Identifying potential options at the wide receiver position that will likely be available as free agents during the 2019 offseason.
As we hit the halfway mark of the 2018 season, the Tennessee Titans offense has been about as stale as a bag of popcorn that’s been left out overnight. Heading into the Monday night tilt against Dallas, quarterback Marcus Mariota had managed just three touchdown passes. But it hadn’t all fallen on Mariota or the passing game. The argument could be made that his numbers would be way higher without many drops per game up to this point by the receiving corps. Jon Robinson and company were awfully — and surprisingly — quiet leading up to the trade deadline. There were reports that the Titans pursued some help at WR, but the bottom line is the only move made was adding former FB Jalston Fowler. That’s not exactly a splash move.
So what’s next? Time will tell if the team adds any free agents that are out there right now to try to help out on offense. In that case, who would be worth picking up? With Dez Bryant scooped up by the New Orleans Saints, Brandon Marshall, Jeremy Maclin, or maybe Kenny Britt are the only remaining veteran options. Or should the Titans wait to see how the receiving corps pans out and test our luck in the upcoming offseason?
Let’s take a look at some big names at receiver that will be free agents after the 2018 season. I’ll break them down into two tiers based on talent and demand.
Tyrell Williams: The Los Angeles Chargers wideout signed a one-year extension this past offseason. Currently, the young standout is the number two in L.A. behind Keenan Allen. He has sure hands and can get open downfield. He would be a great number two, working in the slot or outside behind Corey Davis. And with Mike Williams being healthy and productive, Tyrell could be hitting the road after this season.
Golden Tate: The former Detroit Lions wideout was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles for a cheap third round pick, which was a bizarre deal considering he was Matt Stafford’s favorite target with in Detroit. The vet leads the NFL since 2014 in yards after the catch. He has a knack for turning short intermediate routes into huge gains. Another reason he earned Stafford’s trust was his hands. I think you could sign Tate for a decent price, which makes him even more attractive for a GM like Robinson.
Randall Cobb: Some people think the best of Cobb’s playing days are behind him. After having a strong season opener, he’s struggled with injuries and staying on the field ever since. Is Green Bay ready to move on and give younger guys an opportunity to make plays? If so, Tennessee could snatch up a promising vet who still has some gas left in the tank, and for a very affordable price given his recent production.
Kelvin Benjamin: He was Cam Newton’s favorite target when he started off his career. Benjamin is a big-bodied receiver who knows how to box out defenders and put himself in good position to snag the ball. After a fallout in Carolina, he moved on to Buffalo where he’s reportedly struggled with his weight. If he turns things around by the end of the season, he will be a target for teams who are needy at WR in the offseason.
Cole Beasley: The fan favorite in Dallas hasn’t ever had huge numbers in his seven years with the Cowboys, but he’s been reliable. He’s exactly what you want in a slot receiver: quick, shifty and with good hands. Fans love him for his tough, rugged play that earns the respect of his teammates. Amassing just 22 touchdowns, he isn’t going to get you 100 yards a game often, but he can be someone Mariota can look for when he needs someone who he knows is going to come up with the catch.
Honorable Mentions: Devin Funchess, Jermaine Kearse, Donte Moncrief, Larry Fitzgerald (pending retirement)
One thing we have to remember as fan, is to trust the organization and their process. Remember, championship teams aren’t built in a season!