Hello Chiefs Nation! Welcome back to the newest edition of Top Free Agents of 2013! Today we are going to take a quick look at some upcoming free agents. Then we will take a brief look at some wide receivers (WR) coming into the NFL from the college ranks, and see who the Chiefs may target in the 2013 NFL Draft.
NFL Free Agent WRs
Victor Cruz, NY Giants: Victor has spent his entire career with the New York Giants and was part of the Super Bowl team in 2012. He had over 1,500 receiving yards that season (2011/2012). With Hakeem Nicks on the opposite side of the field, the Giants would be wise to find a way to lock-up this restricted FA. Nicks and Cruz truly make for a deadly WR duo.
Cruz is a restricted free agent who has said in the past he would love to be a Giant for a long time, but is also looking for a big payday from the team.
The Giants, however, view their other top receiver Hakeem Nicks as more of a priority to re-sign before he hits free agency.
Nicks has one year left on the contract he signed when he was drafted as a rookie back in 2009 and despite an injury-plagued 2012 season, the Giants would love to lock up their star receiver. — Doug Rush
Greg Jennings, GB Packers: Once the premier receiver for the Packers in 2010 and 2011, his 2012 productivity dropped due to a nagging groin injury. He only caught 36 balls in 8 games. The Packers are so close to the 2013 salary cap, that it’s unlikely that the team will offer him a contract or Franchise Tag him.
Last season, Packers wide receivers Randall Cobb, James Jones and Jordy Nelson combined for 193 receptions, 2,483 receiving yards and 29 touchdowns. If Jennings is not re-signed Jarrett Boykin could be promoted to the No. 4 receiver or the Packers could pursue a wideout with a mid-round pick.
Jennings, who recently put his house up for sale in Green Bay, told the NFL Network last week that he wouldn’t mind joining former Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin in Miami. Hampered by a nagging groin injury, Jennings had 36 receptions in eight games in 2012. –Matt Rybaltowski
Dwayne Bowe, KC Chiefs: Dwayne Bowe has been the man in KC since he was drafted in the 1st round of 2007. During his rookie year he had 995 receiving yards, and followed that up with 3 consecutive 1,000 yards season, despite having a mediocre Quarterback. The Chiefs need to re-sign Bowe, or find a WR that is his equal in the FA market, or the draft.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter has reported that the Chiefs may use the franchise tag on Bowe for the second consecutive season. Schefter said on Sportscenter “The Chiefs are gonna find a way to keep him.” Andy Reid would love to keep Bowe, there’s no doubt about that. The franchise tag deadline is March 4th, to use the player option. —Damon Salvadore
Wes Welker, NE Patriots: Like a speeding bullet Wes Welker is a little burner. He’s been Tom Brady’s go to guy since joining the Pats’ in 2007. He catches an insane amount of balls every year and is the best slot receiver in football.
Welker has averaged 112 receptions per season since joining the Pats in 2007, proving to be one of the league’s most reliable targets out of the slot.
However, not using the franchise tag on Welker is a wise move by New England. The diminutive wideout will be 32 years old before next season starts, and it remains to be seen how he fits into the team’s long-term plans. —John Rozum
Source: Bleacher Report
Mike Wallace, Pittsburgh Steelers: Mike Wallace is a fast, fast man. In four seasons the wide receiver has totaled 4,042 receiving yards with 32 touchdowns on 235 receptions. He has the ability to draw defenders down field and opposing defenses are forced to play double coverage just to try and contain him. Once he makes it past the secondary, no one, I repeat, no one will catch him.
Mike Wallace is rumored to be the Miami Dolphins No. 1 offseason priority as they look to bolster their receiving core for quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Wallace, the former Pittsburgh Steeler, joins the list of many receivers that have been rumored to interest a Miami team that has money to spend.
Wallace, who is 26, is a better option than Greg Jennings, who has also been tied to possibly signing with the Dolphins in 2013. Wallace is three years younger than Jennings and one of the fastest receivers in the league. –Frankie Garcia
Some other NFL soon-to-be free agents include Danny Amendola (STL), Brian Hartline (MIA), and Denario Alexander (SD).
As free agency looms closer, we also move closer to the NFL draft. This years WR crop is a good group, and many will be taken within the first 3 rounds. We’ll take a look at a couple early round picks, a couple in the middle rounds, and a guy in the later rounds. However, every year many players fall later than predicted and end up being taken in the middle of the pack instead of up front and early.
Keenan Allen, 6’3″, 210lbs., California — Projected rd. 1: The top receiver coming out of USC.
Natural big play threat who isn’t afraid of contact and has very good vision and patience to set up blocks. Rarely allows passes to get past his hands and into his chest. Typically snatches passes out of the air, showing very good hand-eye coordination and a wide catching radius due to his length, flexibility and big hands. Tracks the ball well over his shoulder. Experienced route-runner who has extensive experience lining up outside and in the slot. Quick hands and feet to slip past press coverage. Shows a natural savvy running his routes, altering his speeds, dipping his shoulder and exploding out of his cuts to generate separation from the defender. — Rob Rang
Tavon Austin, 5’9″, 175lbs., WVU — Projected rd. 1-2: One-half of the dynamic receiving duo out of West Virginia where QB Geno Smith fed the ball to him 114 times in 2012.
Video game-like athleticism with rare change of direction skills. Lateral explosion is something special, doing an excellent job sticking his foot in the ground and bursting in any direction.
Versatile skill-set with experience all over the offense at running back and receiver, often used as a decoy. Dangerous return man and very good at weaving through defenders, playing with different gears that others on the field just don’t have. Extremely productive with numerous school records, including career catches and all-purpose yards. — Dane Brugler
Marquise Goodwin, 5’9″, 179lbs., Texas — Projected rd. 3:
World-class speed. Looked more polished as a route-runner at the Senior Bowl than he had shown previously; more flexible in his patterns and breaks, catching just about everything thrown his way. Explodes off the line and hits another gear when the ball is in the air. Versatile playmaker who can add value by getting the ball into his hands in the backfield or as a kickoff and punt returner. — Dane Brugler
Chris Harper, 6’1″, 228lbs., K-State — Projected rd. 4-5: A big boy receiver. At 6’1″ and 228lbs, he is big and strong.
Harper is a coordinated athlete with above average body control and focus, tracking the ball beautifully and snatching it out of the air with his reliable hands. Harper isn’t overly explosive and is more of a one-speed player, but has been improving each game as a route runner and is an effective perimeter blocker with a strong core for the position. While not a track star, Harper has good-enough football speed and is one of the more underrated receivers for the 2013 class. — Dane Brugler
T.J. Moe, 5’11”, 201lbs., Missouri — Projected rd. 7-UDFA: Moe had a couple of down seasons the past two years and didn’t produce like he did in 2010 when he had 92 rec., for 1045 yards.
Possessing a compact frame well suited to handling slot duties in the NFL, Moe shows good quickness in and out of his breaks and has enough speed to force defenders to be wary of his ability to sneak downfield.
As he’s been each of the past two seasons, Moe will be lining up in the “H” position, as the featured receiver in Missouri’s offense. Whether his statistics rebound to the level he enjoyed in 2010 or not, Moe could earn late-round consideration due in large part to the fact that while not special in any one way, he’s proven himself to be a reliable target. –Rob Rang
Other notable WR’s in this years draft class are Cordarrelle Patterson, Tenn., Robert Woods, USC., Markus Wheaton, Oregon State, Stedman Bailey, West Virginia, and Quinton Patton, Louisiana Tech.
This years draft class looks pretty well stocked with WR’s. Between FA and the draft, the Chiefs will need to bolster their receiving corps., especially now that Steve Breaston was released, and as of now, Dwayne Bowe’s future in KC is still uncertain.
Since I am the ‘Armchair GM,’ I believe the Chiefs need to lock up Bowe. Give him that long-term contract. Bowe can and has put up big numbers. Imagine Bowe with a legitimate QB. Scary. Scary receiver.
Since Breaston is gone, and Jon Baldwin has yet to perform like a 2011 1st rd. draft pick, the Chiefs will need to get a WR in the draft as well. Granted, WR isn’t the most pressing need. I’m fairly confident a later round WR could be the #2 or #3 guy.
The Chiefs still have Dexter McCluster, Jamar Newsome, Devon Wylie, Junior Hemingway, newly signed Mardy Gilyard and Tyler Shoemaker. Of course, not every one of these guys will be on the roster come opening day kickoff, but camp will open with plenty of competition.
Dwayne Bowe will probably be a Chief in 2013 and beyond. Jon Baldwin isn’t going anywhere. Dexter McCluster and Devon Wylie are the two slot receivers in the 4 WR set. Let’s see my choice picks for free agency and the draft.
I’d do everything to keep Dwayne Bowe and I’m sure everyone knew that already. When draft time gets here, I would be surprised see a WR getting picked by KC before round 5. So as for later round WR’s, I really like the physical specimen the Kansas State’s Chris Harper is. Such a big boy, he has the strength and size to manhandle the smaller CB’s in the league and to use his body to take up space between himself and the ball, acting as a shield to prevent a defender from getting between the two. I really like him as a possession type guy. I believe he is underrated, and can be productive in the NFL if he’s in the right system.
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