After weeks of waiting, the NFL free agency period is now knocking at the door. Fasten your seatbelts, because things are about to get wild. With a bountiful crop of free agents set to hit the market, these dominoes will shape the 2021 NFL landscape. Corey Davis enters the free-agent market after popping in his fourth season. Davis showed that he could be an enticing option for many teams looking for a high-end WR2. Let’s find out who is likely to pay up for his services in 2021.
The hype for Davis was high entering the NFL. The Titans selected him fifth overall in the 2017 NFL Draft, hoping he would lead their passing offense for years to come. Unfortunately for Davis, the planned excellence didn’t come to fruition during his first three seasons in the NFL. He suffered through roller-coaster quarterback play, injuries and underperformance. Davis entered 2020 as a bust and then proceeded to post a career-best season as the 1B to A.J. Brown.
New York Jets: The Jets have the third-most cap space ($69.8 million) at their disposal. If Davis lands here, then the dollar signs could be in line with the assumption that he will be their No. 1 receiver entering the season. The underlying metrics suggest he could be ready for this role. Davis was quietly among the league’s most efficient receivers last season. Davis ranked fifth in yards per route run (2.58) in 2020 among all wide receivers with 50 or more targets.
Washington Football Team: Davis could slide into a role here similar to what he experienced in Tennessee. Davis would be the weekly 1A/1B to stud receiver Terry McLaurin. Without an established slot receiving option in Washington, Davis could also run as an inside receiver on 30-40% of his snaps. This would be fantastic for a player that dominated from the inside in 2020. Last season Davis logged two of his five receiving touchdowns and a 131.9 passer rating from the slot.
New England Patriots: New England’s receiver room needs a talent infusion. N'Keal Harry appears to be running in cement shoes weekly. Jakobi Meyers isn’t a true No. 1 option. Julian Edelman is on his last legs. The Patriots have a major question mark at the quarterback position for 2021. Even if we’re discounting the quarterbacking conundrum, Josh McDaniels directed the most rush-heavy attack in the NFL in the red zone in 2020. If that continues this upcoming season, Davis’ touchdown equity is capped, and his fantasy value would be driven by yardage alone.
Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins have the eighth-most cap space ($33.0 million) in the NFL and a low-key need at the position. Behind DeVante Parker and Preston Williams stand only Isaiah Ford, Lynn Bowden Jr. Jr., Jakeem Grant, Kirk Merritt and Malcolm Perry. Tua Tagovailoa struggled last season throwing to receivers like Parker, whose specialty is winning at the catch point and not separation. Tagovailo ranked 28th (among 36 quarterbacks with 200 or more dropbacks) in adjusted completion percentage. Davis improved with separation in 2020, but it’s still not something that he excels at consistently. The volume would be there, but his fit with the quarterback would be questionable.
Derek has written for Fantasy Data, 4for4, Player Profiler, and as a co-author of the best selling Fantasy Football Black Book Series. His DFS, redraft, and dynasty takes have been projected to the masses with recurring guest roles on Sirius XM and DK Sweat. Born in Louisiana, he is a diehard Saints fan (Whodat). Derek now resides in Fort Worth, Texas, with his beautiful, football-loving wife and three kids.