As the start of the 2012 league year sits on the horizon, it cannot be too long until the never-ending cycle of free agent signings begin. For Pittsburgh Steelers fans, these days are usually anti-climactic, as the team prefers (and has been successful) building in the draft. However, after cutting Hines Ward and depending on what happens with wide receivers Mike Wallace and Jericho Cotchery, the team may have to take an active role to rebuild the receiving corps with only two under contract for 2012.
If Wallace leaves, the team would definitely be in the market for a potential number one receiver, but at least a solid number two. Looking at the potential free agents from around the league, a few names pop out as potential (hypothetically) targets.
Dwayne Bowe (Kansas City Chiefs) – Bowe is a number one receiver and could be exactly what the stale Red Zone offense needs. He is big, physical and a precise route runner. More importantly, he is familiar with new Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley.
Marques Colston (New Orleans Saints) – Much like Bowe, Colston has all the attributes that the Steelers would be looking for. He is a big, physical receiver, who can add a different dimension to the offense. Unfortunately, unlike Bowe, Colston has not been able to stay healthy and may be a bit of an injury risk (something that could drive his price down).
Brandon Lloyd (St. Louis Rams) – Of all the names mentioned, Lloyd may be the most dynamic and the most difficult to land. He has a rare combination of size, explosiveness and hands, to be dangerous all over the field.
Robert Meachem (New Orleans Saints) – While Steelers fans could dream of the three wide receivers mentioned above, a player like Meachem is more realistic. Not only is he one of the younger receivers on the market, he has a nice combination of size and speed. Most importantly, he could be inclined to relocate for a chance at a larger workload (not to mention the Saints other free agents).
In the end, Steelers fans may not have to worry about free agency and the team will work out a long-term deal with Wallace. Unfortunately, a Plan B must be in place, and these receivers may just be that plan.
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