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Best wide receivers still available in 2024 NFL free agency after Odell Beckham Jr., other veterans sign deals

The Los Angeles Rams made a notable tweak to their wide receiver corps on Thursday, releasing former Super Bowl champion and special teams captain Ben Skowronek, as The Athletic reported. While the fourth-year veteran appeared in just six games for the Rams in 2023, he becomes the latest in a relatively long line of experienced wideouts to enter the spring without an NFL team.

Even after recent deals for former Pro Bowlers like Odell Beckham Jr. and Allen Robinson, it turns out there’s a solid crop of established pass catchers still available in free agency. Here are some of the top names who remain unsigned:

Swapped out for rookie Brian Thomas Jr. in Jacksonville, Jones missed half of 2023 due to injury. But he was a breakout favorite of Trevor Lawrence the year prior, securing a career-high 82 catches for 823 yards. The former Buffalo Bills prospect also flashed timely production with the Las Vegas Raiders, hence his quick interest from several clubs around the league.

The former slot standout endured a rough two-year stretch from 2022-2023, missing significant time due to injury before being phased out of the Raiders’ passing attack. But he’s been reliable when active, with a 74.1% target-to-catch rate and 100-catch, 1,000-yard season on his resume. At 28, he still registers as a capable plug-and-play No. 3.

The veteran speedster caught flak for a critical drop during his debut Chiefs season, and, in fact, has always been a bit of a hit-or-miss deep threat, with a 50.3% career catch rate. But he also scored in Kansas City’s latest Super Bowl victory, and clearly retains his downfield legs. Averaging 17 yards per reception for his career, he could still be a rotational home-run hitter.

Teams may not be hurrying to add Thomas’ blunt personality after he’s played in all of 20 games over the last four injury-marred seasons; the Saints appeared more than content closing the book on their once-prestigious partnership this offseason. But the former All-Pro still has solid length as a potential red-zone outlet, and he was reasonably effective when on the field in 2023.

The converted cornerback has never been more than a role player out wide, “peaking” with 24 catches for 229 yards in 2021, but he’s a proven return specialist, topping 26 yards per kick return in five different seasons and leading the NFL in punt-return yardage and scores as a rookie. In an NFL that’s reprioritizing the return, he could still be a difference-maker on special teams.

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Author: Cody Benjamin
May 9, 2024 | 1:20 pm

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