New England Patriots

2024 NFL free agents: Ranking the top 10 wide receivers

The WR class in NFL free agency is pretty strong.

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It's a good year to need a wide receiver because the 2024 NFL free agent class could feature a lot of quality players at the position.

Wide receiver is a very important position in the modern era. Three of the last four Super Bowl champions had an elite wideout -- Tyreek Hill (Chiefs, 2019), Mike Evans (Buccaneers, 2020) and Cooper Kupp (Rams, 2021). When the New England Patriots won their sixth Super Bowl title in 2018, it was wide receiver Julian Edelman who took home the game's MVP trophy.

The NFL Draft seems to produce a bunch of good wideouts every year, even in the middle to later rounds. Just look at the 2023 draft, where the Kansas City Chiefs got Rashee Rice in the second round, the Indianapolis Colts found Josh Downs in the third round and the New England Patriots took DeMario Douglas in the sixth round.

Recent free agent classes didn't include a ton of No. 1 or No. 2 wideouts. This year could be different, though. There's a ton of veteran talent able to hit the open market.

Here's our ranking of the top 10 free agent wideouts of 2024.

10. Odell Beckham Jr., Baltimore Ravens

2023 Stats: 35 receptions, 565 yards, 3 TD

Beckham missed the entire 2022 campaign due to an ACL injury but returned this season with the Ravens and played well. He also played 14 games, which was an impressive number given his injury history. Beckham is no longer a No. 1 or No. 2 wideout, but he's still capable of being a solid No. 3 on a contending team with a good quarterback.

9. K.J. Osborn, Minnesota Vikings

2023 Stats: 48 receptions, 540 yards, 3 TD

The Vikings got great value out of Osborn after selecting him in the fifth round of the 2020 draft. He has tallied at least 48 receptions, 540 receiving yards and three touchdowns in each of the last three seasons. Now he's due for a raise, and with the emergence of 2023 first-round pick Jordan Addison, it'll be interesting to see whether Minnesota brings back Osborn or uses its cap space to address weaker positions on the roster.

8. Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals

2023 Stats: 67 receptions, 667 yards, 2 TD

The Bengals have some tough decisions to make at wide receiver with Boyd and Tee Higgins both able to hit free agency. Boyd has been very consistent for the Bengals with 31 touchdowns over seven seasons. He also has tallied 58 or more receptions in six consecutive years.

7. Gabe Davis, Buffalo Bills

2023 Stats: 45 receptions, 746 yards, 7 TD

Davis has been a productive No. 2 for the Bills over the last four years. He has found the end zone six or more times in all four of his pro seasons, while tallying 16.7 yards per receptions over his career.

Davis didn't play in the Bills' two playoff games because of a PCL sprain suffered in Week 17, but the injury isn't considered major, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

It sounds like Davis is at least open to the idea of playing for another team.

6. Darnell Mooney, Chicago Bears

2023 Stats: 31 receptions, 414 yards, 1 TD

Mooney caught 81 passes for 1,055 yards and four touchdowns in a breakout sophomore campaign in 2021. He hasn't come close to matching that production over the last two seasons, totaling 71 catches for 907 yards and three touchdowns in his last 27 games.

In Mooney's defense, injuries and the Bears' lackluster quarterback play hurt his production in the last two years. If the Bears draft a QB with the No. 1 pick, they should seriously consider re-signing Mooney.

5. Marquise Brown, Arizona Cardinals

2023 Stats: 51 receptions, 574 yards, 4 TD

Brown is a speedy wideout who lacks size but can break a game open with huge passing plays deep downfield. His speed and quickness allow him to rack up lots of yards after the catch, too.

Brown has missed eight games over the last two seasons, so he's not the most durable wideout, but he's a legit playmaker and worthy of being a No. 2 wideout on a good team.

4. Calvin Ridley, Jacksonville Jaguars

2023 Stats: 76 receptions, 1,016 yards, 8 TD

Ridley didn't play in 2022 due to suspension, but he bounced back in a major way with the Jaguars in 2023 by posting his second 1,000-yard season. He also played in all 17 games and hit the eight-touchdown mark for the third time in five pro seasons. Ridley is a very good player and would easily be the best wideout on the Patriots.

In fact, our Patriots insider Phil Perry thinks the team should pursue Ridley in free agency. Check out his reasoning in the video below:

Phil Perry and Tom E Curran join Trenni Casey on Arbella Early Edition to discuss free-agent options at wide receiver for the Patriots this offseason, and which players would be important to re-sign from the roster last year

3. Michael Pittman Jr., Indianapolis Colts

2023 Stats: 109 receptions, 1,152 yards, 4 TD

Pittman isn't super explosive, but he has the size (6-foot-4 and 223 pounds) and toughness to make difficult catches in coverage. He set career highs in targets, receptions and receiving yards in 2023. He has tallied at least 88 catches, 925 receiving yards and four touchdowns in each of the last three seasons.

Pittman, who has missed just two games in the last three years, also is one of the youngest wide receivers on this list at just 26 years old.

2. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2023 Stats: 79 receptions, 1,255 yards, 13 TD

Year 10 was a great one for Evans, who continued to dominate opponents and find the end zone with regularity. He reached the 1,000-yard mark for the 10th consecutive year and scored double-digit touchdowns for the sixth time. He can make plays deep downfield and haul in tough catches along the sideline with his 6-foot-5, 233-pound frame.

The future Hall of Famer is still one of the league's most productive and reliable wideouts, and he shows very little (if any) signs of slowing down.

It would be foolish of the Bucs to let Evans hit the open market, but if he does, any team in need of a true No. 1 wideout should heavily pursue him.

1. Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals

2023 Stats: 42 receptions, 656 yards, 5 TD

Higgins has the speed, size (6-foot-4, 219 pounds) and route running ability to be a No. 1 wideout on a lot of teams. His 2023 campaign was negatively impacted by injuries, like a lot of other players on the Bengals offense. But he caught 74 passes and reached the 1,000-yard mark in each of the previous two seasons as a trusted target of Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow.

Higgins might not make it to free agency because the Bengals could franchise tag him. But if he does reach the open market, he should have plenty of suitors. He's also just 25 years old.

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