A look back at the Chiefs wide receiver corps from the 2014 season.
2014 ROSTER: Dwayne Bowe, Albert Wilson, Jason Avant, Junior Hemingway, Donnie Avery, Frankie Hammond Jr.
INJURED RESERVE: A.J. Jenkins (shoulder)
2015 FREE AGENTS: Jason Avant, Junior Hemingway (exclusive rights), Frankie Hammond Jr. (exclusive rights)
The wide receiver position held one of the most talked about stats of the 2014 NFL season.
The stat, of course, is the Chiefs’ failure of recording a wide receiver touchdown, the first time a team has done so since the 1964 New York Giants.
Dwayne Bowe, the unquestionable leader of the young receiving corps, reeled in 60 receptions for 754 yards on 791 offensive snaps.
“I think Dwayne, his numbers were very similar to the year before. The distributions of touchdowns may have gone to the tight ends a little bit more than they did the receivers,” general manager John Dorsey said on Dec. 29, 2014. “I think Dwayne is a really good teammate. He cares about the game. I thought this offseason he came back in the best shape I’ve seen him in. He’s done a nice job.
Still, the entire wide receiver position failed to produce an 800-yard receiver.
“I think that the stats speak for themselves and we’re going to have to do some work there,” Dorsey said the day after the 2014 regular-season finale.
Undrafted rookie Albert Wilson was a bright spot, particularly in the final four games where he started in place of Donnie Avery and capitalized in a big way.
Wilson secured 12 of his 16 receptions in those four games. His biggest game came at Pittsburgh in Week 16 when he eclipsed 87 yards on five catches.
The addition of veteran Jason Avant proved to be a solid move.
Acquired prior to the Monday Night showdown with Denver, Avant was destined for a reunion with former coach Andy Reid.
Avant, 31, provided leadership and some production in the Chiefs’ final five games. He caught 13 passes for 152 yards.
Last offseason, the Chiefs scrambled to restructure the receiver position. Dorsey and the front office will do so once again this offseason.
“Well, we’ve always said all along we’re going to do our due diligence to try to get as good of a player as we can in here,” Dorsey said. “Sometimes you take a swing of the bat and miss it and you have to move on. You can’t hit a home run every time.”
The 2014 wide receiver draft class appeared more fruitful when college receivers shined in the bowl season.
Dorsey can be sure to use a few of his compensatory picks on the receiver position after the Chiefs lost key free agents last season.
Free-agents targets could include Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin barring Maclin re-signing in Philadelphia.
ON THE CHOPPING BLOCK?
The Chiefs could be in a position to cut ties with Bowe, which would make financial sense.
Here’s why the Chiefs may part ways with the 8-year veteran: Bowe, 30, will enter the third year of his 5-year, $56 million deal and is due a base salary of $10.75 million in 2015. Bowe will count $14 million against the salary cap, a considerable amount for a former Pro Bowler whose production has slipped since 2010.
The Chiefs could look to restructure Bowe’s contract, but the Chiefs may be better off replacing No. 82 in free agency or through the upcoming NFL Draft.
Another player potentially on the bubble is Avery, who was a healthy inactive the final two games of the season. The 30-year-old Avery is due a base salary of $2.7 million and counts $4 million against the cap.