2009 NFL Free Agents: Wide Receivers

T.J. HoushmandzadehTotal Pro Sports – Key third receivers are difficult to find in the NFL, this years free agent market offers a few of them and possibly at a fair price. There are no superstars available but some of these guys could fit in nicely as possession receivers and others fill the need for 3rd and 4th spots in the receiving corps.

Let’s take a look at what receivers are available.

1. T.J. Houshmandzadeh: T.J. has been great for the Bengals offense for many years now, he has been the perfect compliment to Chad Johnson and if he decides to test his value on the market will likely make his future offensive coordinator happy. A very talented possession receiver that can pick up key first downs and runs great short and intermediate routes. Plays with great energy, a fierce competitor, with a very good set of hands.

TPS Prediction: TJ wants out of Cincinnati, and it is unlikely that the Bengals will franchise him, but his future in Cinci is tied to Chad Johnson’s future.  The Bengals can’t afford to lose them both.  TJ will likely finish his career for a contender like Indy, Tennessee, or NYG.  He wants to win, to be a number one receiver, and get paid.  He should realize two of those three dreams this off-season, but won’t get them all.

2. Antonio Bryant: Bryant had a sensational year for the Buccaneers, undoubtedly the best season in his career. Bryant finished 2008 with 83 catches for 1248 yards and 7 touchdowns, he was the Buccaneers’ leading receiver and continuously made big plays for the offense. A troubled start to his career seems to be a faded memory with the numbers he put up this year, the 27 year old brings good speed and big play making ability to any roster he joins. A solid No. 2 receiver that can take pressure off a go-to guy, Bryant proved he is an elite wide receiver when he is focused.

TPS Prediction: Bryant has the skills to be a number one receiver in the NFL, and may surprise some with the offers he will command.  His checkered past may keep the number of interested teams to a minimum, but those few teams should be willing to open up the check book.  He should go to a rebuilding team with plenty of cap space like Chicago or Kansas City, and should be the focal point of the passing game.

3. Devery Henderson: Henderson had his best season as a pro, catching 32 passes for 793 yards and 3 touchdowns. The speedy wide receiver still has yet to reach his full potential, the receiving yards are good but I’m sure he would like his touchdown totals to be better. Henderson may garner some attention from other teams, with the emergence of Lance Moore, Henderson may become expendable. Henderson has big play potential, in 3 years he has surpassed the 20 yards per catch mark in every year.

TPS Prediction: Henderson is a role player with speed, and does not possess the skills needed to play the number one or two receiver spot for most teams.  He was in the perfect situation in N.O. and will need to land on a three or four wide offense in need of speed like Detroit, NYJ, or St. Louis.  Unfortunately for him, the draft is full of younger Devrey Henderson’s.  He will not “cash in”, but should still find a home in ’09.

4. Lance Moore: Lance Moore was emerged as the Saints No. 1 receiver, he did it at the right time as he is now a restricted free agent. The Saints are probably going to keep Moore around after he became Drew Brees’ favorite target, combining for 79 receptions, 928 yards and 10 touchdowns. It is difficult to know if Moore can repeat his amazing season, but should he be able to, the Saints can feature a very potent passing attack next season.

TPS Prediction: Moore is an excellent slot receiver, in that wide open offense, and can play the “x” when needed.  The Saints need to sign Moore to keep some continuity in that offense, especially if Henderson is not re-signed.  The problem with slot guys in free agency has always been that someone is usually willing to overpay.  He will get more than he is worth no matter who signs him, which will likely be the Saints.

Notable Wide Receivers:

Hank Baskett, Nate Washington, Bryant Johnson, Amani Toomer, Bobby Engram, Shaun McDonald, Ashley Lelie, Brandon Lloyd, Justin McCareins, Malcolm Floyd, Darrell Jackson, Demetrius Williams, Brandon Jones, Mike Furrey

Tags: 2009, Antonio Bryant, Devery Henderson, football, Free Agents, Lance Moore, NFL, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, wide receivers,