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Free Agency Preview: Wide Receivers and Tight Ends

Postby The Lung » Tue Feb 20, 2007 5:31 pm

From Rotoworld: http://www.rotoworld.com/content/features/column.aspx?sport=NFL&columnid=59&articleid=27796

FA Preview: The Receivers

We've previewed the available players at quarterback, running back , and defensive backs this off-season. Now it's time for the pass-catchers.

The crop of possible wideouts and tight ends who may be available is relatively thin. Donte' Stallworth, Drew Bennett, and Jerramy Stevens are the most consistent players with starting experience. Kevin Curtis, Ashley Lelie, Daniel Graham and Bobby Engram are next, and then the list falls off a cliff.

The list of teams looking for receivers finishes our rankings at the bottom.

Unrestricted free agents

1. Donte' Stallworth, Eagles - While he struggled with injuries in 2006, Stallworth has matured and showed consistency as a deep threat the last two seasons. He's a solid number two receiver who fits well in a West Coast offense. The Vikings are a likely suitor. The Patriots are a darkhorse.

2. Drew Bennett, Titans - Getting open isn't the problem. Catching the ball consistently is. While Bennett isn't polished, he's a proven starter with explosive ability. He's productive, a prototype No. 2 receiver. New England, San Francisco, Kansas City, Cleveland, and Jacksonville could all show interest.

3. Kevin Curtis, Rams - Curtis was highly productive in St. Louis when given the chance to start in 2005. He has great speed and knows Mike Martz's offense. The Lions should go hard after him.

4. Ashley Lelie, Falcons - After a lost season in Atlanta, Lelie is hitting the market at the wrong time. While there are perceptions he's soft, he's one of the most consistent deep threats in the league. At worst, he could make an explosive number three receiver. His age is a bonus.

5. Bobby Engram, Seahawks - One of the most underrated players of the last five years, Engram is content to effectively fill the role of a slot receiver. He would fit well in New England and Philadelphia. Seattle is unlikely to keep him because of a logjam at the position.

6. Travis Taylor, Vikings- The definition of replacement-level. He was Minnesota's most consistent wideout last year, but they probably won't keep him because of a legal mishap.

7. Dennis Northcutt, Browns - Once a productive slot receiver and return man, Northcutt had a case of the drops in 2006. He'll make a roster though.

8. Bobby Wade, Titans - Coming off the best season of his career, Wade still might not garner much interest. Returning to Tennessee is likely.

9. Andre' Davis, Bills - Strictly a special-teamer at this point, but a good one.
10. Corey Bradford, Lions- Near the end of the line.
11. Kelley Washington, Bengals- Hasn't developed as a pro.
12. Bethel Johnson, Vikings - Not good enough on returns to make up for deficiencies elsewhere.
13. Troy Brown, Patriots - It's unlikely he'd play for another team.
14. Justin Gage, Bears- Had his chance to start and never did much with it.
15. Cortez Hankton, Jaguars – A useful special teamer.
16. Az-Zahir Hakim, Lions- Mid-season pickup.

Restricted Free Agents

1. DJ Hackett, Seahawks- Hackett has played so well the last two years as a number four receiver, Mike Holmgren has to view him as a potential starter. If Seattle was foolish enough to place a low tender on him, look for significant interest in Hackett.

2. Wes Welker, Dolphins - There's a chance the new Dolphins regime may not value Welker's multi-dimensional skills as much as the old one. After catching more passes than Chris Chambers in 2006, teams like the Patriots would love to sign him to an offer sheet if Miami places a low tender on him. In the end, Cam Cameron could use him like he used Eric Parker in San Diego.

3. Patrick Crayton, Cowboys - Crayton has evolved into an explosive third receiver. Dallas should retain him.

4. Ernest Wilford, Jaguars - Jacksonville has seemingly soured on Wilford after a lackluster 2006 season. They probably won't re-sign him to a long-term deal, but he's likely to be back in 2007 as a reserve.

5. Samie Parker, Chiefs - Kansas City needs to upgrade from Parker. It's unlikely anyone would give up a pick for him.

6. Drew Carter, Panthers - Has passed Keary Colbert on the depth chart and should be back.

7. Terrance Copper, Saints- Proof that Sean Payton can make any receiver a fantasy factor. Copper should stay in New Orleans.

8. Clarence Moore, Ravens - Briefly cut by the Ravens last year before being re-signed.

Cap Casualty Candidates

1. Terrell Owens, Cowboys - Norv Turner reportedly didn't want Owens. He wasn't hired. We don't think it's a worthwhile investment to pay T.O. $10 million more this year, but it looks likely to happen in Dallas.

2. Joe Horn, Saints - Horn and the Saints appear headed for a divorce. Speed and durability have faded, so it's possible someone will overpay for him in free agency. A return to Kansas City would be interesting.

3. Marty Booker, Dolphins- Led Miami in receiving yards last season, but has a big cap number. Cam Cameron probably doesn't want to give up offensive talent, so Booker should be safe.

4. Amani Toomer, Giants - Recovering from a torn ACL, Toomer should be safe if only because his salary ($2.85 million) is affordable.

5. Justin McCareins, Jets- Not a favorite of the Mangini regime. It's hard to pinpoint why McCareins hasn't put together a better career, but he's still a useful number three receiver.

6. Mike Williams, Lions - The Detroit papers speculate that Williams could be cut, but he's expensive to get rid of. If he shows improved work ethic, he should make the team. That's a big if.

7. Brandon Lloyd, Redskins - A world class turd. It wouldn't shock me if Washington released Lloyd if he doesn't have a better attitude this summer.

8. Rod Smith, Broncos - Denver simply can't pay Smith $5.5 million to be a third receiver. The two sides should be able to work something out.

9. Keary Colbert, Panthers - Fallen off a cliff after a boffo rookie season, Colbert looks likely to get dumped by Carolina. He should get another chance.

10. Keenan McCardell, Chargers- Like Rod Smith, the aging process happened suddenly for McCardell. An unappreciated career could be over.

11. Brandon Stokley, Colts - Career is in jeopardy after tearing his Achilles' tendon.

Trade Candidates

1. Darrell Jackson, Seahawks - There is a perfect storm brewing for Jackson to get dealt. He has grumbled about his contract for years, saying Seattle didn't follow through with some promise. While always productive, Jackson has inconsistent hands and suffered through injuries the last two seasons.

Seattle has a logjam at receiver and could probably acquire a second-round pick for Jackson from teams like Minnesota, New England, or Green Bay.

2. Randy Moss, Raiders- By all accounts, Moss wants out. Oakland has enough receivers, so they may just give him up for a first-day draft pick. Al Davis usually doesn't like giving up talent that easily, though, so don't assume Moss will get what he wants.

Teams Looking for Wide Receivers

1. Vikings - Minnesota's passing game is in deep trouble. Their talent at quarterback and wide receiver is the worst in the league. Troy Williamson couldn't hold on to his starting job and hasn't matured as a pro. Travis Taylor is a free agent and is expected to leave. Marcus Robinson was cut at the end of 2006. There is almost no depth.

The Vikings have to add a wide receiver or two in free agency, and then add depth in the draft. They should be major players for West Coast offense veterans like Donte' Stallworth, Darrell Jackson, and Ashley Lelie. Stallworth makes a lot of sense.

2. Patriots - Even if it's all about the system, New England would love to upgrade at receiver. They offered Derrick Mason a big deal two years ago, so they will go after the right free agent. Bobby Engram, Drew Bennett, Joe Horn, and Wes Welker could all fit the Patriots' system. Ashley Lelie or Kevin Curtis could add some much-needed speed to the offense.

3. Kansas City Chiefs - Eddie Kennison is a number two receiver masquerading as a number one. Samie Parker is a number four receiver with a starting job. Dante Hall is done. Kansas City needs to infuse talent and fast.

4. San Francisco 49ers - Antonio Bryant is suspended for the start of the season and Arnaz Battle would make a better number three receiver than a starter. There isn't much depth on the bench, so look for the 49ers to add someone.

5. Philadelphia Eagles - Donte' Stallworth will be difficult to retain. Hank Baskett, Jason Avant, and Greg Lewis could slide up the depth chart, but Philadelphia would probably like to add more talent.

6. Jacksonville Jaguars - The Jags look set at receiver on paper, but there have been reports that they are tired of waiting for Matt Jones, Reggie Williams, and Ernest Wilford to develop. Division rival Drew Bennett could be a target.

7. Tampa Bay Bucs - Tampa likes Maurice Stovall and is hopeful of a rebound from Michael Clayton, but nothing is guaranteed from either player. Jon Gruden is always willing to take a gamble on talent, so they could get involved in the Randy Moss sweepstakes. Drafting Calvin Johnson is another option.

8. Detroit Lions - With Mike Furrey re-signed, the Lions don't need to add another receiver. But they are expected to go hard after former Mike Martz pupil Kevin Curtis, which would give the Lions an explosive wideout trio.

9. Bills - Buffalo has a lot of number three receivers (Peerless Price, Josh Reed, Roscoe Parrish), but no one to take pressure off Lee Evans. J.P. Losman needs more weapons. The Bills say they are happy with their group, though, so they probably won't be aggressive.

10. New York Giants - Amani Toomer is probably safe as he recovers from a torn ACL. Sinorice Moss has talent, but is unproven. The Giants could be interested in adding depth.

11. Cleveland Browns - Braylon Edwards can be a No. 1 receiver in time and Joe Jurevicius is a solid option in the slot. The Browns could surprise and go after one of the top names on this list or draft another receiver high.

12. Green Bay Packers - Brett Favre reportedly wants to throw to Randy Moss, so there is a chance that will happen. Greg Jennings had a great rookie season, but the Packers have no depth and may talk to West Coast wideouts like Ashley Lelie, Travis Taylor, and Darrell Jackson, if he's available.

13. Indianapolis Colts - How scary would the Colts be if they added Kevin Curtis? It won't happen because of the salary cap, but Indy could use a slot receiver.

14. St. Louis Rams - They need some depth and wideouts for the future. The draft may make more sense.

Unrestricted free agent tight ends

1. Daniel Graham, Patriots - New England has depth at the position, but Graham is their best overall tight end and a team captain. He's a punishing blocker and passable receiver. They will try to re-sign the team captain, but he will be tough to retain. Denver should go hard after him.

2. Jerramy Stevens, Seahawks - Seattle is thin at the position, but they may have grown tired of Stevens' inconsistencies. Unless a team like Minnesota steps up, though, the Seahawks seem like the most likely destination for Stevens.

3. Eric Johnson, 49ers - Johnson is a useful second tight end, but he's injury-prone, doesn't have any yards-after-catch ability, and isn't a great blocker. He'll get a job, but probably not as a starter.

4. David Martin, Packers - Martin showed enough flashes in 2006 to get a contract for next season.

5. Billy Miller, Saints - Drew Brees started looking to Miller more often at the end of the season. He could be brought back.
6. Kyle Brady, Jaguars - A sixth offensive lineman. This could be the year Brady finally retires.

Cap Casualty Candidates

1. Jermaine Wiggins, Vikings - His $1.45 million salary is reasonable, but Wiggins doesn't fit what Brad Childress wants in a tight end.

2. Erron Kinney, Titans - Injuries could end Kinney's career.

Teams Looking for Tight Ends

1. Vikings- The Vikings would love someone who could stretch the field.

2. Panthers - New offensive coordinator Jeff Davidson wants to feature tight ends more in the passing game. Jermaine Wiggins could be a fit.

3. Saints - Should try to do better than Billy Miller. A draft pick would make sense.

4. Bills - A decent pass-catching tight end could alleviate some pressure from J.P. Losman.

5. Seahawks - If Jerramy Stevens leaves; Seattle has a major hole at the position.

6. Bengals -They haven't made a pass-catching tight end in the past a priority.

7. Denver - The Broncos want a blocker to pair with Tony Scheffler.
(~);}

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(~);}
The Lung
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Postby jake_twothousandfive » Tue Feb 20, 2007 5:41 pm

Funny how my team is most desperate for both a TE and a WR. Funny, but pretty sad :,-( as well.
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Postby BlueBandit24 » Tue Feb 20, 2007 5:46 pm

jake_twothousandfive wrote:Funny how my team is most desperate for both a TE and a WR. Funny, but pretty sad :,-( as well.


I feel your pain. Also the least talented team at the QB and WR position in the league. I think the Vikes own that title by a wide margin. :-o
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Postby steelerfan513 » Tue Feb 20, 2007 5:49 pm

jake_twothousandfive wrote:Funny how my team is most desperate for both a TE and a WR. Funny, but pretty sad :,-( as well.


Someone with a Reggie Bush sig and a Calvin Johnson avatar is a Vikings fan?

Now I have seen everything. ;-)
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Postby mrblitz » Tue Feb 20, 2007 7:09 pm

I like the fact that they threw Philly into the mix as a possible destination for Engram. I've been saying for a couple years that this guy is underrated. Excellent hands. Health is the only concern.
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Postby The Balanced Man » Wed Feb 21, 2007 9:12 am

Thanks as usual Lung. ;-D
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