Thursday, May 19, 2011

2011 Free Agent Class: Best WRs Available?

With the lockout still in place until at least the June 3 hearing, free agency will have to wait. But it isn't too early to take a look at who's the best players available. First position I will take a closer look at is the wideouts, one of the deepest positions in free agency this offseason.

*Vincent Jackson, SD

2010 stat-line: 14 Rec., 248 yards, 3 TD (only started five games)

The 28-year old wideout known as "Action Jackson" held out, because of a contract dispute with the Chargers, until October 29, 2010 and then had to sit through a four-game suspension. This meant he saw very little of the field as a result. But, I think that because he didn't have health issues, teams would be more willing to take a risk and sign the playmaker who put up over 1,100 yards and nine touchdowns on 68 catches in 2009.

Pro Bowl quarterback Philip Rivers has already shown that he doesn't need Jackson on the field in order to produce, and since Jackson will likely be looking for a good amount of money, I doubt the Bolts will bring him back for 2011.
*Sidney Rice, MIN

2010 stat-line: 17 Rec., 280 yards, 2 TD (only started five games)

Just like Jackson, Rice saw very limited playing time in 2010. Rice didn't have character issues, however, and had to undergo hip surgery last offseason. It took him quite a while to recover, and he didn't make his 2010 debut until November 21. In his six games, Rice put up one 100-yard performance, against Buffalo, in which he also caught two touchdown passes. He seemed to make a full recovery, and if Minnesota doesn't bring him back as a weapon for rookie Christian Ponder, then they will be making a huge mistake.

Can't argue with having a physical, 6'4'' receiver to throw the ball to.

*Santonio Holmes, NYJ

2010 stat-line: 52 Rec., 746 yards, 6 TD (only started 10 games)

In his first season with the Jets, Holmes saw his targets reduced considerably, although he did have to serve a four game suspension. With continuing maturity and growth from the young signal caller in Mark Sanchez, if Holmes stays put in New York we could be seeing a season much like his 2009 season with Pittsburgh.

The only problem I see New York running in to is which receiver to bring back for 2011 (Holmes or Braylon Edwards).

*Steve Smith, NYG

2010 stat-line: 48 Rec., 529 yards, 3 TD (only started seven games)

Smith battled injury, therefore only managed to start seven games throughout the 2010 season. He was somewhat of a disappointment, but as 2009 showed us (107 catches, 1,220 yards, 7 TD), Smith has the ability to put up big numbers while catching passes from Eli Manning in New York. His vertical quickness allows him to turn short routes in to big gains.

Don't be surprised if the 26-year old gets a 4-5 year contract from the G-Men once free agency starts this off-season.
*Malcom Floyd, SD

2010 stat-line: 37 Rec., 717 yards, six TD (only started nine games)

There's no doubt that Floyd was one of San Diego's most underrated weapons over the last two seasons. While Vincent Jackson and Antonio Gates got all the attention, Floyd was making all the plays. On just 37 catches, Floyd racked up over 700 yards and six touchdowns. This gave him one of the top YPC average in the league at 19.4. While he may not be the flashiest guy on the field, he sure is a threat in long-distance passing situations.

I doubt the Bolts will bring Jackson back for 2011, like I said earlier, but they should certainly consider bringing the 6'5'' target in Malcom Floyd back for the playoff-hungry Chargers.

*Braylon Edwards, NYJ

2010 stat-line: 53 Rec., 904 yards, 7 TD (15 starts)

Edwards has great size and strength, allowing him to amass 900 yards and 7 touchdown receptions in 2010 for New York. But he has had trouble with dropped passes, as well as run-ins with the law. Despite great athletic ability when he hits the field, I don't see the Jets bringing Edwards back. Holmes has had a few issues himself, but with more upside I think they will only retain Holmes, not Edwards. If money grew on trees I think Rex Ryan would convince the front office to keep them both for Sanchez, but that's just not the case here.
*Terrell Owens, CIN

2010 stat-line: 72 Rec., 983 yards, nine TD (11 starts)

Many seem to believe that Owens has run out of gas. To those people that have been saying that, did you not look at his production in 2010? In just 11 starts (14 overall games) Owens amassed just shy of 1,000 yards and 10 TDs. What isn't productive about that stat-line? Owens simply came in to Cincinnati and completely took the spotlight from teammate Chad Ochocinco, and as we all know, that's a tough feat to accomplish.

Owens will be 38 in December, so I don't see the Bengals taking another shot at him. But I know for a fact that someone will. Hopefully, though, 2011 will be T.O.'s final season.

*Randy Moss, TEN

2010 stat-line: 28 Rec., 393 yards, five TD (11 starts with three different teams)

It's clear to me that Mr. Moss has overstayed his welcome in the National Football League. His 2010 performance with three different teams (Patriots, Vikings, Titans) has shown me that he has turned in to a locker room cancer and his poor performance on the field only creates a more disturbing situation. At this point in their careers, there's a huge difference between Terrell Owens and Randy Moss. I am praying that no NFL team will sign him to a one-year deal for 2011. I would love to be able to remember Moss's career for what he did in his prime, rather the fact that he played far too past his prime.

*Mike Williams, SEA

2010 stat-line: 65 Rec., 751 yards, two TD (13 starts)

If it wasn't for Michael Vick's miraculous 2010 campaign, Mike Williams would have easily captured the Comeback Player of the Year award. After eating himself out of the league in 2007 and becoming known to all as a Draft Bust (selected 10th overall by the Lions in 2005), Williams completed a comeback to the league with Seattle. After catching a grand total of 44 passes from 2005-07 with Detroit and Oakland, Williams came close to doubling that total with 65 catches with Seattle.

With newfound hope in Williams' ability, I wouldn't doubt that the Seahawks decide to bring him back for a few more seasons to see what he can produce.
*James Jones, GB

2010 stat-line: 50 Rec., 679 yards, five TD (only started three games but played in all 16)

Jones stepped his game up in 2010, producing a career-high 679 yards on (another) career-high 50 catches. Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers spread the ball around quite a bit this past season, and Jones' productivity could have seen a rise because of the loss of receiving TE Jermichael Finley. If Green Bay can retain its entire 2010 offense, they will be without a doubt the most electrifying offense once again in 2011. So why not bring the possession receiver in James Jones back again for another go round?

*Steve Breaston, ARI

2010 stat-line: 47 Rec., 718 yards, two TD (11 starts in 13 games)

The streaky, 175-pound Breaston has caught a total of just seven touchdowns in his four seasons with the Cardinals, making him a non-factor when his offense hits the red zone. But, seeing as to he is primarily a slot receiver, his numbers look pretty solid. A great threat down the field (15.3 YCP average in 2010), Breaston uses his slim body size to his advantage. Considering Arizona's ugly quarterback situation, I'm not so sure if Steve will want to suit up for the Cards once again in 2011. We could be seeing him in a different uniform this year.
*Mike Sims-Walker, JAC

2010 stat-line: 43 Rec., 562 yards, seven TD (13 starts in 14 games)

With the drafting of quarterback Blaine Gabbert at the No. 10 spot in April, there is new hope in Jacksonville. With maybe one or two seasons of development on the bench, behind David Garrard, Gabbert will be ready to take over the league come 2012 or 2013. If Sims-Walker is patient and willing to go through the re-building mode in Jacksonville, I think he'll stick it out. If not, then, obviously he will decide not to return. But I think that with a consistent quarterback under center for the Jags, we will see Sims-Walkers' production go way up. He's already shown us he has playmaking ability.

Other notables:

Santana Moss, WAS
Jacoby Jones, HOU
Lance Moore, NO
Brad Smith, NYJ
T.J. Houshmandzadeh, BAL
Danny Amendola, STL

Note: I do not own any of the above images

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