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Tyreek Hill. Davante Adams. A. J. Brown.
These are all big-time NFL WRs who have demonstrated their worth on the field for years, and this offseason, all three demanded a contract extension for big-time money.
And all three now play on a different team than they were on a year ago.
Why is there so much movement among the best WRs in the league? According to Sharp Football, the answer is simple: teams can’t afford them.
“[T]eams have been willing to pay for a top-tier quarterback or a top-tier receiver but rarely both at the same time,” argues Warren Sharp.
And unfortunately, the receivers are too often on the wrong end of that decision.
We saw this situation play out in real time when Hill left Kansas City for Miami earlier this year. The trade shocked most NFL fans. It just didn’t make sense that the Chiefs would part ways with a player who was so instrumental in their recent run of success.
But industry insiders weren’t so surprised. OutKick’s own Armando Salguero called the move “a win for everybody” involved. The Chiefs won, says Salguero, because “they get excellent trade compensation — a No. 1 in 2022, a No. 2 in 2022, a No. 4 in 2023 and a No. 6 in 2023 — for a player they couldn’t afford and were going to lose after this season.” The Dolphins won because they shored up their receiver corps, and Hill won because he got paid.
Adams and, most recently, Brown went through similar extension negotiations before ultimately signing elsewhere.
It’ll be interesting to see how this dynamic plays out in years to come, especially for the QBs chosen over their former on-field targets. Patrick Mahomes has lost Hill, Aaron Rodgers won’t have Adams, and Ryan Tannehill and the rest of the Tennessee Titans can no longer rely on Brown.
Though every NFL team wants their QB and WR1 to have a strong connection, the NFL is still a business, and everyone still wants to make money. And all too often these days, that means the WRs have to find another team to do so.