Should the Rams look to add a veteran WR?


It’s been well noted that the St. Louis Rams are not the strongest team at the wide receiver position. There have been a couple of articles posted on this site criticizing the lack of top level talent and questioning the skill level of the players remaining on the roster. However, browsing the list of veteran wide receivers still remaining on the market, you will find a handful of serviceable players that may be able to help the Rams on a one year deal.

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Wes Welker, 34-years-old, last played with the Denver Broncos

The first thing that jumps to mind when you think of Welker are the many years of dominating the middle of the field in New England seemingly catching an endless amount of first downs between the numbers. However, the Welker of the last few years has not been the same. Suffering yet another concussion after joining the Denver Broncos, Welker has struggled to stay healthy and his on-field production has suffered. After posting 1,354 receiving yards as recently as 2012, he struggled to even post half that in 2013, and failed to break 500 last year. Welker’s best years are clearly behind him, but after playing with both Peyton Manning and Tom Brady he holds valuable experience that can be shared with the younger core in St. Louis. Injuries have certainly kept teams at bay this offseason, but he may be worth the roll of the dice for a year.

Reggie Wayne, 36-years-old, last played with the Indianapolis Colts

Wayne has played his entire career with the Colts, but like most veterans has been forced out by younger players. Wayne will go down as one of the best players of the last decade, and one of the greatest players in Colts franchise history. However, he is now free to sign with any team willing to give him a shot. Just like Welker, Wayne will bring more value in experience than skill set and could guide the younger receivers in St. Louis. Wayne was a force up until 2013 when he was limited to just seven games due to injury. He returned in 2014 to 116 targets and was instrumental in helping guide Indianapolis to the postseason. Wayne still has some in the tank, but will surely look to join a Super Bowl contender which would probably take the Rams out of the picture. If the pool of potential teams is smaller than expected though, Wayne will need to trim his list of demands and possibly play for a lesser squad.

Nov 9, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders wide receiver James Jones (89) runs past Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib (21) after making a catch in the first quarter at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

James Jones, 31-years-old, last played with the Oakland Raiders

It’s never a good sign when you are released from the offensively inept Oakland Raiders, but that is where Jones finds himself entering the 2015 season. After signing a 3-year, $10 million deal with Oakland entering the 2014 season, Jones wore out his welcome and was outed after just one season. He put himself on the map in 2012 with 14 touchdown catches while playing for the Green Bay Packers. Jones made his bones as red zone specialist that year, but only tallied 784 receiving yards despite the large amount of touchdowns. Jones has never totaled more than 817 yards in a season, but did so as recently as 2013. Of all the remaining free agent wide receivers, Jones may offer the most upside to teams looking to fill the gaps. Having not quite reached old age, and having been bounced from the Raiders, he should be willing to sign for a discount to stay relevant. Jones would fit well with the Rams and could post some nice stats on a one-year prove it deal.

Donnie Avery, 31-years-old, last played with the Kansas City Chiefs

2015 could be the triumphant return of the once highly regarded wide receiver Donnie Avery. Avery was a second round draft selection by the Rams in 2008. Avery was touted as the deep threat St. Louis would need to bring their offense to the next level. Unfortunately, that dream never became a reality after a severe knee injury in the preseason of 2010 ended his season and his time with the Rams franchise. He would play for the Tennessee Titans, Indianapolis Colts and Kansas City Chiefs since then. He was a victim of the salary cap this year with the Chiefs as he was set to make almost $3 million in salary and carry a $4 million cap hit. Avery is still a deep threat and hasn’t lost too much of his speed. Avery wouldn’t command much in the way of salary and could be a nice threat to stretch the field for the Rams in 2015.