NFL free agents 2023: Ranking top 10 wide receivers originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
It's a less-than-ideal time to be looking for help at the wide receiver position. The upcoming free-agent class leaves plenty to be desired, though it's still an important one for the New England Patriots.
Mac Jones' favorite target, Jakobi Meyers, is arguably the top wideout set to hit free agency this spring. Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2019, Meyers has been one of New England's most reliable offensive players over the last three years.
2023 NFL free agents: Top 25 overall | QB | RB | TE | OL
Losing Meyers would further weaken an offense that struggled mightily in 2022. Nelson Agholor will also be a free agent, though that's somewhat of a relief for Pats fans as his albatross of a contract comes off the books.
If Meyers leaves, the Patriots will have a hard time replacing him in free agency. Here's a look at the top 10 wide receivers set to hit the market in March.
10. Noah Brown
2022 stats (Cowboys): 43 catches, 555 yards, 3 TD
Brown stepped up in Amari Cooper's absence and was a favorite target of Dak Prescott and Cooper Rush. His impressive performance should earn him some attention from teams scouring the market for receiver depth.
2022 stats (Saints): 25 catches, 272 yards, 1 TD
There are legitimate injury concerns around Landry. He played in only nine games for New Orleans last season and missed some time with Cleveland the previous year. He can still put up solid numbers when healthy, so he's a candidate for a bounce-back season if he can land in a better situation.
8. Marvin Jones
2022 stats (Jaguars): 46 catches, 529 yards, 3 TD
Jones' days of flirting with 1,000 yards receiving probably are behind him, but the veteran wideout can still bring a boost to any offense at this stage of his rock-solid career.
2022 stats (Chiefs): 25 catches, 297 yards, 4 TD
Hardman dealt with injuries in 2022 that limited him to only eight games. He was durable in his previous three seasons with Kansas City, so whichever team ends up with him in 2023 will hope those ailments were simply a blip on the radar. He can be a game-changer when healthy given his speed.
2022 stats (Colts): 63 catches, 623 yards, 3 TD
5. DJ Chark
2022 stats (Lions): 30 catches, 502 yards, 3 TD
Injuries continued to plague Chark during his debut season in Detroit. When he was able to take the field, he showed flashes of the brilliance he showed in Jacksonville but wasn't a consistent option for QB Jared Goff. Health is the No. 1 question mark with the LSU product.
2022 stats (Giants): 46 catches, 724 yards, 2 TD
When healthy, Slayton is a sure bet for 45+ catches and 700+ receiving yards. He was the one receiver Daniel Jones could count on in 2022 and would be a solid addition to a WR-needy team in 2023.
3. Allen Lazard
2022 stats (Packers): 60 catches, 788 yards, 6 TD
Lazard was called upon to step up as Aaron Rodgers' primary receiver following Davante Adams' departure. He's certainly no Adams, but he did a fine job in his increased role before Christian Watson supplanted him as the unquestioned No. 1 wideout in Green Bay.
2022 stats (Chiefs): 78 catches, 933 yards, 3 TD
Smith-Schuster isn't the game-breaker we watched for three years in Pittsburgh, but he showed in Kansas City that he's still one of the better slot wideouts when healthy. The 2022 season was Smith-Schuster's second-best year in terms of yardage and third-best in the receptions category.
1. Jakobi Meyers
2022 stats (Patriots): 67 catches, 804 yards, 6 TD
Meyers has come a long way since 2019, when he joined the Patriots as an undrafted free agent. Now, he's the top wide receiver in the 2023 free-agent class. It would be a big loss for New England if he signs elsewhere, though the piece to retain him might be too steep to justify bringing him back.