T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Seven Free Agent Wideouts That Want Someone to Call Them Maybe

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bill-swift - August 2, 2012

If there is one thing that teams can count on it's injuries. They are going to happen, and probably to someone you can't afford to lose. It's part of the game; you don't like it, but you do have to deal with it.

With training camp just getting under way it may be a little early to start worrying about minor injuries. Many of those could very well be guys that wanted to report to camp on time, but don't really want to practice. However, there are some cases like in Houston where Andre Johnson strained a groin muscle (and will need to miss a week) that should give rise to concern.

At this point most of the talent is signed and in camp for someone, but there are still a number of guys available that would be worth bringing in as an injury replacement or as Plan B in case the current wide receivers are not getting the job done. Of course there is a reason why these guys aren't currently in camp so in one way or another each one is a slight gamble.

Terrell Owens: Any discussion about fee agent wide receivers has to start with TO. The man is easily one of the greatest wide receivers to ever play the game. His career numbers speak for themselves-- 1078 receptions for 15,934 yards and 153 TDs. His attitude and concern about his injury kept him out of the NFL last year, but I think its safe to say the man is healthy by now. You do take a huge risk that he'll poison the locker room the second things go bad, but the upside is pretty phenomenal especially if he acts like he has something to prove (because he does).

Braylon Edwards: He had one great season with the Cleveland Browns in 2007-08; since then everyone has been hoping he'd do it again, but been left disappointed. Edwards was not bad with the Jets, but he wasn't good enough to keep. For one reason or another he just didn't catch on with the 49ers last season so they cut him loose. Was that one season a fluke or can he do it again? Someone will pay to find out (UPDATE: it appears that the Seattle Seahawks are).

Patrick Crayton: He was the odd man out with the Dallas Cowboys a couple years ago, but never really factored into the plans for the San Diego Chargers. He put up respectable numbers from 2006-09 as the No 3 receiver for Dallas, but was going to cost more than Jerry Jones wanted to pay to retain. Injuries made him a non-factor in San Diego and led to his departure after two seasons. If a team is in need of a good complementary receiver to their No 1 they could do a whole lot worse than Crayton.

Anthony Gonzalez: Gonzo looked pretty good his first two seasons with the Colts in '07 and '08 catching 94 passes for just over 1200 yards and 7 TDs in part time duty. However, injuries derailed his career in Indianapolis and when the new regime came in he was easy to cut loose. He showed some promise early in his career--although having Peyton Manning throwing the ball helped--and could very well still be a solid NFL receiver. What's keeping him out of camp is probably concern over his own injury history. The good thing about Gonzo (and pretty much every player on this list) is whoever does give him a try will not have to pay him much.

Plaxico Burress: Prison didn't benefit his career as well as it did Michael Vick, but Burress did show he could still play catching 45 balls for 612 yards and 8 TDs; from a passing impaired team like the Jets that's pretty good. Why exactly the Jets didn't keep him is somewhat of a mystery. They must be confident that rookie Stephen Hill will make an impact early. Some teams might be scared off by his age, but you have to remember that he didn't play for two years. He can't be your No 1 or a reliable deep threat, but should you want a receiver that is happy to still be playing and can move the chains than Plaxico is your man.

Speed dial might be pushing it for these next two, but if the aforementioned guys are gone it may be time to give them a call.

T.J. Houshmandzadeh: House-Your-Mama is not going to be high on anyone's list at the tender old age of 34 and after doing little for the last two seasons. His lack of production could be attributed to both the Ravens (in 2010) and Raiders (last season) being more interested in developing and playing their young wide receivers. The last time he did play a lot was in '09 when he caught 79 balls for 911 yards for Seattle.  He may be old, but once injuries start to pile up it would not be shocking to see someone give the 6'2" receiver another chance for league minimum.

Roy Williams: He is a lot like Braylon Edwards in that he had one great season (2006-07), and has yet to live up to it since. The arrival of Megatron (Calvin Johnson) could be part of the reason for his downfall in Detroit and eventual trade. In Dallas he was overshadowed by Terrell Owens, Miles Austin, and the running game. When the Bears acquired Brandon Marshall from the Dolphins his services were no longer needed with Devin Hester expected to be the No 2. Like Who's-Your-Mama, it would be surprising if he did not get a few calls once injuries start to take their toll.

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