2023 NFL free agency: Wide receiver market not strong?

NFL Draft (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
NFL Draft (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

The wide receiver market in the 2023 free agency period does not appear to be very strong, but who headlines the coming class?  For teams who need a wide receiver, it might be smart to look to the trade market or the 2023 NFL Draft.

Like, the coming class is not good.

I think there are some solid contributors that can help fill out rosters, but for teams who need a true difference maker, it would be best to see how the trade market shakes up, because I think there could be some very quality veterans available there.

Let’s look a bit deeper in the wide receiver market in free agency.

2023 NFL free agency: Wide receiver market not strong?

The top dogs – JuJu Smith-Schuster, Jakobi Meyers, Allen Lazard

These are the players that headline the market in free agency.  Meyers would probably be my top preference here, as Smith Schuster has been up and down and I believe Meyers to be a more consistent player.

Lazard is fine.  He did have 788 receiving yards this year and is a big-bodied target, so he could be an attractive player to some.  There really is nothing wrong with any of these top targets.  None of them have much to offer as a WR1, but inserting them into a lineup as the WR2 or 3 could be a very nice boost to the offense.

The average middle – Darius Slayton, Parris Campbell, Marvin Jones, DJ Chark, Noah Brown

If a team is looking for another veteran body at wide receiver as someone who can occasionally provide, then the average middle group is for you.

Aside from DJ Chark, who is a former 1,000 yard receiver, there really isn’t much to write home about with these players.  Parris Campbell is a very interesting player, as he struggled to stay on the field until this year and does come with quite a bit of speed.

Teams looking for a deep threat like that could target Campbell or Chark.

Slayton and Brown are respectable veteran targets who are best suited in a WR3 type of role.

None of these players will sign big deals, and I’m not sure any of them in this tier would be able to sign somewhere for more than a year.

The rest – Richie James, Deandre Carter, Olamide Zaccheaus, Demarcus Robinson, among others

The rest of the free agent wide receivers worth typing about are likely going to be late free agency gets for teams who may have a roster spot or two open.  These players could also slide in late in free agency in place of draft picks who are perhaps slower to develop and learn the ropes than their teams hoped.

Again, you are likely getting much from these players but Richie James, for example, did have 569 yards and four touchdowns this year catching passes from Daniel Jones.

As for the potential trade market, guys like DeAndre Hopkins, Brandin Cooks, and Mike Evans could all be moved this offseason.

We’ve seen major WR trades last offseason with the likes of Tyreek Hill and Davante Adams.  We’ll see what happens with the wide receiver market this year.