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:

Name Team Annual Salary Earned G Rec Yards TD Result
Percy Harvin Seahawks $12,849,000 $25,500,000 14 52 500 2 Traded 2014/Cut 2015
Mike Wallace Dolphins $12,000,000 $27,100,000 32 140 1792 15 Traded 2014
Dwayne Bowe Chiefs $11,200,000 $24,235,294 30 117 1427 5 Cut 2015
Greg Jennings Vikings $9,000,000 $18,000,000 31 127 1546 10 Cut 2015
Victor Cruz Giants $8,600,000 $15,654,000 20 96 1335 5 On Team
Brian Hartline Dolphins $6,155,000 $12,525,000 32 115 1490 6 Cut 2015
Wes Welker Broncos $6,000,000 $11,647,059 27 122 1242 12 Free Agent
Danny Amendola Patriots $5,700,000 $11,875,000 28 81 833 3 Pay Cut 2015
Brandon Gibson Dolphins $3,260,000 $6,520,000 21 59 621 4 Cut 2015
Donnie Avery Chiefs $2,850,000 $5,150,000 22 55 772 2 Cut 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

Name $/Rec $/Yd
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.