Most bang for the buck? Plus, a different take on Christian Kirk

If you want to know how general managers, head coaches and scouts view the importance of a position in the team-building process, simply follow the money. As a passing league in the modern era, the NFL has consistently paid a premium for passers, pass rushers and pass protectors. But this offseason, a bevy of wide receivers have joined the financial elite, christening the position as one of the marquee pieces of the championship puzzle.

Since March, a whopping 11 wideouts have signed contracts averaging at least $20 million per year. The latest beneficiary? Deebo Samuel, who just signed a three-year, $73.5 million deal to remain the San Francisco 49ers’ No. 1 offensive threat.

Clearly, the WR marketplace has significantly changed in 2022. In fact, teams are not only paying bona fide No. 1 receivers what we used to call “quarterback money,” but they are willing to give big bucks to fringe WR1/WR2 types. Just look at the cash collected by Mike Williams and Chris Godwin — who each signed a three-year, $60 million deal in March — and you can see how executives are breaking the bank to surround their quarterbacks with powerful playmakers on the perimeter.

As a former player, I love seeing these young pass catchers cashing big checks. At the same time, the former scout in me wonders how many of them will be able to provide enough bang for the buck to encourage a continuation of this trend.

Consequently, I decided to examine the situations of all 11 receivers who just joined the $20 million club, assessing contracts, quarterbacks and coaching staff. Here is my ranking — in countdown style, from 11 to 1 — of who’ll provide the best value.

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