Evaluating the 2024 Wide Receiver Market

Evaluating the 2024 Wide Receiver Market

Our NFL Offseason Series continues with a look at the pending Wide Receiver market set to unfold next March, highlighted by the likes of Mike Evans (TB), Tee Higgins (CIN) & Michael Pittman Jr. (IND). Dive into our look at 10 receivers eyeing big paydays either from their current repsective teams, or on the open market in the coming months, plus a few notable names trending toward the Roster Bubble in 2024, and couple of situations to be monitored closely in the coming weeks.

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2024 Free Agent Wide Receivers
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Pending Free Agents

Mike Evans (Buccaneers, 30)

Market Value: $23.5M (4 years, $94M)

He just keeps doing it. Evans is on pace for his record-setting 10th straight 1,000 yard season in Tampa, who failed to reach an extension with their WR1 before the start of the 2023 season. He projects to a 4 year, $94M contract in our system as he heads toward free agency for the first time.

Michael Pittman Jr. (Colts, 26)

Market Value: $22.5M (4 years, $90M)

After a slow start to his career, Pittman has really come on strong as he approaches free agency for the first time - despite a world of inconsistency at the QB position in Indy. With Anthony Richardson the short term answer there, and Jonathan Taylor locked up for at least 2 more seasons, keeping Pittman in the fold seems a no-brainer for this franchise. It might take an overpay to do so however (upwards of $25M per year).

Tee Higgins (Bengals, 25)

Market Value: $16.5M (4 years, $66M)

A hamstring injury has dampened Higgins’ stock heading toward free agency, but there’s still a very real world where he’s identified as the best available pass catcher on the open market next March. With Joe Burrow under contract, and Ja'Marr Chase extension eligible this winter, can the Bengals find a way to fit it all in? 

Calvin Ridley (Jaguars, 28)

Market Value: $17M (4 years, $68M)

Ridley hasn’t consistently been able to stand out as a top weapon in Jacksonville, which follows suit to his time in Atlanta (behind future HOF Julio Jones). The good news? He’s finding the end zone, his Yards/Reception (14.1) are back near the top of the league, and he’s in an offense that can afford to keep him - and will continue to target him relentlessly. Ridley’s production aligns well with teammate Christian Kirk, whose $18M per year represented 8.6% of the 2022 salary cap. If we project this math out to 2024, Ridley could be seeking a $21M per year deal.

Marquise Brown (Cardinals, 26)

Market Value: $14.8M (4 years, $59.5M)

Brown hasn’t risen to WR1 levels despite a few opportunities to do so, but he’s been consistently productive as a player living a tier or so below that. There’s plenty of money to be had for living in that world. Will Arizona bring back Brown and pair him with the ultra dangerous Marvin Harrison Jr. next May? Kyler Murray probably votes yes.

Gabriel Davis (Bills, 24)

Market Value: $13.5M (4 years, $54M)

The advanced metrics have never been on his side, and the Bills Mafia has been trying to replace him from their couches for the better part of two seasons now, but Davis has shown plenty of flashes that he can be a capable 2nd or 3rd option in a top passing offense. He’s a $13.5M player in our system in his current role, but is there a world where he’s valued more with a change of scenery? Age is very much on his side for that here.

Noah Brown (Texans, 27)

Market Value: $5.6M (3 years, $16.8M)

The sample size this year is small (5 out of 12 weeks at the time of this piece), but all signs point to a considerable breakout from the former 7th round pick out of Dallas. Houston brought in Brown on a 1 year, $2.6M tender this March, but will likely need to triple that price to keep him around longer.

Tyler Boyd (Bengals, 29)

Market Value: $8.7M (3 years, $26M)

The 2016 2nd rounder is completing his 8th season in Cincinnati, proving to be as valuable as ever filling in for the injured Tee Higgins. With Joe Burrow now under contract, Ja’Mar Chase’s extension looming and Higgins/Boyd both slated for free agency this March - something is going to have to give. He’s an $8M-$9M player in our system, but Adam Thielen’s $14M guarantee should very much be in play here.

Odell Beckham, Jr. (Ravens, 31)

Market Value: $12M (1 year, $12M)

Beckham hasn’t been a huge part of the Baltimore offense from a numbers standpoint, but when asked to do a job - he’s more than responded. The 15.1 yards per catch is Top 20 in the league, but more importantly, the 30-something receiver can still create separation against top defenses. All of this added up is a good recipe for solid pay on the open market, though incentives and per game bonuses are likely to be a big part of any deal he signs from here out.

Curtis Samuel (Commanders, 27)

Market Value: $11.5M (3 years, $34.5M)

Samuel signed a 3 year, $34.5M free agent contract with Washington back in 2021. 2 ½ seasons later that’s exactly what the math says he could be eyeing next march on the open market. Early injuries really hampered his first impression in Washington, but the shifty, versatile receiver has really held up his end of the contract since then. 

Notable Bubble Potentials

Mike Williams (Chargers, 29)

Williams suffered a Torn ACL in Week 3, finishing his 2023 campaign and putting his contract on notice. The Chargers can free up $20M of cap space by moving on before March 15th.

Michael Gallup (Cowboys, 27)

Gallup’s role has been reduced immensely in 2023, the final year of his upfront guarantees. While a $9.5M cash salary/$13.85M cap hit in 2024 isn’t too daunting, the Cowboys are going to need to trim off some fat to hit big deals for Dak Prescott, CeeDee Lamb, and an offensive lineman or two. This is a tradable contract if he’s healthy next March.

Hunter Renfrow (Raiders, 27)

Renfrow’s cash and cap hits stay relatively neutral next year ($11.8M/$13.7M respectively), but he’s only been targeted 22 times in 12 games at the time of this piece. It seems the organization has already begun to write him off.

Allen Robinson (Steelers, 30)

Pittsburgh swapped 7th round picks to take a flier on Robinson this season, but he’s only been targeted 23 times at the time of this piece. It’s tough to imagine the franchise keeping him at a $10M cash, $12M cap hit next season.

Also Worth Mentioning

Davante Adams (Raiders, 30)

If the Raiders have to reset their coaching staff again after 2023, the core players are bound to get restless. Adams has already been linked to Aaron Rodgers and the Jets for 2024, so let’s at least play out that scenario financially. A Pre June 1st trade means $16.76M of cap loss for Las Vegas. In most cases, it would be recommended that they wait until June 1st, split up the $31.5M of dead cap across two years, and take the $23M+ of savings next season. But if the plan is to disengage, the smarter move may be to take as much dead weight on as possible next season, making it a purge year for the organization.

Stefon Diggs (Bills, 30)

There’s no world where Brandon Beane and the Bills want to remove Diggs from their roster anytime soon - but he’s one of the most competitive, outspoken players in the game. If the Bills’ 2023 campaign continues to nosedive, it wouldn’t be an ounce of surprise to learn that Diggs has requested a trade out of Buffalo at some point this offseason. With $31M dead cap against a $27.8M 2024 cap hit, it wouldn’t behoove the Bills to make any such move until after June 1st ($19M of savings at that point), so don’t expect this type of transaction to dominate the March wire - if at all.

Keenan Allen (Chargers, 31)

Allen is still producing at a ridiculous level, but he’ll be entering a contract year in 2024, set to earn $23.1M cash against a league-high $34.7M cap hit. With so many question marks surrounding this Chargers’ franchise heading into the offseason, will an extension for the near 32-year-old be in the cards? If not, trade talks could pick up steam sooner rather than later.