Free agency could be the easiest way to acquire a receiver that can make an immediate impact. One problem: it won’t be easy to decide whom to pursue. There isn’t a clear-cut, stand-above-the-rest receiver available.
But, in addition to the Dolphins’ own impending free agent receiver Brian Hartline, there are three really solid wide receivers that are all similar inasmuch as that, while each are attractive for several reasons, there’s a flaw that could make an interested team a bit wary.
Greg Cosell breaks down the All-22 game tape for NFL Matchup, and he’s seen plenty of Green Bay’s Greg Jennings, Kansas City’s Dwayne Bowe and Pittsburgh Mike Wallace. The NFL Films producer sat down with The Finsiders in New Orleans to talk about what he’s seen from the trio.
For what they are looking for, Kansas City’s Bowe may give the Dolphins the right blend of size, speed and, importantly, age, Cosell said.
“Dwayne Bowe, to me, of the three, he may be the most complete, and that’s my sense,” said Cosell on Bowe, a Miami Norland product. “He’s a big kid, he’s really a good intermediate route runner, he has a physical element to his game. You wouldn’t call him a pure deep threat, but he can get deep.”
If age isn’t necessarily a deal breaker, Greg Jennings could be the guy. Jennings, 29, has some pretty strong ties to the Dolphins coaching staff, playing for then-Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin in Green Bay. That doesn’t ensure mutual interest, of course, but it would potentially ease Jennings’ transition in South Florida.
Jennings, who spoke to The Finsiders’ Jesse Agler in New Orleans, hasn’t ruled out a reunion, either.
“I really like Greg Jennings a lot,” Cosell said. “He’s not far, to me, from Dwayne Bowe, its just Bowe’s a bigger guy. I guess Jennings was hurt this year. I don’t think it’s a long-term kind of injury. I think he’d be the other guy. The question is – and I know every team thinks that no matter how much they say they don’t – what the cost will be.
Pittsburgh’s Wallace is a burner, a big play waiting to happen; he can blow the top off an opposing defense with 4.33 speed. Prior to last season, he had averaged 19 yards per catch for his career. His numbers dipped slightly in 2012 — notably his yards per catch (13.1) — but it’s fair to say that may have been an outlier caused by playing several games with either Byron Leftwich or Charlie Batch filling in for an injured Ben Roethlisberger.
“I still believe after watching him on film for years that Mike Wallace is mostly a vertical guy,” Cosell said, “that he’s not necessarily going to run those intermediate digs, or those short crossing routes with consistency.”
The Dolphins, of course, are not coming off a playoff berth. At 7-9, in 2012, they are not necessarily looking for a final piece that pushes them into the Super Bowl conversation as much as someone whose versatility would open up the offense.
This, Cosell said, is what could separate Bowe and Jennings from Wallace for a team in Miami’s position.
“Bowe or Jennings gives them completeness as a receiver whereas I think Wallace – I don’t want to say he’s a luxury because anytime you can lift the coverage like that that’s really good, but I don’t know if they have that luxury right now.”
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