Everyone loves a great deal. It's why dollar stores and early-bird specials exist, and it's why sleepers are a common topic in fantasy football. As in life, great bargains are sought after in the NFL.
They can help construct a winning roster by adding talent and preserving salary-cap space and/or draft capital. Back in 2012, for example, the Seattle Seahawks got a bargain by taking quarterback Russell Wilson in the third round. Not only did this give Seattle a franchise quarterback on an affordable rookie contract, but it also allowed the Seahawks to grab defensive staples Bruce Irvin and Bobby Wagner in the first two rounds.
Less than two years later, Wilson was hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.
While it's impossible to know which steal is going to deliver a championship in the next couple of campaigns, we've seen some tremendous values during the 2022 offseason. Here, we'll rank the top seven based on factors like price point, positional value, team needs and any relevant related roster moves.
Trades, free-agent signings and draft picks are all fair game. And while these might not all go down as the best moves of the 2022 offseason—we have another list for that—each was a bona fide bargain.
Let's dig in.
7. Lions Sign DJ Chark Jr. for $10 Million
The wide receiver market went haywire this offseason, with top receivers (and trade acquisitions) Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill getting record deals. Hill and Adams lead all receivers with contracts worth $30 and $28 million per year, respectively.
But the top-end guys aren't the only ones getting paid. Former Arizona Cardinals complementary receiver Christian Kirk inked a deal worth $18 million annually with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Kirk will replace DJ Chark Jr., who signed with the Detroit Lions in free agency.
Detroit landed Chark on a one-year, $10 million contract, which is a steal when compared to the going rate for receivers.
The Lions were likely able to get a bargain because Chark is coming off a fractured ankle that ended his 2021 campaign. However, the injury occurred in Week 4, and Chark should be ready for the start of the regular season.
Chark has already been working out with quarterback Jared Goff.
This was a tremendous deal or two reasons. One, Chark was a Pro Bowler in 2019 and has caught 15 touchdowns over the past three years. He'll quickly become one of Goff's top targets alongside Amon-Ra St. Brown and tight end T.J. Hockenson.
Secondly, the presence of Chark gave Detroit enough flexibility to take Alabama's Jameson Williams in the first round—and to justify trading up to do so. Williams is an elite prospect but suffered a torn ACL in the national title game against Georgia.
Williams should be Detroit's No. 1 receiver of the future, but he's not expected to see the field until October. That's fine because, with Chark in the lineup, Detroit has no real reason to rush Williams back before he's ready.
6. Packers Sign Rasul Douglas for $7 Million Annually
This offseason, Cleveland Browns cornerback Denzel Ward signed a contract worth $20.1 million annually. He's now the league's highest-paid corner in average annual value, but he's far from the only heavily compensated one.
Nine cornerbacks are making at least $15 million a year, and 22 corners are making double digits. This group includes a 33-year-old Joe Haden who just signed with the Buffalo Bills.
So, how the heck did the Green Bay Packers lock up 26-year-old cornerback Rasul Douglas on a three-year, $21 million deal? They likely got the bargain because last season was Douglas' first with true high-end production.
He appeared in 12 games with nine starts and logged 57 tackles, 13 passes defended, five interceptions and two pick-sixes. He allowed an opposing passer rating of only 44.5.
Douglas went from being a practice-squad member of the Arizona Cardinals to being a centerpiece of the Packers secondary. He might not be the proven No. 1 corner Ward is and Haden once was, but he's in his prime and comes at far less than market value.
This deal also gave Green Bay flexibility in the draft. Instead of needing to take a corner with one of their first-round picks, the Packers were able to snag linebacker Quay Walker and defensive lineman Devonte Wyatt.
In fact, the team didn't even use a draft pick on a corner. With Jaire Alexander, Eric Stokes and Douglas on the roster, the position is one of strength.