The current state of NFL wide receivers may go down in history as the most dynamic time for the position in the history of the sport. Elite-level talents at receiver are everywhere you look in the league right now, and the pass-heavy offensive philosophies that have developed in the last 20 years have only increased statistics and big plays. While wide receiver is in a sort of renaissance period right now, that doesn’t mean that having a good, or even great one will guarantee victory for an NFL team. As such, many talented players at the position will be left without a Super Bowl-victory on their career resume, or even playoff wins to begin with.
As per usual, there is likely going to be a lot of shakeup during this offseason period, and the transactions that occur for each team are going to determine the trajectory they are on for the future. This in turn affects the starting receivers for each team, and their chances of making a deep playoff run in the near future. Some are more fortunate than others, but all of them will be collectively holding their breath during the offseason, hoping that their front office initiates transactions that will be an asset to their Super Bowl chances, not hinder them.
Ranked below are seven starting wide receivers who will win the Super Bowl in their career, and eight who won’t.
15. WON’T: DeSean Jackson
While Jackson is a free agent during the offseason, it’s unlikely that a contending team will shell out the money necessary to land the 30-year-old deep threat. He still possesses elite speed, and doesn’t seem to have lost a step, but this kind of player typically goes to a rebuilding or mid-level team, not one on the cusp of a deep playoff run. Jackson could find himself paired up with a young QB like Carson Wentz in a return to Philadelphia next year, but the Eagles are probably still a couple years away from being a true playoff threat, and Jackson probably won’t be on the roster at that point. He’s certainly had a great career, but it looks as though D-Jax is going to fall short of the ultimate goal, no matter where he may end up for the 2017 season.
14. WILL: T.Y. Hilton
The Colts currently have several quality options at receiver, but it is undeniably Hilton who has emerged as the most dynamic target for Andrew Luck. He had a bounce-back year in 2016, and is truly one of the most feared skill players in the league at the moment. There’s still a lot to like about Luck and the Colts, if they can spend some resources to make the defense a more formidable unit in the offseason. They’ve mad the playoffs before under Luck with sub-par aspects of their team, and they can do it again in 2017. Hilton figures to be a big part of that equation, and if he’s able to stay with Luck for the majority of his career, it wouldn’t be surprising for him win a Super Bowl somewhere down the line. Hilton is that kind of a game breaker, and has a quarterback who can air it out with the best of them.
13. WON’T: A.J. Green
Green is another elite talent at the receiver position, but unfortunately for him, the Bengals are an absolute mess right now, from the long-term status of head coach Marvin Lewis, to many of the positions on the field. Green figures to be on the roster for the foreseeable future, but it isn’t a very good right now, and his chances of ever gaining a Super Bowl victory are well in doubt. He certainly isn’t old (29 when next season begins), but it’s safe to say that time is running out for his pursuit of a title. With only a few more peak years left, the Bengals seem to be trending downward, and that isn’t good news. All things considered, Green is unlikely to win a title during his career, unless he packs up and moves out of Cincy. That’s still possibility, but not an imminent one at the moment.
12. WILL: Brandin Cooks
Cooks is one of the most underrated young talents in the league right now, and he’s producing even when intermingled with the crowded Saints receiving corps. There’s been rumblings that he might be on his was out of New Orleans, but at the same time he may want to play out there to see the end of Drew Brees’ legendary career. No matter what his decision, Cooks is going to get a huge payday in a year or two from somebody, and be the main focal point of an offense in search of a title. Even going into his fourth year in the league, he’s still absurdly young at age 23, and will be able to transform into the kind of game breaker that a contending team will covet. Cooks is the type of player that every title-winning team needs, and he’ll find a landing spot for his talent in the near future.
11. WON’T: DeAndre Hopkins
It’s tough to get a grasp on exactly what Hopkins’ lack of consistency means in the grand scheme of things. He’s certainly a talented receiver, but after a down year in 2016, it’s fair to wonder if he’s really one of the league’s elite players. Then again, the Texans offense had plenty of turnover last offseason, so maybe Hopkins shouldn’t take the majority of the blame. Either way, there are real questions concerning Hopkins and his ability to carry an offense. It’s unlikely he’ll see any Super Bowl appearances in Houston, but is there any team close to being a contender that would try to acquire him? It’s up in the air right now, and Hopkins will have to pony up some nice statistics in 2017 if he wants to remain considered an upper-tier receiver in the league. For right now, we’ll leave him out of any championship-level estimations.