Wide Receivers on Prove-it Deals

Monday’s game featured two prominent receivers who switched teams this past offseason and signed one year prove-it deals in the hopes of landing a larger multi-year contract next offseason. How have they performed so far this season?

Alshon Jeffery – 1 year, $9.5M, $8.75M guaranteed

After showing enough promise to be franchised by Chicago for the 2016 season, Jeffery signed a 1 year deal with Philadelphia for 2017. So far this year, on a team with a better quarterback and better offensive skill players, Jeffery is not making a good case for a #1 receiver contract next spring. On a game by game basis, outside of touchdowns, Jeffery is at or below his production from 2015 and 2016.

Tgt/G

Rec/G Yds/G TD/G

Catch %

2015

10.4

6.0 90 0.44

57%

2016

7.8

4.3 68

0.17

55%

2017

7.7

3.7 51

0.29

48%

Project over 16 games, Jeffery is on pace for 59 receptions on 123 targets for 809 yards and 4-5 TDs. After two good seasons in 2013 and 2014, Jeffery didn’t top 55 receptions, 825 yards, or 5 TDs in 2014 or 2015. While a lot of that was injury related, that doesn’t change the fact that he hasn’t produced over a full season. If Jeffery maintains his current pace and has 3 consecutive seasons at those levels, he’s looking at a contract in the $8.0M APY range at most and much of that is due to his potential shown in 2014 and draft status. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a one or two year deal around $6M APY.

Quick final notes hurting Jeffery’s case: he has one game this year with more than 4 receptions or 75 yards (both in week 2 vs KC) after having those games much more often in prior seasons. He is second on the Eagles in targets in receptions and is third on the team in yards and touchdowns. His catch percentage is the worst on the team. Those don’t look good for a player who likely sees himself as a #1 option on his future team.

Terrelle Pryor – 1 year, $6.0M, $6.0M guaranteed

Pryor received surprisingly little interest this past offseason after a very promising 2016. After signing a one year deal with Washington, he has largely been an afterthought on the field. While some suggested that Pryor’s production in 2016 was the result of an immense volume of targets in a bad offense, others countered that Pryor would likely do better in a better offense with a better quarterback. It looks like the former were correct: Pryor’s rate statistics have stayed largely the same while his volume has decreased significantly.

Tgt/G

Rec/G Yds/Rec Tgt/TD

Catch %

2016

8.8

4.8 13.1 35

55%

2017

5.5

3.0 12.4 33

55%

If Pryor’s season continues like this, he will finish with around 48 receptions on 88 targets for 595 yards and 3 TDs. A season like that would likely see Pryor sign a long term contract in the $5-6M APY range.

Other players on 1 year deals:

Kamar Aiken – $2.6M – After a promising 2015 season with Baltimore, Aiken was underwhelming last year before signing with the Colts this past offseason. So far, the results have been bad. He’s on pace for 27 receptions with a 39% catch rate for 224 yards and has yet to catch a touchdown with his new team. While some of his performance can be attributed to catching passes from Jacoby Brissett and Scott Tolzien instead of Andrew Luck, his production the past few seasons is making his good 2015 season look like an extreme outlier.

Kendall Wright – $1.8M – No receiver is going have good statistics when his team is attempting 16 passes per game with Mitch Trubitsky. Wright is showing good efficiency with a 77% catch rate and almost 12 yards per catch, but with so little volume, he’ll likely enter the market overshadowed by receivers with much better volume statistics.

Dontrelle Inman – $2.7M (RFA) – Inman has been a forgotten piece this year after signing as a restricted free agent in the spring. After showing promise with an 800 yard season in place of injured receivers in 2016, Inman has only seen action on 39 offensive snaps over 4 games. The rest of the season doesn’t look promising as Inman is likely at best the Chargers’ 7th best receiving option. The best recent comparison is likely Aiken who had a good season two years before free agency followed by a sub-par season heading into free agency. The difference is Aiken’s good season was much better than Inman’s and Aiken was 5th on his team in targets and yards while Inman is essentially a healthy scratch each week.