Tag:Reggie Wayne
Posted on: February 29, 2012 8:30 pm
Edited on: February 29, 2012 8:31 pm
 

Report: Talks heat up between Colts, Mathis

Manning and Wayne appear gone but Indy could decide to keep Mathis around. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

The Colts have plenty of personnel decisions to make in the coming weeks and months, and Peyton Manning's future tops the list. After that, there's veteran wide receiver Reggie Wayne and defensive end Robert Mathis. The former, barring a spectacular turn of events, is as good as gone, and Wayne could follow him to his next NFL city.

But Mathis, who was hoping for a new deal prior to the 2011 season (but made it clear that he had no intentions of holding out), appears to be in the organization's plans going forward. The Indianapolis Star's Bob Kravitz tweeted as much Wednesday:

bkravitz
I'm told contract talks between Colts and Robert Mathis are warming up considerably.
2/29/12 6:26 PM

New Colts head coach Chuck Pagano comes to Indy from the Ravens where he was the defensive coordinator. Historically, it's an organization that has eschewed defense and deferred to Manning -- and for good reason. Prior to the 2-14 egg the team laid in 2011, the Colts had won 10 games or more 11 times in Manning's 13 seasons, making the postseason 11 times and winning the whole thing in 2006. Prior to Manning's arrival -- and since the Colts came to Indy in 1984 -- they made three postseason appearances.

But the Manning era is done, and Pagano understands that a good defense can carry an average offense featuring a young quarterback a long way. Joe Flacco is the most obvious example, but Ben Roethlisberger was the beneficiary of a stout defense early in his career, and Mark Sanchez made two straight AFC Conference Championship game appearances in large part because of the Jets defense.  With Andrew Luck next in line in Indy, bolstering the defense only makes sense.

But Mathis is 31, not an ideal fit in the 3-4 defense Pagano will install, and will tie up valuable salary-cap dollars with a new deal. That said, he's played at a high level for all but one of his nine years in the league; he had 9.5 sacks in '11 and 11 the year before that. Not counting his rookie season, Mathis has averaged 10 sacks a season. It's reasonable to conclude that he's still a capable pass-rusher, a commodity defenses can never have enough of.

Plus, in his annual list of the top 50 free agents, CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco writes that Mathis "has improved against the run and could easily make the transition from 4-3 end to 3-4 rush 'backer."

If the two sides can't come to an agreement, CBSSports.com's Josh Katzowitz thinks that the Titans and Falcons would be likely destinations.

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Posted on: February 29, 2012 2:16 pm
 

Report: Redskins want 'high-profile' FA wideout

Wayne and Garcon could reportedly be targeted by Washington. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

The Redskins, under Dan Snyder, are often referred to as the "offseason champs." This is not a good thing. But what might be a good thing, if the Redskins are truly intent on moving up to grab Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III, is adding a talented wide receiver to a roster that features Jabar Gaffney the No. 1 target.

According to a report from Mark Maske of the Washington Post, the 'Skins have plans to do just that, and plan to add a "high-profile wide receiver" in free agency, rather than try and improve their wideouts via the draft.

The free-agent market for wide receivers is a good one, with guys like Marques Colston, Vincent Jackson, Reggie Wayne and Stevie Johnson all likely to hit the open market. DeSean Jackson, Wes Welker and Dwayne Bowe could also be available, although all three are expected to be franchised. (Maske specifically lists Vincent Jackson, Colston, Pierre Garcon as targets.)

Pursuing a wide receiver in this market, then, is a smart thing. There's talent to be had, and it's talent that's proven, rather than a risk in the draft. Additionally, the Redskins biggest need is at quarterback. And pursuing a "high-profile" wide receiver in free agency will help them no matter who they add under center.

If Washington's trying to pursue a big-name quarterback like Peyton Manning (provided he does, as expected, become available), adding a talented wideout will only make the team a more attractive destination, particularly if Manning wants to continue playing with Wayne in a new destination.

Should the Redskins make a hard push for both Wayne and Garcon, it's a clear indication of where they're going in their quarterback search. But it's a smart plan regardless, because if the Redskins end up missing out on Manning but landing RG3 in the draft, he'd be aided tremendously by the presence of veteran, talented wide receivers on the roster.

And the same thing applies to any quarterback that ends up with Washington. Even if the worst-case scenario plays out and Washington is forced to settle on someone like Kyle Orton to step in and play, it's pretty obvious that Orton will be better with players like Wayne and Garcon than he would be with someone like Gaffney.

Of course, that's all predicated on the Redskins taking a smart approach to their wideout plan and not out-pricing themselves. And that's never a guarantee when we're talking about Snyder's squad.

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Posted on: February 28, 2012 3:11 pm
Edited on: February 28, 2012 4:41 pm
 

Report: Teams like idea of Manning, Wayne package

Manning and Wayne could end up playing together again. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

It's presumed that by March 13, when NFL free agency opens, that Peyton Manning will no longer be a member of the Colts. Reggie Wayne, our ninth-ranked free-agent wideout, will be available. We've previously floated the idea that Wayne and Manning could team up again in a new location.

Latest NFL News, Notes

And according to Peter King of Sports Illustrated, that's an idea that interests several teams potentially in the market for the legendary quarterback.

King cites an NFL source who says that Manning "would love to see it happen," and reports that "at least two potential suitor teams would seriously consider" making a run at Wayne in order to "lure" Manning if/when he becomes a free agent.

The potential suitors are exactly who'd you expect (in order that King lists them): the Dolphins, Jets, Seahawks, Redskins, Cardinals and Chiefs. (The Chiefs, by the by, are coming on strong as a darkhorse candidate to upgrade at the quarterback position.)

Miami makes a lot of sense, as they have a good offensive line, decent running game, and adding Wayne and Manning to Brandon Marshall and Davonne Bess would make for offensive fireworks in South Beach, something owner Stephen Ross has said he wants.

The Jets appear to be a longer shot, but they've been down the veteran-quarterback road before, as the first post-Packers team to land Brett Favre. King believes they'd even be willing to cut Santonio Holmes and take his cap hit, if it meant landing Wayne to secure Manning.

The Seahawks and Cardinals are in a reactionary mode against the 49ers after a successful year, and Rod Graves and Ken Whisenhunt wouldn't rule out the possibility of going after Manning when speaking at the combine. Wayne would quickly be the best receiver in Seattle, while in Arizona he'd probably post monster numbers while teams focused on Larry Fitzgerald.

Washington makes sense as a destination for Manning because of Dan Snyder's penchant for acquiring big-name talent. And the Redskins could use a top-end wide receiver as well. But Mike Shanahan's system is terrible for Manning, and he'd have to be willing to change it to suit a less-mobile quarterback. Additionally, if Washington can procure Robert Griffin III, even if it costs a reported four draft picks, they might actually have more success right away.

And then there's KC, who might have to deal with tampering charges before they can even consider Manning as a potential free-agent acquisition. KC's got the hardest row to hoe in terms of landing Manning or RG3, but there are some nice pieces in place there and, as Romeo Crennel (unwisely) said, they'd be "crazy not to consider" at least trying to get him.

Of course, all of this speculation is null and void if Manning can't prove to teams that he's healthy by the time he starts to work out with free-agent suitors. But if he shows that he can play, anyone who wants to acquire him would be wise to first obtain Manning's favorite target of the past decade.

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Posted on: February 24, 2012 5:11 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2012 1:29 am
 

2012 NFL Free Agency: Wide receiver rankings

The 2012 free-agent wide receivers is a stacked group of players. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

Leading up to the start of free agency on March 13, we're compiling the best 2012 NFL free agents by position. These are the wide receivers.

Everyone knows the NFL is a passing league these days and that you need an elite quarterback to succeed. But take a look at the teams who made the playoffs in 2011 and you might just realize that having talented wide receivers is a must too. (Just ask Eli Manning.)

Only the Ravens, 49ers and Broncos bucked the trend, and there are mitigating circumstances. Each of those teams is run-heavy, and each of those teams has burned an early-round pick on a wideout -- Torrey Smith, Michael Crabtree and Demaryius Thomas, respectively -- in the last three years. So it’s not like they’re not trying here.

The need for wideouts was especially glaring amongst the NFL’s dregs: the Jaguars, Rams, Browns, Vikings, Redskins and Buccaneers all have something on common besides their terrible records.

Good news, then, for those teams -- this free-agent class is absolutely stacked with talented wideouts. A good portion of them could be franchise-tagged, but the guys who make it to the market are going to get straight paid.

1. Wes Welker

Breakdown: Welker’s considered the perfect fit for the Patriots, and it’s hard to argue: his numbers working in New England’s system since 2007 are absolutely bananas. 111 catches, 1,221 yards and six touchdowns ... on average. “The Patriot Way” might mean one thing on the field and at press conferences, but in the front office it means not over-paying for veterans who want too much money. That’s what Welker is right now, as he’s reportedly seeking $14-15 million per year, more than the Pats have probably invested in all their wideouts in a long time. Franchise-tagging Welker has “hold-out” written all over it, and there’s a common belief that Bill Belichick will call Welker’s bluff and let him test the market.
Potential Landing Spots: Patriots, Jets, Rams, Bears

2. Mike Wallace

Breakdown: Wallace is a restricted free agent and what happens to him this offseason is one of the more fascinating storylines to emerge from the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. If the Steelers simply tender Wallace at their non-franchise-tag max, a team in need of a deep threat could negotiate a deal with Wallace. Pittsburgh would have the right to match, but they’re in a major cap quagmire right now; if the team offering Wallace the contract simply front-loaded the deal, it would be nearly impossible for the Steelers to retain him.

They’d get a first-round pick in return, and you can bet Kevin Colbert will turn it into something nice. But there’s no better way to hurt your competition than by taking one its best players. Good news emerged for the Steelers on Thursday, as they restructured Ben Roethlisberger's contract and may have gotten under the cap. Now they just need to whack another $10 million off their total and Wallace, who is just 25 and has averaged 66 catches, 1,225 yards and nine touchdowns the past two seasons, can "finish his career" in Pittsburgh.
Potential Landing Spots: Steelers, Ravens, Patriots, Bears

3. Marques Colston

Breakdown: Colston’s the rare player who re-negotiated his rookie contract after just two years. But that’s what happens when you crank out back-to-back seasons with more than 1,000 yards and establish yourself as Drew Brees’ top target. Colston’s no longer the true No. 1 option in New Orleans -- Jimmy Graham and Darren Sproles were more involved in the passing game in 2011 -- but he’s got the tools of an elite wide receiver. And at age 28 and as the only guy not sweating a franchise tag, he’s going to get paid like one too.
Potential Landing Spots: Bears, Rams, 49ers

4. Dwayne Bowe

Breakdown: Bowe was a 50/50 shot to make it to the market, because the Chiefs also needed to retain cornerback Brandon Carr. But then KC landed Stanford Routt after the defensive back was discarded by the Raiders. That gives the Chiefs some flexibility with Bowe; they can franchise tag him and try to re-sign Carr later. Bowe’s a hulking presence on the field and a physical receiver capable of acrobatic and explosive plays.

Somehow he’s broken out twice in his short career (no, really, he has, even though he's just 27), and it’s scary to think what he could do in a high-octane offense with an elite quarterback. Don’t expect him to hit the market just yet though; the Chiefs can't afford to lose him in what should be a rebound year for KC's offense. He's well worth the $9.4 million.
Potential Landing Spots: Chiefs

5. Vincent Jackson

Breakdown: The Bolts reportedly want to pay V-Jax and keep him in San Diego long term. Which is a fantastic sentiment, but one that’s too tardy to get Jackson to take a deal that doesn’t max out his value. Because he was franchised in 2011, his franchise-tag salary for 2012 would be prohibitive. There’s some concern with his off-field history; Jackson's got a pair of DUI arrests on his record. But if A.J. Smith can’t lock him up between now and March 13, he’s going to make a boatload.
Potential Landing Spots: Bears, Chargers, Jaguars, 49ers, Rams

6. DeSean Jackson

Breakdown: The Eagles are expected to use the franchise tag on D-Jax, but there’s also a possibility that they’ll look to deal him elsewhere after locking him into that tag, which means another team would likely shell out an extension for the oftentimes troubling wideout. Howie Roseman said at the combine that the Eagles want to work something out long term with the receiver.

Jackson’s a home-run hitter and one of the most explosive receivers in the game, but he also feels like a powder keg at times. He’s held out from Eagles camp, he’s talked openly about wanting more money, he’s been vulnerable to injury and he’s been accused of not trying his hardest on the field at times. Will that change if he gets a big contract?
Potential Landing Spots: Eagles, Redskins, Bears

7. Brandon Lloyd

Breakdown: It’s considered a near lock that Lloyd will figure out a way to land with in New England; he’s hitched his wagon to new Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. There’s good reason for that: McD is the guy who turned him into a Pro Bowler in Denver and salvaged his career. Lloyd would fit what the Patriots need well, as a wide receiver not named Ochocinco who can actually still stretch the field. But don’t count out the Rams -- Lloyd told us at the Super Bowl that with a new coaching staff in town, he’s certainly interested in sticking around and helping Sam Bradford grow.

There are some concerns with Lloyd. He's older (he'll turn 31 in July), the majority of his success came while working directly with Josh McDaniels. And there's Lloyd's 45.5 percent catch rate (according to Pro Football Focus, that's the fourth-lowest among wideouts who played at least 50 percent of their team's snaps), which could be alarming. But you could also point to the quarterbacks -- Tim Tebow, Kyle Orton, a dinged-up Sam Bradford, Kellen Clemens and A.J. Feeley, as the problem there.
Potential Landing Spots: Patriots, Rams

8. Stevie Johnson

Breakdown: It’s hard not to be fascinated by Johnson. A seventh-round pick out of Kentucky, Johnson came on strong during the 2010 season, catching 82 passes for 1,073 yards and 10 touchdowns. He repeated the feat in 2011, posting similar, albeit slightly depressed numbers. But it’s also hard not to be frustrated by Johnson. He cost his team a pair of wins -- against the Steelers in 2010 and the Jets in 2011 -- thanks to dropped passes that came after aggressive touchdown celebrations (the drop against Pittsburgh was the week after his "Why So Serious?" shot at Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens).

Johnson says he’s done with those now, but the only way he’s going to get elite money ($8 million per year range) is if someone actually believes him. The one thing no one's talking about with Johnson, though, is his ability to put up big numbers against all-world Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis. In four games against the Jets over the past two years, Johnson's piled up 19 catches for 262 yards and a pair of touchdowns. His final performance against Revis in 2011 -- eight catches for 75 yards and a teeter -- should especially have, as Mike Freeman wrote in November, fellow AFC East coaches curious
Potential Landing Spots: Bills, Bengals, Rams, Jaguars, 49ers

9. Reggie Wayne

Breakdown: Lost in the whole Peyton Manning shuffle is the way that the Colts appear to be discarding Wayne, one of the organization’s all-time great receivers. Wayne grew up under Marvin Harrison, honed his craft with Manning and turned into one of the best receivers in the NFL. He’s clearly lost a step at this point, but if a team wants a veteran who can lead in the clubhouse and on the field, or simply someone who runs ridiculous precise crafts and works his tail off to prepare, Wayne’s going to be a fantastic addition. Belichick’s openly stated his admiration for Wayne, so New England’s not out of the question. He could also simply heading wherever Manning lands.
Potential Landing Spots: Patriots, Dolphins, Redskins, Cardinals, Jets

Honorable Mention: Laurent Robinson, Robert Meachem, Mario Manningham, Eddie Royal, Jerome Simpson, Pierre Garcon

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Posted on: February 19, 2012 7:02 pm
 

Report: Pats on Randy Moss: That ship has sailed

New England apparently won't be in Moss' future. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Randy Moss reintroduced himself to the public last week when he took to UStream to talk about everything from his NFL return to pro wrestling to his three piranha (one's named Gargamel because he's mean). Naturally, the media (us included) ran with it, speculating on where he might end up in 2012.

The list includes the obvious choices -- the Patriots, Redskins, 49ers, Jets and Eagles -- as well as the not-so-obvious: the IFL's Chicago Slaughter. (We talked about all this on a recent Pick-6 Podcast, conveniently embedded below.)


But Moss also had his detractors. Cris Carter reminded everyone that his former teammate was a quitter, and the Cowboys preemptively indicated that they'd pass on his services.

In Sunday's Boston Globe, Shalise Manza Young reiterated what some people already suspected: a Pats-Moss reunion isn't in the offing.

"Moss seems realistic about his chances, acknowledging that he may not play anywhere in 2012," Young wrote. "As for a possible Patriots reunion, the feeling here is that that ship has sailed."

If the Patriots were to pursue a veteran it would be someone like Reggie Wayne (we've been beating this drum for months now), especially given how poor a fit Chad Ochocinco turned out to be. If, instead, New England is looking for a young playmaker at the position, they could use their bottomless supply of draft picks to trade up and grab Justin Blackmon, Kendall Wright or Michael Floyd. Or as CBSSports.com's Pat Kirwan suggests, they could make a play for Steelers restricted free agent Mike Wallace. It would only cost them the 31st overall pick, and Wallace, unlike the would-be rookies, is already one of the league's best young wideouts.

As for Moss, we still think he's a more viable option than Terrell Owens. This falls firmly under the heading of "the soft bigotry of low expectations," but we're also talking about two guys in their mid-30s who last played in the NFL in 2010. And unlike T.O., who had a nasty habit of burning bridges, Moss was generally well regarded in Tennessee, his last stop before retirement.

He was great," one team official told NFL Network's Albert Breer earlier this week. "He was a great personality, he brought an energy to practice. He was constantly talking, but it was all in a competitive way, not a negative way.

"As a player, he's never been a great practice player, but there were no issues. The problem was in games, he'd lose interest, he'd dog it sometimes. ... He gets frustrated with double teams; when he gets bracketed, he'll shut it down, and that causes a problem for you. But as a guy, he was good here."

And that's the rub. Are there teams willing to gamble on a guy who they know will "shut it down" in exchange for the occasional big-play payoff? Given the glut of wide receivers about to flood free agency, there may not be much of a market for Moss. Then again, there aren't many people capable of doing what Moss did regularly during his career. 

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Posted on: February 19, 2012 11:32 am
Edited on: February 20, 2012 5:52 am
 

Are Seahawks front-runners for Peyton Manning?

Depending on his health, Peyton Manning should have plenty of suitors should the Colts decide to cut him. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Peyton Manning has been in the news more in the last month than he was at any point during the 2011 season. This is what happens when one of the NFL's best players is sidelined with a serious neck injury, his status remains uncertain, and he's due a $28 million bonus on March 13. There are questions about, well, everything.

Will Peyton be healthy enough to return to the field in 2012? Will the Colts pay him said $28 million? And if not, where might Manning end up?

CBSSports.com's Will Brinson handicapped those teams that might be in the Manning business next season and it included the usual suspects: the Dolphins, Redskins, Cardinals and even the Colts. But Brinson also included the Seahawks, an outfit that let Matt Hasselbeck walk after 2010 and went with Tarvaris Jackson last year.

On Sunday, Dan Pompei of the National Football Post writes that Seattle is more than intrigued by Manning.

"Based on the buzz around the league, the Seahawks could be the early frontrunner for Peyton Manning, assuming he is released," says Pompei. "Pete Carroll needs a quarterback and is believed to have a strong interest in at least exploring Manning.

"The Seahawks could offer Manning an attractive scenario. They have a young team with some fine skill players to put around him. They play in one of the league’s loudest stadiums. Manning wouldn’t be subject to the same kind of scrutiny in Seattle that he would in a lot of other markets. The Seahawks also could have a better feel for Manning’s medical situation than some teams. One of their team physicians, Stan Herring, who also is one of the country’s preeminent specialists for spine injuries. Herring is a member of the NFL’s Head, Neck and Spine Committee."

Jackson played better than we expected last season, but as NFL Network's Mike Mayock said earlier this week, “I like him. He’s developed to a certain point, but I think that position needs to be upgraded. And I don’t mind T-Jack competing for the position, but I think you either have to get a free agent in there or you have to draft somebody.”

Manning would certainly fit the description of competition although, again, no one knows if or when he'll be completely healthy. Then it becomes a question of which teams are willing to take a flier on him in the hopes that if he's not ready in 2012, he'll be available in 2013. That decision, we suspect, will come down to some combination money (for Manning) and desperation (by quarterback-needy teams).

Pompei also suggests that Manning and Reggie Wayne (he'll be a free agent in a few weeks) could be a packaged deal.

"A few pro scouts believe Wayne’s production may dip, given he probably will be in a new offensive system for the first time in his career, and he is 33 years old," Pompei says. "That isn’t to say the free agent to be doesn’t have a couple of good years left in him, however. Wayne could maximize his ability if he were to continue his connection with Manning."

We've been saying this for months, too. If Peyton returns, we'd expect Wayne to join him. If Manning can't play in '12, we wouldn't be surprised if Wayne ended up in New England.

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Posted on: February 12, 2012 10:04 pm
 

Wayne on Pats: 'Who wouldn't want to play there?'

Wayne's career in Indy may be over but he'll play somewhere (New England?) in 2012. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

Way back in August, days after the lockout had ended and before any of the 32 teams had their hopes and dreams crushed, Colts owner Jim Irsay asked veteran wide receiver Reggie Wayne, in the last year of his contract, to be patient. There would be no new deal during the season.

"At this point," Irsay said at the time, "I don't anticipate that sort of thing, an extension or anything like that. We always talk about next year, where we're going to be with the (salary) cap, what type of situation we're going to be in because it's going to come quickly. We prepare for next year whether it's Pierre (Garcon), or Robert and Reggie."

The Colts stumbled to a 2-14 record without Peyton Manning, who along with Wayne, appears to have played his last game in Indy. To Wayne's credit, he never complained publicly or entertained thoughts of holding out, even saying last summer that "I'm a Colt, what else I'm gonna be?"


On Friday, ESPN's Josina Anderson asked Wayne about his NFL future. He doesn't sound much different in February than he did in July. 

"All I know is the Colts," he said. "That is where I want to be. I have been there 11 years and I would prefer to end my career a Colt. 

"However, in due time those feelings could subside. I know one thing, my phone works. I do have service and every last bar on it and their number has not come across it yet. I haven't heard anything from [the Colts] yet, so maybe I am not as important on the chain of command as I should be. 

"But either way, I'm cool," Wayne continued. "I have nothing bad to say about the Colts. The Colts took me in and made me a millionaire. I had nothing before I got here but a bunch of invoices. So either way I am still good, and I will still be friends with all of my teammates. But I am still at a point with all of this Peyton stuff, and this Andrew Luck stuff that I can't be all the way worrying just about that. My phone hasn't rung yet. It's only fair I worry about number 87 first. When I'm signed, then I can weigh in more." 

We've been saying for almost two months that Wayne's future could be tied to Manning's. Wherever Peyton ends up, it wouldn't be unreasonable to think that Wayne won't be far behind. (This week, the Dolphins are the favorites to land Manning; Wayne went to the U. And if Manning goes to the Jets, it makes sense that Wayne would follow him there too.)

But should the duo go their separate ways after playing together for a decade, the Patriots would be a logical landing spot for the wide receiver. Here's what we wrote on December 22 about possible destinations for Wayne in 2012:

"1. New England. Consider it payback for Adam Vinatieri, but more importantly, it’ll give Tom Brady the deep threat Chad Ochocinco never developed into. Wayne’s game is built on precise route-running, which is imperative in Peyton Manning’s offense (and Brady's). And it’s something Ochocinco never had to worry about in Cincinnati."

Wayne isn't a burner (he's 33 and an 11-year veteran), but he knows how to get open on short, medium and deep routes, something Ochocinco struggled with from the moment he arrived in Foxboro.

And while Wayne-to-the-Pats was nothing more than speculation, it also makes sense.  Former Patriots linebacker Willie McGinest, now an NFL Network analyst, has spoken to Wayne about relocating to New England.

“It came up in the conversation would he ever want to play for the Patriots,” McGinest said according to the Boston Herald. “He smiled and said, ‘Who wouldn’t want to play there?’

“If it could have worked with Chad (Ochocinco), it would have been good. It didn’t. I just think (Tom Brady) has a lot of weapons, but he can always use that stretch-the-field receiver," McGinest said. "When they had Randy (Moss) there, it really made it tough for teams to stop them. Reggie Wayne is somebody who could stretch the field. He has great hands, he’s a professional who could pick up the system. Having another big-time receiver like that would put it over the top.”

And that was our point back in December. Ochocinco has been a disaster, Wes Welker is a possession receiver not a deep threat, and the passing offense is built around the tight ends.

ProFootballTalk.com's Michael David Smith points out that Bill Belichick is a longtime Wayne fan, too.

“I can’t say enough about Reggie Wayne,” Belichick said during the 2009 season. “That guy is the best receiver we cover every year and it seems like he just keeps getting better.”

The Patriots have a history of taking guys who regularly torch them. That's how Welker ended up in New England in 2007.

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Posted on: December 30, 2011 4:57 pm
Edited on: December 30, 2011 4:58 pm
 

Top Ten with a Twist: Draft needs

A. Luck should be a No. 1 selection in next year's draft. Who will select him, though (US Presswire).

By Josh Katzowitz

As we enter the final weekend of the season, a number of squads are just playing out the string, hoping to put a solid performance on film, ready to clean out their lockers and look ahead to next year. While only four games on this week’s schedule mean absolutely nothing in terms of the postseason, quite a few of those teams are just looking to play spoiler.

And looking to the 2012 draft, where they can begin to rebuild their team or shore up that one position that could put them over the hump for next season. That’s why we’re taking the 10-worst teams in the league this year and finding one major flaw that needs to be fixed from April 26-28 in New York City’s Radio Music Hall.

For these teams -- and their fans -- the time has come to salivate at the prospects of landing the exact right guy that could change their fortunes for years to come.

10. Bills: Defensive line -- I didn’t like the Ryan Fitzpatrick $59 million extension earlier this year, and I hate it now. But I think Buffalo has other concerns for the moment, and they come on defense. For one, Buffalo has a tough time stopping the run. First-round pick Marcell Dareus has been a bit inconsistent at the nose tackle, but he also has the ability to play like a monster. The 3-4  ends, though, need to be better. Injured tackle Kyle Williams obviously will help when he returns next season, but the ability to rush the passer once in a while also would help (Buffalo’s 25 sacks ranks 30th in the league).

9. Dolphins: Quarterback -- Look, the Dolphins have some talent. They proved that when Tony Sparano’s job was on the line, and they started winning games. They proved it by nearly beating Tom Brady, and they proved it by nearly beating Tim Tebow (that last point was a joke). While Matt Moore has been much better than expected after taking over for Chad Henne, he’s a Band-Aid. I think most of us would agree that Henne isn’t the answer as the starter, and perhaps, he and Moore could have a battle to see who could back-up a legit starting quarterback. Reggie Bush established himself as a 1,000-yard rusher, and with a talented quarterback like Robert Griffin III (if he lasts that long in the draft), the Dolphins could begin pushing for AFC East crowns.

8. Browns: Pass rushers -- Cleveland got two defensive linemen early last year (tackle Phil Taylor in the first round and end Jabaal Sheard in the second), and they’ve done a nice job on the left side of the defensive line. But the defense ranks 25th in the league in sacks, and defensive end Jayme Mitchell hasn’t had a great season. Marcus Benard, coming off a solid rookie season last year, is on IR, and if the Browns could get one more high-end rusher in the draft, they’d have talent and depth.

7. Redskins: Quarterback -- It’s probably time for Mike Shanahan to come to the realization that his quarterback picks the past two years have been disastrous (Donovan McNabb, Rex Grossman, John Beck). He said the other day that the rebuild of this franchise has taken more time than he thought, but a standout quarterback obviously would help that process along. Shanahan also said that there was no question in his mind that he’d be back next season, but unless he finds a way to invigorate his offense, that might be a different story this time next year.

6. Chiefs: Right tackle -- Looking across Kansas City’s depth chart, there’s not one position group that so obviously needs to be overhauled. The Chiefs have talent, even if some of those positions don’t have much depth. But right tackle Barry Richardson has badly struggled this season. According Pro Football Focus, Richardson is the worst-rated offensive tackle in the league (the decision to cut Jared Gaither near the end of the season was a bad one). Left tackle Branden Albert is solid, but the right side of the line needs to be reworked.

Minnesota's secondary has been a big concern this year (US Presswire).5. Buccaneers: Run defenders -- The Buccaneers tried to shore up their defensive end spots last draft, taking Adrian Clayborn in the first round and Da’Quan Bowers in the second round. Considering Tampa Bay ranks dead last in sacks, the experiment hasn’t paid off immediate dividends. But the Buccaneers are also terrible against the run, and even though tackle Albert Haynesworth has played better than most of us had a right to expect, there are still huge holes to fill in the lineup.

4. Vikings: Secondary -- The Vikings rank as the 31st-worst defense in the NFL, but in reality, their front seven has talent (for instance, Jared Allen, Kevin Williams and Chad Greenway). Minnesota lost Antoine Winfield (its best corner) early in the year, Chris Cook has legal troubles, safety Jamarca  Sanford has struggled badly and the rest of the safeties have been ravaged by injuries. It’s no  wonder opposing quarterbacks dominate the Vikings defensive backs. On the season, Minnesota has recorded seven interceptions, worst in the NFL. The Vikings need to find somebody who can force turnovers in order to improve this unit.

3. Jaguars: Receivers – Oh, how they need receivers. Yes, Blaine Gabbert has been, by far, the worst rookie quarterback to play this year, but Jacksonville, even with new ownership and a new coach, probably needs to give him more than a season to see if he’s a quarterback of the future. He also needs somebody who can catch his passes. Here are Jacksonville’s top-three receivers: Mike Thomas, Jarret Dillard, and yeah, nobody else. In fact, there’s a good chance running back Maurice Jones-Drew will end up as the team’s leading pass-catcher this season. Hard to blame Gabbert completely when his receiving corps is so bad.

2. Colts: Running backs -- Assuming Peyton Manning returns healthy next season -- admittedly, a huge assumption -- his receivers should continue to be fine (this, of course, depends on what happens with free agents Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon). But we’ve seen this year that without a running game, a Manning-less Colts squad has very little chance of doing anything (mostly because Manning makes up for SO many team deficiencies). Joseph Addai, who’s averaging 3.8 yards per carry and probably won’t get to 500 rushing yards on the season for the second year in a row, might be released into free agency, and Donald Brown, while improved, isn’t a legit No. 1 running back. The Colts obviously have a big decision to make regarding Manning and Andrew Luck, but taking a running back probably wouldn’t be a bad idea.

1.Rams: Offensive linemen -- There’s been talk that maybe the Rams should grab Luck if they end up with the No. 1 pick. Which, with Sam Bradford on the team, would be ludicrous. Instead, St. Louis should be focused on how to put together an offensive line that doesn’t lead the league in sacks allowed. The biggest problem, not including injuries to Jason Smith and Jacob Bell that have hurt the unit, has been the line’s interior. Linemen aren’t the sexiest position, but damn, St. Louis needs to find some that can stay healthy and keep Bradford and Steven Jackson out of danger.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com