Hixon will most likely not be re-signed. The consensus appears to be that either LaFell or Ginn will be re-signed, but not both.
I'm of the opinion of choosing Ginn over LaFell because of the following reasons:
1. His speed, play-making ability and special-teams contributions
2. Marvin McNutt gives you a similar player to LaFell at a much cheaper cost
3. We can use a mix of McNutt, King and the 1 draft pick we use in rounds 1-3 in a rotation at WR2 to give more diversity of skill set for Cam to exploit in different situations using the 85-100 targets that would have been dedicated to LaFell.
King and McNutt are no slouches. They were 5th and 6th round picks by Denver and Philadelphia, teams who have high-caliber depth at the WR positions.... so there was no shame in them being cut by those teams.
They were also reasonably productive 4+ year college players as well:
That's not to say that they will automatically be successful pros... but it gives you a platform for understanding why Gettleman would pick them.
They also each have a skillset item that is a potential plus over LaFell.
King: Speed (4.47 40 vs 4.58 for LaFell) and hand size (9.5" to 8.75")... the ability to make plays downfield.
McNutt: Size (215 lb to 210 lbs) and hand size (10.0" to 8.75") while having similar speed (4.54 40) and height (6'2")... the ability to make mid-range plays in traffic and in the red zone.
Some folks don't think that hand size matters. But go back to the 2nd ATL game and the catch McNutt made in the end zone, but was out of bounds. Those are the plays that are possible when you have a guys with those big mitts.
I mentioned in another post about star WRs with larger hands:
Jerry Rice: 9.5"
Larry Fitzgerald: 10.5" (Cris Carter mentioned that Fitz was the only guy he knew who had bigger hands than him)
Dez Bryant: 9.75"
Josh Gordon - 10"
Hand size measurements weren't available until around 2010, but I'm pretty sure Smitty and Olsen are in the 9.5-10" range as well, based on the catches they are able to make.
Hand size isn't the end-all, be-all... it has to be matched with skill. But it a natural gift that the best play makers usually have.
LaFell doesn't have superior concentration, has smaller hands than the play makers listed above and only average speed. He ends up being limited in what he is able to do on the field as a play maker in this offense to help our QB. He needs close to perfect passes in order to be effective.
So if we add just 1 talented WR prospect that would be available between 28 and 60 to a rotation with King and McNutt, we can be more productive out of the WR2 position than the 627 yards and 5 TDs on the 88 targets that LaFell received last year.
Here was the target breakdown for our top receivers last year (367):
By adding 1 draft pick, it can look like this (360):
McNutt/King/Draft Pick: 100
I dropped down the total number of targets because I expect us to run the ball more. I also expect us to throw a little more to guys like Barner and whoever the TE2 ends up being. I wouldn't mind seeing Crockett Gilmore picked in the 5th round over a WR at all.
Based on the existing talent at WR we have on the roster, it's very feasible that we only draft 1 WR this year and focus on other areas such as OL, secondary or BPA in general.
We would be able to provide the talent we have with much needed game experience and feasibly still be able to outproduce the WR2 totals from 2013 based on the competition forged from the rotation.
We'll see how it plays out, though.