6 Best Free Agent Landing Spots for Two-Time Pro Bowl Receiver

Adam Thielen Landing Spots

On Thursday, March 9th, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that wide receiver Adam Thielen’s time in Minnesota could be soon coming to an end. One day later, the Vikings announced that they had released Thielen. Even though the Adam Thielen is on the older side, he should have plenty of good landing spots waiting for him.

Although the two sides discussed restructuring his contract to lower his nearly $20 million cap hit for 2023, they could not reach an agreement. Rather than seeking a trade partner, the team ultimately decided to release Thielen to allow him to land in his preferred destination. As a result, the Vikings, who have limited financial flexibility with their tenuous cap situation, will save $6.417 million on the cap with a $13.55 million dead-money hit by releasing Thielen on Friday

Adam Thielen, who has played his entire career with the Vikings, has produced at a consistently high-level since his arrival as an undrafted free agent out of Minnesota State University in 2013. Overall, Thielen ranks fourth on the the franchise’s all-time list with 6,682 receiving yards, third with 534 receptions, and third with 55 touchdown receptions.

Top 6 Adam Thielen Landing Spots, Ranked

Last season, Thielen finished with 70 catches for 716 receiving yards and six touchdowns. At 32 years old, there is little doubt that Thielen can still excel as a secondary receiver that can produce in the red zone and on third downs while providing a strong veteran presence for numerous teams.

As his time with the Vikings has officially come to an end, Thielen will now play for a team located outside the state of Minnesota for the first time in his remarkable career.

Given that Adam Thielen’s reported preference is to play for a contending team with a top-tier quarterback, here are some of the best landing spots for him.

Buffalo Bills

Following yet another season that ended in a disappointing playoff exit, the Bills could be looking to supplant quarterback Josh Allen with better weapons. Although third-year receiver Gabe Davis has shown flashes of excellence early on in his career, he has ultimately been too inconsistent to be a reliable secondary target for the team. On top of that, Stefon Diggs is upset with the team, and that could lead to trouble down the road.

Moreover, Allen has been at his best when he has had a receiver that could produce from the slot, a position from which Thielen has thrived throughout his career. For instance, receiver Cole Beasley played a pivotal role in Allen’s development and emergence as an NFL superstar, as he recorded 82 catches in both the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

Furthermore, signing Thielen would reunite him with receiver Stefon Diggs, the number one target for the Bills, that played with Thielen for the first five years of his career in Minnesota. In the end, the Allen and the Bills would benefit from signing a more consistent and productive receiver in Thielen that has proven he can complement and play off of their best receiver.

Kansas City Chiefs

Coming off the second Super Bowl victory of Patrick Mahomes’ young career, the Chiefs may be looking to reload at the receiver position. With wide receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman likely to depart as upcoming free agents, the Chiefs will need to replenish their receiving corps for a second straight offseason.

With All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce and speedsters Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Kadarius Toney at wide receiver currently on the roster, Thielen would ultimately serve as a strong complement as more of a possession-receiver who also thrives in the red zone.

Moreover, as Smith-Schuster is likely to command a lucrative payday in free agency, Thielen would be a cheaper alternative that can still produce at a similar level. As long as Mahomes and coach Andy Reid are in Kansas City, the team will always be aggressive in upgrading their roster to maximize their championship window. Adding Thielen to bolster their receiving corps would be a shrewd move that can help the Chiefs repeat as Super Bowl champions next season.

New York Jets

As the Jets are on the brink of acquiring future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers, they may be looking to pair him with Thielen, his longtime division rival, at receiver. While the Jets boast some young and dynamic skill position players in receiver Garrett Wilson and running back Breece Hall, they could use another veteran presence at receiver to contribute in the passing game.

If the Jets were to acquire Rodgers and absorb a portion of his massive contract, the team may be forced to part with receiver Corey Davis, similar to their recent release of the versatile Braxton Berrios. As such, the Jets are likely to have void in the slot.

Thielen, the reliably consistent and productive target in his tenure with the Vikings, has also developed a mutual respect and friendship with Rodgers over their years of facing off against one another. Thielen would ultimately give Rodgers a third down target he can trust that has the savviness and intelligence to thrive alongside him.

Green Bay Packers

While it seems inevitable that the Packers and Aaron Rodgers will finally part ways after 18 years together, the team will still likely look to add a veteran receiver to build around 2020 first round quarterback Jordan Love. Wide receiver Allen Lazard, who led the team in receiving yards in 2022 with 788, is a pending free agent who seems highly uncertain to be re-signed by the Packers at his desired asking price.

As such, the Packers would appear to be in the market for another possession receiver that can serve as a security blanket for Love while complementing young wide receivers Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs. Although the idea that Adam Thielen, a Minnesota native, would consider Green Bay as a landing spot may seem odd, it may not be so far-fetched given the team’s need for a player with his skillset and leadership intangibles.

If Thielen held resentment towards the team and the front office about the end of his tenure with the Vikings, he may feel more inclined to send a message by joining their divisional foes. Nearly 10 years ago to the date that former Packers receiver Greg Jennings signed with the Vikings in free agency, we may see something similar happen with Thielen going to the Packers.

Dallas Cowboys

After a second consecutive season that ended in a disappointing playoff loss to the 49ers, the Cowboys need to look to find ways to improve their offensive production and consistency. Although quarterback Dak Prescott missed five games last season with an injury, he still tied for the league-lead in interceptions thrown with 15.

Outside of receiver CeeDee Lamb and running back Tony Pollard, who was given the franchise tag for next season, the Cowboys have gotten inconsistent production from their secondary playmakers, notably running back Ezekiel Elliott and receiver Michael Gallup.

While he may no longer be an elite receiver at this stage of his career, Thielen has proven he can still be a valuable contributor. Moreover, with tight end Dalton Schultz likely to depart as a free agent, the Cowboys need another weapon for Prescott, especially one that excels on third down and in the red zone. Signing Thielen would also likely require less capital and garner less unnecessary attention that would come with a splashier move, such as acquiring DeAndre Hopkins or Odell Beckham Jr, which may ultimately be beneficial for the Cowboys.

Carolina Panthers

Following the Panthers recent trade to acquire the number one overall pick in the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft, in which they gave the Bears wide receiver DJ Moore along with numerous draft picks, the Panthers currently have one of the weakest receiving corps in the league.

Now that the Panthers have their choice at quarterback to guide their franchise, it would be wise for the team to acquire a stout veteran receiver like Thielen that can ease the transition to the NFL for the teams next young quarterback.

Although Thielen may not want to sign with a non-contending such as the Panthers, they can likely offer a richer contract than most of the other potential landing spots. Furthermore, perhaps Thielen would like to join the Panthers and become a prominent leader and veteran presence for the team as they try to establish themselves into a contender once again.