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New Homes Could Be on Horizon for NFL WRs

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A blog post in The Dallas Morning News on Wednesday stated that super-agent Drew Rosenhaus had sent an e-mail to all 32 NFL teams with the information that Anquan Boldin, Plaxico Burress, and Chad Ocho Cinco (a.k.a. Chad Johnson) were available for trade.

What do Boldin, Burress, Jerry Porter, Marty Booker, Antonio Bryant, Chad Johnson, and Terrell Owens have in common this off-season? Depending on what you read and believe most (or all) of these wide receivers might be in different uniforms next season. Owens has been surrounded by rumors abound that he is on his way out in Dallas. Porter was dropped from Jacksonville after a disappointing season. Bryant rejuvenated his career with a strong performance in Tampa Bay. Booker was dropped out of Chicago after an injury-plagued season.

At the top of the rumor list of destinations for these — and just about every other miscreant player — is the Oakland Raiders. While the silver and black could use some actual receivers for JaMarcus Russell, they can’t all land in the Northern California sun. Here are some ideas for WRs looking for a new home this offseason.

Teams In Need
The Seahawks might as well have punted on third down and long for the better part of the year as the receiving corps either underperformed or just withered throughout the season. Now, the biggest need for this team is help on the line which will give a QB actual time to throw, but having a solid target or two wouldn’t hurt either. A guy like Burress could work well in Seattle where the weather can be a factor, having spent his career in Pittsburgh and New York.

Joe Flacco needs something to throw to down the field badly. Derrick Mason is a nice possession receiver. The whole receiving corps is full of possession receivers. The Ravens needs someone who can stretch the field to open up the running game (the bread and butter). A guy like Boldin would be a great weapon in the Baltimore offense.

Santana Moss is a good #1. Aside from TE Chris Cooley, no one else is providing the needed complement across the field in the passing game. The ‘Skins should upgrade the WR #2 spot now while Jason Campbell and Clinton Portis still have productive years in the tank. The trick is finding someone with the right personality to play that role. The only one who might be willing to “step back” for a chance at regaining some career momentum is Jerry Porter and the jury is definitely out on exactly how much he has left to offer.

The only team that needs a downfield game more than the Ravens is the Titans. Not one guy escapes man-to-man coverage and this allows defenses to stack the box against that power run. Now the Titans proved they can win without the deep threat, but the defense created many of those wins and they were bounced in the playoffs by a young Ravens squad. Bryant or Boldin would be nice additions, but I question whether or not the Titans address this need with free agency.

Aside from a real quarterback, the Vikes have little other needs except maybe defensive back. If they are able to land said QB from the free agency market (see Matt Cassel), look for them to draft for WRs. If they draft QB, I would bet they look for a veteran with a lot of mileage left to work with Gus Ferrotte, Tarvaris Jackson and the new guy.

I buy the Terrell Owens move here more than anywhere else and not because of the stereotypical Raiders-hate. Owens has proved if he is the show, he can produce. Now the battery life on this guy is certainly getting low, so enter Chad Ocho Cinco. Either would be an immediate upgrade over any other WR on the roster. Plus, each has the personality to attract attention and deflect a lot of the criticism from Russell.

New York Giants
The Giants have a track record of staying with their guys, especially the ones who are clearly a big piece of the puzzle on the field. The lynchpin in the Plaxico Burress scenario is the jail time. If it is multiple years, look for the Giants to cut him loose. Anything less, the Big Blue will hang on to #17 and ride the storm in the meanwhile. If Burress is gone next year, but expected back in 2010, look for the Giants to try and pick up a vet who can help stretch the field.

Most Likely To Stay Put
Besides Plaxico Burress, Terrell Owens is most likely to be in the same uniform. At his age, it’s hard to assess trade value. Jerry Jones caters to him and that makes T.O. work in Dallas. As tempting as some offers may be, I think he’ll stay in Big D until he retires.

Hard Cases to Sell
Neither Jerry Porter nor Marty Booker have lived up to potential and are on the wrong side of the injury/age equation for teams to sink a ton of money in their services. Their best bet is to sell themselves as #2 WRs or even situational guys in order to get a look at rosters. Antonio Bryant would be best off to try and stay in Tampa Bay, but he wants #1 WR money and he won’t get that anywhere. He would do well to market his services as a solid #2. There are teams is desperate need of those.

Most Likely To Move
Anquan Boldin. Even with the exit of Arizona OC Todd Haley to Kansas City, Boldin has burned many bridges in the desert. The emergence of Steve Breaston as a viable counterpart to Larry Fitzgerald also makes a trade a more than likely scenario. Boldin will want to go to a team where he can be the #1 WR and he has the skills to back that want.

The wide receiver carousel should make for an interesting story as the post-season of the NFL unfolds.

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