NFL Free Agency: Top-5 Deep Threat Wide Receivers

by Blaine Grisak
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There is no question that the Los Angeles Rams need to add a deep threat wide receiver to the offense. This is something that Les Snead and co. will be looking at in NFL free agency and the NFL Draft. After trading away Brandin Cooks to the Houston Texans, the vertical aspect of the offense was sorely missed. It was thought that Josh Reynolds could fill that void, but that was not the case.

As the Rams receivers lacked a deep threat and Jared Goff‘s deep ball accuracy took a hit, the vertical game became non-existent. Matthew Stafford likes to throw the ball deep and had the second-highest deep ball rate last season. The Rams will be looking for a vertical threat this offseason and there are some names to keep an eye on in when NFL free agency begins:

WR Corey Davis

In 2016, the Los Angeles Rams traded two first-round picks to the Tennessee Titans in exchange for the first overall pick that ended up being Jared Goff. Due to a 4-12 season in 2016, the Titans ended up with a top-5 pick in 2017. That pick turned into Corey Davis.

Four years later and the Titans declined his fifth-year option and Davis will hit NFL free agency. Davis is only 26 years old and has yet to hit 1,000 yards in a season. However, he was just 16 yards away this year. Davis averaged 15.1 yards per reception which ranked sixth in the NFL among receivers with 60 or more receptions. He also ranked fifth in yards per target among all receivers. At 6’3, 209-lbs, Davis is a physical freak. He hasn’t reached his potential in the NFL, but he also never played in a great offense.

The former Western Michigan wide receiver won’t ever be that WR1 for and NFL team, but because of that, he’ll also have a cheaper price-tag which is what the Rams need.

Spotrac Market Value: 4-years, $9.8M avg.

WR Nelson Agholor

Could the Rams add another former USC wide receiver to their receiver corps in free agency? It worked with Robert Woods and it’s hard not to see how it would work with Agholor. The former USC receiver had a rough start to his career in Philadelphia, but has since revived it in Las Vegas with the Raiders.

He ranked second in the NFL with 18.7 yards per reception, trailing only Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Like Davis, he was tied for fifth with 10.9 yards per target. Additionally, Agholor’s average air yards per reception came 15 yards down the field. The former Trojan has become one of the best deep threat wide receivers in the NFL and he’s only 27 years old.

The Raiders got Agholor on a bargain last season, paying him a little over $1M. However, the wide receiver bet on himself and it paid off. Still, he won’t get elite wide receiver money which fits the Rams’ budget.

Spotrac Market Value: 2-years, $9.7M avg. 

WR Marvin Jones

This option might make the most sense. Many may not think of Marvin Jones as a deep-threat wide receiver, but it’s something he actually excels at. Last season, Jones trailed only Tyreek Hill in most receiving plays of 20-yards or more. Jones had 19 deep targets last season which was eight more than any other Rams receiver.

The benefit of Jones is that he already has chemistry and familiarity with Matthew Stafford. However, the downside is that he will also be 31 at the start of next season. Is he someone that you want to bring in for three years given his age? He’s also been  more established player in the NFL as he’s had nine touchdowns in three of the last four years. Because of that, his price tag will be higher than the other players on this list.

Spotrac Market Value: 3-years, $10.5M avg. 

WR John Ross

John Ross is an interesting and intriguing option. He was a player that I was pounding the table for the Rams to trade for him at last year’s deadline. Now, they get an opportunity to sign him in free agency if they wish.

What makes Ross interesting isn’t just because he’d be a low-money signing. What makes him interesting is that he has two years of experience in Zac Taylor’s system which is similar to McVay’s. He was also on pace for 1,000 yards before getting injured. Ross wouldn’t be the third wide receiver on the Rams like the other three on this list would, but he would give them an option for a vertical threat.

Spotract Market Value: TBD

WR Breshad Perriman

Perriman has bounced around the league since being drafted in the first round by the Baltimore Ravens. He’s dealt with injuries, but over the last three years, we’ve seen glimpses of the player coming out of college. Perriman had 645 yards with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers two years ago before having another 500 yard season last year with the Jets. Over his last 5 games in 2019, he had 25 catches for 506 yards (20.2 avg) and 5 TDs.

He’s 28 years old, but last year he ranked fifth with 16.8 yards per reception. Like Ross, Perriman isn’t going to come in and be the number three behind Kupp and Woods, however, he gives McVay and the Rams offense that option of a deep threat in their repertoire. Given the Rams’ salary, he’s also someone that will come cheap.

Spotract Market Value: TBD

NFL Free Agent Honorable Mentions

Other options that the Rams could consider would be players like Will Fuller and Curtis Samuel. Kenny Golladay may want to join Stafford on the Rams. Lastly, could Sammy Watkins make a second appearance in Los Angeles? Would Chris Godwin or Allen Robinson hit the market? The last two options are not something that I foresee happening. In any case, those players will be way outside the Rams’ price range in the $15-$20M+ range.

Another cheap option however, would be Keelan Cole.

 

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