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WR free agency preview

Posted Mar 4, 2013


Free agency opens at 4 pm on March 12th. Each day this week we’ll be previewing some of the positions where Buffalo might look to improve their roster, and try to find potential fits for the Bills. We begin our series this week at wide receiver.

Wide receiver has not only been mentioned by Bills GM Buddy Nix as a position where they need to add talent, he’s also laid out the reasons why. With a desire to move leading wideout Stevie Johnson into the slot on a more regular basis, Buffalo needs a big target outside to win jump balls and as Nix himself said make plays when he’s not even open. There’s certainly some talent in this year’s draft class, but Buffalo could make a play for a veteran unrestricted free agent at the position.

FREE AGENCY PREVIEWS: WR | TE | CB | LB | G

The heavy hitters
Danny Amendola – St. Louis
– A sharp route runner whose best fit is in the slot. The undersized receiver has been compared to Wes Welker. A heady player with proven production for the Rams. Age 27.

Dwayne Bowe – Kansas City – Bowe’s work ethic has been criticized by some the past two seasons, but it’s hard to deny the big receiver’s playmaking talents. However, after a breakout 2010 season in which he caught 15 touchdowns, he’s posted a total of just eight over the past two seasons. Age 28.

Greg Jennings – Green Bay – It’s looking less and less likely that Jennings will return to Green Bay in 2013. Jennings has been a big-play threat for the past seven seasons, but a groin injury had him sidelined for half the season. He still appears to have great speed and quickness as well as reliable hands. Age 29.

Mike Wallace – Pittsburgh – Wallace has been one of the most dangerous deep threats in the league the past two seasons with great run after the catch ability. His game is speed, not power and his hands are dependable. Age 26.

Wes Welker – New England – He’s been one of the most difficult matchups in the league the last five seasons, with three 1,300-yard plus campaigns in the last four years. His quickness makes him an effective underneath route runner, who rarely has drops. Age 31.

Middle market
Donnie Avery – Indianapolis –
A pure speed receiver that posted a career-high 60 catches last season. Avery is not known as the sharpest route runner and can have bouts of inconsistency. Age 28.

Braylon Edwards – NY Jets – After a lost year marred by injury in San Francisco in 2011, Edwards split the 2012 season between the Seahawks and the Jets. New York’s offense was a mess at the end of the year, but Edwards is still a very capable option outside that can come down with contested passes. Age 30.

Brandon Gibson – St. Louis - Coming off a career-high 691-yard receiving season on 51-catches Gibson is known as a precise route runner, and he has to be with 4.6 speed. He can make plays, but he’s not known to win balls in a crowd. He also won’t run away from defensive backs after the catch. Age 25.

Brian Hartline – Miami – The Dolphins are working hard to re-sign their most productive receiver after his breakout 1,083-yard receiving season. A great route runner, Hartline does not have elite speed. He was depended upon as a number one in Miami, but is likely seen league-wide as a valuable number two outside. Age 26.

Mohammed Massaquoi – Cleveland – Massaquoi has been one of the more consistent performers in Cleveland’s offense, but his production has been compromised by the club’s offensive struggles. A big, physical receiver that isn’t afraid of traffic, Massaquoi is a solid route runner that could flourish in a more successful system. Age 26.

Jerome Simpson – Minnesota – Strong on the outside, Simpson has the burst to separate from defensive backs and has proven he can make difficult catches. Teams will need to investigate his three-game suspension for violation of the league’s substance abuse policy last year. Age 27.

Veteran options
Josh Cribbs – Cleveland

Randy Moss – San Francisco

Donte Stallworth – New England

Brandon Stokley – Denver

Possible fits for Bills
Braylon Edwards –
Edwards is a difficult receiver to figure, but there are enough coaches on Buffalo’s staff that were around the receiver in New York on a daily basis, to know just what type of work ethic, teammate and playmaker the veteran receiver can be. They can help determine whether he's worth the risk.

Mohammed Massaquoi – Massaquoi is a sleeper free agent because his talents were restricted by the offense in which he played. Only 26, Massaquoi in the right system could be just the complementary receiver to a number one the Bills are seeking.

Jerome Simpson – Simpson has the physical skill set the Bills need on the outside to complement Stevie Johnson in the slot. His suspension is a concern, but his big-play ability is undeniable.