Potential free-agent WRs -- who's going where?

March 1, 2012, 6:38 pm
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The deadline for each NFL team to declare its franchise player is Monday, at which point the focus will sharpen on the free-agent options for the 49ers at wide receiver.The free-agent signing period begins eight days later on Tuesday, March 13, at 1 p.m.Here is a rundown of some of the top wide receivers who remain unsigned for the 2012 season:Joshua Morgan, 49ers: There was some buzz about Morgan at the combine. If the 49ers do not sign him before March 13, several teams are expected to be interested. Jacksonville could be one of those teams. Jerry Sullivan is the new Jaguars receivers coach. He coached Morgan during his first three seasons with the 49ers. A source close to Morgan told CSNBayArea.com that "nothing is cooking" right now toward a new deal with the 49ers, but that can change in a hurry. He continues to show up nearly every day at the 49ers' practice facility to work out and rehab from his season-ending leg injury. He is on pace to take part in offseason practices without any restrictions.Ted Ginn, 49ers: He took a 1.2 million pay cut to remain with the 49ers for the 2011 season. In return, the 49ers tore up the final year of his contract to make him a free agent in 2012. It would seem that Ginn would at least take advantage of the opportunity to test the free-agent market.Vincent Jackson, San Diego: Of the big-time potential free agents, he might be the most likely to reach the open market. He caught just 60 passes last season, but he averaged 18.4 yards per reception and scored nine TDs. The Washington Post reports the Redskins plan to add a high-profile receiver, so they could drive up the price.Mike Wallace, Pittsburgh: There are reports the Steelers will not place the franchise tag (9.4 million) on the restricted free agent. Instead, they'll slap him with a first-round tender (2.7 million). Any team interested in signing Wallace to an offer sheet must be prepared to fork over a first-round pick to the Steelers as compensation. The 49ers pick No. 30 overall, so that price does not seem exorbitant. However, the contract it will take to sign Wallace could get pricey. The Steelers are in bad shape on the salary cap. So if a team puts a high first-year cap figure into Wallace's deal, there's little chance the Steelers would be able to match.Marques Colston, New Orleans: The Saints have two other players who appear to be in line for the franchise tag ahead of Colston: quarterback Drew Brees and guard Carl Nicks. That means Colston will likely be on the open market when free agency begins. He turns 29 in June, and last season he caught 80 passes for 1,143 yards (14.3 average) with eight touchdowns.Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City: With the Chiefs' recent signing of cornerback Stanford Routt, whom the Raiders released, it seems apparent Kansas City will not place the franchise tag on Brandon Carr. So Bowe is unlikely to hit the open market. The Chiefs are expected to franchise him.Wes Welker, New England: The Patriots are reportedly "likely" to use their franchise tag on him while the sides continue to work toward a long-term deal.Stevie Johnson, Buffalo: The Bills will not use their franchise tag on Johnson, the Buffalo News reports. Negotiations are ongoing, but at last report there was considerable distance between the sides. Johnson (6-2, 210) turns 26 in July. He caught 76 passes for 1,004 yards and seven TDs last season.DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia: There are multiple reports that the Eagles will use their franchise tag to restrict Jackson while also keeping their minds open to any trade possibilities. UPDATE: The Eagles announced Thursday that they had, in fact, made Jackson their franchie player.
Pierre Garcon, Indianapolis: He recently rejected a five-year contract offer from the Colts, ESPN reported. One report placed the dollar figure at 7 million annually. Reportedly, the Colts hope to re-sign Garcon or defensive end Robert Mathis and use the franchise tag on the other player.Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis: If Peyton Manning is able to play football in 2012, might he be teaming up again with Wayne? That would seem to make sense as the best place for Wayne, 33, who caught 75 passes for 960 yards last season without Manning.Mario Manningham, New York Giants: It looks as if he'll be hitting the open market. But Manningham disputes speculation that it's a slam dunk he'll be following former Giants assistant Mike Sullivan to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he got hired as offensive coordinator.Brandon Lloyd, St. Louis: He's talking to the Rams about re-signing, but it's also logical that he'd follow Josh McDaniels to the New England Patriots.Plaxico Burress, N.Y. Jets: The 49ers made a run at him last season. While en route to the Bay Area, Burress agreed to sign with the Jets. The 49ers signed Braylon Edwards to a low-risk contract, instead. Burress caught 45 passes for 612 yards and eight TDs for the Jets.