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Wide Receivers changing teams in mid-season

Posted by Chase Stuart on October 8, 2009

Yesterday, the Jets traded with the Browns to acquire Braylon Edwards. Edwards joins a relatively short list of notable wide receivers to switch teams in mid-season. Since the merger, there have been only 14 wide receivers to play for multiple teams in a season and to average at least 35 receiving yards per game for one team. Only 26 WRs have averaged at least 25 yards per game for one of the two teams. A complete list of those receivers is listed below:

year   team     name	         g      rec     yd      td      recyd/g

2008	det	Roy E. Williams	 5	17	232	1	46.4
2008	dal	Roy E. Williams	10	19	198	1	19.8

2007	mia	Chris Chambers	 6	31	415	0	69.2
2007	sdg	Chris Chambers	10	35	555	4	55.5
 
2006	rai	Doug Gabriel	 3	 5	 84	0	28.0
2006	nwe	Doug Gabriel	12	25	344	3	28.7

2005	car	Rod Gardner	10	 9	 84	1	 8.4
2005	gnb	Rod Gardner	 2	 4	 67	0	33.5

2004	dal	Antonio Bryant	 5	16	266	0	53.2
2004	cle	Antonio Bryant	10	42	546	4	54.6

2004	cle	Quincy Morgan	 6	 9	144	3	24.0
2004	dal	Quincy Morgan	 9	22	260	0	28.9

2004	rai	Jerry Rice	 6	 5	 67	0	11.2
2004	sea	Jerry Rice	11	25	362	3	32.9

2003	cle	Kevin Johnson	 9	41	381	2	42.3
2003	jax	Kevin Johnson	 6	17	253	1	42.2

2002	atl	Willie Jackson	 7	18	199	0	28.4
2002	was	Willie Jackson	 5	 7	 58	1	11.6

2001	nwe	Bert Emanuel	 2	 4	 25	0	12.5
2001	det	Bert Emanuel	 6	17	221	0	36.8

2001	den	Eddie Kennison	 8	15	169	1	21.1
2001	kan	Eddie Kennison	 5	16	322	0	64.4

1997	kan	Brett Perriman	 5	 6	 83	0	16.6
1997	mia	Brett Perriman	 8	19	309	1	38.6

1996	jax	Andre Rison	10	34	458	2	45.8
1996	gnb	Andre Rison	 5	13	135	1	27.0

1986	tam	Kevin House	 7	11	206	0	29.4
1986	ram	Kevin House	 8	 7	178	2	22.3

1984	cle	Duriel Harris	11	32	512	2	46.5
1984	dal	Duriel Harris	 5	 1	  9	0	 1.8

1981	nor	Rich Caster	 4	 7	108	0	27.0
1981	was	Rich Caster	 3	 5	 77	0	25.7

1981	nor	Wes Chandler	 4	17	285	1	71.3
1981	sdg	Wes Chandler	12	52	857	5	71.4

1981	sdg	Ron B. Smith	 9	 3	 84	2	 9.3
1981	phi	Ron B. Smith	 3	 4	 84	0	28.0

1980	det	Mike Friede	 4	 1	 21	0	 5.3
1980	nyg	Mike Friede	 7	21	350	0	50.0

1978	dal	Golden Richards	 1	 1	  2	0	 2.0
1978	chi	Golden Richards	15	27	379	0	25.3

1975	sdg	Marlin Briscoe	 3	 2	 25	0	 8.3
1975	det	Marlin Briscoe	 8	22	347	4	43.4

1973	nor	Danny Abramowicz 2	 2	 18	0	 9.0
1973	sfo     Danny Abramowicz 12	35	442	1	36.8

1972	oti	Charlie Joiner	 6	16	306	2	51.0
1972	cin	Charlie Joiner	 6	 8	133	0	22.2

1972	buf	Haven Moses	 5	 3	 60	1	12.0
1972	den	Haven Moses	 8	15	224	5	28.0

1972	pit	Dave L. Smith	 6	10	 98	0	16.3
1972	oti	Dave L. Smith	 8	20	218	0	27.3

1971	nyg	Clifton McNeil	 6	16	209	1	34.8
1971	was	Clifton McNeil	 8	14	244	2	30.5

In addition to holding most notable records by a wide receiver, Jerry Rice also holds a less famous one: most games played in a season. Because Edwards was traded before the Jets bye, he won't have the rare opportunity to play in 17 games in a season. But how will he do as a Jet? Only one of the receivers listed above helped his team win the Super Bowl -- Andre Rison joined the Packers in mid-season in 1996, and scored touchdowns in multiple playoff games, including the Super Bowl. For a Jets team desperately lacking downfield passing targets, the Edwards acquisition comes with the hope of a Rison-like team success story.

The best case scenario for individual success would be for Edwards to pull an Eddie Kennison, who more than tripled his production after switching AFC West residences in 2001. Kennison averaged just 21.1 yards per game for the Broncos and briefly retired after telling Denver that he didn't want to play football any longer. Just a few weeks later, Kennison resurfaced with the Chiefs and had a solid tenure in Kansas City.

There's another way to look at Edwards' career, though. In my greatest wide receivers ever series, I came up with a formula to rank ever WR in every season in NFL history. In 2007, Edwards was just 24-years-old and ranked as the 6th best WR in the league. In 2008, he fell to the 33rd best receiver, and Browns fans could surely name a few more receivers they would have preferred to the former Wolverine star. In 2009, Edwards got shipped out of town.

Has any other receiver had a similar fall from grace? In query terms, has a WR ranked as a top-10 WR during his age 23, 24 or 25 seasons, fell outside of the top 25 the following season (but not due to injury), and then was on a new team the year after? Only one other modern receiver fits that bill, and Jets fans know him well. Let's compare the mystery WR and Braylon Edwards side by side:

	   Braylon Edwards                 Mystery WR
Age	Rec	Yds	TDs		Rec	Yds	TD
24	80	1289	16		74	1105	10
25	55	 877	 3		45	 838	 5
	    ---------     Switched teams   -----------
26	??	???	??		84	1483	 9

That mystery wide receiver was Santana Moss, who had a brief career rejuvenation for the Redskins in 2005 but has not came close to those numbers since. For Jets fans, even half a season for Edwards where he plays like his old self (or any receiver named Moss) would make this trade worthwhile.

This entry was posted on Thursday, October 8th, 2009 at 7:09 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.