2011 NFL Free Agent ReceiversBy: Roshan Bhagatwww.footballsfuture.com/pic/photos/randy_moss_300_250.jpg" alt="" align="right" />
Randy Moss, NE – Moss recently fired his agent and is expecting to be the odd man out when several key Patriots become free agents this offseason. He’s played with an overwhelmingly positive attitude in his tenure with New England and doesn’t seem to have lost much in his game. He'll figure to be one of the key players come free agency.
Miles Austin, DAL – Tendered at the highest value, Miles Austin remains unsigned, but is working through OTA’s. Barring a major setback or outrageous demands, Austin will remain a Cowboy for a long time.
Sidney Rice, MIN – With 1300 yards and 8 touchdowns, Rice, like Steve Smith and Miles Austin, broke out last season to emerge in the new wave of top-shelf wideouts. Rice’s size, speed, and length make for a tough cover down the field. With Harvin and Peterson, Rice also figures to be a key to the Vikings’ future.
Vincent Jackson, SD – Jackson is preparing for a holdout after receiving the highest restricted free agent tender a year ago. Having only tendered most of their restricted free agents, the Chargers put off their difficult personnel decision-making they may face in the near future. Jackson figures to be a big part of their plans, but with Marcus McNeill and Shawne Merriman in the same boat, with the less expensive Malcolm Floyd as an alternative, the Chargers could opt trade Jackson or even let him walk.
Steve Smith, NYG – Smith was another receiver who emerged as a serious player with 100 receptions and 1200 yards. He’ll make $550,000 for the upcoming season, but the two parties are already in negotiations for an extension.
Santonio Holmes, NYJ – After a shocking trade that sent Santonio Holmes to the Jets for a mid-round pick, the recently-troubled wide receiver will need to make an impact before earning his next contract, which seemed to be in line with the top 10 receivers prior to the trade. His numbers figure to go down after his first 1000-yard season with a team focus on the running game and less stability at quarterback. He may very well also be competing with Braylon Edwards for a larger contract as well as a spot on the team moving forward.
Donald Driver, GB – Many have been downplaying Driver’s ability season after season and his productivity has come to be the most reliable factor each year. Driver has had 6 consecutive 1000-yard seasons, including 5 after the age of 30. He’s become attached to the community and will most likely receive a contract that decreases yearly, until he’s ready to retire.
Mike Sims-Walker, JAC – Walker really took a step up last season falling short of 900 yards as the Jaguars’ top wideout. Having seized the role midway through last year, he figures to make an improvement on those numbers heading into 2010. Jacksonville has struggled to find consistent receivers, so Sims-Walker figures to be a keeper.
Braylon Edwards, NYJ – Edwards has become the undisputable image of inconsistency. The Jets will try to move him around this year and with a quartet of talents catching passes, each should be able to help the others find open space. If Edwards can’t capitalize on opportunities, where he’s been known to drop passes in the past, he may be searching for another home next year.
Steve Breaston, ARI – By trading Boldin to Baltimore, the Cardinals are expecting a lot from Steve Breaston who has become a good slot receiver and a dependable fill-in for an oft-injured Boldin. This year will be important for Breaston in determining how much value he has to the team as a receiver moving forward.
Davone Bess, MIA – The Dolphins tried a variety of options at receiver last year, but only twice was Davone Bess a starter. And yet, Bess was the team’s leader in receptions (by 26) and yards (by 206). This year he’ll compete in camp for a starting gig. With many big name receivers set to the hit the market, don’t be shocked if Bess becomes one of the steals, as Wes Welker was a couple years ago in a trade as a restricted free agent.
Malcolm Floyd, SD – Floyd, like Vincent Jackson, is threatening to holdout, but could be one of the sleepers in free agency if the money doesn’t work with San Diego. He was a consistent factor as a number 2 receiver last year, but his size could pose an even larger problem if properly utilized.
Jacoby Jones, HOU – As an afterthought on offense, Jones still managed to find the end zone 6 times. He could become a good number 2 receiver in the right setting and is also an underrated kick returner.
James Jones, GB – Jones’ desire to stay in Green Bay may be negatively correlated to Donald Driver’s success next season. Jones could probably start on a handful of teams, but will have to compete with Jordy Nelson for the number 3 role again this season. The Packers are no longer the 5-wide team they were under their last season with Brett Favre, so James Jones should be able to find more looks elsewhere if he’s impatient for playing time.
Other Notable Free Agent Wide Receivers:
Early Doucet, ARI
Brian Finneran, ATL
Mark Clayton, BAL
Donte’ Stallworth, BAL
Dwayne Jarrett, CAR
Rashied Davis, CHI
Chansi Stuckey, CLE
Brandon Stokley, DEN
Dennis Northcut, DET
Troy Williamson, JAC
Torry Holt, NE
Derek Hagan, NYG
Brad Smith, NYJ
David Clowney, NYJ
Johnnie Lee Higgins, OAK
Hank Baskett, PHI
Legedu Naanee, SD
Laurent Robinson, STL
Keenan Burton, STL
Maurice Stovall, TB
Santana Moss, WA