While it doesn't boast major names at quarterback like the two classes that came before it, the potential 2022 NFL free-agent class still presents teams with an opportunity to dramatically overhaul rosters.
Fans have seen the idea that free agency can complement strong drafting to build a Super Bowl contender go very well with teams like the New England Patriots in recent years.
Based on the headliners, that will also be the case in 2022 despite the presence of franchise tags and extension possibilities, even with some of the bigger names (Denver wideout Courtland Sutton, Baltimore tight end Mark Andrews, Philadelphia tackle Jordan Mailata, Cleveland guard Wyatt Teller) already wrapped up on extensions.
Besides rare Tom Brady-style exceptions, the top players in 2022 unrestricted free agency are generally premium position players that teams will want to build around for years, which means they will be under 30 years old going into the 2022 season. That means omitting the likes of Terron Armstead, Calais Campbell, Brandon Scherff and more.
Working within those parameters, these are the players that fans should have at the tops of their wishlists.
CB J.C. Jackson, New England Patriots
Few things are more premium in the NFL than a lockdown corner.
J.C. Jackson of the New England Patriots fits the bill, and he's on pace to become a household name if and when he flirts with resetting the market for his position this offseason.
Jackson, a former undrafted free agent, finished second in the NFL with nine interceptions last season. He was so good that the Patriots were comfortable enough to trade away veteran Stephon Gilmore.
Over his first 12 games in 2021, Jackson has picked off seven more passes, ultimately surrendering a 50.7 completion percentage with just one touchdown on 75 targets. As Pro Football Focus pointed out, he's clutch to the point of being the league's highest-graded defender in fourth quarters, too.
With major names like Marshon Lattimore already receiving extensions, the 26-year-old Jackson is the top corner, if not defensive back, set to hit the market.
Potential suitors: New England, Carolina, Pittsburgh
WR Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers
Perhaps the best wide receiver in the NFL and best player set to hit the open market, the Green Bay Packers' Davante Adams has division-, if not league-altering potential should he sign somewhere else.
Adams, owner of 1,374 yards and 18 touchdowns last year over 14 games while being PFF's highest-graded wideout, has 1,083 yards, five scores and the third-best PFF positional slot again over 11 appearances.
This, despite defenses shading more coverage his way in an effort to stop him—and because the Packers don't have other serious threats considering Randall Cobb is second on the team in receiving with just 375 yards.
Adams is effectively a lock to reset the wideout market despite the free-agency class he leads being pretty strong and upcoming draft classes boasting incredible depth at the position. Considering the chance Aaron Rodgers leaves Green Bay this offseason, Adams might just do the same.
Potential suitors: Green Bay, Chicago, Miami