Early Doucet of the Arizona Cardinals. Dwayne Bowe of the Kansas City Chiefs. Reggie Wayne of the Indianapolis Colts. Brandon Lloyd and Mark Clayton of the St. Louis Cardinals. Mario Manningham of the New York Giants. Doug Baldwin of the Seattle Seahawks.
It’s a great time to be shopping for a free-agent wide receiver.
And the San Francisco 49ers should be urgently scanning the marketplace.
The Niners have achieved their remarkable success this season absent a marquee wideout. Joshua Morgan has been hurt. Braylon Edwards is gone. Michael Crabtree and Ted Ginn, Jr. are works in progress. Kyle Williams and Brett Swain are promising but still young.
With quarterback Alex Smith’s fast-growing ability as a passer, the 49ers need a genuine game-breaker to complement their strong tight end play from Vernon Davis and their powerful running game.
Out of the cornucopia of available wide receivers this year, here are five players San Francisco should be thinking about. Some of the names may surprise, but I based my selections on productivity (for instance, yards per catch and first-down efficiency) and not just being the go-to in a pass-happy offense.
As always, tell me what you think.