The Detroit Lions’ decision not to place the franchise tag on star wide receiver Kenny Golladay was among the biggest stories of the past week around the NFL.
Coming off a five-win season, Detroit really doesn’t have the luxury of letting its best skill-position player depart in free agency. That’s especially true with new quarterback Jared Goff in need of more help on offense. Alas, that’s where the Lions are at in their rebuild under new head coach Dan Campbell and general manager Brad Holmes.
With Kenny Golladay now set to likely leave once the NFL free agent market opens up, we are hearing some rumors about where he might end up. Two AFC East rivals lead the pack.
New York Jets and Miami Dolphins favorites to land star WR Kenny Golladay
“Kenny Golladay will receive the payday he expects when he hits free agency,” Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network reported on Sunday. “League insiders tell me the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins are expected to lead the charge for his services.”
It’s not a surprise that these two division rivals are interested in the 27-year-old Pro Bowler. Despite injury issues this past season, Golladay has proven himself to be a capable No. 1 receiving option.
From 2018-19, the former Northern Illinois star caught a combined 135 passes for 2,253 yards and 16 touchdowns. He’s just now hitting his prime, too.
NFL rumors have linked the Dolphins to Kenny Golladay and other top-end receivers on the free agent market. So, it’s not a surprise that they are seen as one of the favorites to land him. Miami currently finds itself $33.08 million under the 2021 NFL salary cap. It has the room to add Golladay to the mix.
As for the Jets, they are in a different situation. It’s not yet known whether general manager Joe Douglas will trade former No. 3 pick Sam Darnold ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft.
With the quarterback situation unsettled, it remains to be seen how much actual interest Golladay might have in heading to Jersey. It’s possible that the Jets, loaded with $69.89 million in cap room, could simply overpay for the receiver. If it becomes clear that BYU quarterback Zach Wilson is the Jets’ choice at No. 2 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, things would also change dramatically on this front.
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What type of contract is Kenny looking at during NFL free agency?
An NFL free agency period that’s not going to be friendly to players could also play a crucial role here. The 2021 salary cap was set at $182.5 million, much lower than last season. That’s due to the revenue downfall created by COVID-19.
Typically, someone of Golladay’s caliber would be looking at $18 million annually on a five-year deal. That would put him on pace with Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill and Odell Beckham Jr. of the Cleveland Browns.
Unfortunately, we just don’t have any idea what type of market free agents are going to be met with. As of right now, only 12 teams have north of $30 million to spend against the NFL salary cap. That could impact Kenny Golladay, among other top-end free agents.
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