We continue our look at this year’s crop of free agents by taking a gander at some of the wide receivers and tight ends that are set to hit the open market. There are many good names still in the prime of their careers at both positions, unlike the QBs and RBs we looked at in our last installment. Teams will be opening the checkbook for some of these past Pro Bowlers, making some quarterbacks and offensive coordinators very happy.
Despite making ridiculous catches like this, Jennings will probably be in a different uniform come 2013.
Jennings has been a deep ball stalwart with the Packers since coming into the league, but after three strait seasons of 1,000 yards and over 16 yards per grab, the former 2nd round pick has fought injuries the past two years. In 2012, Jennings played in just five games, but returned for the team’s playoff push. With the emergence of Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson, Jennings doesn’t have the same value for A-Rodg and company in Green Bay, but will be highly sought after by teams looking for a veteran deep threat.
Another speed burner that has played for a perennial playoff contender since coming in the league, Wallace fell out of favor a bit in Pittsburgh with his holdout last offseason. After falling off some in 2012 and other targets emerging, he may have played his last game in a Steeler uniform, although his track star speed should still merit the former first round pick quite the pay day.
Dwayne Bowe is a beast. No word on whether the KC barbeque can keep him in a Chiefs uniform.
Bowe has been a beast in Kansas City since coming into the league, putting up monster numbers despite playing on some futile offenses. Now that he’s a free agent, the former LSU star is at a crossroads of looking elsewhere or seeing if he could fit in to new coach Andy Reid’s typically high powered offense. 39 career touchdowns and three 1,000 seasons will put the 28-year old Bowe at the top of some teams’ wish list that are looking for a #1 receiver.
While Welker’s wife tells the world what she thinks of Ray Lewis, he may have to shop himself and his astronomical numbers from the past six seasons in New England. Last offseason, Welker tried to leverage for a new deal, and the Pats didn’t seem interested. Despite his toughness and 768 career catches, the 32-year old Welker may not get as lucrative of a deal as his numbers would indicate, although there is always a market for a savvy slot receiver with a proven track record.
Dustin Keller could shine if on a team that can get him open down the seam.
Heading into 2012, Keller was considered one of the rising stars at the tight end position. Injuries wreaked havoc on Keller’s performance, however, and he had the worst season of his four-year career. Despite missing half the season and playing on the Jets’ abysmal offense, Keller’s athleticism and past production will probably make the former Purdue Boilermaker an attractive option for a team looking to upgrade the tight end position.
After wearing out his welcome in his four years in Dallas, Bennett had a nice rebound season in 2012 on a one-year contract with the Giants. New York hasn’t typically shelled out much dough for tight ends, so Bennett will probably have the opportunity to test the open market after a 55 catch, 5 TD season. At age 26 and standing six foot six, Bennett is a rare breed among tight ends as far as size, skill set, and still in his prime.
Jared Cook appears to be a rising star and will have an ample amount of suitors this offseason.
Tennessee’s hot and cold performance and a season ending injury in week 14 caused Cook’s number to dip slightly this season after a promising 2011. With his rookie contract now expiring, the Titans will most likely try to re-sign Cook, a former third round pick who had 44 catches and 4 TDs this year. Cook is a spectacular athlete and would be an ideal safety net for young Jake Locker if the Titans can keep him in Nashville.
More NFL Free Agent Freakout: QBs and RBs
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