The Kenny Golladay saga is officially over and done with. Golladay’s four-year deal with the New York Giants was the last big domino to fall in the wide receiver market, and NFL free agency as a whole.
What does the top of the market look like now? Here are a few options for the Cincinnati Bengals and the rest of the league to consider.
T.Y. Hilton: Arguably the best receiver left unsigned, Hilton brings a ton of past production to the table. He’s often viewed as primarily a deep threat, but Hilton finished in the top 15 for Pro Football Focus in intermediate grade last year, which includes throws between 10-19 yards. That’s the area where Joe Burrow is already extremely good.
It seems to be Hilton’s age as to why he’s still out there. The four-time Pro Bowler will turn 32 in November and his deep-threat ability may not be what it once was. Regardless, he should be starting somewhere this year.
Sammy Watkins: It seems like Watkins is as old as Hilton, but he’s actually still just 27 until June. Watkins has also excelled in the intermediate part of the field and still has the burners to get on top of boundary cornerbacks.
The perception on Watkins is mainly driven by expectations. He was drafted in the top five picks and already signed a big contract. He’s just never completely lived up to the hype. That certainly doesn’t mean he’d be valuable on a more modest contract. Plus, he played one year under Zac Taylor already when he was with the Rams in 2017.
Josh Reynolds: Speaking of players Zac Taylor has previously coached, Reynolds is still on the board as well. We went over what makes Reynolds such a good fit here.
Damiere Byrd: The New England Patriots shocked everyone by signing not only Nelson Agholor, but also Kendrick Bourne to relatively lucrative multi-year deals for their respective talents. Byrd, meanwhile, seems to be out of the picture in New England.
Byrd and his sub-4.3 speed would be a solid complementary piece in the Bengals’ current offense. But if he’s the projected starter entering the NFL Draft in April, expect the new starter to come out of the draft.
Desean Jackson: Because he will still get mentioned in these conversations, Jackson is also still available. If he decides not to retire this Spring, his availability should be expected to drag on into the Summer. There’s no reason to rush signing a 34-year old receiver with just 35 targets in the last two years.
Antonio Brown: There’s no logical reason to list Brown here. I’m just very curious to see where he ends up if not back in Tompa Bay.