2013 NFL Free Agency: Wide Receiver David Nelson On Open Market

Rick Stewart

The Buffalo Bills continued their housecleaning by getting rid of a young, productive player recently. Wide receiver David Nelson could contribute to a team immediately upon signing, if healthy.

The Buffalo Bills have been an interesting team to watch over the past few years. They have had quite a number of quality offensive skill players that have helped to put up a lot of points, but they haven't amounted to many wins. They were also big players in free agency last season, particularly with the signing of Mario Williams, but injuries to a couple of key players hindered the team once again as they limped to a 6-10 finish. The Bills' front office fired head coach Chan Gailey and subsequently hired Doug Marrone.

Then the house cleaning began. Safety George Wilson left the club recently to sign with the Titans, and the powers-that-be then released Nick Barnett. Jairus Byrd likely remains a priority for them to re-sign, but the team from the northeast seems headed for re-build mode once again in 2013.

Now comes another somewhat surprising move: the Bills recently released wide receiver David Nelson. The third-year player had had two productive seasons in Buffalo, particularly in 2011 when he was a solid red zone target for quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. In that season, Nelson had 61 receptions for 658 yards and five touchdowns. Unfortunately, Nelson's 2012 campaign ended almost before it began, as he tore up his knee in the season opener. He is expecting to be healthy for both Training Camp and the 2013 regular season.

Nelson is a bit of a "'tweener" between a tight end and wide receiver. He's very tall at six feet and five inches, but slight at just over 200 pounds. Nelson had found a good niche with the Bills in a versatile role where he was productive opposite Stevie Johnson. Of Nelson's 61 catches in 2011, 32 of them went for first downs.

The Bengals are likely in the market for a wide receiver because of the impending free agent status of Brandon Tate and the inconsistency shown by Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones. They might also like a player with good height for red zone effectiveness and improved efficiency on third downs. Nelson definitely brings size and solid hands and could contribute on a team's roster immediately, if healthy.

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