Ian Rapoport expects a 'big day' for the high-end free-agent wide receivers
Updated: Mar 18, 2021
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
There wasn't a lot of money dished out to wide receivers in the first two days of legal tampering and big-time free agent wide receivers are still out there. The new league year officially starts today at 4 p.m. and Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network expects things to heat up today for the high-end receivers.
So far, Nelson Agholor got $11 million per year (incentives can push to $13 million) with the Patriots and Corey Davis got $12.5 million with the Jets. Dianna Russini of ESPN reported yesterday that she spoke with a free-agent wide receiver who told her "the wide receiver market is really bad right now."
Russini said today that a general manager told her that a lot of the free-agent wide receivers are asking for double-digit money and not a lot of teams are biting, including his own.
A lot of teams probably think it's not worth it to pay a high price tag for a wide receiver, especially when they can just select a younger and cheaper talented receiver in the draft. And this year's draft class is loaded with special receivers.
Kenny Golladay, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Will Fuller, Curtis Samuel and T.Y. Hilton have yet to reach an agreement with a team. Golladay should be paid the most among this year's free-agent wide receivers.
So, will Smith-Schuster reach the $16.1 million per year market value that Spotrac listed? And if not, would he sign a one-year deal with a team as Mike Garafolo suggests in the clip below?
Rapoport has mentioned Smith-Schuster potentially signing a one-year deal on a couple of occasions as well. In an interview with Rich Eisen last week, Rapoport said he wouldn't be surprised if Smith-Schuster signed a one-year deal if he didn't get what he expected on the open market and come back next year when the cap increases significantly due to the new TV deals.
The Steelers can still restructure contracts with Stephon Tuitt and Chris Boswell, along with extending Steven Nelson and signing Joe Haden to a new deal to free up some cap space. They released Vince Williams as a cap casualty on Tuesday, which saved the team $4 million in cap space. As of right now, the Steelers have $3.6 million in cap space, according to Overthecap.com.
If the Steelers did some maneuvering with the cap, they could sign Smith-Schuster on a one-year deal worth 10 to $12 million. It would probably take cutting a vested veteran like David DeCastro or Joe Haden for it to happen, however. And that's really unlikely.
Smith-Schuster could sign a one-year deal with another team if the money is right, but I'm sure he would rather do it with the Steelers. Nevertheless, the result of where Smith-Schuster lands should be revealed soon as free agency officially begins at 4 p.m. today.