2021 Season Preview: Teams with the Most Potential Free Agents

In our final look at the 2021 season I wanted to look at the free agent situations for teams in 2022. This can give us an idea of how invested teams might be in this season versus those with a bit more of a long term view of the future. To qualify for inclusion a player must be set to be an unrestricted free agent in 2022 and either have played at least 35% of the snaps last season, a contract APY over $3 million per year, or be a first round pick still on his rookie contract. This eliminates many of the lesser contributors.

I also looked at the projected cap space for next year for each team to see just how much cap that the team could use per player. Please note that the Eagles and Colts recently signed free agents whose cap numbers are not included in the calculations.

The top six teams in terms of players are the Texans, Buccaneers, Bears, Broncos, Colts and Raiders. The Broncos and bears skew the oldest in the group and may feature players who will not be back next year. The Broncos, Colts, and Raiders are in good cap shape to handle re-signing or replacing players while the Texans and Bucs will need to shift some money around.

The teams with the fewest number of free agents are the Bengals, Giants, Titans, Cowboys, Lions, and Rams. This is important for the Giants, Cowboys, and Rams who are all facing tight cap situations in 2022. Cincinnati and Detroit will have cap room to look outside the organization so those teams are less invested in their current setup.

Teams in bad shape for next year include the Packers and Saints (both with 9 free agents and projected to be $40 million over the cap), Vikings (10 FAs and $9.8M OTC), and Falcons (11 FAs and $1.3M in cap space). The 49ers are also in a bad position but the expected turnover at QB should move them to a better spot.

Here is the full list. You can sort the columns by clicking on the header.

TeamPlayersAvg. FA AgeEstimated Cap SpaceCap/FA
Texans1829.5$18,931,947$1,051,775
Buccaneers1529.9$19,060,975$1,270,732
Bears1331.0$31,589,310$2,429,947
Broncos1330.5$67,515,921$5,193,532
Colts*1329.4$52,030,973$4,002,383
Raiders1329.4$40,006,759$3,077,443
Chiefs1228.9$14,708,241$1,225,687
Dolphins1129.1$68,684,928$6,244,084
Eagles*1129.8$12,992,999$1,181,182
Falcons1128.7$1,248,401$113,491
Jaguars1128.7$64,647,735$5,877,067
Steelers1129.3$41,590,858$3,780,987
Browns1028.8$16,810,694$1,681,069
Ravens1031.2$20,169,013$2,016,901
Vikings1029.4($9,749,268)($974,927)
49ers928.4$2,982,191$331,355
Bills930.1$10,634,128$1,181,570
Chargers930.3$63,120,092$7,013,344
Jets929.2$60,232,616$6,692,513
Packers928.3($41,586,668)($4,620,741)
Patriots930.0$24,986,929$2,776,325
Saints928.4($40,971,294)($4,552,366)
Washington930.6$54,693,887$6,077,099
Cardinals829.8$15,414,416$1,926,802
Panthers829.0$37,823,433$4,727,929
Seahawks828.8$44,229,296$5,528,662
Bengals729.3$54,357,897$7,765,414
Giants728.9($574,809)($82,116)
Titans728.1$17,562,826$2,508,975
Cowboys627.0($22,188,214)($3,698,036)
Lions630.0$25,795,946$4,299,324
Rams629.0($185,406)($30,901)

Questions about this article? Reach Jason Fitzgerald on Twitter at @Jason_OTC