Monday, April 15, 2024
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Michael Pittman free agent landing spots: Stock rising for Colts WR with Tee Higgins reportedly off the board

With the Bengals reportedly expected to franchise tag Tee Higgins, Michael Pittman is in line to be the top available wideout when free agency begins next month, assuming the Colts star isn’t tagged himself. 

Like Higgins, Pittman is a 2020 second-round pick who already has two 1,000-yard seasons under his belt. But unlike Higgins, Pittman’s success has come despite not having a Pro Bowl-level quarterback throwing him the ball. Despite losing rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson after four games last season, Pittman set career highs with 109 receptions for 1,152 yards. 

The 26-year-old would have a robust market if he is a free agent next month. His projected market value is slated at four years at just under $91 million for an annual salary of $22.7 million, according to Spotrac. While he isn’t cheap, Pittman’s projected market value would make him the NFL’s ninth-highest-paid receiver as far as annual salary is concerned. 

At this point, the safe bet is that Indianapolis will tag Pittman, keeping him in the fold for 2024. But if the Colts decide to let him test the market, here are five teams that would be good fits for Pittman, starting with the defending world champions. 

Chiefs 

Kansas City won last year’s Super Bowl despite a receiving corps that underperformed for most of the year. The Chiefs shouldn’t bank on that happening again, especially with Travis Kelce getting a year older. Pittman would help open up the Chiefs offense while complementing Kelce, Rashee Rice and running back Isiah Pacheco

Buccaneers 

Many have compared Pittman to Mike Evans, so it makes sense to include Tampa here given that the Buccaneers likely won’t have Evans next season. Pittman would fill Evans’ role in the offense while making sure that the Buccaneers offense doesn’t regress. Chris Godwin’s uncertain future after 2024 only adds to this move making sense. 

Bears

Regardless of who their quarterback is, the Bears need to give him better receiving options in 2024 sans DJ Moore. Pittman would undoubtedly be an asset for Justin Fields if Chicago keeps the fourth-year QB in the fold. The Bears have the draft picks (including the No. 1 and No. 9 overall selections) to pull off a tag-and-trade if the Colts are willing to do so. 

Panthers 

Carolina may be the team that is most in need of receiver help this offseason. While Pittman won’t fix all of the Panthers’ issues, he is great starting point who can serve as a No. 1 target for Bryce Young, who needs a reliable receiver entering his second season. 

Steelers

OK, hear me out. Yes, the Steelers already have Diontae Johnson and George Pickens. But Johnson will be a free agent next year, and the Steelers don’t have much depth behind their top-two wideouts. Pittman would solidify the Steelers’ receiving corps this year and would give them leverage regarding Johnson and his expiring contract. 

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