The start of NFL free agency is rapidly approaching and several teams short on offensive weapons will be battling to add a top-tier wide receiver.
Although Dwayne Bowe is no longer available after the Kansas City Chiefs signed him to a long-term deal, there are still several quality options remaining for teams looking to help out their quarterbacks.
A few standouts could be the missing piece middling NFL teams need to take the next step.
Here is all the latest news on the top receivers set to hit the open market.
The Pittsburgh Steelers speedster had a messy contract situation prior to last season and, now that he is a free agent, it seems unlikely he will be back in Pittsburgh.
The Miami Dolphins are in search of a wide receiver after re-signing Brian Hartline and, according to NFL.com, they are competing with the Minnesota Vikings as potential suitors for the 26-year-old burner.
But The Miami Herald’s Armando Salguero reported that the New England Patriots are joining the race, although Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio speculates that Bill Belichick may have an ulterior motive, insinuating that New England may simply be trying to make the Dolphins, their AFC East rival, overpay for Wallace.
Take this for what it is worth (I see it as solid). Agent just told me he hears Patriots have some interest in Mike Wallace.— Armando Salguero (@ArmandoSalguero) March 9, 2013
Wallace certainly won’t mind that strategy and he will not have any trouble finding a new home this offseason.
The Packers did not use the franchise tag on Jennings before the March 4 deadline and he will be a free agent in few days.
Although he is beloved in Green Bay, the team is loaded with young talent at receiver and are near reaching a deal with pass-catching tight end Jermichael Finley. That said, there will be other franchises willing to pay top dollar for a reliable veteran receiver.
One potential suitor is the Miami Dolphins, whose head coach is former Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin. NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal notes that Jennings is intrigued by Miami, and the receiver quoted as saying, “I wouldn't mind that at all. The weather's definitely nice. They have an up-and-coming quarterback.”
But the feeling may not be mutual. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Bob McGinn reported the following via Twitter on Philbin’s feelings towards Jennings:
Things can always change, but I've been told that #Dolphins' Joe Philbin isn't a huge fan of Greg Jennings as a player. Needs a WR but ...— Bob McGinn (@BobMcGinn) February 25, 2013
Currently, Jennings does not appear to be many team's top choice, with the younger Wallace favored.
As ESPN notes, Welker will hear offers from teams other than the New England Patriots before making a decision on his future.
Which of these players will have the best 2013 season?
The 31-year-old has recorded over 110 receptions in five of his six seasons with the Patriots, but the franchise has been reluctant to sign him to a long-term deal. Belichick appears comfortable letting Welker test the open market.
While there is not much buzz on where Welker will wind up, it appears increasingly unlikely that he will return to the Patriots. Florio, in an appearance on The Dan Patrick Show, speculated that New England will replace Welker with St. Louis Rams wideout and free agent Danny Amendola.
Amendola is a similar player to Welker and four years younger. This would a characteristically pragmatic albeit unsentimental move for Belichick.