The 2022 football season has featured several franchises executing trades to upgrade their receiver room. From the NFL free agency period to the NFL draft and the trade deadline, we’ve seen a flurry of activity from teams trying to land an impact pass-catcher.
Some might argue that we’ve seen more transactions than usual.
Here’s just a quick rundown of some of the receivers who have changed teams in the past year.
- Davante Adams
- Tyreek Hill
- A.J. Brown
- Amari Cooper
- Christian Kirk
- Juju Smith-Schuster
- Julio Jones
- Robert Woods
- Kadarius Toney
- Chase Claypool
- Calvin Ridley
That’s a lot of No. 1 and No. 2 NFL receivers switching teams. This doesn’t even count six first-round receivers, and seven more second-round picks spent during the 2022 NFL Draft.
While the modern NFL does feature a much deeper pool of talent at the receiver position, thanks in large part to the advancement of the passing attack at the college level, it does feel like more roster movement than usual. One NFL general manager who has a good feel for the situation provided some insight on why they think teams have been so active.
NFL GM says ‘there’s almost nothing out there’
Perhaps one reason why teams have been so eager to trade their future draft picks for proven talent is because they don’t think highly of the upcoming receiver market heading into the 2023 offseason.
Jason La Canfora of The Washington Post was able to get one unnamed NFL GM who’s been working on his free agency plan to open up about the lack of receiver talent expected to be available.
“There’s almost nothing out there. They’re all already been traded and signed to new contracts or signed extensions with the teams that drafted them.”Anonymous GM on depleted market for wide receivers
Some of the same names who were available last offseason will be once again on the open market, or at least they could be.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, for example, who signed a one-year contract with the Kansas City Chiefs, is set for unrestricted free agency. He’ll still be just 27 next season and has recorded 850 yards and three touchdowns in 13 games, but he’s also catching passes from Patrick Mahomes, who’s on pace to finish just shy of the NFL’s all-time single-season passing yardage record.
Some other names on the free agent market are led by Julio Jones, D.J. Chark, Jakobi Meyers, Darius Slayton, and Allen Lazard.
Not exactly gamebreaking weapons or No. 1 options. In turn, teams will have to do what they did last season, combing the upcoming list of 2023 NFL Draft prospects, hoping to identify the next playmaking receiver capable of turning their offense around.
Even then, we’ve seen teams get desperate and make trade offers that are too good to refuse. If Kyler Murray’s ACL injury keeps him out for a large portion of the season, it’s possible a player like DeAndre Hopkins requests a trade to a win-now situation in his age-31 season. The Los Angeles Rams could be another team to keep an eye on, and maybe even the Tampa Bay Buccaneers depending on their QB situation.
But as of now, the situation for teams looking to add an impact pass-catcher looks pretty bleak, according to one NFL GM.