With the 2013 free-agency period set to begin in March, the Buffalo Bills have a glaring hole at the wide receiver position. General manager Buddy Nix has pointed out that he prefers a “big-time wide receiver" that can "line up out there and make a catch when he's covered.”
While names of the big-time wide receivers such as Dwayne Bowe, Greg Jennings and Mike Wallace will surely be floating around with regards to the Bills, one name to keep in mind is Danario Alexander, a restricted free agent of the San Diego Chargers. The Bills previously had Alexander in for a workout back in September, but didn’t sign him.
Restricted free agents require their team to tender them with draft pick compensation, but Alexander could most likely be had for a second round pick.
Danario Alexander was undrafted out of Missouri in 2009 due to a knee surgery that prevented him from working out at the NFL Combine and the Senior Bowl. He was signed by the St. Louis Rams, where he appeared in 18 games over two seasons before being released.
Alexander caught 37 passes for 658 yards and seven touchdowns in 2012, averaging 17.8 yards per reception. According to ProFootballFocus’ signature statistics (membership required), Alexander had a 134.1 wide receiver rating, the highest in the National Football League among wideouts who participated in at least 25 percent of the offensive snaps. The wide receiver rating is the quarterback’s passer rating while targeting a particular wideout.
Furthermore, he proved to have reliable hands, dropping just three of the 54 targets in his direction. And while Alexander isn’t the fastest receiver, he showed that he could stretch the field at times, catching 3-of-8 passes that went 20-plus yards, scoring a touchdown each time.
Alexander isn’t the most proven receiving option on the open market, but at 24 years old and standing 6’5”, he has an extremely high ceiling for growth compared to the 28-year-old Bowe and 29-year-old Jennings.
Bowe, Jennings and Wallace are going to command extremely high salaries from whichever team decides to sign them, and it’s well deserved. However, the Bills reportedly have just over $20 million in cap space (via ESPN), and need to devote a large sum of that total to re-signing free safety Jairus Byrd and left guard Andy Levitre.
Signing Alexander would be a low-risk, high-reward move that could really benefit a team like the Buffalo Bills in the long run. The team needs youth and skill at the outside wide receiver position, and Alexander brings both.
With Stevie Johnson reportedly moving into the slot, the need for a flanker is even more significant, especially when taking T.J. Graham’s woeful rookie campaign into consideration.
Alexander may not be the flashy, big-name signing that fans want to see, but it’s a responsible and cost-efficient move that would allow the team additional funds to spend elsewhere.