We are one week into one of the crazier NFL free agency periods I can remember. Marquez Valdes-Scantling has been linked to a number of teams. What are our latest predictions for where MVS might end up this season?
Top predictions for Marquez Valdes-Scantling in free agency
A week later, I’m still stunned at the hot market for Valdes-Scantling. Through four NFL seasons, MVS has a career-high of 38 receptions (which he did as a rookie in 2018) and a career-high of 690 receiving yards (which he did in 2020). It’s worth noting, however, that he did lead the NFL in yards per reception that 2020 season with 20.9.
MVS will turn 28 years old during the 2022 season. He’s primarily a downfield threat largely used as a decoy but who will occasionally pop a big play. After playing out his entire rookie contract with the Packers, MVS is free to go where he pleases. A return to Green Bay is not off the table, but the more likely scenario is a new home for the veteran receiver.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs are in need of wide receivers after trading Tyreek Hill to the Dolphins. We know they will draft at least one, but they should look to free agency for potential depth as well.
The Chiefs hosted MVS for a visit, which indicates there’s at least some interest. While Valdes-Scantling is certainly nowhere near capable of replacing Hill’s production, he can be a valuable member of the receiving corps. Yes, they’re both fast, but that’s about where the comparison ends.
Hill has been a top-five wide receiver in the NFL for the past half-decade. Valdes-Scantling, meanwhile, has been a rotational WR3/4 for the entirety of his rookie deal. If the Chiefs do sign MVS, it will not preclude them from drafting a true WR1. It also wouldn’t guarantee MVS plays ahead of the rookie or even Mecole Hardman behind presumptive WR1 JuJu Smith-Schuster.
With $26 million in cap space, the Chiefs can give MVS a multi-year deal if he wants. I would imagine they’d be more interested in a short-term agreement, though. Something like one year, $8-10 million makes sense.
Green Bay Packers
Despite meeting with other teams, there’s still a decent chance Valdes-Scantling returns to Green Bay. He hasn’t gotten an opportunity to truly break out with the Packers, but their WR situation is much different now than it was at any point during Valdes-Scantling’s first four seasons.
With Davante Adams gone, the Packers have a huge void at wide receiver. Although they will undoubtedly draft at least one, that’s not nearly enough. MVS would have a shot at his biggest role yet. Whether he’s capable of taking advantage of it is a different question.
The Packers have managed to create $20 million in salary cap space. They are in a position to offer MVS a two- or three-year deal to stick around. Given the current WR market, he may be able to command anywhere from $8-12 million a year.
San Francisco 49ers
I’m not quite sure about this one. Not in the sense that the 49ers aren’t interested. They are. I just don’t really see the need. Nevertheless, they are one of Valdes-Scantling’s likely landing spots, so let’s see how this all makes sense.
The 49ers’ WR1 and WR2 spots are accounted for. Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk are locked in as starters. Last season, the 49ers mostly used Jauan Jennings as their WR3, but he only saw 38 targets. No 49er outside of Samuel, Aiyuk, and George Kittle saw higher than a 7.3% target share.
If the 49ers sign MVS, it’s unclear what role he would play. He doesn’t have any chance of overtaking Samuel or Aiyuk. At best, he would be the fourth option in the passing game. The 49ers ran 11 personnel (3 WR sets) a mere 48% of the time, one of the lowest rates in the league. If MVS wants a larger role, San Francisco is probably not the spot for it.
The 49ers also have only about $4 million in salary cap space. MVS is expected to command something in the range of three years, $24-28 million. The 49ers can certainly afford it, but I still wouldn’t call this landing spot likely.