Landing spots for top 25 free agents, plus clubs most desperate for franchise QB and NFC East team needs

Hello everyone, and happy Wednesday. John Breech is taking a break to petition the USFL to add a Cincinnati franchise as a farm team for the Bengals, so I, Cody Benjamin, am here to guide you all on the latest from around the NFL.

This is the Pick Six Newsletter. Now let’s get to it. (And please, do yourself a favor and make sure you’re signed up to receive this newsletter every day! You don’t want to miss our daily offerings of everything you need to know around the NFL.)

We’ve got lots of free agency buzz and predictions, trade proposals and much more:

  1. Today’s show: Forecasting deals, landing spots for top 25 free agents

Allen Robinson
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John Breech joined Will Brinson on Wednesday’s “Pick Six NFL Podcast” to break down the top 25 free agents of the 2022 offseason, discussing everything from potential contracts to logical landing spots. Some highlights:

Catch the full discussion (and subscribe for all kinds of daily NFL content) right here.

2. Matt Ryan among star players who should be traded

If your favorite team isn’t going shopping in free agency, it might still have a shot at a big name via trade. We’ve identified eight different star players who could — and should — be on the move this offseason. One of the biggest: Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. Here’s a quick rundown from our full list of big-name trade candidates:

He’s a lifelong Falcon who loves Atlanta, and coach Arthur Smith prefers he stick around, but this isn’t an exercise in sentiment. Is Ryan still good? Yes. Does he fully belong on this team? No. Sure, the division may open up with Tom Brady and Sean Payton gone, but there’s a difference between capitalizing with a wild-card game and capitalizing with a Lombardi. Ryan is entering his age-37 season more suited for a Matthew Stafford-like sendoff to sunnier, win-now pastures. Somebody would buy him as a starter, right after watching the Stafford gamble work wonders. Get that first-round compensation while you can! The Falcons would be saving $8M by trading Ryan, not to mention another $28M+ in 2023.

3. Insider notes: Bucs, Steelers most desperate for QB help

Mike Tomlin

Plenty of teams would welcome an upgrade under center. But which ones are most desperate to make something happen this offseason? CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora has identified which clubs could be most aggressive, with these four up top:

  • Steelers: Pittsburgh doesn’t give off the air of being in a QB pickle, and Mason Rudolph continues to be propped up, but this team can’t afford to waste the blue-chip talent it has on defense.
  • BuccaneersGoing from defending a Lombardi Trophy to waving goodbye to Tom Brady is a lot to swallow. And even with their cap issues, and a roster purge, there will still be abundant talent here and the NFC South will be up for grabs.
  • PanthersYou can almost feel the organization sweating all as one while owner David Tepper frets about all the mistakes they have made at this position already. Jobs are on the line there. If they took (a QB) sixth overall, few would be surprised.
  • Saints: I’d be all over keeping Jameis Winston. Taysom Hill ain’t it, I know that much. I could see Mitchell Trubisky here, too.

4. Projecting WR market: Davante Adams headlines 2022 class

This year’s crop of free-agent pass catchers is fairly deep, with a slew of No. 1 targets set to hit the market. Who headlines the class? What kind of money can we expect the top targets to reel in? And which teams will be the most aggressive suitors? Tyler Sullivan broke down the best of the class, with Packers star Davante Adams leading the list:

Davante Adams is set to see a massive payday that could very well reset the free agent market at his position … His free agency is poised to be a fascinating turn of events, as it could very well be linked to whatever the future has in store for Aaron Rodgers. If the reigning league MVP decides he wants to play somewhere other than the Green Bay Packers, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Adams attempt to follow him and continue what is the best QB-WR combo in the league. Of course, Rodgers staying in Green Bay could also push Adams to return as well. Outside of Rodgers, the Raiders could be an intriguing match for Adams, as he would reunite with his college teammate, Derek Carr, under new head coach Josh McDaniels.

5. NFC East offseason priorities: Cowboys must fix O-line

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What do the Commanders, Cowboys, Eagles and Giants need to do this offseason? Patrik Walker examined each of the NFC East contenders’ top needs, and to him, the main issue in Dallas is clear, and it starts up front.

Having squandered a shot at making a deep playoff run with a roster that was absolutely loaded on both offense and defense, but seeing both Kellen Moore and Dan Quinn stay put, the Cowboys enter the offseason with a long list of very talented free agents, and they can’t keep them all. Assuming they don’t make the mistake of creating a need at the EDGE by moving on from All-Pro pass rusher DeMarcus Lawrence (something not currently in the plans) and are able to retain Randy Gregory — be it with a franchise tag, transition tag or new deal — they’ll have a chance to focus on the biggest need in Dallas: fixing the offensive line.

6. 2022 mock draft: Panthers add WR, Giants prioritize trenches

Free agency is right around the corner, which means so is the draft. Here’s a sneak peek at Chris Trapasso’s latest 2022 first-round mock, with a look at his new top 10:

  1. Jaguars: Alabama OT Evan Neal
  2. Lions: Notre Dame S Kyle Hamilton
  3. Texans: Michigan DE Aidan Hutchinson
  4. Jets: NC State OT Ikem Ekwonu
  5. Giants: Mississippi State OT Charles Cross
  6. Panthers: USC WR Drake London
  7. Giants: Oregon DE Kayvon Thibodeaux
  8. Falcons: LSU CB Derek Stingley Jr.
  9. Broncos: Georgia DL Travon Walker
  10. Jets: Ohio State WR Garrett Wilson

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