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It’ll be a buyer’s market for free-agent receivers


As teams begin to plan their eventual 53-man rosters, there are currently 54 receivers scheduled to be available in free agency. That’s the number of unrestricted and restricted free agents at the position who’ll be available as of March 11, barring a new contract with their current teams.

It’s bad news for the individual players, since it creates a team-friendly market. With so many wideouts looking for new homes, owners and executives will be able to squeeze agents into taking less.

The full list appears below. The most intriguing 10 names to watch are Anquan Boldin, Riley Cooper, Eric Decker, Julian Edelman, Jacoby Jones, Jeremy Maclin, Dexter McCluster, Hakeem Nicks, Emmanuel Sanders, and Golden Tate.

Nicks surely entered the season thinking that he could get the same five-year, $60 million package handed last year by the Dolphins to Mike Wallace. Nicks won’t get that from the Giants. On the open market, he may encounter teams who are concerned that his contract-year slump may not have been a one-year thing.

The list could grow, as more receivers are cut from their current contracts. One big name to consider in that regard is Wes Welker. The Broncos’ slot receiver will see his cap number double from $4 million to $8 million in 2014. That could be enough to prompt the Broncos to try to squeeze Welker to take less. If he doesn’t, he could be gone.

Likewise, Seahawks receiver Sidney Rice is expected to be dumped from the latter years of a big-money contract.

When the dust settles, the big winners could be the Patriots, who surely will be looking to bulk up at the position without spending a lot of money. Last year, they signed Sanders to an offer sheet. This year, they’d be able to add him without giving the Steelers a chance to match or compensation if they choose not to.

Seyi Ajirotutu (Chargers)

Danario Alexander (Chargers)

Doug Baldwin (Seahawks; restricted)

Anquan Boldin (49ers)

Deion Branch (Colts)

Dezmon Briscoe (Redskins; restricted)

Kenny Britt (Titans)

Plaxico Burress (Steelers)

Andre Caldwell (Broncos)

Austin Collie (Patriots)

Riley Cooper (Eagles)

Jerricho Cotchery (Steelers)

Josh Cribbs (Jets)

Dorin Dickerson (Lions; restricted)

Tandon Doss (Ravens; restricted)

Eric Decker (Broncos)

Julian Edelman (Patriots)

Jacoby Ford (Raiders)

Ted Ginn (Panthers)

Andrew Hawkins (Bengals; restricted)

Lavelle Hawkins (Chargers)

Devin Hester (Bears)

Darrius Heyward-Bey (Colts)

Domenik Hixon (Panthers)

Trindon Holliday (Broncos; restricted)

Lestar Jean (Texans; restricted)

Jacoby Jones (Ravens)

James Jones (Packers)

Brandon LaFell (Panthers)

Jeremy Maclin (Eagles)

Mario Manningham (49ers)

Marc Mariani (Titans)

Dexter McCluster (Chiefs)

Robert Meachem (Saints)

Marlon Moore (Dolphins)

Joseph Morgan (Saints; restricted)

Josh Morgan (Redskins)

Santana Moss (Redskins)

Louis Murphy (Giants)

Hakeem Nicks (Giants)

Kevin Ogletree (Lions)

Kassim Osgood (49ers)

Taylor Price (Jaguars)

Andre Roberts (Cardinals)

Emmanuel Sanders (Steelers)

Dane Sanzenbacher (Bengals; restricted)

Jerome Simpson (Vikings)

Micheal Spurlock (Lions)

Brandon Stokley (Ravens)

Brandon Tate (Bengals)

Golden Tate (Seahawks)

Tiquan Underwood (Buccaneers)

Damian Williams (Titans)

Kyle Williams (Chiefs)