The team will enter the 2021 league year with an expected $60-million in cap space, and that's more than enough to target an offensive weapon that hits free agency.
Robinson checks-in 27-years-old and 6' 2" and 220lbs and has consistently recorded #1 wide receiver stats throughout his career.
Houston's Will Fuller was in the midst of putting-up his best season this year, but it was derailed by a PED suspension after the Thanksgiving Day game vs the Lions where he put-up 171-yards receiving and two touchdowns.
Fuller was looking to play the first 16-game season of his career when he was suspended for six games, ending what was an impressive final year of his contract.
The asking price due to the suspension may have gone down enough to where the two sides can come to an agreement, but the team tried to trade him to the Packers before the deadline this year although the deal fell thru in the end. That could be a sign that the team is ready to move on.
Fuller is 26-years old and has decent size at 6' and 184-lbs, but the Patriots seem to have enough receivers at 6' or above. It's the proven play-making ability that would make Fuller a welcome addition to their passing attack.
One of the more intriguing options for the Patriots is the 6'3" 210lb Corey Davis from Tennessee. He is having a great year during the final one of his contract. The Titans elected not to pick-up the fifth year option at the end of his rookie contract and are probably regretting that decision.
Davis has the size and production to play on the outside at the "Z" or "Y" receiver positions, but has also been productive in the slot as the X receiver.
The Patriots may be in the market for a slot-receiver if Julian Edelman decides he's had enough and retires after this season.
The team may also decide to move-on from his $6.6-million cap number in 2021.
Even if he remains on the roster next season the team needs to plan on having to replace him at times due to his recent injury history.
When Edelman is on the field Davis will have no problem playing outside, and has shown a 2nd-gear in the open field. Nobody really knows Davis' 40-time since he didn't run at the combine or at his pro day at Western Michigan, but speed doesn't appear to be of any concern in the NFL and his athleticism is top-notch.
The Patriots will certainly be targeting at least one more weapon in the passing game this off-season. Whether those weapons will come from free agency or via a trade is anyone's guess - perhaps from both.
One thing we do know is that there will be good options for them to go after and they have the cap space to be very aggressive in their approach.
Whoever plays quarterback for them in 2021 is going to need the extra help with the addition of a couple more quality guys at the wide receiver position and perhaps we'll see that it turns-out to be one of the guys listed above.
A lot can change before the free-agent frenzy begins in March, so this topic will have to be revisited before then, but for now these guys are the one's that Patriots fans can plan on talking about in the off-season.