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Marquez Valdes-Scantling
Indianapolis Colts

Marquez Valdes-Scantling’s 3 Best Free Agent Fits

  • Justin Melo
  • March 16, 2022
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The arrival of the new league year has welcomed a flurry of activity at the wide receiver position. While several of the top-notch impending free-agent pass-catchers agreed to deals  with their current team or were franchise-tagged (Chris Godwin, Davante Adams, Mike Williams, and Michael Gallup) before reaching the open market, several difference-makers have already chosen their next destinations. Christian Kirk agreed to a shockingly large contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars in a move that may reset the receiver market. Jacksonville doubled down by adding Zay Jones, and the Miami Dolphins upgraded their receiver room by signing ex-Cowboys receiver Cedrick Wilson. D.J. Chark joined the Detroit Lions and Russell Gage signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Several high-level receivers remain free agents, including Allen Robinson and Odell Beckham Jr. One of the more intriguing names available is Marquez Valdes-Scantling. A deep speed receiver with the vertical skill set necessary to win downfield, Valdes-Scantling brings game-changing ability to the table. Teams in search of a deep weapon should possess a ton of interest in adding Valdes-Scantling to their franchise.

Should Valdes-Scantling ultimately depart the Packers joining this free agency period, we’ve identified three natural and ideal fits for his services.

LAS VEGAS RAIDERS

The Raiders could certainly use the services of a field-flipper. New head coach Josh McDaniels takes over a Raiders offense that possesses a pair of intriguing pass-catching weapons in tight end Darren Waller and slot receiver Hunter Renfrow. Waller and Renfrow are two very solid pieces, but the Raiders could use a boundary receiver with vertical ability, which is something Renfrow lacks.

General manager Dave Ziegler would have likely entered the sweepstakes for one of the big-named receivers had they hit the open market, but the Packers wisely placed the franchise tag on Adams before that could happen. Ziegler must now find a Plan B, and Valdes-Scantling possesses a skill set the Raiders could make use of.

Plying their trade in the ever-competitive and new-look AFC West means the Raiders must prepare to enter some shootouts alongside the likes of the Kansas City Chiefs, Denver Broncos, and Los Angeles Chargers. The Broncos and Chargers have been especially aggressive this offseason as they attempt to close the gap between them and the Chiefs. Vegas should do the same.

The signing of Chandler Jones is a big one, but the Raiders need more at receiver. They’ve already lost a receiver in Jones via free agency. The Raiders added DeSean Jackson midseason in a move that proved their desire for a vertical threat in the passing game. Jackson is now a free agent and Valdes-Scantling is capable of achieving those results while being much younger. This move would make a ton of sense given Vegas’ offensive needs.

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

Eagles general manager Howie Roseman began the legal tampering period by focusing on improving his defense. The Eagles swiftly agreed to terms with free-agent pass rusher Haason Reddick on a three-year contract worth a reasonable $45 million. Reddick should pair with Josh Sweat nicely as the Eagles look to impact opposing pockets on a more consistent basis in 2022 than they did a year ago. With Reddick’s signature firmly in the bag, it’s time for Roseman and the improving Eagles to shift their attention to the offense.

Starting quarterback Jalen Hurts made some significant and noteworthy strides as a passer this past season, and the Eagles should invest in his continued development by surrounding him with more capable weapons in the passing game. Rookie receiver DeVonta Smith experienced an excellent debutant campaign all things considered, and Roseman must pair him with a more appropriate running mate going forward.

Smith is an excellent, technically-advanced route runner that does his best work underneath, and the presence of a vertical threat such as Valdes-Scantling would better free up Smith to do damage in the short to intermediate areas of the field. Quez Watkins did some of that for the Eagles a year ago, but Valdes-Scantling is a much more consistent and experienced playmaker.

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

The Colts are bursting at the seams with cap space and require more offensive pieces. General manager Chris Ballard addressed the defensive line on Wednesday afternoon by trading for double-digit sack artist Yannick Ngakoue in a move that reunites the quarterback hunter with new Colts defensive coordinator Gus Bradley.

Ngakoue represents a huge get for an improving Colts defensive line, but Ballard must quickly switch focus to the offense. The Colts are still sorting through their complicated quarterbacking situation and must surround the next signal-caller with more pass-catching weapons than they fielded a year ago.

Michael Pittman Jr. has developed into a high-quality WR1, but Indianapolis lacked depth behind him a year ago. The aging T.Y. Hilton is an unrestricted free agent and while he carries a ton of sentimental value for that fan base, Ballard must add more capable production than what current-day Hilton can provide. Adding Valdes-Scantling would place some much-needed stress on opposing defenses, which in turn could further free up Pittman opposite him, and help superstar running back Jonathan Taylor face lighter boxes in the process.

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Justin Melo