The NFL season has come to a close, now it's time for league to look ahead to its future. The hottest topics on the table for discussion are highlighted by free agency and the NFL draft. With the draft still being months away that leaves us with the excitement of talking 2014 NFL Free Agency.
To start the process off, here are three of the top wide receivers that will test the market, this off-season, beginning with the top wide out from the AFC Champion Denver Broncos Eric Decker.
1. Eric Decker, WR, Denver Broncos
According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Decker will test free agency this off season. Obviously, Denver will try to retain Decker, but there may be a huge issue that may lure Decker elsewhere. The Broncos view Decker as their future #2 WR (behind Demaryius Thomas), and he may indeed be line for a #1 wide receiver contract. Coming off of a 1,288 yards and 11 touchdown season in 2013, taking the money doesn't seem like such a bad idea. Also, this will be a Decker's first experience with money being thrown at him and he may take it and run with it especially after the disappointing loss in the Super Bowl. Keep in mind, right now Decker is the best wide receiver on the market and will receive a plethora of offer’s.
2. Golden Tate, Seattle Seahawks
Tate is rising on a lot of experts' boards as a top free agent and most of that is due to his play later on in the 2013 season. Now that he is an unrestricted free agent the bidding begins. What makes Tate even more attractive to other team bidders is him having the most productive season of his career thus far, and also coming off of a Super Bowl championship victory. In 2013, Tate had 64 receptions for 898 yards and 5 touchdowns along with 51 punt returns for 585 yards. He will draw all sorts of interest in himself, maybe even more than Decker since Tate can return kicks at a high level as well. Tate wants to remain in Seattle after releasing the following statement:
"I would really like to stay. It's a great city, a great group of guys. From top to bottom, I can't say enough great things about Seattle. I really would like to stay here, but we'll see. Only time will tell."
The only problem that Seattle will come across is possibly having enough cap space for Tate. Seattle already has Percy Harvin's large contract they picked up last year and also not to mention the upcoming expiring contracts of Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, and Russell Wilson. After the season those guys had, it is hard to imagine Seattle giving Tate a huge contract before locking up those guys up to longer deals.
3. Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants
New York Giants WR Hakeem Nicks has made it perfectly clear that he wants stability in his new contract. There were reports hitting the surface back in early January, that Nicks proclaimed he would take less money to stay with the Giants. Coming off a 56 receptions for 896 yards season he will draw some interest from other franchises, but not much since it is believed he has already made up his mind to stay in New York. Nicks did release this statement back in January:
"I don't want to get myself in a situation where there is a lot going on. This organization is great stability-wise. Not too many changes go on around here and I like that they're always in for the player's best interest and things like that."
Many players for the Giants organization also are confident that he will return next season. Who wouldn't want to lose a wide receiving tandem that since 2011, has the second most combined yards for a receiving tandem accumulating six, 356 yards. ( With Victor Cruz). Hard to replace that kind of production, so New York will keep Nicks any means necessary.
These top three wide receivers highlight this years free agency class and what a huge free agency it will be. With so many more teams that have cap space to offer players it should be a very intense free agency. When it comes to the top receivers it usually comes down to the system that the offense runs and where they fit in with the franchise.
Big names for this year's free agent wide receivers including Julian Edelman, Jeremy Maclin, and Anquan Boldin. It will be interesting to see who ends up where and how much money they get in their new contract. With that being said, let the bidding begin.
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