2014 NFL Free Agent Tracker: Wide Receivers

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2014 NFL Free Agent Tracker: Star rating is out of five. Age listing as of Sept. 1, 2014.
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  1. DeSean Jackson, WR, Eagles. Age: 27.
    Signed with Redskins

    DeSean Jackson has always been a member of my Top 10 Most Overrated Players list, which I compile every summer. He’s a one-trick pony who happens to be very brittle. And now, it turns out that he’s affiliated with some Los Angeles gang that has been connected with a couple of murders. Joining that exclusive club must have seemed like a great career move at the time for Jackson, but the Eagles apparently didn’t agree. They simply cut him without getting anything in return, which is crazy. Jackson still has enough talent to be a three-star player atop this underwhelming list of free agent receivers, but if Philadelphia was this concerned about his off-the-field issues, other teams should be as well.

  2. Eric Decker, WR, Broncos. Age: 27.
    Signed with Jets

    For those who say Eric Decker is just a product of Peyton Manning, Decker can just point to the eight touchdowns he caught with Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow. Of course, touchdowns can be fluky. Decker does have an issue with drops sometimes, however.

  3. James Jones, WR, Packers. Age: 30.
    Signed with Raiders

    James Jones is a talent receiver who struggled with drops early in his career. He fixed that problem while catching 14 touchdowns in 2012. However, teams better make sure they don’t overpay a 30-year-old wideout who has never tallied more than 1,000 receiving yards in a season.

  4. Anquan Boldin, WR, 49ers. Age: 33.
    Re-signed with 49ers (2 years)

    Anquan Boldin will be 34 in October, but he just continues to make clutch plays in big games. He’s still an outstanding No. 2 possession receiver.

  5. Julian Edelman, WR, Patriots. Age: 28.
    Re-signed with Patriots

    Everyone assumed Danny Amendola would take over Wes Welker’s role, but Julian Edelman stepped up instead. He caught 105 passes this past season. He’s also an effective punt returner.

  6. Riley Cooper, WR, Eagles. Age: 26.
    Re-signed with Eagles (5 years, $25 million; $10 million guaranteed)

    Riley Cooper has trouble separating at times, but he’s a big target, and Nick Foles loves lobbing it up to him. Cooper’s off-the-field racist incident seems to be behind him.

  7. Hakeem Nicks, WR, Giants. Age: 26.
    Signed with Colts (1 year)

    Hakeem Nicks, who has never played a full 16-game season, has seen his production slip because of injuries and lethargy. He has tons of talent, but time is running out for him to put it together.

  8. Jeremy Maclin, WR, Eagles. Age: 26.
    Re-signed with Eagles (1 year, $5.5 million)

    Jeremy Maclin is more talented than an ordinary 2.5-star free agent, but he’s always nursing some sort of injury. He happens to be coming off a torn ACL this time. He’s also never recorded more than 1,000 receiving yards in a season.

  9. Dexter McCluster, WR/KR, Chiefs. Age: 26.
    Signed with Titans (3 years, $12 million)

    Dexter McCluster is a nifty offensive player and a much better return specialist. He scored twice on special teams in 2013.

  10. Golden Tate, WR, Seahawks. Age: 26.
    Signed with Lions (5 years)

    Golden Tate functioned as Seattle’s No. 1 receiver this season, but he’s better served as a secondary option – and just an above-average one at that. Tate recorded 64 catches, 898 yards and five touchdowns in 2013.

  11. Kenny Britt, WR, Titans. Age: 25.
    Signed with Rams (1 year)

    Kenny Britt can be a dominant receiver, but a combination of injuries and lethargy have sapped his play-making ability. He’s only 25 though, so maybe he can bounce back on a new team.

  12. Devin Hester, KR, Bears. Age: 31.
    Signed with Falcons (3 years)

    The greatest return specialist in NFL history, Devin Hester proved that he’s still dangerous by taking back a punt for a touchdown in 2013. He’ll be 32 in November though, so it remains to be seen how much longer he’ll be effective.

  13. Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Steelers. Age: 27.
    Signed with Broncos

    The Steelers could’ve turned Emmanuel Sanders into a third-round pick last offseason. They’re probably regretting not pulling the trigger. Sanders is a sub-par No. 2 wideout.

  14. Ted Ginn, WR/KR, Panthers. Age: 29.
    Signed with Cardinals (3 years)

    Any write-up of Ted Ginn would be useless. Instead, click here to read about how much Ted Ginn hates me.

  15. Jacoby Jones, KR, Ravens. Age: 30.
    Re-signed with Ravens (4 years, $14 million)

    Jacoby Jones is an outstanding return specialist, but he proved himself incapable of being a No. 2 receiver. He’ll turn 30 in July, so that’s a negative.

  16. Doug Baldwin (RFA), WR, Seahawks. Age: 25.
    Tendered by Seahawks

    Doug Baldwin, a reliable receiver for Russell Wilson, caught 50 balls for 778 yards and five touchdowns in 2013.

  17. Andre Roberts, WR, Cardinals. Age: 26.
    Signed with Redskins (4 years, $16 million)

    Andre Roberts is a very solid No. 3 receiver. He’s had issues with drops in the past, but he appears to have fixed that issue.

  18. Santonio Holmes, WR, Jets. Age: 30.
    Signed with Bears

    Remember when Santonio Holmes tallied 1,248 yards back in 2009? Well, he hasn’t eclipsed 746 yards in any season since. Part of that is poor quarterback play, but Holmes is now both injury-prone and lethargic. There’s still time for him to turn things around, but his career is probably wrapping up.

  19. Andrew Hawkins (RFA), WR, Bengals. Age: 28.
    Signed with Browns (4 years, $13.6 million)

    Andrew Hawkins is a speedy receiver who is coming off a lost 2013 campaign in which he missed the first eight games with an injured hamstring.

  20. Sidney Rice, WR, Seahawks. Age: 28.
    Re-signed with Seahawks (1 year)

    Sidney Rice is 28, but his body might as well be 58. He has missed 27 games in the past four seasons. He’ll have to sign a 1-year contract to prove that he can actually stay healthy for a change. Don’t count on that happening.

  21. Mario Manningham, WR, 49ers. Age: 28.
    Signed with Giants (1 year)

    Mario Manningham has essentially lost two seasons because he hasn’t been able to stay healthy. Perhaps he’ll remain on the field going forward, but he’s a risky signing.

  22. Miles Austin-Jones, WR, Cowboys. Age: 30.
    Signed with Browns

    Miles Austin-Jones – or maybe just Miles Austin now, given that Jerry Jones finally cut him – is another big-name player who gets a write-up despite ranking at 1.5 stars. Austin-Jones has regressed terribly, thanks to numerous injuries. He’ll be 30 in June, so it’s unlikely he’ll ever be the same receiver he once was.

  23. Steve Smith, WR, Panthers. Age: 35.
    Signed with Ravens

    Steve Smith is easily a 1.5-star player at this point in his career, but I’ll give him a write-up because he’s a big name. Simply put, Smith is done. He’ll turn 35 this spring, and he has lost his speed. He had just 745 receiving yards in 2013, failing to top 69 yards in any contest. He can also be a distraction in the locker room.

  24. Lance Moore, WR, Saints. Age: 31.
    Signed with Steelers

    I don’t usually give write-ups for 1.5-star players, but Lance Moore is a big name, so I’ll make the exception. Moore could be overvalued by a few because of his big name, but I’d like to believe that most see Moore as a product of Sean Payton and Drew Brees. After all, Moore has never played without Brees. Without Brees, he’s just an ordinary slot receiver who will turn 31 in August.

  25. Brandon LaFell, WR, Panthers. Age: 27. — Signed with Patriots (3 years, $11 million)
  26. Jerricho Cotchery, WR, Steelers. Age: 32. — Signed with Panthers
  27. Andre Caldwell, WR, Broncos. Age: 29. — Re-signed with Broncos (2 years)
  28. Santana Moss, WR, Redskins. Age: 35. — Re-signed with Redskins (1 year)
  29. Jerome Simpson, WR, Vikings. Age: 28. — Re-signed with Vikings
  30. Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Colts. Age: 27. — Signed with Steelers
  31. Earl Bennett, WR, Browns. Age: 27.
  32. Nate Burleson, WR, Lions. Age: 33. — Signed with Browns (1 year)
  33. Robert Meachem, WR, Saints. Age: 29. — Re-signed with Saints (1 year)
  34. Jason Avant, WR, Eagles. Age: 31. — Signed with Panthers (1 year)
  35. Marc Mariani, WR/KR, Titans. Age: 27. — Re-signed with Titans
  36. Michael Spurlock, WR/KR, Lions. Age: 31. — Signed with Bears
  37. Brandon Tate, WR/KR, Bengals. Age: 26. — Re-signed with Bengals
  38. Jacoby Ford, WR/KR, Raiders. Age: 27. — Signed with Jets
  39. Joe Morgan (RFA), WR, Saints. Age: 26. — Re-signed with Saints (1 year)
  40. Lestar Jean (RFA), WR, Texans. Age: 26. — Signed with Vikings
  41. Damian Williams, WR, Titans. Age: 26. — Signed with Dolphins (1 year, $800,000)
  42. Josh Morgan, WR, Redskins. Age: 29. — Signed with Bears
  43. Tandon Doss (RFA), PR, Ravens. Age: 24. — Signed with Jaguars
  44. Domenik Hixon, WR, Panthers. Age: 29. — Signed with Bears
  45. Stephen Williams, WR, Jaguars. Age: 28.
  46. Eric Page, WR, Buccaneers. Age: 22.
  47. Danario Alexander, WR, Chargers. Age: 26.
  48. Louis Murphy, WR, Giants. Age: 27. — Signed with Buccaneers
  49. Dane Sanzenbacher (RFA), WR, Bengals. Age: 25. — Tendered by Bengals
  50. Taylor Price, WR, Jaguars. Age: 27.
  51. Dezmon Briscoe, WR, Redskins. Age: 25.
  52. Kyle Williams, WR, Chiefs. Age: 26. — Re-signed with Chiefs
  53. Davone Bess, WR, Browns. Age: 28.
  54. Plaxico Burress, WR, Steelers. Age: 37.

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