On the eve of free agency, I just wanted to offer the following: It is obvious that we need wide receiver help. The problem with drafting wide receivers is that most of them take time, usually three years to develop and mature. We don’t have that kind of time. We need to get the offense going and get Matt Cassel some help now in order to protect the huge investment we have in him this year.
So what is the solution? Sign a free agent wide receiver. Signing a free agent wide receiver frees up a draft pick in order to fill other holes that the Chiefs have. I know most of you, (almost all of you actually), want Anquan Boldin, but he will cost money and a pick. I do not think that that is the prudent way to go. Plus, how much more does Boldin really have to offer over say…. Antonio Bryant?
We need to sign Antonio Bryant. Sure, he has had some issues: clashes with Bill Parcells while in Dallas, clashes with Mike Nolan while with the 49ers and substance abuse (DUI) which caused him to be suspended for all of 2007. [Hey, it is not like he killed someone (Stallworth), or is a coke head (Matt Jones)]. After his suspension he has been a model NFL player, no gripes, complaints or issues to be heard. It appears that he has matured since his suspension. Plus he had some really good stats and good behavior while with Romeo Crennel and the Browns.
It is hard to argue that he is not talented and cannot catch the ball. He will turn 29 years old on March 9, and most likely has two more good years left, if not more. Looking at the free agent wide receiver class, I believe that Antonio Bryant is the best available WR and is currently flying below the radar.
His positives include speed, good hands, and a 15.3 yards per catch average. (Bowe’s is 12.8 , Chambers is 14.4 and Boldin’s is 12.8) (You may also recall that spectacular catch in the end zone to beat us in Week 9 of the 2008 season, ouch!).
As far as negatives go, he has missed some games due to injury; in fact he has never started 16 games in a season. Last season his numbers slumped, (11 games started, 39 catches, 600 yards, 4 TDs) but that was also due to injury and inconsistent/rookie QB play. Those slumping stats indicate he is likely to be had at a discount, (he is not going to be able to command top dollar). He still had a 15.4 average yards per catch last year.
Now, I am sure that Pioli will pick up some wide receiver when one is cut after training camp or during the season, but I feel it is vital that we get a good wide out into training camp to establish the rapport with Cassel and get the offense moving. Lining up with Dwayne Bowe, Antonio Bryant and Chris Chambers in three receiver sets is not out of the realm of possibility, and it sounds real good to me. How about you?
It also appears that Scott Pioli has had some difficulty over time drafting wide receivers (save Deion Branch), that is why he had to bring in Moss and Welker. That is why he should be asking some tough questions of Romeo Crennel and Bill Parcells regarding Mr. Bryant. It would feel really good going into the draft knowing that the wide out position is secured, right? Why not Antonio Bryant?