2022 NFL free agency Day 4 winners and losers: Browns in QB turmoil, Davante Adams finds a new home

We are in the thick of NFL free agency and there has been no shortage of storylines from the roster reshuffling that has gone on throughout the league this week. Wednesday saw plenty of action with the new league year officially kicking off and a wide array of trades and signings all becoming official. Some stunners also came down the wire, including Von Miller inking a mammoth six-year contract with the Buffalo Bills that made him one of the big winners from Day 3 of free agency.

So, how did Thursday’s action fare? Here’s a look at the winners and losers from Day 4 of NFL free agency.

Winner: Allen Robinson

After sitting on the open market a bit longer than expected, Robinson has found a new home. The veteran wide receiver agreed to a three-year, $46.5 million contract with the Los Angeles Rams that includes roughly $30 million guaranteed. Not only did Robinson get paid and land with the defending Super Bowl champions, but he’s finally slated to have elite quarterback play. Throughout Robinson’s career — that stretches from Jacksonville to Chicago — he has barely been able to play with an average QB, let alone a signal-caller in the top half of the league. To this point, he’s had the likes of Blake Bortles, Mitchell Trubisky, Nick Foles, Andy Dalton, and Justin Fields throwing him the football in the NFL. Now, he gets Matthew Stafford, who is unquestionably the best quarterback he’s ever played with at this level, which is an exciting prospect for the talented receiver.

Loser: Cleveland Browns

It has been a whirlwind of a week for the Browns. The club was surprisingly in the hunt for Deshaun Watson, but the Texans quarterback has since kicked them out of the running for his services. Naturally, that pursuit of Watson miffed current quarterback Baker Mayfield and he has since asked for a trade, leaving the most important position on their roster in a state of disarray. Mayfield’s discontent was trending in this direction, especially after he posted what was essentially a farewell post to the city of Cleveland on Wednesday night. Now, the Browns will have to go into damage control to try and mend the fences with their quarterback, which will likely be no easy task.

Loser: Baker Mayfield

In the aftermath of his trade request, the Browns have come out and said that they will not be moving on from Mayfield despite his wishes. No matter which way you look at it, this is a tough situation for the former No. 1 overall pick. He is now on a team that has openly tried to replace him and is now refusing to trade him after that failed pursuit. That makes things ridiculously awkward for all parties involved and it does appear like the bridge is fully burned from Mayfield’s standpoint, so it’ll be interesting to see the dynamic if they do stick together heading into the regular season. After all, who is to say that Cleveland won’t try and land another quarterback in the future? Tough to buy in and compete in that type of situation if you’re Mayfield.

Winner: Davante Adams

One of the biggest blockbuster trades of the offseason went down on Thursday night and saw the All-Pro receiver land with the Las Vegas Raiders. Not only does this trade reunite Adams with his college quarterback and good friend Derek Carr, but it also makes him the highest-paid receiver in the NFL. On top of acquiring Adams, the Raiders reportedly gave him a five-year, $141.25 million contract that equates to an average annual salary of $28.25 million. Not only does Adams get out from playing the 2022 season on the franchise tag, but he also lands with a team where he already has a strong rapport with the quarterback, which should be looked at as a win-win for him all the way around .

Loser: Aaron Rodgers

While the Green Bay Packers may have reportedly picked up a first- and second-round pick in exchange for Adams, Rodgers just lost his greatest weapon in the passing game. The reigning league MVP was reportedly aware that Adams likely wasn’t going to remain with the team as he negotiated his own monster extension, but that doesn’t change the fact that they just lost a massive piece to the offense. It’ll also be no easy task to replace Adams, especially with the free agent market drying up of elite pass-catchers. Odell Beckham Jr. is the biggest name out there, but he’s coming off of a torn ACL that he suffered in the Super Bowl, so he won’t even be at his full capabilities for a while.

Winner: Hayden Hurst

Since he’s come into the league, Hurst has been looking for an opportunity to start. The ascension of Mark Andrews in Baltimore prevented him from living up to his first-round status with the Ravens and after a career year with the Falcons in 2020, Atlanta drafted Kyle Pitts, pushing Hurst down the depth chart. Now, the tight end does find himself in an intriguing situation with the Cincinnati Bengals, the team he just inked a one-year deal with on Thursday. With CJ Uzomah now in New York, Hurst is currently slated to be the Bengals’ starter in 2022. Not only does that mean Hurst is the leading candidate to adopt the bulk of Uzomah’s 63 targets from last season, but he’ll also be playing in an offense led by Joe Burrow and features pass-catchers like Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins. Those receivers will likely garner the bulk of the attention, which will create plenty of openings for Hurst to make plays.

Loser: Baltimore Ravens

It’s the offseason of players changing their minds it seems. After reports surfaced that the Ravens and Za’Darius Smith reached an agreement on a contract, the veteran pass rusher has decided to return to the free agent market. Smith now becomes one of the better free agents on the open market, but it does leave the Ravens still needing to fill a big hole off the edge. Pro Football Focus gave Baltimore a pressure grade that ranked 20th in the NFL last season and the unit’s 34 total sacks put them in the bottom half of the league in 2021. Smith was earmarked to help improve those totals, but now Baltimore will be looking for other players to create a better pass rush in 2022.

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