2022 Free Agency Primer: Big Name Quarterbacks and Tight Ends
We conclude our early 2022 free agency primer with a look at the biggest quarterbacks and tight ends to keep an eye on this offseason.
While there could be a ton of quarterback movement coming this offseason with players like Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson, none of the marquee names are free agents as of now. However, there are still some intriguing names hitting the open market this spring.
Tight end doesn’t get much more intriguing, as there are a variety of aging veterans hitting free agency at fantasy’s weakest position. Let’s dig into the upcoming free agent classes at these respective positions:
2022 Free Agent Quarterbacks to Monitor
Winston had been somewhat erratic before suffering a season-ending injury. He finished the year with 1,170 yards, 14 touchdowns and three interceptions as Sean Payton was able to curb the poor decision making that had plagued him throughout his career. Now, the Saints have a decision to make at quarterback after barely missing the playoffs with Taysom Hill and Trevor Siemian starting games. Winston is still a capable starting quarterback, but he’s still hard to trust from a fantasy perspective.
Prediction: Saints move on from Winston, who signs elsewhere with a chance to compete for a starting gig.
Bridgewater’s debut season in Denver ended with an injury. But I’m not sure Bridgewater will be anything more than a backup going forward after finishing as the QB23 in fantasy this year. Bridgewater simply just isn’t a great starter.
Prediction: Bridgewater joins a new team as a capable backup.
Newton’s homecoming to Carolina was a disaster. He completed just 54.8% of his passes for 684 yards, four touchdowns and five interceptions. His five rushing TDs made him somewhat viable as a starter, but the Panthers went 0-5 in his starts. Newton seems to be finished.
Prediction: Newton goes through the summer unsigned and ultimately retires.
2022 Free Agent Tight Ends to Monitor
Schultz is probably going to get a nice raise after making just $728,000 in 2021. Schultz was this season’s version of Robert Tonyan from 2020, hauling in 808 yards and eight touchdowns to finish as the TE3. But if we learned anything from Tonyan, it’s that 2021 is probably Schultz’s peak season. First, he probably won’t be brought back by Dallas, who will enter the offseason in salary cap hell. And it’ll be hard to find a better situation around him than Dallas’ passing game.
It’ll be interesting to see what Gronk does after this season. If the Buccaneers repeat as Super Bowl champions, it wouldn’t be stunning to see both him and Tom Brady ride off into retirement on top. Part of Gronkowski’s status is tied to Brady, obviously. But he’s proven to be a valuable fantasy asset still, finishing as the TE9 despite missing six games.
Prediction: Gronkowski returns to Tampa Bay on a one-year deal and is mid-range TE1 as long as Brady’s around.
Gesicki is an interesting case who has been a favorite within the fantasy community for a couple of years. Gesicki finished as the TE11 in 2021, his third straight year finishing as a TE1. But with a new administration taking over in Miami, it’ll be interesting to see whether he’s retained.
Prediction: Gesicki stays in Miami and remains a low-end TE1.
Tonyan’s 2021 season was a disaster. He played only eight games and had just 204 yards and two touchdowns in those games. With Green Bay facing a $41 million cap deficit, Tonyan might not be retained.
Prediction: Tonyan moves on from Green Bay, but never comes close to his 2020 campaign.
The fact that Ertz finished as the TE10 in standard leagues is a telling sign of how weak this position is. Ertz is clearly on the downswing of his career, but he had 50+ receiving yards in five of his 11 games after being traded to the Cardinals. The Cardinals have the cap space to bring Ertz back.
Prediction: Ertz returns to Arizona, but is merely a low-end TE1 at best in fantasy.
If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup, based on accurate consensus projections – to our Waiver Wire Assistant – that allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team and by how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.