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Some veteran receivers are getting no sniffs

Crabtree Getty Images

For several players, the free-agency market for receivers has been better than expected.  For others, it’s been worse.

Randall Cobb got $10 million per year to stay with the Packers, and Jeremy Maclin will be paid $11 million per year to go to the Chiefs.  Torrey Smith parlayed a so-so contract year into $8 million annually from the 49ers.

Other receivers with recognizable names are still waiting.  Some have essentially disappeared from view.  Per a league source, there’s currently little or no market for 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree and Colts receiver Hakeem Nicks.  Likewise, Colts receiver Reggie Wayne has been MIA throughout the first seven days of free agency.

Ditto for Wes Welker.  One of the top slot receivers of the past generation has generated no buzz since hitting the market, two years after he famously left the Patriots for the Broncos.

The lack of interest flows in part from the trend toward young receivers making an immediate impact.  With cheaper options available, veteran receivers eventually may have to settle for a one-year minimum deal.  At that rate, it simply may not be worth it to keep playing.

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75 Responses to “Some veteran receivers are getting no sniffs”
  1. gabrosin says: Mar 17, 2015 6:15 PM

    Gotta be healthy to deserve a contract. These are the guys who can’t stay on the field.

  2. duanethomas33 says: Mar 17, 2015 6:16 PM

    Surprising about Crabtree, and I know this would be crazy but Seattle should consider him.

  3. blacknole08 says: Mar 17, 2015 6:19 PM

    The Panthers could use one of these guys to pair up with Benjamin. Come home Hakeem!

  4. daysend564 says: Mar 17, 2015 6:19 PM

    Wait a week and pay them 1/2 the amount.
    Wait two weeks and pay them 1/4 the amount.

  5. dolphins4 says: Mar 17, 2015 6:20 PM

    I hope the Eagles go after Nicks and the Dolphins go after Greg Jennings.

  6. subject1er says: Mar 17, 2015 6:21 PM

    Wouldn’t be mad if Raiders made a minimal offer to Crabs

  7. idpfantasyfootball says: Mar 17, 2015 6:24 PM

    Did Brady’s wife nix the Welker return?

  8. paulsuh1989 says: Mar 17, 2015 6:28 PM

    why would anyone want a sorry receiver like Crabtree? hehe

  9. bleedgreen says: Mar 17, 2015 6:38 PM

    Philly really ought to have Crabtree in for at least a visit. His numbers are similar to Maclin, but Crabtree is a hair bigger. He’d be cheaper too, I’d imagine. Can’t hurt to kick the tires for a 2 year contract @ $4M a year + $2M to sign.

  10. teedraper says: Mar 17, 2015 6:38 PM

    This is why the quality of the nfl gets worse every year. Cheaper doesn’t mean better.

    You get exactly what you pay for & too many of these teams suck historically for a reason.

  11. mcjon22 says: Mar 17, 2015 6:40 PM

    Welker Catches anything, so I’d kick those tires if I needed a slot receiver.

    Nicks can’t stay healthy and seems to have lost a step, and Crabtree thinks he’s Randy Moss but plays like Derrick Hagen.

    I Wouldn’t give those two much more than a 1 year vet minimum contract.

  12. tigerlilac says: Mar 17, 2015 6:42 PM

    Belichick let Welker go and won a super bowl. This offseason, with so many teams buying a stairway to heaven, Belichick is shopping at Filene’s Basement.

    It is going to be fun watching Bill and Tom win this year.

  13. thevza says: Mar 17, 2015 6:42 PM

    Well, let’s see…

    Crabtree is mediocre.
    Nicks is a washout at this point of his career.
    Welker’s injury history is a huge red flag.
    Wayne is like 45 years old, but probably the best of this bunch.

    I’m sure at some point some GM will get desperate, but no need to kick the tires on these guys until catastrophe strikes.

  14. frankfortschooldropout says: Mar 17, 2015 6:43 PM

    Ahhh, the free market. So beneficial to some and so cruel to others.
    Crabtree must be totally beside himself. All the talk before that draft was Crabtree > Maclin.


  15. coltzfan166 says: Mar 17, 2015 6:43 PM

    I’m surprised Crabtree and Nicks haven’t gotten any interest, but I’m sure they will sign eventually. Not sure about Wayne or Welker though.

  16. coffeeblack95616 says: Mar 17, 2015 6:48 PM

    Who wants Nicks or Welker?

  17. cajunaise says: Mar 17, 2015 6:48 PM

    Colts should hire Wes Welker for cheap, if only to get intel on Broncos / Pats.

  18. nfcnorthchamps says: Mar 17, 2015 6:48 PM

    I feel for welker. Playing with Peyton shortened his career.

  19. schmitty2 says: Mar 17, 2015 6:49 PM

    Remember when Crabtree held out before his rookie season because he though he was the best WR on the planet. Yeah, I remember that too.

  20. titusyoungslegalcounsel says: Mar 17, 2015 6:50 PM

    Is it just me or would Crabtree not look good opposite side of AJ Green

  21. grimreaper12 says: Mar 17, 2015 6:53 PM

    none of these guys are good enough to wear the patriot uniform. they should beg to join the champs and catch passes from the GOAT


  22. jimmysee says: Mar 17, 2015 6:56 PM

    Add Greg Jennings to the list.

    He had the world in the palm of his hand in Green Bay. Then made a damn fool decision.

  23. cowboysallday says: Mar 17, 2015 6:57 PM

    All about speed

  24. lesliehoerwinkle says: Mar 17, 2015 7:03 PM

    Old meat near its expiration date goes in the clearance bin.

  25. riverhorsey says: Mar 17, 2015 7:03 PM

    More teams are paying for character guys. If the players were really smart they’d pass a player cap rule on themselves. The top guys would get less and the bottom guys more.

    The pay cap would be more evenly spread out on the teams.

    It’s my understanding the team has to spend that cap money. Plus who the hell needs 15 or 20 million a year ?? Can they live on 10 or 12 million instead of 20?

    If the players ever got on board with that they wouldn’t have to worry about the top players throwing the salary cap dollars out of whack.

  26. tomtravis76 says: Mar 17, 2015 7:09 PM

    Wouldn’t mind seeing what Flacco can get out of Crabtree.

  27. r8rsfan says: Mar 17, 2015 7:13 PM

    Crabtree is a bit of a question mark because the QB he played with is not a great passer, and they ran a run-heavy offense with Gore. But like someone else said – injuries are the biggest question mark on all 4 of these names.

  28. moseszd says: Mar 17, 2015 7:16 PM

    Crabtree, all but one of his years in SF, was one of the NFL’s biggest pass droppers. Now, if he made Randy Moss or Terrell Owens plays, you’d be happy with that. But he’s not even really much of a #2 WR.

    Then add in he never accepts responsibility for anything and has thrown at least two of his QBs under the bus…

    Really, you don’t want the little Fashion Prince. He just isn’t worth it.

  29. bencoates57 says: Mar 17, 2015 7:20 PM

    These guys could play pro bono.

  30. mikeed575 says: Mar 17, 2015 7:37 PM

    Come on home crabtree. Will sign you for cheap, boldin deal runs out next. Your mediocre at best but prefect for nfc west. # niner gang

  31. tjacks7 says: Mar 17, 2015 7:38 PM

    I hope Crabtree signs with Seattle and they put them on Hard Knocks.

  32. raidercurt says: Mar 17, 2015 7:42 PM

    Not worth signing a one year deal? Tell me where they are going to find a job that pays them $810,000 for a 7 – 9 year vet and $910,000 for a 10 year veteran. Crabtree for the minimum would be a steal of a deal. He has no real speed but his claim to fame is a great set of hands.

  33. seanx40 says: Mar 17, 2015 7:43 PM

    If Welker can still remember his whole name after all the concussions, he would be a good fit in Detroit.

  34. 4grammarpolice says: Mar 17, 2015 7:54 PM

    I’d rather have Darius Heyward-Bey.

  35. zeke2517 says: Mar 17, 2015 8:09 PM

    “With cheaper options available, veteran receivers eventually may have to settle for a one-year minimum deal. At that rate, it simply may not be worth it to keep playing.”

    Right. I’m sure they’d be much better off selling cars.

  36. icebowler says: Mar 17, 2015 8:14 PM

    I was impressed by Crabtree in the 2103 playoff game against Green Bay in sub zero temperatures. He was the only receiver on either team who caught everything thrown his way.

  37. corvaninerfan says: Mar 17, 2015 8:16 PM

    Part of Crabtree’s problem is his agent…remember when he held out as a rookie with the Niners, it took M.C Hammer’s intervention to end the stalemate. The other part is Michael just hasn’t been explosive since he tore his Achilles. He only avg. 10 yds per catch in 2014.

  38. mrhack1982 says: Mar 17, 2015 8:33 PM

    Seems that Greg Jennings is being left out of these stories. Kinda sad really.

  39. ppc50 says: Mar 17, 2015 8:33 PM

    I can see Welker retiring, but to say it isn’t worth it to play anymore for year contracts? I think getting paid the league minimum of $900k for a year, such as in Crabtree and Nick’s situation, is a very nice way to make a living at 30 years old. Also, if they prove their ability they can get paid the next year. Very extreme statement.

  40. djstat says: Mar 17, 2015 8:48 PM

    Nicks not getting interest is not a surprise. His 2013 season was a disgrace and 2014 was his one year “show’em” deal and he was awful. His body fell apart.

    Welker is one concussion away from…you get the drift. He has made money he needs to walk away from the game.

    Crabtree surprises me. He was ok last year, was much better in 2012-2013. BTW, Kapernick is not exactly a premier QB and that contributed to Crabs being average…also has health concerns

  41. One Ring Dynasty says: Mar 17, 2015 8:48 PM

    It looks like we are seeing the end of an era:

    The Diva Receiver.

    Now that receivers are popping up bigger and better (it seems like every year they grow), these crybaby money slurpers are getting what they deserve: to be treated like everyone else – replaceable.

  42. thereyougo2 says: Mar 17, 2015 8:49 PM

    Reggie Wayne in Philly. Third down clutch receiver even at 35 . HOFer.

  43. campcouch says: Mar 17, 2015 9:02 PM

    Could it be? NFL teams scoffing at overpaying now? There are a few fools (Miami) willing to dump a $100 mil on a guy, but the most recent winners have invested wisely and cheaply. Teams may be looking at how Seattle and NE managed victories without paying for high priced stat machines.

  44. superbowl48champs says: Mar 17, 2015 9:04 PM

    If Crabtree can’t get a look by his former OC, now in Buffalo, something must be up with this guy. I thought him opposite Sammy would be a decent pairing

  45. whatjusthapped says: Mar 17, 2015 9:07 PM

    Not sure about Craig Jennings, if you can’t make the grade in Minnesota, then its Canada or the Arena Football League.

    Some might argue that the Vikings belong in the Arena league but that’s beside the point.

  46. watermelon1 says: Mar 17, 2015 9:14 PM

    Probably because they are all horrible with the exception being Wayne… Who I swore already announced he would not be playing again?

    Nicks is an okay red zone target if you have zero receivers. Crabtree is just bad, and welker was just a guy who thrived on an offense that was allowed to get away with illegal screens all day. He’s lost his speed, officials are finally calling illegal screens, and he’s not on the NFL’s “golden child” team.

  47. punksinplay says: Mar 17, 2015 9:17 PM

    In his first couple of years it looked like Nicks was going to dominate the position for years to come. Injuries totally zapped his competitive desire. I don’t blame him for wanting to keep cashing the checks but he plays scared and it shows.

  48. NFLisnotreality says: Mar 17, 2015 9:18 PM

    tjacks7 says:
    Mar 17, 2015 7:38 PM
    I hope Crabtree signs with Seattle and they put them on Hard Knocks.

    0 4

    Yeah, then CSI Seattle would take over, followed by Homicide Life at the CLink…

    Bad juju having Crabtree come within a 100 miles of the mouth…

  49. ninerfan94954 says: Mar 17, 2015 9:24 PM

    Crabtree was annoyed when he got drafted by SF and acted like that his entire stay here,,,don’t know what was wrong but he can’t stay healthy … too bad.. above average to good hands. Somebody will wait him out for the minimum.

  50. petereide says: Mar 17, 2015 9:48 PM

    Just judging by hair alone, Crabtree wins.

  51. cantonbound13 says: Mar 17, 2015 10:13 PM

    Nicks is a major disappointment.

  52. kissbillsrings says: Mar 17, 2015 10:36 PM

    Add Dwayne Bowe to the list!!!

  53. r8rant says: Mar 17, 2015 10:43 PM

    Humble pie. Exactly what the Dr ordered for crabbypatty.

  54. wtfru2 says: Mar 17, 2015 11:13 PM

    Gee, offer me 900k for 16 weeks work, I’d feel really bad too. That’s 6 years of full time crap for me right now.

    I really feel bad for them!

  55. simplec72 says: Mar 17, 2015 11:17 PM

    Sometimes things come back to haunt you… Crabtree said after the draft that he was happy the Raiders didn’t pick him. Always nice to scratch a team off the list for the future.

  56. Brandon in Northwest Suburbia says: Mar 17, 2015 11:20 PM

    Plain as day that Nicks is finished. There are tackles and guards 100 lbs heavier than he is that outrun him.

    Maybe Crabtree is better another year removed from the achilles tear. But no need to spend $$$ on him or invest long term.

    Wayne should probably retire. He looked about the same as Nicks the 2nd half of the season and he’s going to be 37. Might be worth vet min as a locker room presence.

    Welker can probably still help somebody, but he has health concerns and fell to 5th in the pecking order in Denver. Again, don’t spend $$$ on him.

  57. 1phillyphan says: Mar 17, 2015 11:22 PM

    Wayne can still bring something. For a team with young WRs. There is no better player to have as a mentor. Plus, he’ll add 40 to 50 grabs for ya. Clutch grabs too. Crabs ain’t worth the trouble. Nicks, well c’mon. Bust. As a Philly fan, I love Maclin. But Big Red over payed. He a fringe number 1. High end number 2. Cobb was worth every penny. This draft is loaded with big fast WRs….why pay when u can draft a better player.

  58. allkohn says: Mar 17, 2015 11:46 PM

    I can’t see any reason why the Raiders wouldn’t offer Crabtree 5 years 60 mil. That looks like a Raider contract in every way.

  59. trollaikman8 says: Mar 17, 2015 11:46 PM

    There just isn’t enough speed left (if ever) in those veteran names.

  60. mwcarolina says: Mar 18, 2015 12:14 AM

    Hakeem needs to go to his hometown team on Carolina. As for Crabtree, Keim reported about 4 days ago that the Redskins and Chargers were interested. Washington does fit him as they likely would cut Garçon to sign him.

  61. emperorzero says: Mar 18, 2015 12:34 AM

    As the demand for corner backs grows I think you’ll see the money wide receivers get start to dry up as well. House gets 6.25 million for playing only 33% of Green Bay’s snaps and Williams got 7 million a year from Cleveland. It’s going to be good to be a CB.

  62. buffal0s0ldier says: Mar 18, 2015 12:39 AM

    Says a lot though when guys like Percy Harvin and Stevie Johnson and Cecil Shorts are getting signed before these guys.

    Especially since Roman had Crabtree…that speaks volumes about him, in every way.

  63. oldcracker says: Mar 18, 2015 12:45 AM

    I see my Browns overpaying for one or more of these guys. Then they can draft for their needs on the O-line and D-line.

    For some reason they seem to have an aversion to drafting WR’s, even when they know their starter is suspended (once again) and their best WR is about 5’7″. And, God knows they can’t draft a legitimate QB!

  64. eaglomaniac says: Mar 18, 2015 1:27 AM

    I would bet you can find similar talent three rounds deep in this NFL draft.
    Why in the world would you bring in an old timer or a big name whos clearly lost a step ?
    Smart team won’t panic and overpay for under performance.
    If I had to pick one, I think Reggie Wayne is probably the best of the remaining WR’s on the waiver wire.
    He is a skilled veteran player who could help mentor on a team with a lot of young receivers.

  65. barillasb says: Mar 18, 2015 3:19 AM

    this is why the new agreement was signed between the NFL and NFLPA…people like Crabtree held out for a lot before they even played 1 down. He was avg this past year, mostly because Kaep and the 49ers offense dropped off this year. I’m sure he’ll be picked up but not for what he’s wanting. Prone to foot injuries. He’s not a deep threat but he can catch the ball in the middle where some wr’s don’t like to go. I won’t talk bad about him but needs to realize, there is a lot of talent out there. Will need to sign maybe 1 or 2 years tops. He’s good but not boat load of money good

  66. RegisHawk says: Mar 18, 2015 5:31 AM

    Crabtree can go to the Veteran’s Combine this weekend. I’m sure they’d let him work the Gator-Ade table.

  67. steelerben says: Mar 18, 2015 10:31 AM

    Week 2 signings.

  68. drweedybaked says: Mar 18, 2015 11:56 AM

    nfcnorthchamps says: Mar 17, 2015 6:48 PM

    I feel for welker. Playing with Peyton shortened his career.


    How do you explain Reggie Wayne then?

  69. bsubeavers says: Mar 18, 2015 11:58 AM

    Some of these over priced veterans won’t get much in the form of calls until after the draft. If a team like Carolina is looking for another WR they will probably try and get one in the draft. If they fail to get they guy(s) they want they may take a run at one of the vets to fill that need.

    Until then, I am happy to watch Jennings and Crabtree flounder in FA.

  70. blazophoto says: Mar 18, 2015 1:01 PM

    Sounds like a long over due correction in the market as far as what cut WR’s are going to get.
    About time.
    If teams are dumping some of these guys b/c of their salaries, why should other teams be expected to pay the same?

  71. sportsnut101 says: Mar 18, 2015 2:04 PM

    Crabtree was really good before injury last yr was avg because of the avg qb in sf he always ran
    Crabtree would fit in nice with cowboys miami
    Plenty of places if i was him i would make it short deal so he can get big money next yr

    Cant see noore then 2 yr 10 mill

  72. jbeerj says: Mar 18, 2015 2:04 PM

    It’s hilarious to see seattle fans ripping on crabtree for being slow after a torn Achillies’, yet when Sherman dominated after said injury it was a big deal.

  73. jhisler says: Mar 18, 2015 3:20 PM

    Receiver used to be one of the hardest positions to learn now with colleges using more pro systems and vice versa, I guess the learning curve got easier. Or this will all change next year if a few of these rooks dont contribute this year.

  74. nineball26 says: Mar 19, 2015 1:46 AM

    HILARIOUS someone said should Seattle look at Crabtree, lol

    every coach in the league saw what I saw and that was the 9ers receiving core GIVING UP play after play and crabby and boldin were the biggest losers int hat core, SF’s corners gave up too, not too hard to see why they lost so many games last year

    the effort crabby gave last year I doubt he gets picked up for anything, surprised boldin is still signed, all those INT’s Kapp threw at the wrong time?

    its called coming back to the ball, you can;t just run a lazy route to the sideline then just stop and stand there, a savey athletic corner will take the ball from you every time, they made it VERY difficult for Kapp to throw balls, I would have canned em all but the young guy

  75. thetooloftools says: Mar 22, 2015 2:18 PM

    How could you possibly forget the greatest receiver ever (just ask him) Santonio Holmes?

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