Offseason Roster Review: Wide Receiver

Posted Jan 19, 2012

Reviewing and previewing each position heading into the 2012 offseason

Chiefs Wide Receiver Overview

Under Contract (5)

Jonathan Baldwin, Steve Breaston, Terrance Copper, Jeremy Horne, Jamar Newsome

Free Agents (2)

Dwayne Bowe (Unrestricted), Jerheme Urban (Unrestricted)

End Of Season Depth Chart

1. Steve Breaston, 2. Jonathan Baldwin, 3. Jerheme Urban, 4. Jeremy Horne

1. Dwayne Bowe, 2. Terrance Copper

Practice Squad: Jamar Newsome

What Happened: Despite the Chiefs merry-go-round at quarterback, Kansas City’s production at the wide receiver position came in close to anticipated; with the exception of the low touchdown totals.

Jonathan Baldwin’s preseason hand injury was a setback the team certainly didn’t need and the Chiefs red zone woes were partially reflective of Baldwin’s absence.

The Chiefs were relying on Baldwin’s big frame and 42-inch vertical jump to serve as a red zone terror opposite Dwayne Bowe. Instead, Baldwin didn’t see his first game action until late October and never seemed to be fully-integrated into the Chiefs offensive plans.

The Chiefs completed just 20 red zone passes all season and threw for only eight touchdowns inside the 20-yard line. Only St. Louis posted fewer totals in each category.

Baldwin no doubt has a bright future in the league and made some incredibly athletic catches last season (including this 39-yard TD grab vs. San Diego), but the preseason injury limited the first-round pick to just 53 targets as a rookie.

It’s a big offseason for Baldwin to take the next step in his career.

Though his touchdown production dropped 66% from last season, Dwayne Bowe turned in his second consecutive 1,100-yard season with an 81-catch campaign. He did, however, finish the year with 12 drops (second-most among NFL wide receivers).

Free agent acquisition Steve Breaston turned in a solid first season with the Chiefs. Breaston helped stretch the field and his 61 catches for 785 yards represented his best receiving totals since Arizona’s Super Bowl run in 2008 (77 catches for 1,006 yards).

Big Question

Dwayne Bowe’s pending free agency.

What’s Next

The Chiefs have a good group of receivers that can effectively feed off each other’s strengths. With the addition of Breaston and Baldwin, the position looks much different than it did a year ago when Kevin Curtis started Kansas City’s playoff game against Baltimore just days after signing with the team.

Improvements were made to a position of need, but all eyes are centered now on Bowe as free agency approaches.

Bowe joins cornerback Brandon Carr as the team’s marquee names headed for free agency. The Chiefs can franchise one player, but not both, to guarantee their services to the 2012 season.

To retain both players, the Chiefs must reach a new contract agreement with at least one of the two. As expected, both the team and the players have remained relatively silent about the status of contract negotiations.

What happens next?

Beginning February 20th teams can begin applying franchise and transition tags to players and have until March 5th to do so. Free agency officially begins March 13th at 3:00 PM (CST).

Story You Missed

Bowe led the NFL with 10 receiving broken tackles in 86 opportunities (11.6%). Nearly 10% of Bowe’s plays featured a broken tackle (7/81), including this ping-pong touchdown catch Week 4 vs. Minnesota.

2011 NFL Leaders: Receiving Broken Tackles

1. Dwayne Bowe, KC (10)

2t. Calvin Johnson, DET (9)

2t. Mike Tolbert, SD (9)

4t. Rob Gronkowski, NE (8)

4t. Aaron Hernandez, NE (8)

One Sentence Wraps

Dwayne Bowe: Has been the Chiefs go-to receiver since his rookie season five years ago.

Steve Breaston: “Stevie Phantom” has an affinity for pro wrestling, especially Razor Ramone.

Jonathan Baldwin: Waiting on consistency, but a highlight-reel waiting to happen.

Terrance Copper: Reliable reserve and solid special teamer.

Jerheme Urban: A consummate professional.

Jeremy Horne: As fast as they come, but has mainly used his speed as a gunner on punt coverage.

Jamar Newsome: Mid-season practice squad addition did enough to stick around and earn a contract for 2012.

Interesting Stat

Over 30% of the Chiefs receiving touchdowns came in one game.

Bowe and Breaston each reeled in two touchdown catches in Kansas City’s 28-24 win at Indianapolis. On the year, Chiefs receivers turned in a total of 13 touchdown receptions.

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