The Seahawks current wide receivers unit

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With most projecting Seattle to target a wide receiver early in May's draft, let's take a look at how they're currently set if they added nobody else.

"Message Received"

"Catching On"

"Flanker I Hardly Know Her"

"Fixing Split Ends"

"Seahawks Receiver Competition is Wide Open"

"Arcet-i-o Haul"

"Save Room for Rice"

"Baldwin Trying to Teach Young UDFAs How to Dougie"

"Chris Matthews Coming to Play Hardball"

"Taylor Price Is Wrong, Bitch"

"The Seattle Seahawks wide receiver corps is essentially all but set except for the likely addition of a rookie or two but let's take another look at who the current players are on the roster and which ones are most likely to make the team and contribute in 2014, while also noting the best and worst-case scenarios for each of them starting with Percy Harvin and ending with Arceto Clark, shall we?"

There, now I've used up all of the possible headlines for this article and I promise you won't ever see them used for real. Anyways, let's begin.

1. Percy Harvin, 26 (in May), $11 million base (first on team), $13.4 million cap

On the bright side:

Some people question whether or not Harvin is a true number one receiver because he's only 5'11 and he's never had 1,000 receiving yards in a season, but my counter-question would be this: Could you give Harvin a combined total of 150+ targets and touches on offense and be more than satisfied with the results?

Of course you could.

Harvin has not been the high-volume weapon that a player like Calvin Johnson has been, but he's arguably been just as valuable when healthy. When he entered the league in 2009, Harvin had the 14th-highest grade among wide receivers on Pro Football Focus, was 26th in DYAR on Football Outsiders, and had 60 catches for 790 yards.

Harvin was targeted 86 times, but teammate Sidney Rice had a career-year playing alongside him; Rice had 120 targets, 84 catches, 1,322 yards, and was second in PFF's grades.

Rice missed 10 games in 2010 and Harvin was asked to be the "number one" on the offense. He was targeted 104 times and made 71 catches for 868 yards plus 18 carries for 107 more yards. He was second in PFF's grades, 26th in DYAR, but just 37th in DVOA.

2011 would be a career-year for Harvin.

Playing with a rookie Christian Ponder (who should naturally be the worst version of Christian Ponder) and Donovan McNabb (who wasn't as good as rookie Christian Ponder), Harvin was targeted 118 times and made 87 catches for 967 yards with six touchdowns. The unusual caveat to his 2011 season was that Harvin also had 52 carries for 345 yards and two more scores. Harvin was 11th in PFF's grades, but 29th in DYAR (145) and 44th in DVOA.

However, Harvin had another 183 DYAR as a rusher, which was more than three times as many DYAR as any other receiver that season. To put that in perspective, Anquan Boldin had 184 DYAR that year as a receiver.

So at the height of his greatness, the question shouldn't be whether or not Harvin can put up 1,500 yards as a receiver, but whether or not he can have the same impact on the game as what you would expect from a receiver that does put up that many receiving yards. I don't care if you get me a 15-yard catch or a 15-yard run as long as we got 15 yards. Sometimes having that unique ability to do either/or might be even more valuable than someone you only expect to gain it in the air.

Even still, Harvin had 62 catches for 677 yards in 2012 and that was essentially over just 8.5 games. He was well on-pace to go over 1,000 yards receiving and he added 22 carries for 96 yards. That was really, truly the last we've seen of Percy Harvin.

His sporadic three game appearances last season showed off both how uniquely talented he is and how unbearingly fragile.

On the wrong side of the bed:

With a healthy Harvin, you've got a potential MVP candidate. Unfortunately, Seattle knows as much about a healthy Percy Harvin as they do about what a trip to White Castle is like. (At least not one that doesn't include cheetahs and Neil Patrick Harris.)

I can't argue against the fact that throughout his college and professional career, Harvin has been prone to injuries. Like, every single kind of injury you can think of. I'm not even sure if his knee bones connected to his thigh bones. His Wikipedia entry during his Florida days reads like a WebMD article and I'm 90% sure that people on bath salts are sometimes healthier than Harvin.

And I think nearly everyone in Florida is on bath salts as it is.

That being said, he played in 13 games, 11 games, and 12 games respectively over his college career. He missed three NFL games over his first three seasons in the league. Up until his injury against the Seahawks in 2012, he was always hurt but rarely missed a game. Now he's barely played over the last year and a half, and so we are starting to think that he might never play more than 12 or 13 games in year, let alone a full season.

Though I'm usually optimistic, I don't know if I really have a good counter-argument against that notion. It seems like he has never played a healthy season of football in his life, even dating back to high school (according to Wiki.) I trust historical data as much as I trust anything, and the history says that Harvin doesn't have a full, non-injury-report-season in him.

If we get 12 games out of Harvin next year, preferably including playoffs, I'll consider it a win.

2. Doug Baldwin, 25 (26 in September), unsigned but tendered second round offer at $2.187 M valuation

On the bright side:

Baldwin is certainly one of the more underrated and unheralded wide receivers in the league. Last year he ranked 22nd in PFF's grades (fittingly tied with Golden Tate) and caught 68.5% of his targets and finished with 50 catches for 778 yards. In the NFC Championship against San Francisco, Baldwin caught six passes for 106 yards and in the Super Bowl he had five for 66 and a touchdown.

You couldn't possibly ask for more from an undrafted free agent over his first three seasons in the league. If you did, you'd be quite the jerk! (And Baldwin would certainly call you out on it on Twitter.)

On the wrong side of the bed:

So I'm not going to ask for a lot more out of an UDFA, but I think at this point we do have to ask ourselves how much we will get out of Baldwin. He was basically just as valuable as a rookie in 2011 when he was playing with Tarvaris Jackson (51 catches for 788 yards) and then flatlined in 2012 (366 yards.)

What really is Baldwin's ceiling? Is it the same number we've seen him hit twice in the last three years or is he just getting started? At 5'10 and without the missed tackle, YAC ability of a player like Tate or Harvin, is 50 catches for 700-800 yards the high-end of what Baldwin can do and if so, how valuable is that?

It's definitely valuable but should Seattle fans be careful about the possibility that they expect less out of receivers because in franchise history we've really only had one great one? And I'm not talking about talent level, because Joey Galloway and Darryl Jackson and Brian Blades and Bobby Engram are all talented in their own right. But in franchise history, we've seen a player put up over 1,000 yards just 20 times and eight of those belong to Steve Largent.

Baldwin is well worth his one-year tender of $2 million but any future raises or long-term deals will be interesting to watch. At this time, you have to know if Baldwin is the Z-receiver or a slot receiver, (reloaded: Danny talks about the differences of the X and the Z right here two years ago) because it doesn't seem like he's an X-receiver, and if Harvin is your Z-receiver, that would make Baldwin a man for the slot. And the slot receiver deals we've seen handed out recently, like the one for Danny Amendola in New England, is essentially the same deal that Tate got with Detroit.

And if they weren't paying Tate that much, why would they pay Baldwin that much?

I know that I'll catch a lot of flack from readers for saying that Baldwin is a really good receiver but might not be worth the contract he could receive elsewhere, but it's also worth noting that Baldwin is a restricted free agent and I haven't heard a peep of interest from around the league. If he has 900-1000 yards next season that will change, but let's get a better idea of what his ceiling really could be.

Baldwin had six games last year where he finished with one or zero catches.

3. Sidney Rice, 27 (28 in September), one-year, $1.4 M

On the bright side:

As noted earlier, Rice was perhaps the best receiver in the league in 2009, the one year he and Harvin were essentially healthy for a full season.

He played in 16 games in 2012 and had 50 catches 748 yards and seven touchdowns, and we shouldn't forget just how shaky Russell Wilson was for half of his rookie season.

At 6'4, 200 lbs, a healthy Rice would be a dream scenario for this offense that's looking for that perfect "X" to pair with Harvin and Baldwin on a regular basis. His physical talents are what led him to that monster season with Brett Favre five years ago, which also included a six-catch, 141-yard, three-touchdown performance in the playoffs against Dallas.

We've seen flashes of that ability over the last four years. But just flashes.

On the wrong side of the bed:

Rice has two career games with Seattle where he's gone over 100 yards and both came in the first half of 2011.

He's missed 31 games in seven years.

He's coming off of a torn ACL.

Doug Baldwin has more seasons of 750+ yards than Rice does.

He had 28.9 yards per game last year before getting hurt.

Jason Avant has more career catches and yards.

It's not exactly like a scenario with Bob Sanders where whenever Rice is healthy, he's the best at his position but he's never healthy. Rice was bad in his first two years, great in his third year, and either injured or "whatever' in his last four years. It would be one thing if he averaged 80 YPG when healthy, but he averages 44.7 YPG over his last four seasons.

Expectations from Rice right now should be nil. If he played in 14 games next year and had 800 yards, that would be popping the ceiling as far as I'm concerned.

4. Jermaine Kearse, 24, some not important salary

On the bright side:

I'm not as surprised at Kearse making touchdown catches in the title game and Super Bowl as I am surprised that he has now been on the team for two years. Admittedly when Kearse signed as an UDFA in 2012 I thought it was a "Washington thing" and that the fans adoration for him was misguided.

I was wrong.

Kearse was a vital part of the offense last year and frankly it's hard to say that the Seahawks would've won a Super Bowl without him. His touchdowns were the difference in wins over Carolina and Tampa Bay in the regular season, plus San Francisco in the NFC Title game.

I'm glad he proved me super wrong.

On the wrong side of the bed:

David Tyree? Honestly, Kearse has been notable for a few catches but he doesn't have more than just a few catches. Last year in the Super Bowl he had four catches and that was more than he had in any game of his career. He finished 2013 with 22 catches for 346 yards.

How much higher can he really go?

Coming up with big catches will net you a special place in my heart for the rest of our lives but is Kearse anything more than a four? If Rice and Harvin went down, and you essentially had to graduate Kearse to being a one or a two, does that make you comfortable?

There's a lot more that goes into being a wide receiver than just being able to make big catches. Some of the best catches I've ever seen came from players I've never heard of and still don't know who they are. Part of me wonders if the ceiling for Kearse is Jerricho Cotchery.

That's a pretty darn good player, but I'm still saying that's his ceiling. People rarely hit their ceilings. So I'm not really sure if Kearse can get there or if he'll be more like D.J. Hackett.

5. Chris Matthews, 24 (25 in October)

On the bright side:

Matthews is 6'5, 218 lbs, and in 2012 he had 1,192 yards and seven touchdowns in the CFL. In his second year at Kentucky, he had 61 catches for 925 yards and nine touchdowns.

There was zero risk in giving Matthews a futures contract and a chance to earn a spot on the roster.

On the wrong side of the bed:

We've reached the part of the list now where I really don't expect anything from these players. That doesn't mean that I think they're bad by any means, but if any of these guys were released today, it would neither surprise or disappoint me.

It's not like NFL teams didn't know Matthews existed. He didn't just jump off of a boat from Cuba either. Matthews wasn't drafted in 2011, he was released by the Browns, he wasn't picked up by any team, he played two years in the CFL, his second season was essentially washed out with turf toe.

If you're projecting Matthews to have a certain number of stats for Seattle next season, I don't know what would compel you to do that. He's already fighting for a roster spot against some rookie that hasn't been drafted yet.

6. Ricardo Lockette, 27 (28 in May)

On the bright side:

Lockette may stand a better chance than most of these names not in the top four simply for the fact that he made a name for himself on special teams last year. But he had the one catch that you remember from three years ago.

On the wrong side of the bed:

I guess you could say I already touched on the negatives when I was talking about the positives. Lockette is almost 28 years old, why would anyone still be imagining a scenario where he's a part of the offense?

Also, players of his caliber should never wind up in the news ever.

Also, he hangs out with Colin Kaepernick, so there are character concerns.

The Seahawks, 49ers, and Bears have all released him and not thought twice about it.

7. Taylor Price, 26 (27 in October)

On the bright side:

Unlike most players on this list, Price was supposed to be somebody in the NFL. He was a third round draft pick of the Patriots in 2010 but they released him in 2011 after he had made three career catches.

Price is 6', 200 lbs, and ran a 4.4 at the combine.

On the wrong side of the bed:

Three catches.

He was picked up by the Jaguars in 2011 and made two catches with them. He was placed in IR in each of the last two years and hasn't made a catch since 2011. He has five career catches in four years.

8. Phil Bates, 24 (25 in September)

On the bright side:

Seems like he's friends with all the players on the team.

On the wrong side of the bed:

Two years after we thought Bates might be the next Doug Baldwin, he still doesn't have his own Wiki page! He hasn't been active for any games either. He's a good bet to be released this year because he won't be stashed on the practice squad again.

Here's a scouting report of Bates from Danny back in 2012.

9. Bryan Walters, 26 (27 in November)

On the bright side:

Walters got to fulfill a dream by winning a Super Bowl with his hometown team. Who among us wouldn't die happy if we got to be Bryan Walters?

On the wrong side of the bed:

There are many options for players to take advantage of after their short playing careers are over, and since Walters has a degree from Cornell, he won't have to work at Enterprise.

10. Arceto Clark, 24 (25 in September)

On the bright side:

He essentially takes over Bates role as the guy we might expect to make that leap from PS to 53-man next year.

Arceto is one of the coolest unusual names I've heard.

On the wrong side of the bed:

Assume that Harvin, Kearse, and Baldwin are all locks for the roster. Assume that they draft a receiver early that's a lock for the roster. Now you've got four players that are locks for the roster. Not only does Clark need to be better than Rice, he also needs to be better than all the other players on this list.

We see longshots make it all the time, but it's fair to note that Arceto is among the longest.

Clark, Walters, Bates, Matthews, Price, Lockette may essentially come down to none of these players making the final roster. It seems almost certain that the team will draft one, possibly two, and then hit up UDFA once again with more might than most teams seem to do. And this time, Seattle has the added luxury of inviting UDFAs to play for the champs.

One thing they can't offer to UDFA wide receivers however?

Much of a chance to make the final roster. Even if it's a possible weakness on the offense, the receiving corps is also one rookie away from being set.

And that's looking on the... bright side.

"Clark Barred"

"Walters Math: Wow!"

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