We’re still a few months away from the start of battles on the NFL gridiron, but there’s no offseason when it comes to debate amongst fans. This week, we’ve launched a new series here at PFR that will be known as the Community Tailgate. What’s the Community Tailgate all about? Well, it’s pretty simple. Every day, we’ll highlight one of the top stories going on in the NFL. Then, in the comment section below, we want you to weigh in and let us know what you think.
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Today, we’ll be discussing the crop of top wide receivers who are eligible for contract extensions. Dez Bryant has received most of the headlines this week, but Demaryius Thomas is currently in the same situation as the Cowboys wideout, having received a franchise-tag tender that he has yet to sign. Meanwhile, both A.J. Green and Julio Jones are entering their fifth-year option season, making them eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2016.
All four players could ultimately play out the coming season on one-year contracts and be franchised in 2016, but there’s a belief that once one of the four reaches a long-term agreement with his team, it will provide a template for the other three to negotiate their own deals. It’s just not clear yet what those extensions might look like.
While Calvin Johnson, Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr., and others would have something to say about it, you could make a reasonable case that these four extension candidates are among the top five wide receivers in the NFL. Consider the following résumés:
- Dez Bryant: Has averaged approximately 91 receptions, 1,312 receiving yards, and 14 touchdowns over the last three seasons, earning an All-Pro spot in 2014.
- Demaryius Thomas: His three-year averages (99 catches, 1,494 receiving yards, 12 TDs) match up favorably with Bryant’s, and he’s coming off a career year in which he racked up 111 catches and averaged more than 100 yards per game.
- A.J. Green: Has been a Pro Bowler in each of his four NFL seasons, and surpassed 1,000 receiving yards in each of those seasons as well, despite being slowed by injuries last year. In 2013, his last fully healthy campaign, he totaled 98 catches, 1,426 yards, and 11 TDs.
- Julio Jones: Established new career highs with 104 receptions and 1,593 yards in 2014, earning his second Pro Bowl berth.
All four appear headed for huge paydays, but there’s plenty to debate and discuss. For instance: Will any of these player challenge Calvin Johnson’s seven-year, $113MM+ contract? Which of the four will sign first, and which will receive the largest deal? Which of the four would you want on your favorite team? Would you be reluctant to invest significant money in any of them? We want to hear from you, so head to the comments section to place your bets and voice your thoughts and opinions. We look forward to hearing what you have to say!