Not much happened on the fourth day of NFL free agency, but there were some apparent losers among the group. It’s been an interesting four days. Teams have been up and down, appearing on both winners and losers lists throughout the week. There isn’t much action, with many teams taking wait-and-see approaches to free agency.
NFL Free Agency Losers: Day 4
The active teams in free agency sometimes win, and other times they swing and miss. Allen Robinson and Casey Hayward Jr. were the only two big names to sign on Thursday.
Baker Mayfield penned a letter thanking the city of Cleveland. It felt like a Dear John letter. It was like the former first overall pick was breaking up with the organization.
They were exploring another option at the position after Mayfield underperformed in 2021. He suffered multiple injuries that hampered his play last year, leading to mechanical failures that could be difficult to fix coming off shoulder surgery.
Mayfield requested a trade after Deshaun Watson took the Browns out of the running. And the Browns denied his request…
The office will be awkward when they all see each other again.
While we’re here, we might as well stay in Cleveland for the next NFL free agency loser. As previously stated, they were eliminated by Watson after their meeting. While it’s good business to always try and bolster every position, Watson never made sense for the Browns.
Every single team he’d been linked to was well south of the Mason-Dixon line. He doesn’t necessarily seem interested in cold-weather areas. So, instead, the Browns agitated the emotionally charged quarterback they already have on campus. It feels like a couple staying together for the sake of the children.
Van Jefferson is a good football player deserving of a higher snap count than he’s already receiving in Los Angeles. He caught 50 passes for 802 yards during the regular season and added another 148 total yards in four playoff games.
But now he’ll be caught behind Cooper Kupp, Allen Robinson, and Robert Woods. If anybody should be thinking about requesting a trade, it should be Jefferson. He has two more seasons left on his rookie deal to prove himself worthy of an excellent second contract, but he’ll be stuck behind that trio for both seasons.
Like the Browns and Baker, we don’t have to leave the building for this Day 4 free agency loser. Tutu Atwell returned a few punts and kicks in 2021 but didn’t do much else. The Rams’ 57th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft is in danger of not even making the roster in 2022 (or, at least, remaining on it for a 17-game season).
In addition to signing Robinson, the Rams also said that the signing didn’t mean they were out on an Odell Beckham Jr. return. OBJ could come back for another playoff run, but he might not be available until late in the season after tearing his ACL in the Super Bowl.
Za’Darius Smith was the third player to change his mind during the NFL free agency period. After agreeing to terms on a four-year deal with the Ravens worth $35 million with $15 million in potential escalators, the veteran pass rusher decided against his first instinct.
Now, Za’Darius returns to the market as one of the top two pass rushers available. The Ravens still need a complement to second-year pass rusher Odafe Oweh. Other veterans are available on the market, but Smith was a great story amid a triumphant return. Unfortunately, that’s no more.
Looking for our free agent winners?
NFL free agency is fun to think about in terms of winners and losers. We have absolutely no idea how the moves made in March will look in September, let alone two or three years down the road. All we can do is trust the process. Here’s our story on the 2022 NFL free agency Day 4 winners.