For the eight divisional-round teams, the NFL playoffs are still going strong. For the rest of the league, it's on to the offseason and preparations for 2022.
Free agency—slated to kick off March 16 this year—is always a huge part of the process. While franchises cannot buy a championship on the open market, they can certainly improve. The Cincinnati Bengals, for example, added Trey Hendrickson, Larry Ogunjobi, Chidobe Awuzie and Eli Apple this past offseason. Cincinnati is one of the eight teams still alive.
With the salary cap expected to rise this offseason—to $208.2 million, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero—we're likely to see quite a bit of spending when the market opens. However, not every signing will be a home run.
Some notable free agents represent big risks. Whether they benefited from a strong supporting cast, are saddled with injury concerns, carry scheme-specific skill sets or are facing age-induced drop-offs, some players should be avoided by all but a select few teams.
You'll find a look at some of those players here. We're not saying that these impending free agents cannot succeed with the right team, but they're not for everyone.
DE Calais Campbell
Baltimore Ravens defensive lineman Calais Campbell is a six-time Pro Bowler with 93.5 sacks. However, he's also 35 years old and possibly contemplating retirement this offseason. A return to the Ravens could make sense because Campbell is happy to be a contributor in Baltimore.
"I feel pretty good right now. Who knows? I might be willing to do it again," Campbell said, per Clifton Brown of the Ravens' website. "I do know that I love being a Raven."
Other teams should be out on Campbell in 2022, however. While still a capable run defender, he is not the potent pass-rusher he once was. Campbell finished the season with only 1.5 sacks and 16 quarterback pressures.
At this point, the 14-year veteran is a fine rotational piece and nothing more. At a likely cost in the $10 million range—he had a cap hit of $13 million this season—he isn't likely to provide value to an outside suitor.
Teams looking for a run defender who can occasionally pressure the quarterback will have younger, cheaper options this offseason—both in free agency and the draft.
TE Evan Engram
With Zach Ertz, Dalton Schultz and Mike Gesicki slated to hit the market, 2022 will be a good year to target tight ends in free agency. However, teams should be cautious of signing New York Giants tight end Evan Engram.
Yes, the 27-year-old was a Pro Bowler in 2020. Yes, he has 262 receptions and 16 touchdown catches in five seasons. However, reliability has been a major issue for the former Mississippi standout.
Engram has caught just 61.1 percent of the passes thrown his way. He's had 17 drops over the past two years, while eight of his targets were intercepted over that span. In 2021, Engram helped provide a passer rating of only 80.2 when targeted. He was even less effective in his Pro Bowl season, providing a rating of 55.4.
His Pro Bowl selection—which came with 654 yards and a single touchdown—says more about last year's NFC field than it does about Engram.