With free agency less than a month away, teams are beginning to stack their deck on which players they are going to go after. With a couple key free agents that could be on the market, the wide receiver class has some depth. There are some wide receivers that could be highly sought after or could be signed for certain roles or can contribute as veterans. But relative to some other wide receiver classes of the past, this year’s class is below average depending on some free agent receivers are resigned. This does not include any restricted free agents as it is relatively weak and only a couple guys that most likely stay with their teams. Today we will take a look at the players at this position in our continuing free agency positional preview.
***As in our previous three previews, these are all prior to tags, signings, and releases. All of these aspects can change the landscape of the position.***
In 2015, Alshon Jefferey was franchise tagged before the free agency period and is expecting a big deal this year. But I would not be surprised Jefferey walking after a year of inconsistency, injuries, and was also suspended 4 games of the using PEDS. His inconsistent play could be the result of inconsistencies at the quarterback position as 3 quarterbacks started in 2016 and all of them do not look like the future quarterback for the Bears in 2017. Even then, Jeffrey still had 821 yards so maybe with the right quarterback, Jeffrey can become a top 5 receiver in the NFL. If he hits the market, expect teams like the Eagles, Titans, Niners, Browns and Ravens potentially to look at Jefferey as a potential #1 wide receiver for a team that has a subpar receiving core. Although he may not deserve it, Jefferey will receive big money where ever he goes and if the Bears really want him back, they could franchise tag him again.
After transitioning to wide receiver for the Cleveland Browns in 2015, nobody expecting a huge year from Pryor, receiving over 1,000 yards with a quarterback carousel in 2016. This great statistical year for Pryor will lead to him to get a bigger contract. The Browns will most likely resign him to a bigger deal so Pryor does not walk due to him being loyal to the team that gave him a chance a receiver. Pryor is considered a #1 receiver to many teams but for the Browns, he can do what he did last year and have a big part of the offense as a reliable target.[AndrewK]