NFL Free Agency: Wide receiver market is not as deep as once thought

The top WRs who were set to hit the open market will likely not play for a different team in 2024.

NFC Divisional Playoffs - Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Detroit Lions
NFC Divisional Playoffs - Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Detroit Lions / Nic Antaya/GettyImages

Already, the top wide receivers who were set to hit the open market have been franchise-tagged or extended, so the WR market is not going to be as deep as once thought. Even just last month, the wide receiver free agent market was set to be exceptionally deep, but teams have sprung on getting their stud pass catchers far away from the FA market.

And now, all of a sudden, teams who were looking to spend some money on a free agent WR or two might not have nearly as many players to choose from. The Cincinnati Bengals and Indianapolis Colts each applied their franchise tag to their stud WRs, Tee Higgins and Michael Pittman Jr.

While a tag-and-trade could happen, both teams are surely eye-balling contract extensions for the players. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers recently re-signed Mike Evans on a two-year deal, locking him in Tampa Bay likely through the end of his lengthly prime in the NFL.

With the NFL gravitating toward offense with each passing year, the wide receiver position has become more and more valuable. And now, it's a prime, cornerstone position for teams. Teams who were hoping for a strong WR free agent market will now have guys like Calvin Ridley and Hollywood Brown highlighting the class.

Other options like DJ Chark, Curtis Samuel, Odell Beckham Jr, Tyler Boyd, Kendrick Bourne, and many others highlight respectable secondary options as well. Fortunately for teams who are looking for a boost at WR, the 2024 NFL Draft class is truly stacked at the position. In fact, Xavier Worthy, the speedster WR from Texas, recently set the all-time 40 yard dash record at the NFL Combine:

And honestly, it's probably best to draft and develop a young wide receiver instead of spending millions on one in free agency. That's how NFL teams sustain success; drafting and developing is the foundation of a strong, competitive roster. Frankly, free agency should really be viewed as a time period where NFL teams sign players to cover up their draft busts.

In 2024, we'll still see an active WR free agent market, and a ton of WRs will fly off the board early in the 2024 NFL Draft.