So when everyone knows the Redskins want to add a wide receiver, teams take notice. Bill Polian, GM of the Colts, went as far to say that Reggie Wayne 'won't be a Redskin'. Telling Snyder what he can't have may not be a smartest move, but the Colts will place the franchise tag on Wayne and prevent him from signing with other teams.
Assuming Wayne is off the market, who does that leave for the Redskins to sign? Here's a closer look at the top 5 unrestricted free agent receivers (in alphabetical order):
56% catch percentage
Scout.com Ranking WR 3, Overall 24
Bryant finally began to achieve his vast potential in his 2nd season with the Browns. There is always question marks about guys who have career years just as they are about to hit free agency, but Bryant has always had considerable upside. His numbers look even better when you consider the below average quarterbacks he had throwing him the ball this year.
On the downside, the 56% catch percentage (percentage of completions on balls thrown intended for a receiver) is low for a starting wide out. Bryant is also reputed to have an attitude issue, having already worn his welcome out with the Cowboys. Of course signing ex-Cowboys is always a concern, but on the plus side he'd be very motivated to shove it in Bill Parcells face again.
62% catch percentage
Scout.com Ranking WR 1, Overall 21
From the land that brought you David Patten, here comes former teammate Givens. Despite coming from the same system, Givens is much more of a possession guy than Patten. Givens has played 4 years in the league, and has had two consecutive strong seasons. Givens has also produced well in the playoffs, which the staff should look fondly on. That catch percentage is a good number for a possession receiver.
There really isn't a lot of downside to Givens. He is what he is. If the Skins want to add an elite receiver, Givens isn't that player. He is an above average player, who'll give you 50-60 catches per year. Givens does come with some injury concerns, as he's missed a few games every season since joining the league.
65% catch percentage
Scout.com Ranking WR 6, Overall 30
If you were to draw up the perfect compliment to Moss and David Patten, Jurevicius would be your guy. He's tall, fairly physical and has good hands. Jurevicius also proved to be a good red zone target this year with 10 touchdowns, more than any receiver on Washington. Jurevicius would also be a good security blanket for Jason Campbell if he does see action in 2006.
On the negative side, Jurevicius hasn't exactly proven to be an iron man. He's been injured and missed significant time in 2 of the past 3 seasons. Jurevicius is the definition of a possession receiver, that 12.6 yards per catch rate is his highest since leaving the Giants in 2001. It wouldn't surprise anyone in the slightest if Jurevicius is pulling on a Redskins jersey come training camp.
65% catch percentage
Scout.com Ranking WR NR, Overall NR
Another player who fits the bill for what the Redskins may want in a new receiver. McCardell has had a great career, with over 800 catches to date. He's played with and had tremendous success with Mark Brunell back in Jacksonville. With Brunell he was one of the better receivers in the NFL, surpassing 80 catches and 1000 yards in 4 of the 6 seasons they spent together. McCardell would be an interesting signing as he was cut by the Redskins way back in Gibbs' 1st tenure.
Obviously the big downside to McCardell is age. He's 36 years old, and has played 14 years in the NFL. Older receivers tend to break down quickly and if McCardell falls off that cliff, it would leave the Redskins without that reliable number 2 that they so desperately need. Money may be an issue with McCardell as well, as evidenced by his hold out in Tampa Bay.
50% catch percentage
Scout.com Ranking WR 7, Overall 25
Randle-El is an interesting prospect. Being that he played mainly as a quarterback in college, there is still potential for him to improve. He's very quick and would solidify two weaknesses when you add his punt return abilities to the mix. As witnessed in the Super Bowl, Randle-El also brings his ability to throw and would add an element of surprise to the offense.
On the other hand, Randle-El is very similar to Santana Moss. Would the Redskins want two such comparable players? That 50% catch percentage is also pretty pathetic for a receiver, and Randle-El's career high is only 47 catches which isn't very impressive. Randle-El has also been a fumble prone over the years. Another concern is that Randle-El will probably end up being over paid off his visibility in the playoffs.
While the Redskins could go in another direction (restricted free agents, waiting for cuts), it is likely that one of these five players will be a Redskin next year. After sizing up the candidates, Givens is the best fit. He has good hands and is relatively young. After Givens, the other candidates are either older or don't fit the Redskins' needs.
So Redskin fans the question is this – who would you sign?
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