Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFL Nation [Print without images]

Tuesday, March 13, 2012
The post-Marques Colston WR market

By Kevin Seifert

We have two receiver-needy teams here in the NFC North, so for the sake of the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings, if no one else, let's take a look at what's left of the receiver market after New Orleans Saints re-signed Marques Colston to a five-year deal earlier Tuesday.

As our guide, we'll use Matt Williamson's excellent ranking of the top 50 overall free agents available Insider. Below is how Williamson ranked the seven receivers (other than Colston) that he placed on the list.
  1. Vincent Jackson
  2. Brandon Lloyd
  3. Reggie Wayne
  4. Mario Manningham
  5. Pierre Garcon
  6. Laurent Robinson
  7. Robert Meachem

It's fair to say there is a significant dropoff after Jackson, one that will only enhance his value on the open market. The Bears have already had one go-around with Lloyd, and it wouldn't be surprising for Wayne to join quarterback Peyton Manning wherever he lands.

This is where free agency gets tricky, where contracts by rule are inflated. It's one thing to overpay for a Pro Bowl player. It's another to overpay for someone who can't play a lead role. Other than Jackson and perhaps Wayne, do you see a No. 1 receiver on this list? Nope. What you have is a list of players who fit closer into the No. 3 category than No. 2 seeking elite money. The Bears and Vikings must fight that temptation.