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2012 Free Agency Preview - Wide Receivers

The chicken before the egg argument of 2011 seemed for me to be whether Tim Tebow was really that inaccurate or the wide receivers only caught the pass when their hands miraculously retained the ball through the sheer will of fans.

I am not a Tebow apologist by any means, but drops became ridiculous sometimes to the point where passing became the Russian roulette of the offensive play calling--passing! Not a hail mary, not across the middle, simply a pass call. Of the many major moves that the new coaching regime was dead on about I feel the biggest blunder they made was trading Brandon Lloyd--who happens to be a free agent this offseason.

Under contract in 2012 for the Denver Broncos are Eric Decker, Demaryius Thomas and D'Andre Goodwin, that's it... There are three players who have been signed to future contracts, they are Tyler Grisham, Greg Orton and Tim Toone only Grisham has played in a regular season game. Both Eddie Royal and Matthew Willis are unrestricted free agents.

Onto free agency, the wide receiver class this offseason is the strongest of any position featuring many, many great names.

Paving the way for the wide receivers scheduled to hit free agency is the New England Patriots Wes Welker, though I cannot fathom the Patriots letting him get very far from Boston without a signed contract. The Pittsburgh Steelers Mike Wallace is a restricted free agent and another name that will not be leaving his original team.

Let's talk about Dwayne Bowe from the Kansas City Chiefs, he's on and sometimes very on and I do not see the Chiefs holding onto him. They'll want to, but Bowe whose best days are still ahead of him, could want cash in big time somewhere soon. I do not think that place will be Denver, but there is a slim possibility.

Another huge name is Stevie Johnson from the Buffalo Bills, he has said that he wants to stay in Buffalo and I don't see why he wouldn't, but he was benched for most of Week 17 after being penalized for using a prop in a touchdown celebration.

He could be allowed to test the market, he doesn't seem like the type of player the Broncos would target on paper (too big of a name/salary), but when John Elway was playing quarterback for Denver they would often target the cream of the crop as far as wide receivers were concerned (anyone remember Tim Brown nearly becoming a Bronco or Anthony Miller in a Broncos uniform?). I wouldn't rule out Johnson here.

Another big name with slight character issues is DeSean Jackson a huge upside, an attitude and can contribute as more than just a receiver. Denver had a shot at him twice in the draft and went with Royal instead, it looked like a brilliant Mike Shanahan draft pick in their rookie seasons, but Jackson has been superior since.

Next up is the great Reggie Wayne, whom has said that he would likely not be back with the Indianapolis Colts in 2012. He's a proven veteran, still a top ten receiver in the league and could provide exactly what a young quarterback (and receiving regime) needs here. He would be my 'all in' choice in free agent receivers. Another Colts receiver that is expected to be available is Pierre Garcon, he was the best receiver in Indianapolis with Peyton Manning injured the entire season. Garcon stepped up and kept the Colts from being just the second 0-16 team in history.

Sticking with pure receivers Robert Meachem from the New Orleans Saints has been a very good receiver that has fallen victim to having too good of a supporting cast surrounding him there in New Orleans. He could be a number one somewhere else. Mario Manningham from the New York Giants is another receiver who is borderline that could be made available due to the amount of talent the Giants have on their current roster.

Two special teams contributors that could be available and would likely be on the Broncos' radar are: Ted Ginn, Jr. from the San Francisco 49ers and the Giants Devin Thomas (whom you will remember from Sunday). Thomas is especially intriguing, fans will remember the way that Matt Willis was used on special teams and Thomas is no different. Keep an eye on him.

Vincent Jackson is the last one that I want to mention here, he has been the San Diego Chargers franchise player for two seasons in a row and they've said that they won't franchise him a third time. He's absolutely worth meeting with, but after being franchised two seasons in a row I don't know who is going to be able to afford him.

Some other receivers that we should discuss: Plaxico Burress (though age is a consideration), Andre Caldwell (pending marijuana investigation), Early Doucet, Harry Douglass, and Preston Parker.

Missed something? Here are my other free agency previews: quarterbacks and running backs.