Rumor: Number One Available

Ever since the somewhat premature retirement of the great Jimmy Smith, the Jaguars have been looking for a go to guy at the wide receiver position.

The team has spent two first round picks on receivers (Reggie Williams and Matt   Jones), a third round pick (Mike Walker), a fourth round pick (Ernest Wilford), and a fairly sizeable contract in free agent wideout, Dennis Northcutt. The net result up to this point of all this drafting and spending has been a bunch of guys with potential, and a bunch of questions.

There is a legitimate number one receiver that could enter the market as early as Saturday afternoon, and his name is Chris Chambers, currently with the Miami Dolphins. Chambers is a small, speedy receiver, who has been productive for most of his six year career, highlighted by his 2005 season in which he caught 82 passes, for 1118 yards, 11 touchdowns, and earned a Pro Bowl berth. Although Chambers had a down season in 2006, much of it can be attributed to the Dolphins sub-par quarterback play. Even Chambers 2006 statistics of 59 catches for 677 yards, and four touchdowns would have led all Jaguars receivers.

Chambers best attribute is his ability to adjust to the ball in air, and seemingly make the impossible catches. Chambers has legitimate deep speed, and he is an excellent route runner. The only thing Chambers has struggled with in recent years is drops.

So if the 28 year old Chambers is so good, why would the Dolphins be willing to part with him? Publicly, they're not. Dolphins management denied any trade rumors associated with Chambers, but what else would they say? The facts are that Chambers is due to be a cap hit of over $7 million for the Dolphins this year, and $5.1 million of that is in base salary. The Dolphins appear to be entering a rebuilding mode, and they just drafted a wide receiver who they think will one day be a number one in Ted Ginn. By the time their quarterback situation is settled with second-round pick, John Beck, Chambers' contract will likely be up and they would go in a different direction anyway. Why not pull the band-aid now?

The Jaguars current wide receiver group appears to be considerably more talented than the group that finished with the 24th ranked passing game of a year ago. However, the proposed starting tandem of Wilford and Northcutt will not be confused with Harrison and Wayne, Moss and Stallworth, or even Coles and Cotchery. Once Chris Chambers learns the Jaguars playbook he would easily be the most accomplished wide receiver on the team, and probably the most talented. With the $5.1 million base salary that Chambers carries with him, a new team, and his old team for that matter would have to renegotiate. I would imagine that the Dolphins would jump on a conditional fourth round pick for Chambers that could turn into a third (conditional). If the Jaguars are serious about giving starting quarterback Byron Leftwich every opportunity to win, they will look into bringing another experienced, talented wide receiver to Jacksonville

Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of JagNation.com, and a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports.com, Sirius NFL Radio, and Sportsillustated.com. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers Association, and is a columnist for the New Smyrna Observer.


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