The demand for a wide receiver has reached a fever pitch in more recent years, and the 2024 NFL Draft is slated to be one of the best times to draft a big-time playmaker. Some teams are in a better position to draft a rookie pass-catcher than others. But the current free agent market is far from a bad place to bring in established veterans to bolster a team’s offense in the next regular season.
There are quite a few names set to become free agents in 2024. Here are a few standout playmakers that could catch the eye of teams around the league.
The Top Five Free Agent Wide Receivers
1. Tee Higgins: Cincinnati Bengals
Tee Higgins, along with Ja’Marr Chase and Tyler Boyd, formed one of the most effective wide receiver cores in the NFL. The longevity of the core is not great, however, with both Higgins and Boyd currently sitting as unrestricted free agents.
Plus, Bengals offensive coordinator, Brian Callahan, has become the new head coach of the Tennessee Titans starting in the 2024 season, causing further uncertainty in Cincinnati. Though Higgins’ production took a hit in 2023, he has all the makings of a WR1 in the big leagues.
2. Mike Evans: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Mike Evans has put together a Hall-of-Fame-worthy resume throughout his career with the Bucs. Compiling over 1,000 receiving yards in every single season of his career is nothing to sneeze at, and he helped guide Tampa Bay to a playoff run that few expected.
Evans has spoken in favor of staying a Buccaneer, despite not receiving new offers as of now. But Tampa has very limited cap room to work with and cannot keep everyone on their entire playoff roster around.
3. Gabe Davis: Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills’ aerial attack boasts no shortage of weapons, including Stefan Diggs, Dawson Knox, and newcomer Dalton Kincaid. Not to mention Khalil Shakir put the league on notice and was vital to Buffalo’s late-season push for a playoff spot.
Gabe Davis has the tools to be the main playmaker on an NFL team. But there is only so much room on the roster, and Diggs has become the star of the show. Teams from around the NFL should look into courting Davis as a go-to ace.
4. Calvin Ridley: Jacksonville Jaguars
Following his return from a season-long suspension in 2022, many critics called Calvin Ridley’s effectiveness into question. Needless to say, Ridley showed a convincing return to form, eclipsing 1,000 receiving yards and tallying eight touchdowns as a Jacksonville Jaguar.
Jacksonville, meanwhile, will need to return to the drawing boards after a late-season collapse that resulted in losing their spot on top of the AFC South and the AFC Playoff bracket. Hopefully, the Jaguars can find a way to convince Ridley to stay for their quest to bounce back.
5. Michael Pittman Jr.: Indianapolis Colts
The Shane Steichen tenure in Indianapolis got off on the right foot in 2023, and Michael Pittman Jr. was a key component in taking Indianapolis from 4-12-1 in 2022 to going 9-8 the next season. Pittman cashed in career bests in receptions and receiving yards in the most recent campaign. But The Colts will have to create ways to keep #11 around.
With no talks over contract extensions to speak of, both parties will have to analyze their next move very carefully as to what is the best move for the future.
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