Free-agency value at the WR slot

Kevin Walter, while overshadowed by Andre Johnson, is a valuable pickup. Getty Images

During the NFL playoffs, Football Scientist K.C. Joyner wrote a series of "Contrarian Thoughts" pieces, debunking common assumptions. He applies the concept now to free agency.

Many positions have been depleted of top free-agent prospects, since eligibility requirements for unrestricted free agents have moved from four years to six years (due to the collective bargaining agreement and the uncapped year). But no position was hurt more than wide receiver.

The main losses here are the four elite pass catchers -- Miles Austin, Braylon Edwards, Vincent Jackson and Brandon Marshall -- who won't be hitting the open market, but there are also multiple second-tier wideouts who won't be in the mix (Steve Breaston and Malcom Floyd chief among these).

The exclusion of these top names has led to a number of misperceptions about the talent level still available in the unrestricted wide receiver world. The Contrarian Thoughts series is designed to clear up just such misperceptions, so let's take each of these on with some serious statistical analysis.

There are no elite vertical targets in this free-agent pool