A.J. Green

NFL free agents 2020: Top 10 wide receivers

NFL free agents 2020: Top 10 wide receivers

Wide receivers will be at a premium when teams look to add talent via free agency this offseason.

The 2020 class is noticeably top-heavy at the receiver position. There are a few household names set to earn top dollar from teams desperate for a No. 1 target. Other teams, like the New England Patriots, could be looking at the next tier of options to add depth to their receiving corps.

The Patriots dealt with plenty of turnover at wide receiver in 2019. From Antonio Brown's brief tenure to the addition of Mohamed Sanu, and all of the injuries in-between, quarterback Tom Brady never really had a consistent group of weapons.

This offseason, New England has a few intriguing depth options including one of its own free agents and a veteran who was a contributor to two of its Super Bowl titles.

Here's a look at the top 10 free-agent wide receivers set to hit the market:

Click here for the full free-agent wide receiver gallery.

Patriots 2020 NFL free agency primer: How will team address wide receivers?

Patriots 2020 NFL free agency primer: How will team address wide receivers?

Editor's Note: Phil Perry will be taking an in-depth look at each of the Patriots' position groups between now and when the NFL's 2020 free agency period begins, spotlighting the current roster and what names might be available on the market.

Like the running back position in New England, the Patriots could roll into 2020 with just about the same group if they so choose.

Julian Edelman is back. Same goes for Mohamed Sanu, N'Keal Harry, Jakobi Meyers and Gunner Olszewski. Phillip Dorsett is the lone regular contributor from the 2019 receiver room who's set to hit free agency. Matthew Slater, almost exclusively a special-teamer, is scheduled to be a free agent as well. Though Meyers showed promise in spurts throughout his rookie season, only Edelman, Sanu and Harry look like guarantees to be on the roster. 

Will the Patriots be OK with that trio as their top three?

Does Meyers make sense as the No. 4? Or does there need to be a significant upgrade talent-wise made to this unit via free agency, shuffling the depth chart and giving whoever's playing quarterback -- Tom Brady or someone else -- better weapons to work with? What was available at times last season was ugly.

BREAKING DOWN THE CURRENT ROSTER

Julian Edelman: Headed into his 34-year-old season, it's worth wondering exactly how much the Patriots will be able to depend on Edelman. He did -- despite injuries to his ribs, shoulder and knee -- put up one of the most productive seasons of his career, cracking 1,000 yards.

Mohamed Sanu: After a promising start to his Patriots career, including a 10-catch performance against the Ravens midseason, Sanu tailed off. He suffered a high-ankle sprain and had just 14 catches on 26 targets following that game in Baltimore. The Patriots dealt a second-round pick to get him so he's probably not going anywhere ahead of the 2020 season. They'll just have to hope more time in the system, and better health, yields better outcomes. 

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

N'Keal Harry: The rookie first-round pick lost the first half of his season to injured reserve and had trouble finding his footing upon his return. He finished the year with 12 catches for 105 yards on 24 targets in seven games. He flashed contested-catch promise with a touchdown against the Cowboys and a leaping grab in Cincinnati that was called back due to penalty -- he was also an effective runner on end-around plays -- but the Patriots will be looking for much more consistency in Year 2. 

Phillip Dorsett: The Patriots signed Dorsett to a one-year deal last offseason, in all likelihood hoping he could reprise his 2018 role as a valuable reserve. Pressed into more regular action, he wasn't as efficient a target for Brady and by the end of the season he was ceding reps to rookies. He could return via free agency this offseason if the Patriots want a familiar face to come back and be able to fill in. But it feels as though both sides might be willing to find a fresh start. 

Jakobi Meyers: After a strong summer, Meyers didn't exactly hit the ground running, but he did end up as the team's most productive rookie wideout. He averaged 13.8 yards per catch -- 0.1 behind what Emmaunel Sanders did in San Fran and what Brandin Cooks did in Los Angeles -- and no rookie caught more contested targets (seven of 10), according to Pro Football Focus.

Gunner Olszewski: The Bemidji State product was the last to make the active roster out of camp but stuck around long enough to play in eight games before landing on injured reserve. He caught just two passes for 34 yards -- both against the Giants in Week 6 when the Patriots were hurting at the receiver spot -- but chipped in as the team's regular punt-returner before his injury. He returned 20 for 179 yards (9.0 yards per return, 20th in the NFL). 

Matthew Slater: Slater heads into free agency after another First Team All-Pro selection as a special-teamer, his fifth. He played 20 snaps in 2019 -- all as a run-blocker.

WHO IS POTENTIALLY ON THE OPEN MARKET?

Amari Cooper: This would be a Ruthian hack in free agency. Cooper might cost almost $20 million per year on whatever new deal he signs. The Patriots, though, have been bold in adding talent to their roster when they see glaring issues. Would they be this bold?

Seems unlikely that the Patriots would devote the necessary resources to land this one-time Nick Saban pupil, but it'd infuse the wideout room in New England with some much-needed, in-his-prime talent. If Tom Brady is willing to take pennies on the dollar to stick in New England with the promise that he'll have more to work with in 2020, Cooper should be the team's top-of-the-list item.

A.J. Green: The Patriots are in need of a vertical presence in the passing game. For years that was Rob Gronkowski. Hard to replicate that skill set at tight end, so it may have to be a receiver. After a year off, it's hard to know exactly how Green would fill this role . . . but it's what he's done for the majority of his career.

He'd be a much cheaper option than Cooper ($9 million per year might get it done), and he might be itching to play for a competitor. Green would make more sense than going after Emmanuel Sanders, another 30-something free agent this offseason, since the Patriots are already loaded up on interior veteran pass-catchers in Sanu and Edelman. 

POTENTIAL FREE-AGENT FIXES: UNDER-THE-RADAR OPTIONS

Breshad Perriman: It wasn't all that long ago that Perriman looked like the perfect Patriots reclamation project. They've had a long list of failed first-round draft picks come through their recevier room -- Dorsett, Kenny Britt, Cordarrelle Patterson -- and Perriman could've been the latest.

The only problem? He tore it up at the end of the 2019 season for the Bucs, finishing with career-highs in catches (36), yards (645) and touchdowns (6) while playing for his third team in his four-year career. He'd be a clever solution to New England's vertical issues, but he might've priced himself out of Patriots consideration with what he did at the end of the year.

Travis Benjamin: A much different type of vertical threat than Perriman (who stands 6-foot-2, 215 pounds), Benjamin is a mini-burner at 5-10, 175 pounds. He was placed on injured reserve in October of last season so his numbers were down across the board, but he's averaged over 15.0 yards per catch for his career and he has a wealth of return experience. He might be a cost-effective gamble at the position this offseason. 

Pharoh Cooper: The Rams took Cooper in the fourth round in 2016, and he went on to win First-Team All-Pro honors the following year for his work in the return game. For his career, he's returned 66 punts for 619 yards and 92 kicks for 2,213 yards.

The 5-foot-11, 200 pounder also finished with the eighth-best catch rate from the slot in 2019, according to PFF. He had 25 catches for 243 yards and a touchdown on the season. If the Patriots wanted some young depth in the slot, Cooper might be a good option. Sanu is in the final year of his deal and Edelman's contract runs out after 2021.

NFL trade deadline live: Latest news, rumors on A.J. Green, other targets

NFL trade deadline live: Latest news, rumors on A.J. Green, other targets

NFL teams have precious hours to solidify their rosters before the home stretch. Which clubs are willing to make a splash?

The NFL trade deadline is at 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday, and several teams already have made significant moves, most notably the undefeated New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers, who added wide receivers Mohamed Sanu and Emmanuel Sanders, respectively.

But reports suggest both clubs may not be done dealing, and there are a number of big names -- Cincinnati Bengals wideout A.J. Green among them -- who could be moved in the next 24 hours.

So, what's the latest trade deadline scuttlebutt? We'll track every notable rumor and deal in the live blog below. (All times Eastern.)

3:55 p.m.: No fireworks in store for the deadline.

3:51 p.m.: Which side will blink first?

3:45 p.m.: It doesn't sound like Robby Anderson will be traded.

3:00 p.m.: The Patriots are in the market for a kicker, per the MMQB's Albert Breer.

2:51 p.m.: So much for those Le'Veon Bell trade rumors?

2:49 p.m.: Here's the latest on the Jamal Adams-to-Dallas rumors as we approach one hour to go...

2:23 p.m.: Is Jamal Adams heading to Dallas? That's apparently where he wants to be.

2:18 p.m.: The Bucs reportedly aren't budging on O.J. Howard.

2:10 p.m.: It appears Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson is still on the trade block.

1:45 p.m.: Former Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib reportedly is coming back to the AFC East.

1:40 p.m.: Could we see a Jets fire sale before the deadline? Safety Jamal Adams reportedly is a possible trade candidate...

1:10 p.m.: An O.J. Howard trade is looking less likely, per NFL Media's Ian Rapoport ... but the Patriots reportedly are still in the hunt.

1:05 p.m.: The Patriots have their sights set on Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert, per The Athletic's Jeff Howe.

1:03 p.m.: According to The Athletic's Connor Hughes, the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans both have interest in Le'Veon Bell.

12:52 p.m.: In related news, the Falcons reportedly are replacing Bryant with Younghoe Koo, who spent time on the Patriots' practice squad earlier this season.

12:45 p.m.: We have kicker news! The Atlanta Falcons are releasing Matt Bryant, per ESPN's Adam Schefter:

11:50 a.m.: Here's a bombshell from the New York Daily News' Manish Mehta: The New York Jets reportedly are looking to trade running back Le'Veon Bell after handing him a huge contract this past offseason.

11:15 a.m.: ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio says he'd "keep an eye on" New England as a landing spot for Bucs tight end O.J. Howard.

   

11 a.m.: Our own Tom E. Curran is reporting the Patriots are unlikely to be very busy ahead of the 4 p.m. deadline. Unless...

8:15 a.m.: The Patriots are all set at cornerback, and it sounds like the Detroit Lions and New York Giants aren't budging on their own star corners, per NFL Network's Mike Garafolo.

Tuesday, Oct. 29, 7:25 a.m.: Happy trade deadline day! CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora provides a handy look at the biggest names who could be traded Tuesday, as well as his predictions for where they'll end up. (O.J. Howard to the Patriots, anyone?)

*****

Monday, Oct. 28, 10:15 p.m.: Amid the Gordon rumors, the Chargers have cut bait with their offensive coordinator...

4:30 p.m.: Could the Los Angeles Chargers deal star running back Melvin Gordon? The Buffalo Bills and Detroit Lions may come calling, according to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler.

4:05 p.m.: The 49ers apparently had interest in Sanu before the Patriots traded for him, NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco reports.

3:58 p.m.: Washington is seeking a first-round pick for Williams, according to the MMQB's Albert Breer.

3:10 p.m.: It appears Washington offensive tackle Trent Williams is on the market, after all... Might the Patriots have interest?

3:05 p.m.: We have another trade! The 2-5 Cleveland Browns are trading defensive end Genard Avery to the Philadelphia Eagles following their loss to the Patriots, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.

2:30 p.m.: Here's the latest on Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end O.J. Howard, who could be a potential target for the Patriots.

1:45 p.m.: It's been a busy day for New England's competitors in the AFC East...

The Miami Dolphins have traded running back Kenyan Drake to the Arizona Cardinals, while the New York Jets are shipping defensive end Leonard Williams to the Giants, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.

The Dolphins and Jets are a combined 1-12, so it's no surprise they're both selling ahead of the deadline.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.