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Nittany Lions In The NFL: 2022 Free Agency Recap

As the NFL offseason continues, many former Penn State football stars have made moves all around the league.

From new big-money deals to franchise tags, big-league Nittany Lions are aiming to re-sign or find new teams to play for during the 2022 season. Naturally, that can be a lot for fans at home to keep track of.

Here’s an overview of where many former Penn State stars are planning to play in 2022 so far.

Allen Robinson: Los Angeles Rams

After spending the last four years of his career with the Chicago Bears, Allen Robinson finally got a change of scenery. The Nittany Lion was franchise tagged last offseason by Chicago, and after an injury-filled 2021 campaign, both Robinson and the Bears felt it was best to move on.

Robinson will join the reigning Super Bowl champion Rams on a three-year contract worth roughly $45 million with $30 million guaranteed. After totaling only 410 yards and grabbing one touchdown in only 12 games in 2021, Robinson will now join an offense that includes Matt Stafford and Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp with hopes to finally get a ring or find success in the playoffs.

Chris Godwin: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Chris Godwin was having one of his best career seasons in 2021, totaling 98 receptions and 1,103 receiving yards, and five receiving touchdowns. However, an ACL tear in week 14 caused Godwin to miss the remainder of the season and, possibly, the beginning of 2022’s campaign.

During free agency, the Buccaneers franchise-tagged the sixth-year receiver. However, three days after quarterback Tom Brady announced he was coming out of retirement, Tampa Bay locked up the 26-year-old pass-catcher with a three-year, $60 million deal with $40 million fully guaranteed at signing. When Godwin returns, he will join Brady and Pro Bowl receiver Mike Evans in hopes of securing their second ring in three seasons.

Mike Gesicki: Miami Dolphins

Mike Gesicki is coming off his best season in his young career and has asserted himself in the conversation as one of the top emerging tight ends in the league.

After adding Tyreek Hill and Terron Armstead in free agency, Miami decided to franchise tag Gesicki to keep him with the Dolphins in 2022. The former Nittany Lions star will make just about $11 million in 2022 and hope to help Miami make the playoffs for the first time since 2016.

Ryan Bates: Buffalo Bills

Going into the offseason as a restricted free agent, Ryan Bates had the opportunity to talk shop with any team. Bates was regarded as one of the best offensive linemen in this year’s free agency class after playing in every regular-season game over the past two seasons for the Bills.

Bates and the Chicago Bears agreed to a four-year contract for $17 million with the first two years’ money being guaranteed. However, the Bills did not want to lose Bates and decided to match the offer, bringing the guard back to Buffalo for the next four seasons.

Austin Johnson: Los Angeles Chargers

Austin Johnson is another Nittany Lion who had a career year in 2021. Johnson recorded 72 tackles and 3.5 sacks in 17 games with the New York Giants during this past fall. He rolled a career-best season into a new deal by landing a two-year contract for $14 million with the Los Angeles Chargers.

Johnson now joins Pro Bowl stars like Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack in hopes of bringing home a championship in 2022.

DaQuan Jones: Buffalo Bills

Joining Bates in Buffalo will be 30-year-old defensive tackle DaQuon Jones. After spending one year with the Carolina Panthers, Jones will join the Buffalo defensive line on a two-year deal worth about $14 million. The Bills will are pushing be one of the best teams in football this season and should offer Jones a chance to win his first Super Bowl.

DaeSean Hamilton: Houston Texans

DaeSean Hamilton was cut by the Denver Broncos after sustaining a season-ending injury. Hamilton became a free agent and elected to sign with the Houston Texans on a one-year contract for a little over $1 million.

Other Notables

  • Defensive back Troy Apke re-signed with the Washington Commanders on a one-year deal. Apke has played in 50 games for Washington, starting in nine of them, and has been one of the leaders of the special teams unit while with the Commanders.
  • The Pittsburgh Steelers placed a $2.54 million tender on linebacker Marcus Allen. Allen will gear up for his fifth season for the Steelers in 2022 after totaling 12 tackles in 16 games this past season.
  • San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Kevin Givens is returning to the 49ers on a one-year deal.
  • Cornerback John Reid will return to the Seattle Seahawks on a one-year deal, too.
  • Tight end Nick Bowers will stick with the Las Vegas Raiders on a league-minimum one-year contract.
  • Defensive end Carl Nassib remains unsigned after getting cut by the Raiders.

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About the Author

Matt Brown

Matt is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism from Bensalem, Pa. Matt is a huge Philadelphia sports fan and an overall sports fan in general. When not watching sports, you'll find him watching reruns of "The Office" or "Friends." To reach him, follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @matt_brown63, or email him at [email protected]

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