DAY 5: KENNY GOLLADAY
In a shocking turn of events, Kenny Golladay was not franchised tagged and will officially be able to choose his own destiny in the free agent market. With other big wide receiver names off the market, teams that are desperate to secure a number 1 WR will notice there are slim pickings. Golladay could find great fantasy production as well as great success in actual football if he chooses the correct team. Here are the teams that have the best shot at getting Kenny G in order from worst landing spot to the best.
With Kyle Van Noy officially released, the Dolphins have freed up the necessary cap space to make a run at a free agent wide receiver. The receiving core is currently weak in South Beach, with the only decent pass catchers being Devante Parker and Mike Gesecki. When Golladay is healthy, he would be a great addition and relieve some pressure off of Tua Tagovailoa. Golladay is an excellent route runner and can play both inside and outside which would give him enough versatility to help the young QB come into his own in his second year. Golladay is also deceptively quick, having good breakout speed which allows him to turn on the afterburners and finish any play in the endzone
The largest issue comes from Tua, a raw QB who still has a long way to go to be a real threat in the passing game. Last year, Tua did not show amazing promise he could sling the ball, averaging less than 200 yards a game, and looked more like he would be a game manager of the future at best. While Golladay would be the best target in South Beach, there is still not enough talent to go around and not enough opportunity with Tua throwing the ball for him to put up really big fantasy points. However, outside of fantasy, this would be a good move and would help this young team make a leap into playoffs for the next couple years.
The Ravens are the name brand version of the Dolphins; they both have a strong defense, both run the ball heavily, and both have QB’s that are talented on the ground but could show improvement through the air. The key difference is in the quality of quarterback. Tua could very well take a leap this year, but we already know what Lamar is capable of when the rest of the offense is clicking correctly. He hasn’t put up the biggest passing yard numbers, but in his MVP season, he threw for 36 TD’s while having his best receiving option be Mark Andrews. Jackson still hasn’t had a 1,000 yard receiver in his career, and it's tough to pinpoint exactly why. Is it because he has yet to have a real number one wide out to throw to given his top options have been Marquis Brown and Willie Snead, is it because his main receiving option, Mark Andrews, plays the TE position which rarely passes the 1,000 yard milestone, or does the responsibility fall on Lamar Jackson himself? It’s actually a combination of all three. Marquis Brown has only played two years in the league, so he hasn’t had the necessary time or opportunity to reach the status of a number 1 receiver. Wille Snead is the third receiving option for Jackson, so he’s probably not going to surpass 1,000 yards in a season. Mark Andrews plays a position that very rarely sees a player get past 1,000 yards with Travis Kelce, George Kittle and now Darren Waller being the exceptions to that rule. Lastly, Jackson is an electrifying player, but nearly all of his highlights come from the run game. Is he even capable of throwing for more than 3,200 yards in a season? Who knows, but that all leads to Kenny Golladay. Could he be the answer for this team to jumpstart them throwing the ball downfield, or would he suffer the same fate Marquise Brown has these past two years? Given what he has been through with the football purgatory known as the Detroit Lions, Golladay could just not care at all about his football production and simply want to be on a team that is a contender every year. He would certainly find that in Baltimore. When it comes to fantasy stats, this would not be the best of moves, but it’s better than Miami because Jackson is more capable of throwing TD’s than Tua is by a wide margin.
The Jags are here due to their overwhelming abundance of cap space this off season. They could throw money around, and with all that money, it is more and more likely they will be taking a WR somewhere. The Jags are already surprisingly talented at the receiver position with D.J. Chark, Levishka Shenault, and Keelan Cole, but adding Golladay to the mix would bring a lot more versatility. He would be able to step into the number one role at best, and at worst, he and Chark would be 1A and 1B. With all this talent, the Jags could have the option to move one of these pieces in a trade or keep them all as insurance policies for when the injury bug eventually hits. This would still be a good move for Golladay if he cares more about having the ball in his hands than having a shot at winning some NFL games, and in return, this would make him a solid option in fantasy leagues as long as Trevor Lawrence isn’t the biggest bust since Jamarcus Russel.
Green Bay Packers
This is listed for personal reasons since the Packers are likely to be over the cap limit and would have to do some very clever contract negotiations in the coming weeks to have the ability to make a run for basically anyone in free agency. With that in mind, however, just imagine what Aaron Rodgers would be able to do with a true number 2 receiver. On most other teams, Golladay would be the number 1, but with Devante Adams already in town, Golladay would have no problem settling into the number 2 role. This would see him playing inside even more often which he’s easily capable of doing. This would be the most fun team for him to go to, and he would still see great fantasy production. It would remind me of when Rodgers was throwing to Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb in the early 2010’s. Here is Randall Cobb’s stat line in the year 2014 where he was the number 2 behind Jordy Nelson: 91 Receptions, 1,287 yards, and 12 touchdowns. That’s what happens when you have one of the most talented quarterbacks in league history throwing you the ball, even if he would be second on the depth chart. Green Bay hits two out three requirements nearly every free agent is looking for: high usage and championship contention. He would likely miss out on the money which could ultimately kill this match made in heaven.
Unfortunately, this is not a hot take this off season in any way. The Colts are in need of a WR and not much else after trading for Carson Wentz. They have the cap space to offer some good money, they have a quarterback who thrived with the head coach last time they were paired up, they have one of the premiere defenses in the league, and they have one of the best offensive lines in football. The addition of Golladay fills in the small gap this team has, and if they do sign him, they are back in the championship race. They made the playoffs this year with old decrepit Philip Rivers and washed up T.Y. Hilton, so trading Hilton for Golladay would be a huge step in the right direction. This is the team that would fill all three of the necessary requirements every player wants. Golladay would be the number 1 option, giving him high usage, they have lots of space in the cap meaning he could be paid well, and finally, at minimum, they are a playoff team giving them title hopes in the near future. This would be a true match made in heaven and regardless, the Colts need to make a splash in the WR market in the coming weeks. Hopefully, it's Kenny Golladay.