2022 Top 100 Free Agents

Just got updated today (1-10-2022)

Who you got?

I’ll take:

#8 - Marcus Williams (S) – APY $16 million
#45 - Steve Nelson (CB) – APY $7 million
#62 - Alexander Johnson (LB) – APY $6.5 million
#63 - Gerald Everett (TE) – APY $7.5 million

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I personally think PFF is a little rich on a lot of their contract projections. I thought the same last year, and that was mostly true. They had Golladay at 21.25mil AAV (signed 18mil), had Anthony Harris at 14mil AAV (signed 1 year 4mil), had Richard SHerman at 14mil AAV (signed one year 1.35mil), Had Will Fuller at 17.5 AAV (signed one year 10mil), and had John Johnson at 13.75mil (signed for 11.25mil).

Point being PFF is a little high in most of their projections, and especially high at projecting safeties. I love Marcus Williams, but he has never made a Pro Bowl or All-Pro squad. I think he is Pro Bowl worthy and had a case a couple years, but he has never made one. I personally he settles in right around 14mil AAV which is a little less than what Justin Simmons got from Denver recently. As far as my targets, they are.


Williams has been the one continuous thread in a secondary that has experienced some changes over the years, and perhaps we’re now at the point where we need to give him some more credit for keeping everything in front of him on the backend. The Saints have prioritized free-agent spending and drafting in the secondary, so we’re not suggesting Williams is playing in a weak group, but he has graded above 70.0 for five years in a row now as the free safety manning the deep third of the field. He’ll still be just 26 years old in Week 1 of 2022 after playing on the franchise tag and should have offers to become one of the highest-paid safeties in the NFL.

-Performs well in all facets

-Can struggle for physicality
-Inconsistent matched up in man coverage

Scheme Fit/Role:
VERSATILE FS: Marcus Williams has been a consistently impressive player for the Saints in his NFL career. He has been the team’s free safety and is excellent in zones at all levels of the coverage. He would be a good starting safety in any scheme but fits best in a defense that plays with two high safeties, such as Atlanta’s or Houston’s.

Recent Injury History:
Williams has been remarkably injury-free in his NFL career and has little concern in that area.

Contract Projection: Four years, $64.5 million ($16.125M per year, $35 million total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
Williams was excellent as a rookie before being the player embarrassed on the “Minneapolis Miracle” play by the Vikings. Since then, he has continued to excel and would be a good starting free safety for much of the NFL.


Reddick has successfully transitioned from off-ball linebacker to edge rusher, so it’s now just a question of how high his ceiling can be. He is a bit undersized as a full-time outside linebacker at 6-foot-1, 235 pounds, but he has a knack for bringing the quarterback, and his 22 sacks since 2020 are the fourth-most among edge rushers. Reddick can also set the edge moderately well in run defense and has put up a 68.9 grade through Week 13 of the 2021 season.

– Explosive first step + quickness
– Wins tend to result in big plays
– Speed in pursuit

– Size
– Counters after tackles engage

Scheme Fit/Role:
OUTSIDE LINEBACKER IN AGGRESSIVE DEFENSE: Reddick is at his best on blitz-heavy defenses like Carolina’s and Arizona’s that can create unblocked opportunities and pass-rushing reps against tight ends and running backs. Reddick hasn’t matched his 2020 pass-rushing production this year for the Panthers, but he has earned positive grades against the run at one of the highest rates at the position.

Recent Injury History:
Reddick missed the first game of his career since he was drafted in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft on the COVID-19 list late this year. He’s played 600-plus defensive snaps for the fourth consecutive season.

Contract Projection: Three years, $35 million ($11.67M per year, $18 million total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
Few edge rushers have sacked opposing quarterbacks at a higher rate than Reddick since the start of the 2020 season. His size limits what he can do schematically, but we’ve seen that a blitz-heavy defense can make use of his first step and quickness off the edge.


Chark’s relationship with new head coach Urban Meyer didn’t get off to the best start, as Meyer said he was a “big guy that played little.” In a wide receiver room devoid of top-end talent, Chark was supposed to be that guy. Unfortunately, an ankle injury sustained in Week 4 knocked him out for the remainder of what has been quite the eventful season in Jacksonville. Chark may look to depart for greener pastures, and there should be a handful of teams interested in adding a 6-foot-4 wide receiver with 4.3-second speed.

-Ball skills and body control

-Physicality running routes
-Feel for zone coverage
-Contested catches

Scheme Fit/Role:
DEEP THREAT/NO. 3 RECEIVER: Chark has the speed to burn and an excellent frame to give defensive backs all kinds of problems at the catch point or if he can gain any separation in his route. He has the speed to run away from defenders after the catch but struggles to set up corners or win against physicality. His speed should always be valuable and a team like New Orleans could use that threat.

Recent Injury History:
Chark has had a pretty extensive injury history including missing almost all of the 2021 season with an ankle injury. He has a slight frame and has shown a concerning level of durability.

Contract Projection: Three years, $40 million ($13.33M per year, $22.5 million total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
Injuries will scare teams off Chark as will the weaknesses in his game, but he has game-changing speed and is a little more than just a one-trick pony on the deep ball, and that always has a place in an NFL offense. He will be a luxury pick for a team that already has a solid receiving corps.


Fatukasi plays on the defensive line alongside recently extended defensive lineman John Franklin-Myers, and the Jets also have 2019 No. 3 overall pick Quinnen Williams’ next contract to think about in the not-so-distant future. Still, Fatukasi has been one of the league’s best, if unheralded, nose tackles over the past few years, with run defense grades of 87.6 in 2019 and 86.2 in 2020. He’s added to his repertoire as well, with 14 quarterback pressures on 226 pass-rush snaps so far in 2021, beating his previous career-high of 12. Fatukasi’s play the rest of the season may dictate how much he ultimately gets on the open market and whether the Jets or someone else will be paying.

-Run-game disruptor

-Gets caught upfield vs. run

Scheme Fit/Role:
EARLY-DOWN RUN DEFENDER: Fatukasi was one of the best run defenders in college football at UConn, and he’s developed into one of the NFL’s best over the last three years. He has never provided much as a pass-rusher, but he’s among the league’s best at disrupting the run game when lined up over guards and centers.

Recent Injury History:
Fatukasi has remained healthy during his time in the NFL while topping out with 507 snaps played in 2020.

Contract Projection: Three years, $25 million ($8.33 million per year, $15 million total guaranteed)

Bottom Line:
There are limitations to Fatukasi’s game, and he’ll likely never be a true three-down player, but his power and block shedding ability make him one of the best in the league against the run.


The Giants inexplicably traded Hill and a seventh-round pick for Cincinnati Bengals center Billy Price right before the 2021 season, and Hill has excelled with more opportunities on a less-crowded defensive line alongside nose tackle D.J. Reader. Hill is a solid all-around three-technique with the ability to generate relatively consistent pressure on the quarterback from the interior. With increased playing time, he has a career-high 76.6 overall grade through Week 12, and his five quarterback hits are one fewer than he had in his first three seasons combined.

– Run defense
– Strength
– Rarely misses tackles

– Hasn’t been a regular starter since his rookie season
– Only an average pass-rusher

Scheme Fit/Role:
RUN-STUFFING INTERIOR DEFENSIVE LINEMAN: Hill began his career stuck in a crowded interior defensive line rotation in New York with the likes of Dalvin Tomlinson, Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams, prompting the trade to Cincinnati. He has been a positive force against the run while producing pressure at a middling rate with both teams.

Recent Injury History:
Hill has appeared in every game since being selected in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He is one of the more durable defensive linemen in the NFL, albeit in a rotational role.

Contract Projection: Three years, $26.25 million ($8.75M per year, $14.5M total guaranteed

Bottom Line:
The fact that Hill hasn’t started many games in his first four seasons doesn’t mean he can’t be a starting defensive tackle for a team with a need at the position. He’s a plus run defender who isn’t a non-factor in the passing game.


The Los Angeles Rams run defense took a big hit for a few weeks following an unfortunate torn pectoral sustained by Joseph-Day in Week 7, but reports have indicated he may return for the playoffs. His ability to eat up space on the interior and free up other rushers will be valued across the league.

– Major disruptor against the run
– Speed and power to win against guards and centers alike
– Good hands; he is a pocket-crusher on pass rushes

-Limited value on third down
-Lack of explosiveness off the ball
-Pressure conversion rate is low

Scheme Fit/Role:
EARLY DOWN NOSE TACKLE: Joseph-Day is made for the bear front and 3-4 trend we’ve seen spreading back across the league. If the Rams can’t afford to retain him, The Los Angeles Chargers are in desperate need of interior run-stoppers.

Recent Injury History:
Joseph-Day has been out since Week 8 with a pectoral injury. He was placed on injured reserve and is having the pec surgically repaired.

Contract Projection: Three years, $30 million ($10M per year), $17.5 million total guaranteed

Bottom Line:
Joseph-Day hasn’t had the hardest job in the NFL, given that he’s been playing next to Aaron Donald, but he provides positive value to any run defense. If he’s blocked one-on-one, expect him to win most of those reps.


Williams was on a tear to start the 2021 season, with his 78.8 grade through Week 5 ranking fifth among tight ends and his 8.0 yards after the catch per reception sixth. Williams has always been a strong blocker too, as his 82.3 run-blocking grade since 2017 is the third-best mark among tight ends with at least 100 run-blocking snaps over the five-year stretch. An ACL tear is never a good thing, but he suffered the injury in early October and should be mostly recovered by Week 1, 2022.

-Run blocking
-Short-area receiver

-Never been a high-volume pass-catcher

Scheme Fit/Role:
HIGH-END NO. 2 TIGHT END: While Williams has all the skills to be a No. 1 tight end, we’ve never seen him as a high-volume pass catcher and he’s struggled to stay on the field. However, Williams is one of the league’s best run-blockers and is sure-handed and capable of working the middle of the field as a No. 2 option with No. 1 tight end skills.

Recent Injury History:
Williams has had an injury-riddled career, most recently missing most of 2021 with a knee injury. An ankle injury limited him to just nine games in 2020, and 2019 is the only year Williams has played in every game.

Contract Projection: Three years, $18.75 million ($6.25M per year), $10 million total guaranteed

Bottom Line:
Keeping Williams on the field is the biggest question mark, and he’s currently recovering from a season-ending knee injury. When healthy, Williams is a factor in the run game and a dependable pass-catcher. He could add sneaky value as a No. 2 option if he can stay healthy.


Alie-Cox has put together an extremely impressive first four years of his NFL career considering he was a college basketball player at VCU before converting to tight end and playing organized football for the first time since his freshman year of high school. He’s still learning the nuances of the game but hasn’t let that slow him down, with four straight seasons grading above 65.0. Operating behind Jack Doyle has limited Alie-Cox’s receiving production, but perhaps he could become more of a focal point going forward.

-Exploiting zone coverage

-Separating vs. man coverage
-Never had a high-volume role

Scheme Fit/Role:
ALL-AROUND TE: Alie-Cox has never played a huge role within an offense, but there’s evidence to suggest he could be a successful No. 1 for many teams. He blocks well and has great hands and excellent after-the-catch skills. His separation in man coverage isn’t great, but he finds space easily in zone coverage to offset that weakness.

Recent Injury History:
Alie-Cox has not had any notable injuries recently. In 2020, he dealt with a lingering knee injury that kept him on the injury report but not out of games.

Contract Projection: Three years, $21 million ($7M per year), $10 million total guaranteed

Bottom Line:
Alie-Cox is a player long on talent who has yet to take over as a true No. 1 option at the position. He has some weaknesses to his game but is still worth a bigger role than he has received so far.

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I would be interested in all the guys above. Obviously wouldn’t sign all, just guys I would look into. A lot of those contract values are a bit unreasonable, IMO. A guy like Mo-Alie Cox is not getting 7mil AAV, and neither is Maxx WIlliams. Also think DJ Chark is way high and wouldn’t touch him anywhere close to that. Also think all three D-Lineman are estimated high with 6-7mil AAV being the high end of any one of their contracts.

What are Brad Holmes tendencies? Are there any recognizable patterns after 1 calendar year with the Lions?

  1. Redemption/Resurrection - Castaway’s, chip-on-the-shoulder, or has-been players. (Ty Williams, Perriman, Charles Harries, Kalif Raymond, J.Williams, D.Marlowe). You want a chance to revive your career…Detroit may be an appealing destination to a potential free agent?

  2. Speed - Every WR we signed ran a sub 4.5 forty. (D.J. Chark Jr. may be a target?) Amon-Ra St. Brown ran an unofficial 4.51, damn close.

  3. 1 and done contracts. Dead money from Stafford, combined with the uncertainty of the pandemic may have crippled Holmes ability to sign or target more long term players. Not this year. Holmes has a clearer vision of this roster after 1 season with much more financial leverage to swing around the Free Agent market. I expect a more long term, aggressive approach in March.

  4. Draft tendency - All 7 of our draft picks in 2021 came from a Power 5 conference. Find all the 2022 draft eligible players from the Power 5 conferences, and you will find our entire 2022 Lions draft class on that list. Bank it!


Pistons titles have come from this!

Nice post ,man


Man watching him drop passes that turn into interceptions over and over again, I don’t think I’d touch him.


I think the majority of that had to do with a roster that literally needed every position with limited cap space. You will see a lot less of that in 2022. I think they will go into FA with a very specific plan and a select few targets. The majority of coaching staffs and front office target familiarity and these guys have key ties to several organizations (Cleveland, New Orleans, and Rams). Guys like Marcus Williams, Larry Ogunjobi, Joseph Day, Darious Williams, Anthony Walker, etc.

I also think Campbell and Holmes value character very highly. They want guys who are dedicated and love football. Guys like Odell Beckham won’t be an option.


Wonder if a guy like Leighton Vander esch would fall under point 1

I think it’s tough to say after only a year, especially considering the position they were in. Like, maybe all those one-and-done contracts were the result of us being at the beginning of a rebuild with a lot of bad contracts on the books etc… Same with the reclamation projects.


I think Marcus Williams has a strong potential to be a Lion next season. Seems like an easy way to plug a major hole on the roster so you can focus on other needs in the draft. He is still young and knows the scheme / coaching staff.

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-Marcus Williams probably spent 5,000 hours in the film room and on the practice field with his position coach…Aaron Glenn. A big contract and Aaron Glenn are why Williams is dressed in a Lions uniform next season.

-Steve Nelson got tossed to the curb by the Pittsburgh Steelers, rejecting his request for a long term contract. Played across from Pro-Bowler Darius Slay all season for a measly $2.5 million. Chip on the shoulder? Prove some people wrong? Steve Nelson is that guy “feisty and physical”

-Alexander Johnson 30 year old LB

“There is a four-year hole in Johnson’s career because of rape charges that he was later acquitted of”

Incredible story from Alexander Johnson. “Welcome to Detroit!” Dan Campbell shouts!

-Gerald Everett and Holmes have obvious ties. A real offensive threat to pair with Hockenson. Multi-positional and would fit perfect into our offense. Followed Waldron (Seahawks OC) from LA to Seattle. Waldron may be gone after 1 year with that horrible Seattle offense. Everett may be looking for a new home also.

#90 is safety Jayron Kearse, they are predicting him to be in the 3 year $15 million range. Our Walker didn’t make the list, is he going to do better than that?

This is the guy I want to target… DI FOLORUNSO FATUKASI , NEW YORK JETS

Also, MLB Joesy Jewell. Injured this year with a torn pectoral, he had 113 tackles in 2020. We HAVE to shut down the run, with Fatukasi and Jewell it’s a big leap forward.

That’s a lot of money for Williams, but if they go that route we should see some instant benefits. WR is still a big question mark at this point. Deep draft at TE so I would look to the draft. CB, for me, is as deep a position as we have on the team right now so I wouldn’t use FA money to go after one.

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I like Fatukasi from the Jets as well. Already very good against the run, but is developing as a pass rusher. Will not be overly expensive either. Is still young so he may keep developing, but is already a + starter, IMO.

I like Jewell too. Injuries will keep his value down, but he has been solid when healthy and should come relatively cheap.

I’d love Mo Allie-Cox but I think he’ll have offers to start


I’m shocked Tracy Walker isnt on that list. The early talk this year about him being an “elite safety” and putting him in the conversation of franchise tag were clearly off base… but still he seems in line to get at least 5-7 mil a year which should put him on that list. Especially given his age.

I know people love Marcus Williams, and I completely understand why. However for the same money you could probably re-sign Walker and bring Diggs back home. I’d rather have that combo personally over a rookie or journeyman plus Williams.

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Yeah I’m on board with that. Would complement Aman-Ra I think.

I’m surprised you don’t have a WR. I think most everyone agrees we need at least one WR better than anyone we currently have, and it’s hard to ask that of a rookie WR no matter how promising. So I don’t think we’re drafting a guy who can play that #1 role in 2022. We’ll need a FA, no?

Sammy Watkins is interesting. Christian Kirk…has some great speed. I don’t think this Offense is missing (or needs) and #1 WR. What we specifically need is a vertical threat. A field stretcher. We have the underneath/RAC weapons (Sun God, Swifty, Hock). We don’t put any deep threat/vertical pressure on the defense. The player doesn’t have to catch 90 passes for 1200 yards and 12 TD’s. They need to be a compliment to our other Offensive weapons.

The kid out of Alabama (Metchie) looks like a good fit in this Offense. He can separate and stretch the field. And Cephus should be a contributor in 2022, if he stays healthy

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