2012 NFL Free Agent Wide Receivers and Tight Ends

Posted by Brad On November – 1 – 2011
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Any chance Welker leaves New England? We don't think so.

It’s never too early to start talking about NFL free agency.  If your team is like mine and you have already packed in the season seven games in, here is your hope.  Our seven part series highlighting the top free agents by position should give you some hope.  Here’s a look at the wide receivers and tight ends:

The Wide Receivers

Wes Welker, New England Patriots

There’s a better chance the Pats trade Tom Brady than letting Wes Welker go in free agency.  The dynamic slot receiver is Tom Brady’s favorite target and the goal of the Pats is to keep Tom Brady happy.  They do so by re-signing Welker.

Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs

KC would be nuts to let Bowe leave via free agency.  At the beginning of the 2011 season, I would have thought the Chiefs would have looked at a fire sale but given where they are at now, they probably look to retain the talented receiver.  Bowe is going to want top dollar but he’s a legitimate number one receiver.

DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles

Jackson is looking for a big payday which may not come in Philadelphia.  Jackson is a homerun threat but doesn’t possess the size necessary to be a true number one receiver.  The organization refused to cave on his offseason demands and may play hardball with Jackson.  Jackson is perfect for Philly’s system but he won’t be at the top of every team’s priority list because of all the things he’s not going to do.

Vincent Jackson, San Diego Chargers

We will see what San Diego really thinks of Jackson this offseason.  They have hesitated to pay Jackson at the level he is looking in the past because his off-the-field activities and injuries.  This offseason they will be forced to either re-up Jackson or let him leave via free agency.

Steve Johnson, Buffalo Bills

Ryan Fitzpatrick just received a big payday and it could be Stevie’s turn next.  Johnson and Fitzpatrick are key to the Bills passing attack and I don’t think they will let him walk.  

Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts

The Colts will have some tough decisions to make in the offseason.  The largest one looming is what to do with Reggie Wayne.  Wayne will turn 34 next season and he’s definitely lost a step.  With Robert Mathis also looking for a new contract the Colts could be forced to let Wayne walk.  They have very little quality depth at the position which could force them to re-sign Wayne.  This one’s 50/50 at this point.

Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints

When healthy, Colston is a major threat for defenses to game plan for.  Colston will be 29 next season and he hasn’t proven he’s able to stay healthy over the course of a 16 game season.  The Saints would love to retain Colston but at what cost will remain the question.  They also have Robert Meachem potentially hitting free agency.

Pierre Garcon, WR, Indianapolis Colts

Garcon is the youngest of the three Colts receivers due to hit free agency.  He may also be the most talented.  Garcon will be 26 next season and will intrigue a bunch of teams if the Colts decide to go in a different direction. 

Robert Meachem, New Orleans Saints

Meachem may look to bolt New Orleans for more consistent targets.  In an offense that sprays the ball around, Meachem has become a luxury that they may wish not to afford.  Meachem is looking a pretty moderate payday but it may come elsewhere.

Mario Manningham, New York Giants

The trio of Manningham, Hakeem Nicks, and Victor Cruz is becoming one of the best in the NFL.  Suddenly, Eli Manning has a wealth of receivers which may intrigue the Giants enough to pay Manningham. 

The Best of the Rest

Jerome Simpson, Cincinnati Bengals

Early Doucet, Arizona Cardinals

Harry Douglas, Atlanta Falcons

Josh Morgan, San Francisco 49ers

Deion Branch, New England Patriots

Braylon Edwards, San Francisco 49ers

Eddie Royal, Denver Broncos

Lavelle Hawkins, Tennessee Titans

Ted Ginn, San Francisco 49ers (KR)

Andre Caldwell, Cincinnati Bengals

Roy Williams, Chicago Bears

Earl Bennett, Chicago Bears

Eric Weems, Atlanta Falcons (KR)

The Tight Ends

Finley may set the bar for the tight end payscale

Jermichael Finley, Green Bay Packers

Jermichael Finley is a game changer and will garner a new wage scale for tight ends in the NFL.  His size and body control make him virtually unstoppable in the redzone.  Finley will most likely be re-signed by the Packers but he will break the bank in doing so.

Scott Chandler, Buffalo Bills

Before this season, most NFL fans couldn’t pick Scott Chandler out of a lineup.  Most still can’t but Bills fans sure know who he is.  He is the guy catching TD’s at an alarming rate (6 TD’s in 15 catches).  Buffalo has lacked a TE that warrants any attention from a defense and it’s unlikely they allow him to walk without putting up a major fight.

Fred Davis, Washington Redskins

Fred Davis has officially emerged out of Chris Cooley’s shadow in D.C.  Davis has been Washington’s most dynamic receiving threat on a team short on pass catching options.  Cooley is most likely done in Washington and Davis has probably earned himself a substantial payday this season.

Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Falcons

How we overlook perhaps the greatest tight end in history is a mystery.  Gonzalez is still plugging away and finding new ways to get open and play at a high level.  While age has robbed some of his vertical speed it has not taken the craftiness from Gonzalez.  Gonzalez may look for a one-year deal with the Falcons or another contender to play his career out.

The Best of the Rest

Visanthe Shiancoe, Minnesota Vikings

Jacob Tamme, Indianapolis Colts

Kellen Davis, Chicago Bears

Jeremy Shockey, Carolina Panthers

Joel Dreessen, Houston Texans

Alex Smith, Cleveland Browns

Daniel Fells, Denver Broncos

Martellus Bennett, Dallas Cowboys

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