- Will Fuller joins a stacked crop of free agent wide receivers
- Texans letting Fuller leaves will result in an offseason bidding war
- Which teams could pursue Fuller?
If there’s one thing NFL teams love, it’s speed. There is perhaps no one during this NFL offseason who is available in free agency that possesses more speed than free agent Will Fuller. Ever since his NFL combine performance in 2016, where the blazed through the 40 yard dash in 4.33 seconds, he’s been a “don’t blink or you’ll miss him” type of player.
You might miss him streaking past the defense for a 60 yard touchdown if you turn your head at the wrong time. You might also miss him because of his history of soft tissue injuries that cause him to come out of games. The combination of incredible physical skills and suspect durability make Fuller’s resume heading into free agency a complicated one.
Fuller, who is also slated to miss Week 1 of the 2021 season due to a suspension, is about as high risk/high reward as anyone in this wide receiver free agent class. A $17 million per year salary could be a massive bargain if he’s healthy and plays most of the games. That same figure could also be a colossal overpayment if injuries continue to derail his career.
Here are three teams who are most likely to take the gamble on Fuller as a free agent.
For as long as the Raiders have had a man named Davis owning their team, the franchise has been obsessed with the vertical passing game. Al Davis wanted to “Just Win Baby” with players who could make big plays, and his son Mark doesn’t look like he’s fallen far from the tree.
The team was all in on Antonio Brown two years ago, and while that didn’t work out, they never replaced him with someone of an elite caliber.
Top free agent WRs:
Will Fuller V
Marvin Jones Jr.
— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) March 9, 2021
Fuller does not have anywhere near the resume of Brown, but would be a solid addition to an intriguing Las Vegas supporting cast. Opposing teams already have few answers up the seam for tight end Darren Waller. Henry Ruggs has a similar kind of track speed to Fuller, and showed it on a couple of occasions last year. Lining Fuller up with an already emerging group of players can catapult the Raiders into the midst of the 10 win discussion, which is usually good enough to make the playoffs.
It’s hard for snake bitten teams like the Jets to take chances and be optimistic that everything will work out in their favor. Bringing Fuller into an already gloomy situation might not be smart considering his injury history, and the impatience of the fans.
With that said, the team has got to do something to reinvigorate their offense. Denzel Mims showed flashes of playmaking ability in his rookie season, but the team needs additional potent weapons to get back to respectability.
Fuller’s presence on the field would basically guarantee that the defense would need to play a safety over the top, which would open up more space for other players to get free.
If Fuller reaches anything close to his potential in the NFL with the Ravens, Baltimore would likely play in a Super Bowl or two in the near future. Teams are already forced to play 8 or 9 men in the box against the Ravens to stop their dynamic rushing attack.
Will Fuller, as expected, wasn't designated as a franchise player. Unrestricted free agent should do well on open market, net the Texans a third-round compensatory draft pick
— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) March 9, 2021
A Fuller free agent addition to the roster would basically break the way the defense would have to play them. Bringing everyone up would leave Fuller and his rocket speed in single coverage.
Playing back would allow the Ravens to carve up teams 7 yards at a time on the ground with Lamar Jackson and J.K. Dobbins. It’s a risky move for Baltimore, who may lose a couple of key players this offseason, but it could pay huge dividends later.