Free Agent Follies: The 2013 Wide Receivers

We all get carried away with what happens in free agency every season. Right now fans of the Dolphins, Jets, Colts, Bills, Raiders, Eagles and numerous other teams believe that they have made the moves necessary to get to a championship. It’s a guarantee that some of those teams will likely end up disappointed when the games are actually played and we need not look any further than the multi year wide receiver contracts entered into back in 2013.

2013 was supposed to be the year of the receiver. Dwayne Bowe, Wes Welker, Mike Wallace, and Greg Jennings were supposed to help transform passing games. Percy Harvin was looking for a new contract and considered a dynamic playmaker. Victor Cruz was a restricted free agent and there were a number of tier two players that were going to add to the mix.

Here are the current results of the can’t miss group of players:

NameTeamAnnual SalaryEarnedGRecYardsTDResult
Percy HarvinSeahawks$12,849,000$25,500,00014525002Traded 2014/Cut 2015
Mike WallaceDolphins$12,000,000$27,100,00032140179215Traded 2014
Dwayne BoweChiefs$11,200,000$24,235,2943011714275Cut 2015
Greg JenningsVikings$9,000,000$18,000,00031127154610Cut 2015
Victor CruzGiants$8,600,000$15,654,000209613355On Team
Brian HartlineDolphins$6,155,000$12,525,0003211514906Cut 2015
Wes WelkerBroncos$6,000,000$11,647,05927122124212Free Agent
Danny AmendolaPatriots$5,700,000$11,875,00028818333Pay Cut 2015
Brandon GibsonDolphins$3,260,000$6,520,00021596214Cut 2015
Donnie AveryChiefs$2,850,000$5,150,00022557722Cut 2015

For almost all of these teams this was a complete waste of funds. On a performance basis this is what the team’s paid for the various player’s

Percy Harvin$490,385$51,000
Mike Wallace$193,571$15,123
Dwayne Bowe$207,139$16,983
Greg Jennings$141,732$11,643
Victor Cruz$163,063$11,726
Brian Hartline$108,913$8,406
Wes Welker$95,468$9,378
Danny Amendola$146,605$14,256
Brandon Gibson$110,508$10,499
Donnie Avery$93,636$6,671

Only Cruz remains on his original contract with his original team and that may change as injuries and the emergence of Odell Beckham has made him expendable. Amendola is the only other player to remain with his team and he had to accept a pay cut to stay in New England. Wallace was just traded to Minnesota but is currently on his original deal. Welker was only given a two year contract and is currently a free agent.

Harvin was given up on by two teams and his ROI was likely at the bottom of the NFL. Miami and Kansas City whiffed multiple times and are now in the process of reworking their entire receiving corps. The Chiefs haven’t been that scared off by their failures, signing Jeremy Maclin for $11 million  a year.

So what group in 2015 will be those 2013 wide receivers?  Maybe it will be the cornerbacks. Maybe the defensive tackles.  Maybe it will just be the receivers for a second time. But whatever group it is will likely incure the wrath of a number of fanbases and leave a few general mangers on the unemployment line.