Reggie Wayne is no longer a member of the Indianapolis Colts, but recent reports suggest that isn’t going to keep him from playing football in 2015. The soon to be 37-year old wide receiver could be looking to suit up for a new NFL team for the first time in his illustrious career, but it’s worth wondering if he even should. Wayne regressed mightily in 2014 and has struggled through two big injuries over the past two years.
While Wayne doesn’t look like a great get for someone at first glance, he hypothetically could provide the right team with a reliable set of hands and crisp route-running. Then again, those weren’t areas he exactly dominated in a year ago.
That being said, Wayne is a guy who has produced in fantasy football leagues for years and if healthy, it’s certainly possible he could put up some numbers if he locks down a big role. A big role won’t be easy to find, but Wayne says “several teams” are interested in him. They’re probably “interested” in the old Wayne resurfacing, but if he’s the guy we saw in 2014, it’s possible we’ve already seen the end. Wayne is giving it a go and some NFL teams are paying attention, though, so let’s break down his most likely landing spots and if you, dear fantasy enthusiast, should give a care:
New England Patriots
What New England needs is a deep threat at wide receiver. Wayne surely isn’t that, but they love bringing in old guys who are near the end and squeezing every last drop of talent out of them. They could do that with Wayne, who still could have the hands and route-running chops to kill in the Pats’ dink-and-dunk passing system.
Torrey Smith is gone, leaving the Raven’s passing game to rookie Breshad Perriman and another old in Steve Smith. Wayne would fit right in with Smith, though he’d handle the intermediate game and could be perfect out of the slot. He wouldn’t be counted on to crush skulls, so much as lead Perriman down the right path as he learns the ropes. He’d also have a shot at competing for a Super Bowl with a pretty strong Baltimore squad.
Yikes. This is rock bottom for Wayne, but if he really wants to play and doesn’t exactly have it anymore, this might be his only choice. There’s nothing to say the Browns would want him, but Dwayne Bowe and Brian Hartline are their top receivers. Even if Wayne is really done, you’d think he’d have a shot at competing with those guys. You. Would. Think.
A reunion with Peyton Manning is fun watercooler talk and boy, would that be something if they teamed up and won a title for the Broncos. Wayne is nothing more than a possession guy, though, and if Wes Welker wasn’t good enough to hang around, Wayne probably isn’t even getting mild consideration out of Colorado. That being said, everything is thinking it, so it had to be said.
The re-tooling of Carolina’s receiving corps continues this year. They drafted Kelvin Benjamin last year and Devin Funchess this year, giving them three seriously gigantic targets (third is tight end Greg Olsen). While that size is great for down the field and in the red-zone, all they have for the middle of the field and out of the slot is Jerricho Cotchery. Cotch is fine, but Wayne could project as a better third option. Wayne does prefer to finish out what figures to be his final season with a contending team, and the Panthers could qualify as a playoff team in each of the past two seasons.
Is Wayne headed to any of the aforementioned teams? It’s anyone’s guess, especially since he wants a shot at playing for a title and could easily be toast. The bigger question for fantasy owners, of course, is if he’ll hold any fantasy value come draft time later in August. The answer? Probably not. Even in New England, I couldn’t buy Wayne as a high upside guy. Any speed or explosiveness he once had is gone and he couldn’t even consistently produce last year in one of the best passing offenses. He could surface with a contender and have a couple of big games en route to a final trip to the playoffs, but this is more of a generic “final days” NFL story-line than something for die hard fantasy gamers to track. Man, the NFL is slow during the summer.