2023 Offseason Look Ahead: Wide Receivers Part 2 and Tight Ends
By Doug Harrelson
So after Part 1 focused on wide receivers that lined up primarily on the outside, for Part 2, we will be looking at players that attack the middle of the field. These are our slot receivers and our tight ends. This class got a nice boost with the rumors of Keenan Allen likely being a cap casualty for the Chargers. This free agent wide receiver class was underwhelming before that news but this alters things significantly. Not only adding a talent like Allen to the free agency pool but also opening up a nice landing spot with a young QB for any free agent or rookie wide receiver.
Best Case: New York Giants
In my eyes, Keenan Allen instantly becomes the most coveted prize at wide receiver in the free agent market. A reliable and savvy veteran can instantly give any of these young quarterbacks a reliable target they can depend on during those difficult 3rd and 7 situations that you just gotta have in this league to be successful. Daniel Jones is a guy that could use something like that. Allen would instantly be the best receiver Jones has had to work with in his career up to this point. You give a quarterback with exceptional accuracy in the mid-range a receiver like Allen that is a master of those routes and it is a recipe for some quality offense. It may be tough to get any sort of discount on Allen given his track record of production but I think wherever he lands he will be able to keep that up.
Best Case: Chicago Bears
In the 2019 NFL Draft the Patriots selected N’Keal Harry in the 1st Round. So did many of us in our rookie drafts that year but we try to forget those things. That same season they signed an undrafted free agent by the name of Jakobi Meyers. Who would have thought in 2023 that Meyers would be one of the better prospects available in free agency this offseason and Harry would be just trying to make sure he has a job this coming season? All that being said, Meyers has been a reliable target since he entered the league and should get some attention this offseason. I think he could be an excellent addition to a lot of squads but I am gonna highlight the Bears here. Giving Justin Fields a pass catcher that can he can hit quickly could help out that offensive line quite a bit. I do expect some improvements to that line but being able to do more three-step drops and get the ball out will help a bunch as well.
Best Case: Los Angeles Chargers
Another receiver from the 2019 rookie class that did not reach the same level as guys like DK Metcalf, A.J. Brown, and Deebo Samuel. Parris Campbell has high expectations coming out of Ohio State but has constantly battled injuries and some amount of poor quarterback play. Campbell has shown some flashes as a PPR monster with an explosive upside. With a spot opening up on the west coast, this could be the best chance Campbell has to be a second contract breakout. His size and frame worry me as injuries may always be part of his game but there is some upside here and trading for him will likely cost you nothing. Love picking him up as an add-on to a much bigger trade or seeing if you can get him for a 3rd with rookie hype continuing to build.
Best Case: Dallas Cowboys
Dak Prescott has shown that he likes targeting Schultz and really any of the tight ends. He also gets the benefit of working on a field with a guy like CeeDee Lamb that attracts so much attention. After getting the franchise tag this past season, I am not sure how likely a deal is to get done. There are plenty of other teams that could happily use his service but I think the best case for him is to stay where he is and he is used. The only issue might be getting the dollars and cents to work out when the Cowboys have already seen flashes from the two young backups and have a need at wide receiver. Given all of that I might be trying to move off of Schultz before free agency or as soon as he lands somewhere. He could have his value take a big hit if he lands in an offense that doesn’t use him as much.
Best Case: Jacksonville Jaguars
While I do not think a deal gets done for Schultz, I do think Engram remains in Jacksonville. He has come out and said he wants to come back. Engram elevated his play to a new level with Trevor Lawrence and Doug Pederson. Both parties are likely to be motivated to get a deal done given the success of the one-year deal that he signed this past offseason. I actually think he is a hold or maybe even a buy. Engram was giving you a minor Kelce-like effect down the stretch last season with some monster games as well as a high floor. Having weeks where you can get 40-plus out of tight end is such a significant advantage in fantasy football. The problem is that nobody is looking to move off of their Evan Engram shares after years of frustration followed by this massive breakout.
Best Case: Cincinnati Bengals
A tight end in name only, Mike Gesicki is really just a big slot receiver. This one may be tough to make work with all the contracts coming up for the Bengals and the need to address the offensive line. If it were to happen though, the amount of space in the middle of the field that would open up with Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins (assuming he is not traded) working on the outside could be really scary. Plus a quarterback like Joe Burrow who makes great decisions with the football to put him in a position to succeed. Gesicki could be cheap unless the manager that has him currently has had him for a while. At this point, they may want his value to return to what it was before but I’m not sure if that will even happen with a good landing spot. The talent is there but he has to land somewhere where he can get some use.