2013's free agent Wide Receivers/Tight Ends and potential cap casualties
For a look at the free agent quarterbacks of 2013, click here.
For running backs, click here.
For offensive linemen, click here.
For defensive linemen, click here.
The biggest receiver name on the market this year is probably Mike Wallace, who the Steelers are not expected to even attempt to re-sign. The Steelers were fed up with Wallace due to a holdout last summer that was followed by a disappointing season (64 catches for 836 yards with a career-low 13.1 yards per catch). He still possesses game-changing speed, however, and is likely to get a lucrative offer from a receiver-needy team.
Dwayne Bowe might be the most talented of the free agent receivers, as he's managed to put up some great numbers on bad offenses during his years with the Chiefs. Though some people believe that Bowe's chances of re-signing with the Chiefs have improved with the hiring of Andy Reid, there's still a solid chance we see Bowe in a new uniform with a fat wallet next season.
The Packers have no plans to re-sign Greg Jennings, who has put his house on the market and openly "prepared my family for change." A great player when on the field, Jennings has struggled with injuries and will turn 30 years old towards the beginning of next season. Regardless, some team will take a chance on him. The Dolphins - whose head coach Joe Philbin was Jennings' offensive coordinator in Green Bay - are a possibility.
For some reason, the Patriots only gave Wes Welker a one-year deal last summer. Despite playing in his age-31 season, Welker showed no sign of decline, hauling in 118 passes for 1354 yards. The Patriots would like to have him back, but he is likely to test the market due to their questionable undervaluing of him.
Danny Amendola would like to re-sign with the Rams, and the Rams would love to have him back, but Amendola's spotty injury history have complicated contract talks. A similar player to Welker, Amendola would draw plenty of interest if he were to hit the open market.
After a breakout year with 74 catches for 1083 yards, Brian Hartline will be sought after by plenty of teams if the Dolphins don't re-sign him. Though the Dolphins would like to have him back, they view him as a clear No. 2 receiver and will prioritize finding a top receiving option.
Austin Collie will likely get incentive based offers due to his impressive play but awful injury history... Terrell Owens and Randy Moss are both probably willing to play, if anyone actually wants them... Josh Cribbs is probably done as a Brown, but the devaluing of the kick return game will limit teams' interest in him...
Tony Gonzalez leads the class of free agent tight ends, but he's either retiring or returning to the Falcons.
After receiving the franchise tag last year, Fred Davis is now eligible to hit the open market. The Redskins will definitely want to have him back, but with the way teams value an athletic pass-catching tight end, the price may be too steep for them to match.
Dustin Keller was one of the few weapons the Jets had on offense last season, but he's likely to walk due to the awful salary cap situation left behind by former general manager Mike Tannenbaum. He was plagued by injuries in 2012, but caught 65 passes for 815 yards in 2011.
Some say that the Titans may give Jared Cook the franchise tag, while others say that he has no future in Tennessee. The talented, yet under-utilized tight end would get plenty of interest on the open market, but there's a chance that the Titans won't let him go.
Martellus Bennett has loads of talent, though he often fails to maximize on it... Brandon Myers had one of the better seasons among tight ends last year with the Raiders, catching 79 passes for 806 yards... Delanie Walker is very versatile, but is reportedly the 49ers' No. 2 priority in free agency.
Here are some of the players that could be released and on the market by the time free agency comes around:
Jermichael Finley (GB) has all the tools to be great, but has never been able to take that next step in becoming one of the game's elite tight ends. With a 2013 salary of $4.45 million and a $3.5 million roster bonus due in March, there's a very good chance Finley is a free agent by March 12th. Still considered to have plenty of potential, he'll likely get a starting gig somewhere else. For what it's worth, Finley puts his chances of remaining in Green Bay at 50/50.
Although Darrius Heyward-Bey (OAK) has transformed from a complete bust into a decent receiver, his $7.7 million salary in 2013 is more than he's worth. I'm sure they'd like to have him back, but it's tough to see him remaining on the roster at that price.
Anquan Boldin (BAL) is commonly brought up in the cap casualty conversation, but he claims that he'll retire if he's not playing for the Ravens next year.
The Jaguars signed tight end Marcedes Lewis (JAX) to a five-year, $35 million deal after his Pro Bowl season in 2010, but he hasn't done much of anything since his big pay day. He's being overpaid, but new GM David Caldwell considers him a "very good tight end," so we'll have to wait and see whether or not he remains in Jacksonville.