There’s been a lot of rumors going around about Steve Smith’s possible future with Carolina, mostly speculating on him being cut or traded. I thought I’d take a look at some potential destinations for some former big name wide receivers.
The two biggest name wide receivers in free agency this year are Randy Moss and Terrell Owens. Moss was thriving in New England until this most recent year, when he appears to have finally worn thin with the system installed up there. Currently he’s not projected to be resigned by the Tennessee Titans, so let’s look at some likely landing places.
Personally, I think the best fit for him would be New England again. Sure he drove himself out when he was traded, but think of how perfect this would be for the Patriots. They trade a player for a solid pick, thrive without him, and then resign him for essentially free the next off-season. They have precedent to do this too with Deion Branch, who fell out of the system when he asked for more money and was traded. He was traded for by New England this last season to try to fill the void left by Moss. Moss still has enough to stretch the field, and won’t go through the middle, but paired with Branch he could be a dangerous weapon again. I don’t see him putting up career numbers, but enough to keep defenses honest deep, thwarting Rex Ryan’s playoff scheme of press the line of scrimmage with everyone and confuse the spread. A couple other teams intrigue me as destinations for Moss.
Baltimore drafted Torrey Smith, but could potentially add Moss to supplement their deep threat need. For one year, they could potentially get a quiet enough Moss to justify the move and he might remain so by his desire for a championship. I wouldn’t call this particularly likely because Harbaugh tends to be a disciplinarian, and if Moss was going to go to a hard-line place I’d bet on New England.
Seattle is pretty devoid of elite wide receive talent. Both Owens and Moss could fit here for them, but there may not be enough infrastructure around them for them to pull the trigger on it.
The Jets are the other big name team that Moss could land at. Rex loves to stick it to Belichick and signing Moss would be a move off the 1st page of the Belichick playbook – sign your opponents trash and beat him with it.
As for Terrell Owens, he’s been relatively quiet in Cincinnati (well, quiet compared to the noise box that is Ochocinco). Owens still has been productive despite a run first offense and inconsistent quarterback play. Owens is harder to speculate. One would think that he’d helped himself by being a ‘good boy’ in Cincinnati, and I think that should be considered true. For all his big numbers, he still lacks the ring to back up his career – it shouldn’t keep him out of the hall of fame, but it would certainly help. Owens still has some speed, but he’s more of a show than a threat at this point. Productive, but lacking elite anything.
Last T.O. was a free agent, the Rams were in play to sign him, and should be the front-runner this time. He would fit in nicely in St. Louis with a young quarterback and a lot of middle of the road wide outs running around. He can step into the starting role day one and maybe teach some of the kids some moves.
I’d find it interesting to see if he ended up in Arizona or San Francisco. T.O. started in the west coast and maybe that’s the best place for him to end his career. The 49ers have Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis, but could use a big size target for whoever is throwing. With an entire new system in place since he was last in SF, he might like a return. Arizona hasn’t been able to effectively find Fitzgerald since Boldin left for Baltimore. Owens might pull some pressure off him and provide their future QB (Kevin Kolb) two nice targets to work with.
Santonio Holmes is probably the best wide receiver on the market. Most talk has the Jets resigning him or Edwards. They’ve talked about a discount to both sign back in New York. He’s a good target for Sanchez to work with for several years so if a deal can get done it might be best fit.
The Ravens also have been mentioned, but mostly before the draft. Holmes is probably a better fit for them right now. Mason is on the down swing and Boldin isn’t stretching the field. If they could find a good price, their corp would look scary with those three running the show.
Miami would love to land Holmes and pair him with Marshall, and that would be another elite group of wide receivers (Brandon Marshall, Holmes, and Davone Bess). Henne would have no excuses for poor play with those three running around, catching passes.
Sidney Rice is another big name potential free agent, depending on the rules of free agency. Minnesota would love to resign him, but might not have the case to do that. Seattle and Miami could be teams that target him coming out. If New England doesn’t find someone a little cheaper, they might shell out for a big name target there. To put it bluntly, if Rice hits the market, there’ll be a lot of teams that’ll be calling his agent, and with good reason.