NFL Free Agents 2022: Top Rumors and Predictions Before Week 18

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 8, 2022

NFL Free Agents 2022: Top Rumors and Predictions Before Week 18

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    Terrance Williams/Associated Press

    Because the NFL added an extra week to the regular season, it's taken a bit longer to get to the end than in past years. However, Week 18 of the 2021 campaign has finally arrived, and only 14 teams will be advancing to the playoffs after the conclusion of Sunday's games.

    There are two games set to be played on Saturday (Kansas City Chiefs-Denver Broncos and Dallas Cowboys-Philadelphia Eagles), followed by the remaining 14 matchups on Sunday. For 16 teams, that will be the end of the season.

    At that point, it will be time to start looking ahead to the offseason. And with some big-name players potentially heading to free agency, it's not too early to start doing that.

    Here's some of the latest buzz regarding potential free agents, along with predictions for those players.

Scherff's Time in Washington Nearing an End?

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    Daniel Kucin Jr./Associated Press

    The past two seasons, Brandon Scherff has played for the Washington Football Team on the franchise tag. The 30-year-old guard hasn't worked out a long-term deal with the team, so it has kept him in Washington by tagging him and having him play both the 2020 and 2021 seasons on one-year contracts.

    If Washington wants to use the franchise tag on Scherff again for 2022, his salary would increase "roughly 44 percent" to about $26 million, according to The Athletic's Ben Standig. But if Washington doesn't want to lose Scherff, it's possible that's what it will need to do.

    Standig reported that league sources "question Scherff’s interest in agreeing to a long-term deal." Scherff has played his first seven NFL seasons with Washington, which selected him with the No. 5 overall pick in the first round of the 2015 draft.

    Scherff would likely draw plenty of interest if he hits the free-agent market, as he's a five-time Pro Bowler and one-time All-Pro selection. And it seems possible that Washington won't want to commit such a large amount of money to one player, especially after five consecutive losing seasons.

    The prediction here is that Scherff will leave Washington. And one potential fit could be with the Miami Dolphins, who should be looking to bolster their offensive line to help them get into the playoffs. So perhaps Scherff's next chapter of his career could be in Miami.

    Prediction: Scherff signs three-year deal with Dolphins

Adams Could Return to Green Bay on Franchise Tag

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    Morry Gash/Associated Press

    There's the potential for quite a few top-tier wide receivers to end up on the free-agent market in the offseason. Some big-name playmakers could be looking for new teams, which may shake up the offensive landscape of the NFL.

    Among those wide receivers is Davante Adams, who is set to become a free agent after spending his first eight NFL seasons with the Green Bay Packers. During that time, he's made the Pro Bowl five times and earned an All-Pro selection once while serving as quarterback Aaron Rodgers' No. 1 target.

    Will Adams continue to be the Packers' top receiver in 2022 and beyond? According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Adams and Green Bay haven't had discussions regarding an extension since late July. But that doesn't mean Adams won't be back next season.

    Rapoport noted that several sources believe Adams will eventually receive the franchise tag from the Packers, which means he would play 2022 on a one-year contract worth "about $20 million."

    It's hard to imagine Green Bay will let Adams get away, and the franchise tag will give it additional time to work out an extension. So don't be surprised if that's the route the Packers decide to take.

    Prediction: Adams receives franchise tag from Packers

Will Tennessee Pay to Bring Landry Back After Season?

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    Wade Payne/Associated Press

    Harold Landry has spent his first four NFL seasons with the Tennessee Titans, and the 25-year-old linebacker is continuing to get better. Through 16 games this season, he's already set career highs in tackles (71), tackles for a loss (14) and sacks (12).

    The Titans have won the AFC South title, and they're going to be among the top contenders in the AFC to make a run to the Super Bowl. Landry should continue to play a key role for Tennessee's defense, but he'll become a free agent after the team eventually gets eliminated.

    At that point, the Titans may have to decide how much they'll be willing to spend to bring Landry back. ESPN's Bill Barnwell recently noted that a team is "going to pay him like he's going to be the guy from 2021 throughout his new deal," while adding it's a possibility that Tennessee will let Landry leave for a different team.

    Although the Titans will have to pay Landry more to keep him around, it's hard to imagine they'll want to lose him after his breakout season. So the prediction here is that Tennessee will find a way to bring him back, as he should continue to improve in the near future.

    Prediction: Landry re-signs with Titans on multi-year deal