Updated Ranked Wide Receivers in NFL Free Agency
We’ve seen a number of wide receivers find homes in NFL free agency, including Jeremy Maclin, Andre Johnson, Eddie Royal, and Harry Douglas. And we’ve some, like Randall Cobb, return to their previous home. But there are plenty left, including some from the first ever NFL Veteran Combine.
So let Football Garbage Time give you a hand with what’s left as we rank and compile information on the top wide receivers still available in free agency!
1) Michael Crabtree
Apparently, according to sources, there isn’t much of a market for Crabtree due to an increased focus on younger receivers. However, Crabtree drew his first actual visit with the Dolphins:
Former 49ers WR Michael Crabtree is visiting the Dolphins today.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 18, 2015
And there’s a optimism behind this visit as well as rumors that he would sign:
When Michael Crabtree came out in 2009, he was No. 1 player on Jets' board. Jets former GM Mike Tannenbaum now in MIA. Crabtree visiting.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 18, 2015
But then came radio silence. It’s surprising that he hasn’t drawn more interest, but part it might be Crabtree’s willingness to let everything play out and “to wait however long it takes to find an appealing situation for the 2015 season”. Apparently the door is still open in San Francisco, as GM Trent Balke told the Sacremento Bee:
“As long as Michael’s out there, he’s just like any other (unrestricted free agent). You never say never. Michael did a heck of a job with us for six years.”
But the problem may be more a question of “what” than “where” as Crabtree is likely to seek out a team that will use him as an every down wide receiver as opposed to a WR3 as he would likely be used in San Francisco. Of course, I’ve already mentioned that I think the Raiders would be the opportunity he’s looking for. And finally, the Raiders have set up a meeting with Crabtree.
Raiders to host free agent WR Michael Crabtree http://t.co/mi6m8qAJLx
— rotoworld (@rotoworld) April 3, 2015
And I think it’s a great idea. Of course, since you read my articles, you already knew that.
UPDATE – 4/5/15 – 11:40 AM ET: Looks like Crabtree turned down close to $3 million from the Miami Dolphins, as he wanted around $4.5 million. So that “discount” teams were looking for might not be as steep as expected. As noted in my previous article, Crabtree was looking for around $9-$10 million at the beginning of free agency. Perhaps $4-$5 million on a one-year incentive ladened contract and starting spot in Oakland would get the job done.
— SundayNight Football (@SNFonNBC) April 5, 2015
2) Hakeem Nicks
Nicks has definitely lost a step. With the Colts in 2014, he only had 38 receptions for 405 yards with 4 touchdowns. Nicks commented on NFL.com about his regression in New York:
“I think in New York, I was just having injury after injury, and I think I just wasn’t taking care of it the right way. I just kept trying to play through them instead of being patient and sitting and let it heal…. Now, I am extremely healthy. Looking back on it now, I think that’s something that I just had to go through. My body was adjusting.”
Unfortunately, the same sources as above noted that there isn’t much market of Nicks either, which is surprising seeing as how there are numerous teams, like the Raiders, who could still use veteran wide receiver help.
It was reported though that Nicks would be visiting the San Francisco 49ers:
— Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) March 30, 2015
And it turns out it’s not just a meet-and-greet:
When they #49ers had in free agents Hakeem Nicks & Lance Briggs, it was for tryouts, source said. Not just a meet-and-greet
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 31, 2015
He could be a third or fourth wide receiver there, but would not have a large role in light of Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin. In my opinion, it’s poor fit, but we’ll see what happens.
3) Denarius Moore
Apparently, Bill Polian of ESPN thinks that Moore is a B+ receiver. I’d have to disagree there. But there’s no denying that there’s potential, and as we work down the list, sometimes it’s better to roll the dice with potential instead of a filler option.
It also appears that there’s little chance Moore will be re-signed by the Raiders:
Asked person in know if D. Moore could somehow land back with #Raiders: “Not a chance.” Never say never, but lots would have to change.
— Bill Williamson (@BWilliamsonESPN) March 17, 2015
It appears that Moore has had few leads, most recently with the Jets:
Raiders free-agent WR Denarius Moore is scheduled to meet Thursday with NY Jets, per source. Jets need a speed WR to go along with other WRs
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 18, 2015
But so far, there’s been no progress. There’s tons of upside here, and in light of Decker and Marshall being in town, signing this speedy threat makes a lot of sense.
UPDATE – 4/6/15 – 2:45 PM ET: And just like that, Moore is off the board and in Cincinnati.
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) April 6, 2015
4) Reggie Wayne
As I’ve already mentioned, Wayne is a surefire first Ballot Hall of Famer. But the big question is whether he’ll want to come back next year since he won’t be playing for the Colts. Wayne loves the Colts, and basically all of Indianapolis loves Wayne:
— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) April 4, 2015
I wrote that he should go to the Browns, but his desire to spend his last year with a contender, and the signing of Dwayne Bowe, might lead him to another team. Although the Vikings may be a contender, depending in part on whether Adrian Peterson returns, it’s been noted that Wayne wouldn’t be a good fit for the Vikings in light of the Mike Wallace signing. Up to this point, there’s been a real dearth of news regarding where Wayne might end up. But at least we know he still wants to play:
Just had a nice, long talk with Reggie Wayne. Back in Indy for NCAA events. Told me he wants to play in '15 if the situation is right. @rvt6
— Mike Chappell (@mchappell51) April 2, 2015
The question remains though whether any team wants him to play. At least he’s staying busy:
— NFL (@nfl) April 3, 2015
5) Greg Jennings
As of several weeks ago, Greg Jennings was released from by the Minnesota Vikings.
— NFL (@nfl) March 14, 2015
Apparently, Jennings had minor elbow surgery, but will not have any issues moving forward:
Why was Greg Jennings listed as “failed physical” when #Vikings cut him? He had minor elbow surgery & will be fine moving forward. But…(1/2)
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 16, 2015
However, there have not been any interest around the NFL as of yet. Jennings did, however, say that he would be amenable to going back to the Packers.
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) March 17, 2015
But before going there, looks like Jennings will get a look from the Miami Dolphins, which would be interesting as the Dolphins could use a veteran presence:
Dolphins looking at adding WR depth…will talk with both Crabtree and @GregJennings
— trey wingo (@wingoz) March 22, 2015
Jennings also visited with the Carolina Panthers a week ago, another potential landing spot that may make sense seeing as how they only have the likes of Ted Ginn Jr., Jericho Cotchery and Jarrett Boykin starting. Certainly, a reliable veteran presence could be useful in Carolina.
And on April 1, Jennings posted this…
After much discussion, I've decided that this fall I'm taking my talents to… https://t.co/VXmkwLyBiu
— Greg Jennings (@GregJennings) April 1, 2015
…which ended up being an April Fools joke. Hey, what’s wrong with having a sense of humor? And aren’t the kids cute?
Unfortunately, with the decreased productivity (he had only 742 yards, the only time he had less than 1000 yards while playing all 16 games in a season), it’ll be challenging for Jennings to find a landing spot. But a team needy for a veteran presence could do a lot worse.
UPDATE – 4/7/15 – 8:48 AM ET: Jennings will be visiting the Dolphins, who could definitely use a veteran presence at WR3.
— NFL (@nfl) April 7, 2015
The Veteran Combine
As we noted previously, the first ever Veteran Combine gave us few additional options at wide receiver. Even Shawne Merriman agreed it was a good opportunity for all the wayward talent out there:
And of course, we saw one of our suggestions, Nathan Slaughter get signed out of the Veteran Combine by the Arizona Cardinals. The other is still out there, and he certainly can be an intriguing pick up for a team willing to gamble in the off season.
— Mike Jurecki (@mikejurecki) March 22, 2015
Kurihara, 27, was invited to the Ravens rookie camp two years ago, but didn’t make it farther than that. He totaled 614 yards and six touchdowns in 8 games for the IBM Big Blue of Japan’s X League last season and was previously awarded the MVP of the Kanto collegiate league in 2009 for the Hosei University Tomahawks. As we noted previously, he had a decent 40 at the Veteran Combine and has definitely drawn attention from commentators, including one on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ site, who believes he could be an asset in the NFL.
And during the Veteran Combine, it appears at least the Chicago Bears were at least somewhat interested in using Kurihara as a slot receiver:
“Three of us were asked by (a Chicago Bears official) to run from the slot, because we were only required to run outside routes (in the combine). We ran in-and-out routes and out-and-in routes like Wes Welker (of the Denver Broncos) always does. We did that about six, seven times.”
Keep it tuned in throughout the off season and we’ll continue to keep you updated!