Albert Wilson

Dolphins WR Albert Wilson Returns To Practice

Dolphins wideout Albert Wilson was in pads Sunday and appeared to be practicing, as Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald tweets. That is certainly welcome news for the Fins, as it was reported last month that Wilson may not be ready to go until the start of the season.

Miami signed Wilson to a three-year, $24MM contract last March, and his first season in South Beach got off to a good start, as he caught 26 passes for 391 yards and four TDs in seven games. He pulled in two touchdown grabs of at least 70 yards, he threw a 52-yard TD pass, and he was averaging 11.2 yards per target.

Unfortunately, Wilson suffered a serious hip injury in October, which cut his season short. His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, recently indicated that Wilson would be back on the field by Week 1 at the latest, but it appears that his timeline has been accelerated a bit.

And while the Dolphins are not going to be challenging for a playoff spot this year, Wilson is still young enough (he just turned 27) to perhaps be a part of the next competitive Miami team. It will be good for the the club to see what it has in him and to get him some reps with second-year QB Josh Rosen in camp.

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Revisiting The 2018 Free Agent WR Class

The 2018 free agent class of wide receivers reshaped the market in a number of ways and set the table for lucrative extensions for players like Odell Beckham, Brandin Cooks, and Stefon Diggs. But even allowing for the premium that teams often have to pay in the first wave of free agency, the size of the contracts that the 2018 FA wideouts landed raised a lot of eyebrows throughout the league. As we look ahead to Year 2 of some of those contracts, let’s examine the early returns.

Sammy Watkins‘ three-year, $48MM deal with the Chiefs topped the class in terms of total value, average annual value, and guaranteed money at signing ($30MM). And while his talent certainly merited that type of payday, his injury history was a concern, as he had missed 10 games over the prior three seasons. He ended up missing six games during his first year in Kansas City due to a foot injury, though he did manage to suit up for both of the club’s postseason contests. His raw numbers obviously don’t look too impressive as a result of the missed time, but he did rank fifth among all qualified wideouts in Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric, meaning he was very valuable on a per-play basis. He also tallied 10 catches for 176 yards during the Chiefs’ two playoff games, and while injury problems may always plague him, he continues to be a factor whenever he’s on the field. KC is likely not regretting Watkins’ deal at this point.

The Bears doubled up at wide receiver by signing Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel last March, which allowed them to part ways with Cameron Meredith. Chicago brought in Robinson on a three-year, $42MM pact, even though he suffered a torn ACL in Week 1 of the 2017 season and had only posted one elite season in his career (which came back in 2015). And after his first year with the Bears, Robinson is still looking for his second 1,000-yard campaign.

There is some reason to hope that he can get there, especially with a fully-healthy offseason and a year of building chemistry with quarterback Mitchell Trubisky under his belt. A-Rob played in just 13 regular season games last season but was targeted 94 times, and he was brilliant in the Bears’ lone playoff game, posting 10 catches for 143 yards and a score. Football Outsiders’ metrics didn’t love him, but Pro Football Focus assigned him an above-average grade that made him the 28th-best WR in the league. He may not have quite lived up to expectations, but there is still time for him to get there.

Chicago signed Gabriel to a four-year, $26MM deal in the hopes that he could become a big-play threat for Trubisky. But while Gabriel played in all 16 games for the club and saw 93 targets, he managed a fairly modest 10.3 yards-per-reception and two touchdowns. Advanced metrics weren’t overly fond of his work either, and he will be hoping for a bounce-back year in 2019.

It’s still too early to evaluate some of the other significant contracts given to 2018 wide receivers, because the signees saw their seasons derailed by injury. Marqise Lee, who re-upped with the Jaguars on a four-year, $34MM deal, missed the entire 2018 season due to a preseason knee injury, and he is not expected to be back until the end of this year’s training camp. The Dolphins were thinking highly of their three-year, $24MM accord with Albert Wilson, who was performing well for Miami until he landed on IR in October with a serious hip injury. He is expected to be ready for the start of the 2019 regular season, but he may not see the field until then.

Likewise, Paul Richardson showed flashes in the first year of the five-year, $40MM contract he signed with the Redskins last March, but he landed on IR in November with a shoulder injury.

But at least the aforementioned players are still on their respective teams. Michael Crabtree signed a three-year, $21MM deal with the Ravens after being cut by the Raiders, but he disappeared from Baltimore’s offense when Lamar Jackson became the starter, and Baltimore sent him packing in February (as of this writing, there has been no reported interest in his services). And Donte Moncrief signed a one-year contract for a surprising $9.6MM with the Jaguars, but his mostly disappointing performance in Jacksonville had him searching for a new team this offseason. He ultimately caught on with the Steelers.

All in all, then, the 2018 class of free agent wideouts was a mixed bag. None of the contracts those players signed look like a home run at this point, and while that could change in 2019, those who were surprised by the amount of money thrown at WRs last March were right to be a little skeptical.

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Albert Wilson Might Not Be Ready For Training Camp

We haven’t had many updates on Dolphins receiver Albert Wilson since he got hurt, but now we have one. Wilson was having a breakout season in Miami last year, which unfortunately got cut short by a serious hip injury. 

Wilson landed on injured reserve back in October, and he’s apparently not that close to getting cleared. Wilson might not be ready for training camp, and the team “plans to be cautious with him in August,” per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. On the bright side, Jackson does write that Wilson’s agent Drew Rosenhaus said during a recent radio appearance that Wilson will be ready for the start of the regular season.

We heard at the time it was a labral issue, but never got full details on the injury. Wilson had some highlight reel plays during the seven games he played for the Dolphins, and he had just had one of the best weeks of any receiver in the league right before his injury. The week before he went down, he torched the Bears’ vaunted defense for 155 yards and two touchdowns in an overtime win.

Wilson was averaging an extremely efficient 11.2 yards per target thanks to his run-after-catch ability, and losing him was a brutal blow to Miami’s offense. He’s a player that very much relies on his speed and athleticism, so hopefully he’s 100 percent healthy when he makes his return.

Wilson is still only 26 and likely a part of the team’s longterm plans as they enter a rebuild, so it makes sense why they’re being cautious with him. An undrafted free agent out of Georgia State back in 2014, Wilson originally signed with the Chiefs. His playing time was sporadic in his four years in Kansas City, but he showed enough flashes to earn a three-year, $24 million deal from the Dolphins last offseason. Whether it’s Josh Rosen or Ryan Fitzpatrick under center, they’ll need Wilson as a weapon next year.

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Dolphins To Place WR Albert Wilson On IR

Albert Wilson‘s season is over. The Dolphins are set to place the wideout on the injured reserve, reports ProFootballTalk.com (via Twitter). The Dolphins have already designated offensive lineman Jake Brendel and linebacker Mike Hull to return from the IR, meaning the 26-year-old receiver will sit out the rest of the season.

Wilson suffered a “significant” hip injury on Sunday, but there was some optimism that the receiver would only have to miss a few weeks. We later heard that the wideout was dealing with a labral issue, and the injury was apparently severe enough to land him on the injured reserve. Fortunately for Wilson, he won’t need to undergo surgery (via ProFootballTalk.com), although that’s the only bright spot in an otherwise disappointing end to his season.

After spending four seasons with the Chiefs, Wilson inked a three-year, $24MM deal with Miami during the offseason. He was en route to a career year, having hauled in 26 receptions for 391 yards and four touchdowns through seven games (three starts). Wilson, who has handled two touchdown receptions of at least 70 yards, also tossed a 52-yard touchdown pass to Jakeem Grant against the Raiders earlier this year.

The Dolphins were struggling with injuries to their wideouts, as Kenny Stills has already been ruled out for Thursday’s game against Houston. Danny Amendola and Jakeem Grant will likely take on a bigger role in the offense. DeVante Parker, whose agent ripped the Dolphins on Sunday, could also be more involved once his injury issues are resolved.

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Dolphins WR Albert Wilson To Miss Time

Dolphins wideout Albert Wilson suffered a hip injury Sunday that is expected to sideline him for multiple weeks, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Wilson will undergo further testing on Monday, but agent Drew Rosenhaus says a multi-week absence is a “best-case scenario,” according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link), who adds Wilson is dealing with a labral issue that could knock him out for the rest of the season.

Wilson, 26, inked a three-year, $24MM with Miami earlier this year, coming over from the Chiefs after four seasons in Kansas City. Through seven games, Wilson has posted 26 receptions on 35 targets, managing 391 yards and four touchdowns in total. Wilson, who has handled two touchdown receptions of at least 70 yards, also tossed a 52-yard touchdown pass to Jakeem Grant against the Raiders earlier this year.

The Dolphins have already been forced to turn to backup quarterback Brock Osweiler while Ryan Tannehill deals with injury, and they’ll now need to dip into their wide receiver depth while Wilson is sidelined. Kenny Stills and Danny Amendola are already playing more than 80% of offensive snaps, but Grant (44%) could now see an increase in playing time. DeVante Parker, whose agent ripped the Dolphins on Sunday, could conceivably be more involved once his injury issues are resolved.

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Contract Details: A. Smith, Pugh, Curry, ASJ

Let’s take a look at the details of a few recently signed NFL contracts:

AFC

  • Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE (Jaguars): Two years, $10MM. $4MM guaranteed. $3.21MM signing bonus. $500K 2019 option bonus. $500K annually available via catch, playoff, and touchdown incentives (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Adrian Clayborn, DE (Patriots): Two years, $10MM. $5.5MM guaranteed. $4MM signing bonus (Twitter link via Ben Volin of the Boston Globe).
  • Albert Wilson, WR (Dolphins): Three years, $24MMM. $14.45MM guaranteed. $4.5MM signing bonus (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Marcus Gilchrist, S (Raiders): One year, $4MM. $3.85MM guaranteed. $1.85MM signing bonus. $1MM available via playtime, interceptions, and Pro Bowl incentives (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Tramaine Brock, CB (Broncos): One year, $3MM. Fully guaranteed. $1MM signing bonus. $1MM available via playtime incentives (Twitter link via Mike Klis of 9News).
  • Seantrel Henderson, T (Texans): One year, $4MM. $1MM guaranteed. $500K signing bonus (Twitter link via Wilson).

NFC

  • Alex Smith, QB (Redskins): Four years, $94MM. $55MM guaranteed. $27MM signing bonus (Twitter links via Tom Pelissero of NFL.com and Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com).
  • Justin Pugh, OL (Cardinals): Five years, $45.025MM. $15.75MM guaranteed. $10MM signing bonus (Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle).
  • Vinny Curry, DE (Buccaneers): Three years, $23MM. $6.5MM guaranteed (Twitter link via Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times).
  • Zach Brown, LB (Redskins): Three years, $21MM. $10MM guaranteed. $4.5MM signing bonus. $1MM annually available in Pro Bowl, All-Pro incentives (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Ed Dickson, TE (Seahawks): Three years, $10.7MM. $3.6MM guaranteed. $2.6MM signing bonus. $1.1MM annually available via catch, yards, and Pro Bowl incentive (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Aaron Lynch, LB/DE (Bears): One year, $4MM. $1.25MM guaranteed. $1MM signing bonus (Twitter link via Wilson).

Dolphins To Sign WR Albert Wilson

The Dolphins will sign wide receiver Albert Wilson to a three-year, $24MM deal, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).

Miami still has a relatively deep wide receiver group even after trading the franchise-tagged Jarvis Landry to the Browns last week. Currently, the club’s depth chart is headlined by DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills, while Leonte CarrooJakeem Grant, and Rashawn Scott are among the other pass-catchers in South Beach. Wilson, though, will give the Dolphins another experienced option for Ryan Tannehill, or whomever Miami deploys at quarterback in 2017.

2017 marked the best overall campaign for Wilson, who entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2014. Last season, Wilson posted a career-high in receptions (42), yards (554), and touchdowns (three). Among receivers with fewer than 50 receptions, Wilson ranked eighth in Football Outsiders‘ DVOA, meaning he was extremely effective on a per-play basis despite his lack of volume.

The Dolphins aren’t the only club that expressed interest in Wilson, as the Bears — who now employ Wilson’s former Kansas City coordinator Matt Nagy as head coach — had also been linked to the free agent wideout. PFR ranked Wilson as the No. 13 available wideout heading into free agency.

The Chiefs have already made a move to replace Wilson by agreeing to a three-year, $48MM deal with fellow pass-catcher Sammy Watkins.

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Dolphins Favorites For WR Albert Wilson

The Dolphins are now considered the favorites to land free agent wide receiver Albert Wilson, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).

Miami still has a relatively deep wide receiver group even after trading the franchise-tagged Jarvis Landry to the Browns last week. Currently, the club’s depth chart is headlined by DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills, while Leonte Carroo, Jakeem Grant, and Rashawn Scott are among the other pass-catchers in South Beach. Wilson, though, would give the Dolphins another experienced option for Ryan Tannehill, or whomever Miami deploys at quarterback in 2017.

2017 marked the best overall campaign for Wilson, who entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2014. Last season, Wilson posted a career-high in receptions (42), yards (554), and touchdowns (three). Among receivers with fewer than 50 receptions, Wilson ranked eighth in Football Outsiders‘ DVOA, meaning he was extremely effective on a per-play basis despite his lack of volume.

The Dolphins aren’t the only club that has expressed interest in Wilson, as the Bears — who now employ Wilson’s former Kansas City coordinator Matt Nagy as head coach — have also been linked to the free agent wideout. PFR ranked Wilson as the No. 13 available wideout heading into free agency.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Top 2018 NFL Free Agents By Position: Offense

NFL free agency will get underway on Wednesday, March 14th, and while the list of free agents will change between now and then, we do have some idea of who will be available when free agency kicks off. The frenzy is right around the corner and it’s time for us to break down the outlook for each position. We’ll start today on offense, before getting to defense and special teams later this week.

Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each offensive position. The rankings aren’t necessarily determined by the value of the contracts that each player is expected to land in free agency, they are simply the players we like the most at each position, with both short- and long-term value taken into account. Restricted and exclusive-rights free agents are not listed here since they are unlikely to actually reach the open market. The same goes for players who have been franchise tagged or transition tagged.

We’ll almost certainly be higher or lower on some guys than you are, so we encourage you to make your voice heard in our comments section to let us know which free agents we’ve got wrong.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by offensive position for 2018:

Quarterback:

  1. Kirk Cousins
  2. Drew Brees
  3. Case Keenum
  4. A.J. McCarron
  5. Sam Bradford
  6. Teddy Bridgewater
  7. Colin Kaepernick
  8. Josh McCown
  9. Mike Glennon
  10. Drew Stanton
  11. Jay Cutler
  12. Chase Daniel
  13. Ryan Fitzpatrick
  14. Brock Osweiler
  15. Tom Savage

There were many difficult calls when putting this list together, but ranking Kirk Cousins as the No. 1 QB available was not among them. Cousins is the best quarterback to reach free agency in recent history and he’ll become the highest-paid player of all-time – at least, for some period of time – in mid-March. Who will make history with Cousins? That’s anyone’s guess right now. The Browns have more cap room than any other team, but a recent report from Adam Schefter of ESPN.com listed the Broncos, Cardinals, Jets, and Vikings as the final suitors for Cousins. Of those four, the Jets have the most money to work with, but they’re concerned about the Vikings winning out and Cousins’ desire to win could point him in another direction. If the Broncos and Cardinals want in on the Cousins sweepstakes, they’ll have to get creative with the books.

Drew Brees is included here, but by his own admission, he’ll be re-signing with the Saints rather than testing the open waters of free agency. Unless the Saints lowball their franchise QB, it’s hard to see him leaving New Orleans.

Case Keenum put together a tremendous season for the Vikings, but he doesn’t have a history of success beyond 2017. There will be plenty of interest in Keenum, but only after QB-needy teams strike out on Cousins. The incumbent Vikings could re-sign Keenum, but right now, it seems like they are intent on exploring the Cousins waters first.

There isn’t a ton of footage on A.J. McCarron, which made his placement on this list awfully tricky. We know this much: McCarron did well in place of Dalton in the home stretch of the 2015 season and his former offensive coordinator Hue Jackson was salivating at the chance of landing him before the Browns bungled the trade with the Bengals. McCarron’s relative youth is a plus (he won’t turn 28 until September) and his lack of experience can be looked at as a positive. Unlike some of the other names on this list, he hasn’t run up his NFL odometer.

What will NFL teams make of Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Bradford this offseason? Not long ago, both seemed like quality starting options. However, there are serious injury questions about both players and any team signing them will either look to backstop them with another decent option or ask them to come onboard as a QB2. With that in mind, one has to wonder if Bradford would consider retirement if asked to hold the clipboard for another signal caller. Bradford has earned upwards of $110MM over the years in the NFL, so it’s safe to say that he has enough money in the bank to call it quits if he wants. For now, he’s intent on playing.

Colin Kaepernick‘s placement on this list is sure to draw some strong reactions from his fans and detractors alike. Looking purely at his football ability, there’s no question that he belongs on someone’s roster. At minimum, Kaepernick profiles as a high-end backup, even after a year out of the game.

Quarterbacks coaches have long believed that Mike Glennon is capable of great things, due in part to his height. At 6’7″, he can see over any defensive line, but he hasn’t done much on the field to prove that he is a quality Week 1 starting option. Josh McCown, who is a decade his senior, edges him here for his surprisingly strong performance in 2017 at the helm of a weak Jets offense.

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Bears Have Interest In WR Albert Wilson

The Bears have “real” interest in free agent wide receiver Albert Wilson, according to Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times (Twitter link).

Wilson, 24, spent the first four years of his career in the Chiefs working under now-Bears head coach Matt Nagy, so he’d clearly offer scheme familiarity if he were to land in Chicago. Indeed, Kansas City general manager Brett Veach even pointed to the Bears as a potential Wilson destination when asked about the free agent’s prospects of leaving the Chiefs, as Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times tweets.

Perhaps more than any club in the NFL, the Bears desperately need to add receivers this offseason. Kendall Wright and Dontrelle Inman are both headed for unrestricted free agency, Kevin White and Cameron Meredith are coming off injury, and Markus Wheaton seems likely to be released. Chicago traded up to acquire quarterback Mitch Trubisky in 2017, and the team now must bring in weapons for its franchise signal-caller.

2017 marked the best overall campaign for Wilson, who entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2014. Last season, Wilson posted a career-high in receptions (42), yards (554), and touchdowns (three). Among receivers with fewer than 50 receptions, Wilson ranked eighth in Football Outsiders‘ DVOA, meaning he was extremely effective on a per-play basis despite his lack of volume.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.