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NFL Offseason 2012 Part IV: Wide Receivers

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Who Will Land Their Game-Breakers?

Part I: Overview

Part II: Quarterbacks

Part III: Running Backs

Out of all the positions in the NFL, the wide receiver position has the most talent/depth/consistency in all of free agency.

There will be big news for certain players that might be changing addresses and  big paychecks.

The wide receiver class for the 2012 offseason includes:

Vincent Jackson, DeSean Jackson, Wes Welker, Marques Colston, Reggie Wayne, Dwayne Bowe, Stevie Johnson, Brandon Llyod, Pierre Garcon, Robert Meachem, Mike Wallace (Restricted), Laurent Robinson, Plaxico Burress and Mario Manningham.

Since there are so many above average free agents avaliable, I am going to put them in groups

I.) Staying Put:

Wes Welker– Despite his horrible drop in the super bowl, Welker is highly valued by the Patriots.

Wes Welker

Wes Welker

Since signing with the Patriots, Welker has 80 more receptions than ANYONE in the NFL.

He is Tom Brady’s go to guy and the most important free agent the Patriots have. Sources say if there can not be an agreement of a long-term contract between Welker and the team, the Patriots will use the franchise tag on him.

Welker wants to stay in New England and the Patriots want Welker, so I see Welker staying in New England for at least one more season.

Mike Wallace – Wallace is an excellent wide receiver with game-breaking speed and installs fear in the secondary like no other receiver in terms of speed in the NFL.

Wallace is Big Ben’s deep threat and the most prolific receiver the Steelers have. Wallace is a restricted free agent so any offer given to him can be matched by the Steelers. For that reason, I do not see him leaving unless he is given a ridiculous contract.

I just do not see it happening.

Wallace is too important to the Steelers and with Todd Haley as their new offensive coordinator who LOVES his recievers, I find it hard to believe that the Steelers will watch Wallace walk.

Reggie Wayne – Although it would not suprise me to see him walk, I think the Colts will retain Wayne.

With Andrew Luck coming in, what better way to help mentor a young quarterback than an all-pro wide reciever?

Wayne said he would take a pay-cut in order to stay with the team and I see the Colts responding to his comments by resigning him. With Mathis getting most of the offseason money, I see the Colts signing Wayne to a smaller deal to help with Luck’s development.

Reggie caught 74 passes last season with easily the worst quarterback tandem in the NFL. Although Luck is unproven, he is lightyears ahead of Curtis Painter and Dan “I stepped out of the back of the endzone” Orvlosky.

Also, Wayne can still play and be a productive wide out for the Colts for another 2-3 seasons, a perfect time-frame for the Colts to find another receiver for Luck.

Dwayne Bowe – The franchise tag will be used on Bowe if a long-term deal can not be reached. I fully expect Kansas City to use every resource possible to keep Bowe.

Kansas City had a down year with injuries plauging them throughout the season. The Chiefs also have very little depth at the wide receiver position, so letting Bowe go would be ridiculous.

Matt Cassel  is still a questionable quarterback in my opinion, taking away his #1 throwing option will not help him at all. Bowe has great size and strength, he truly is a #1 receiver and seeing him leave the Chiefs would be ridiculous in my opinion.

Brandon Llyod – Llyod has had a very productive past few seasons in the NFL, it is time for him to cash in and I expect him to stay in St. Louis.

Llyod was traded to St.Louis before the week 6 deadline by the Broncos, so if the Rams gave up a draft pick for Llyod, shouldn’t they want to sign him?

Of course, only if the price is right he will be retained, If Llyod starts thinking he is an “elite” receiver in the NFL and gets greedy (I don’t blame him for it), than yes he will be a free agent. However, I know that the Rams want to retain Llyod and finally build a good receiving core for their young quarterback Sam Bradford.

The Rams will draft Blackmon, the top receiving prospect in the draft, drafting Blackmon and retaining Llyod can give Bradford some solid weapons and finally take some heat off Stephen Jackson.

II.) Too Close to Call:

Vincent Jackson

Vincent Jackson

Vincent Jackson – Jackson wants to come back to San Diego, yet I am not convinced. Jackson will demand a huge pay day and rightfully so. Jackson is a huge target and can make any quarterback better, he will be the highest paid wide receiver this offseason.

The Chargers usually keep their players but Jackson might be different, the salary he would be asking for is tough for me to think the Chargers would offer that. Jackson would want a contract of around 4-5 years with an average of $13-15M per season.

 

Stevie Johnson – The Bills want to keep Johnson, but Johnson wants a big-time deal. Especially when the Bills showed the money to players such as Ryan Fitzpatrick and Fred Jackson.

Johnson is a great talent but can at times can be a complete immature idiot. He has dropped key passes in tight games that cost the Bills the game and it would not shock me to see him leave in order to get a big pay-day. Johnson’s personality leads me to believe he wants out and wants to be in  a big market so he can be “the guy”.

Be careful what you wish for Stevie, with big money comes bigger expecations and you have already dropped the ball in big spots before.

III.) On The Move:

Desean Jackson

DeSean Jackson

DeSean Jackson – Jackson could be the top wide receiver free agent on the market. It is no secret that Jackson was very unhappy the way Eagles management  treated his contract situation as it played a big role to his sub-par season.

Jackson has top-tier speed and game changing punt return ability, therefore he could be the most valuable free agent on the market not named Peyton Manning. The Eagles spent a lot of money last season and it could come back to haunt them this offseason by losing Jackson.

Jackson will probably be labeled with the franchise tag but I really see things getting ugly between him and the Eagles if he is. Jackson is a small wide receiver and has a very small window to get his major pay day he has been seeking.

Obviously any team could use a DeSean Jackson on their team, but who can legitimately sign him or trade for him?

my top suitors are : Cleveland and St. Louis

Both teams need a gamebreaking wide reciever and both teams have the money or draft picks to sign or swing a deal for Jackson.

Marques Colston – With so many free agents for the Saints to resign, they will lose someone, and that someone is Marques Colston.

Colston has quietly been one of the most productive receivers in the NFL the past few seasons. It will be a rough off-season for New Orleans as they will lose Colston to free agency.

The contract talks with Brees has left Colston with no offer or even any contact from the Saints. If the Saints can not retain Brees long-term there will  use the franchise tag. If the tag is used than it leaves the Saints to choose between Colston and offensive guard Carl Nicks. Nicks is one of the best interior offensive lineman in the league and protecting the quarterback is key.

Where can Colston go?

My top Suitors: Cincinnati, St. Louis, and Cleveland

Cincinnati needs to upgrade their talent level on the team and adding an experienced possession receiver across from A.J Green would be a great fit for the Bengals.

Plaxico Burress/Mario Manningham/Pierre Garcon/Laurant Robinson/Robert Meachem –

All these players I named above are not the “top” free agents and will likely sit back as the market will dictate where they land and how much money they will make next season.

I combined these five players because of their talent level and where they stand in the free agent market.

There is no chance Plaxico comes back to the Jets, they have a disfunctional locker room and I would be shocked if the Jets even attempted to make an offer. Also, the last thing the Jets need is another diva in the locker room and on the team.

Manningham also will not be retained by the Giants in my opinion. The Giants just have more important needs and need to pay other players that are more deserving and more important to the team. Osi and Cruz will be reason why Manningham will not be retained as both of them will be looking for new deals.

Garcon is a coin flip in my opinion, with Wayne and Mathis heading the free agent list in Indy, Garcon could be the odd man out. However, Wayne and Garcon can switch roles in my opinion.

What I mean is Garcon could be resigned and Wayne could be let go. The Colts will not be able to bring back both receivers and I see Wayne more valuable and less expensive.

Robinson had a great year for the Cowboys and played his way into a good pay day. However, that pay day will not be from the Cowboys as their needs are too great to ignore. I see the Cowboys using their money  on the defensive backfield and will address the #3 wide receiver position in the draft.

Meachem is also in a tough spot, with the Saints having so many free agents I find it hard to believe he will back next season. Meachem will sit back and let the market dictate how much he can make and where he lands, he is a big receiver and has talent. However, it is yet to be seen if Meachem can be a #1 wide out and not just a system receiver.

Stay Tuned for next Article: NFL Offseason 2012 Part V: Tight Ends

Please follow me on Twitter @PeterD024

 

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About peteydeez
College Graduate from St. John's University with Bachelor Science Degree in Sport Management - Sports Enthusiast - Jets/Mets/Rangers/Knicks Fan

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