10 wide receiver options for the Bills

Photo Credit: USA Today

Less than two weeks out from the NFL Draft and the Buffalo Bills still have a massive hole to fill at the wide receiver position. As the roster stands this week, Buffalo will trot out a receiving corps of Kelvin Benjamin, Zay Jones, Andre Holmes, Kaelin Clay, Rod Streater, Brandon Reilly, Malachi Dupre and Quan Bray. Not exactly a group that invokes fear in opposing secondaries.

With the release of Cowboys star Dez Bryant coming down on Friday, of course the Bills are one of several teams linked to acquiring the wideout’s services. He could be an option, but he’s certainly not the only one. While the free agent market for receivers is scarce at this point there are some other players they could still look to pursue. The could also hold off and wait for the draft to bring in a young talent.

Here are 10 wide receivers the Bills could consider adding:

1) Dez Bryant – It’s probably unlikely for a number of reasons – maybe most notably that Bryant isn’t exactly a Sean McDermott guy – but because it’s a massive need for the Bills and he’s the best option available right now, rumors will naturally link them together. Bryant’s production has clearly dropped off in recent years – hence why the Cowboys were so willing to part ways with their all-time leader in receiving TDs. For a player set to make $16 million next season Dallas simply needed more than they’ve gotten out of him in recent years. In 2017, Bryant logged 69 receptions for 838 yards and six touchdowns. The eight-year veteran hasn’t posted a 1,000-yard receiving season since 2014. At 29 years old though, Bryant surely has some gas left in the tank and in the right situation could still put up some hearty numbers. For Bryant that apparently involves playing the Cowboys twice a year, but if he’s willing to drift outside of the NFC East, he could find a home in the AFC East with the Bills. Whether or not Buffalo would be willing to pay him also remains to be seen. Spotrac has Bryant’s market value listed at about $9 million.

2) Markus Wheaton – Wheaton fizzled out with the Steelers, before spending this past season in Chicago with the Bears. It didn’t go well for him in the Windy City either as he wound up being released earlier this offseason. There were some high hopes for Wheaton when he entered the league in 2013 and he just hasn’t met them. Regardless, maybe the Bills could help discover some untapped potential in him. The 27-year-old ran a 4.45 in the forty so he’d bring some speed to a receiving corps that lacks a deep threat. At this point, Wheaton would come pretty cheap as well.

3) Calvin Ridley – Ridley is considered the top wide receiver in this year’s draft class. The Alabama product possesses some top-flight speed after running a 4.43 in the forty-yard dash at the combine and was also a precise route runner in college. There was no guarantee Ridley would have been there when the Bills were originally slated to pick 21st and 22nd in the first round but now that they hold the 12th overall pick he’s a realistic option, should they decide to stay put and select a player, rather than trade a surplus of picks to move up for a quarterback.

4) D.J. Moore – Moore is another potential first-round option for the Bills and his stock has been on the rise since the NFL Combine. Those raving about Moore believe his potential is sky high thanks to a combination of immense speed and strength. He’s a physical specimen even though he lacks the height and length teams prefer in a receiver. There’s still rawness to his game in some areas, but he could blossom at the next level like fellow Maryland Terrapin, Stephon Diggs.

5) Jeremy Maclin – Buffalo showed interest in Maclin last summer after he was released by Kansas City in early June. He visited team facilities and felt like a natural fit given his friendship with Bills running back LeSean McCoy, but ultimately signed with the Ravens. Injuries plagued Maclin throughout the 2017 season, forcing him to miss four contests. He certainly isn’t the receiver he once was but he could be a potential short-term, quick fix option to bolster the receiving corps.

6) Eli Rodgers – As a rookie, Rodgers made a name for himself with Pittsburgh in 2016, serving as a go-to target out of the slot for Ben Roethlisberger. That year, Rodgers caught 48 passes for 594 yards and three touchdowns. However, the emergence of rookie sensation Ju-Ju Smith-Schuster this past season left Rodgers often the odd man out of a loaded receiving corps. He could find a similar role out of the slot though with Buffalo and flourish, given their need at the position.

7) D.J. Chark – The Bills had Chark in for one of their 30 pre-draft visits. He’s the only known receiver they’ve brought in for an official visit thus far. The LSU product ran a forty-yard dash time of 4.34, making him a prime target for Buffalo, which lacks a threat to take the top off of a defense. Chark only registered 40 catches for 874 yards and three touchdowns with the Tigers this past season, but it’s not as if LSU is known for having an elite passing attack. The Bills may want to reserve one of their second or third round picks for Chark if they really want him. He shouldn’t go much later than that.

8) Michael Gallup – Yet another draft option for the Bills in two weeks. Gallup caught 100 balls for 1,413 yards and seven touchdowns for Colorado State in 2017, which came after a 1,271-yard and 14-touchdown season the year before. Prior to his two seasons with the Buffaloes, Gallup spent two years in junior college at Butler Community College. There’s a nice buzz around Gallup as a mid-round prospect, where the Bills may find themselves looking to land a receiver.

9) Eric Decker – Like Maclin, Decker could present a viable, short-term option at wide receiver. At 31, he’s certainly not the player he once was when he put up back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons with the Broncos from 2012-2013. But the free agent market is running thin at this point and he’s one of the best receivers available. Of course, Buffalo could always wait until June – when both Maclin and Decker were released last year – to see if any other formidable options come available.

10) Kamathi Holsey – Holsey isn’t necessarily slated to be a top target in this year’s draft, but that’s nothing new for the JUCO product turned UB transfer. Buffalo already held a private workout with Holsey and if he’s not picked in one of the later rounds of the draft, could be a diamond in the rough signing as an undrafted free agent.

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