The 2019 season has come and gone, and now it's time to focus on building for 2020. While there'll be plenty of NFL Draft talk as the offseason progresses, the first step in these franchises putting together a team that can hopefully contend for a Super Bowl next year comes with free agency. For the purposes of our discussion today, we'll be taking a look at the wide receivers slated to hit the open market and there are some pretty notable names.
Had Jimmy Garoppolo been a little bit more accurate with his deep ball in Super Bowl LIV, we could be talking about a receiver who scored the championship-winning touchdown heading into free agency in Emmanuel Sanders. He may not have gotten a Super Bowl ring, but Sanders (and a few others) are in line to see a pretty serious pay day from one NFL club.
Along with Sanders, A.J. Green and Amari Cooper are two of the more talented pass catchers of this group, but come into this market under two totally different circumstances. For Cooper, he could set the market at the position after a career-year with the Dallas Cowboys and really changing their offense upon arrival two years ago. With Green, he missed all of last season due to injury, which may hurt his value.
The major question with both Green and Cooper is whether or not their current clubs will franchise them. If they don't, they'll be two of the hottest commodities this free agent receiver class has to offer.
Here's a look at all the receivers slated to hit free agency this offseason:
2019 was a lost season for A.J. Green, who may be the biggest wild card out of this free agent class. While the ankle injury did keep him sidelined all season, there have been positive updates that would suggest he'll be ready to go in 2020. The 31-year-old is one of the best wide receivers the NFL has to offer when he's healthy, which could make him an attractive gamble for a number of teams. Franchises starved for pass catchers like the New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers are two destinations that jump off the page when you start thinking of places Green go. Of course, the Cincinnati Bengals could end up placing the franchise tag on him to ensure that he'll be in-house for what's poised to be the start of the Joe Burrow era.
The Dallas Cowboys are in a precarious spot as it relates to two of their main weapons on offense as both quarterback Dak Prescott and receiver Amari Cooper are set to become unrestricted free agents. While there's been plenty of talk that a mega-contract will come Prescott's way, it hasn't materialized to this point. If they don't get a deal done prior to the start of the new league year, it wouldn't be surprising to see Dallas place the franchise tag on their quarterback. If that happens, that opens the door for Cooper to open up the bidding. If they do hammer out a deal with Prescott, they could, in theory, tag Cooper to give themselves a longer, more exclusive window to negotiate. Since his arrival in 2018, there's no denying that Cooper has been a difference maker in the Dallas offense. He posted a career-high 1,189 yards receiving in 2019 to go along with eight touchdowns and 79 receptions. Given those numbers, Cooper is slated to get a massive contract himself even if it isn't with the Cowboys.
Emmanuel Sanders was dealt to the 49ers from the Denver Broncos in the midst of the 2019 campaign and nearly won Super Bowl LIV with San Francisco over the course of his brief tenure with the club. Following the trade, Sanders was a force in the Niners offense and seemed to have a good rapport with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo out of the gate. He totaled 502 yards and three touchdowns in 10 games played for the 49ers this season. That said, he did seem to fall off a bit at times throughout the back half of the year as rookie Deebo Samuel took on a heightened role within the offense. He did seem open to re-signing with the 49ers this offseason in the aftermath of the Super Bowl, but San Francisco will need to decide if they're willing to pay the contract he'll likely garner on the open market.
Perriman has bounced around the league a bit after the former first round pick of the Ravens in 2015 flamed out in Baltimore. Since leaving the club in 2018, he made stops with the Redskins, Browns and most recently the Buccaneers. Signing with Tampa Bay proved to be a nice landing spot for him as he really flashed his potential towards the end of the season in the aftermath of Chris Godwin and Mike Evans going down with injuries. He posted three straight games of at least 100 yards receiving, which included a three touchdown performance in Week 15. Given his success at the end of the year, Perriman may have teams willing to take a flier on the former first round pick to see if that run carries over into 2020 and beyond.
For a team looking for a receiver to stretch the field, they may not have to look any further than Robby Anderson. He's entering free agency after positing back-to-back seasons where he's at least caught 50 balls for over 700 yards. Anderson has also averaged 15 yards per reception over the previous two years and is only going to be 27-years-old by the start of the 2020 season. If he lands in an offense with more consistent quarterback play, his numbers could pop even higher. Given his potential, Anderson could fetch himself a pretty lucrative contract, but there is something of gamble for any club bringing him in as he's yet to truly prove he can be a No. 1 receiver.
Robinson had his best season in the NFL with the Super Bowl LIV champion Chiefs in 2019. His 32 receptions, 449 receiving yards and four touchdown receptions either were or tied a career-high. He could always look to stay with Kansas City as they look to defend their Super Bowl title, but if he's looking for a more expanded role in an NFL offense he may need to look elsewhere. Tyreek Hill, Mecole Hardman, Travis Kelce and others make it tough for Robinson to really carve out a consistent role with the Chiefs.
The other Cowboys receiver that is also on deck to become an unrestricted free agent. Cobb, who turns 30 in August, had a sneaky solid first year in Dallas. He played in 15 games, caught 55 passes and his 828 receiving yards were the most since 2015. There was even a two-game stretch (Week 10-11) where Cobb went over a hundred yards receiving with a touchdown. That revitalization should be enough to have Dallas knocking on the door for a reunion along with a number of other playoff contenders looking to bring in a veteran pass catcher.
The rest of the bunch
Devin Funchess (Indianapolis Colts)
Danny Amendola (Detroit Lions)
Travis Benjamin (Los Angeles Chargers)
Chester Rogers (Indianapolis Colts)
Demaryius Thomas (New York Jets)
Geronimo Allison (Green Bay Packers)
Matthew Slater (New England Patriots)
Phillip Dorsett (New England Patriots)
Nelson Agholor (Philadelphia Eagles)
Rashad Higgins (Cleveland Browns)
Josh Gordon (Seattle Seahawks)
Seth Roberts (Baltimore Ravens)
Tavon Austin (Dallas Cowboys)
Dwayne Harris (Las Vegas Raiders)
Jaron Brown (Seattle Seahawks)
Cody Latimer (New York Giants)
Russell Shepard (New York Giants)
Chris Hogan (Carolina Panthers)
Jermaine Kearse (Detroit Lions)
Geremy Davis (Los Angeles Chargers)
Justin Hardy (Atlanta Falcons)
Ryan Grant (Green Bay Packers)
De'Anthony Thomas (Baltimore Ravens)
Jordan Matthews (San Francisco 49ers)
Dontrelle Inman (Indianapolis Colts)
Keelan Doss** (Las Vegas Raiders)
Chris Moore (Baltimore Ravens)
Damiere Byrd (Arizona Cardinals)
Corey Coleman (New York Giants)
Laquon Treadwell (Minnesota Vikings)
Pharoh Cooper (Arizona Cardinals)
Darius Jennings* (Tennessee Titans)
Tajae Sharpe (Tennessee Titans)
David Moore* (Seattle Seahawks)
Jojo Natson* (Los Angeles Rams)
DeAndrew White* (Carolina Panthers)
Marcus Johnson** (Indianapolis Colts)
Josh Malone* (New York Jets)
Cody Core (New York Giants)
Mike Thomas (Los Angeles Rams)
Isaiah McKenzie* (Buffalo Bills)
Tim Patrick* (Denver Broncos)
Marcus Kemp** (Kansas City Chiefs)
Jake Kumerow** (Green Bay Packers)
Khadarel Hodge** (Cleveland Browns)
Deandre Carter** (Houston Texans)
Isaiah Ford** (Miami Dolphins)
Austin Carr* (New Orleans Saints)
Kendrick Bourne* (San Francisco 49ers)
Keelan Cole* (Jacksonville Jaguars)
Robert Foster** (Buffalo Bills)
Malik Turner** (Seattle Seahawks)
Allen Lazard** (Green Bay Packers)
Keith Kirkwood** (New Orleans Saints)
Dylan Cantrell** (Los Angeles Chargers)
Cameron Batson** (Tennessee Titans)
Daurice Fountain** (Indianapolis Colts)
Diontae Spencer** (Denver Broncos)
Bryant Mitchell** (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Amba Etta-Tawo** (New York Giants)
Jeff Smith** (New York Jets)
* Restricted Free Agent
** Exclusive Restricted Free Agent