Paul Kuharsky: NFL Trades For Star Wide Receivers Show Off Positive Early Returns

Big moves for big receivers were a big story in the NFL offseason.

Six weeks into the season, the teams that sold out to bring in top-tier guys to run routes and catch passes are reaping some pretty good individual rewards. Their new teams paid high prices in terms of draft capital in trades and in terms of cash and cap dollars in new contracts.

NFL wide receivers: Philly’s A.J. Brown, Las Vegas’ Davante Adams and Miami’s Tyreek Hill. (Getty Images)

Let’s look at the early returns.

Miami, Tyreek Hill

Trade cost: The 29th, 50th and 121st picks in the 2022 draft as well fourth- and sixth-round picks in the 2023 draft.

The Chiefs used No. 29 and No. 121 as part of a package in a trade with New England to move up to No. 21 to draft cornerback Trent McDuffie.

They also traded No. 50 to New England for No. 54 and No. 158. The Chiefs used No. 50 on receiver Skyy Moore out of Western Michigan and traded No. 158 with another pick to Seattle for No. 145 which they used for OT Darian Kinnard out of Kentucky.

Contract cost: Four years, $120 million with $52.525 million guaranteed per Over The Cap.

  • Hill is the NFL’s No. 1 receiver with 701 yards on 50 catches, and he’s done that with his starting quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa missing two-plus games.
  • He has been targeted 65 times. Only Cooper Kupp (75) has been thrown to more.
  • Per NFL Next Gen stats, he’s averaging 3.7-yards of separation, tied for fifth among NFL wide receivers.
  • He’s tied for third in first downs with 32.
  • The Dolphins are 3-3 in third place in the AFC East, but getting Tagovailoa back after a concussion.

Former team: Kansas City, second in passing offense last year, is fourth in passing offense this season. At 4-2 the Chiefs are tied for the second-best record in the AFC.

Young “replacement:” Moore has six catches for 100 yards. K.C. have not asked as much of him as it also brought in veterans JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling.

Philadelphia, A.J. Brown

Trade cost: The 18th and 101st picks in the 2022 draft. Tennessee used No. 18 on Arkansas receiver Treylon Burks and packaged No. 26 with 101 in a deal with the Jets for No. 35 (Auburn CB Roger McCreary), No. 69 (Ohio State OT Nicholas Petit-Frere) and No. 163 (ULCA WR Kyle Philips).

Contract cost: Four-year, $100 million extension including $57 million guaranteed.

  • Brown is sixth in the NFL with 503 receiving yards for the Eagles.
  • Among receivers with at least 24 receptions, he’s sixth in first-down percentage at 69.7 percent.
  • He’s tied for sixth with 10 third-down catches, which include both of his touchdowns.
  • Next Gen Stats says he accounts for slightly more than 45 percent of the Eagles total air yards.
  • The Eagles are in first place in the NFC East, the league’s lone undefeated team at 6-0.

Former team: While the Titans’ receiving corps has six plays of 20 yards or more, Brown has six by himself. The Titans are 3-2 but a lack of explosive plays is one of their biggest concerns.

Young “replacement:” Burks has 10 catches for 129 yards and no touchdowns in four games. He’s currently on IR with a toe injury.

Las Vegas, Davante Adams

Trade cost: The 22nd and 53rd picks in the 2022 draft. Green Bay used No. 22 on linebacker Quay Walker of Georgia and traded No. 53 with another pick for No. 34 which they used on receiver Christian Watson of North Dakota State.

Contract cost: Five years, $140 million with $65.57 million guaranteed.

  • Adams is 14th in the NFL with 414 receiving yards in five games – the Raiders have already had a bye.
  • Among receivers, only Stefon Diggs (six) has more touchdowns than Adams (five) and Diggs has played an additional game.
  • Adams is averaging 9.5 yards before the catch per reception, the best mark in the NFL for qualifying receivers
  • The Raiders were the NFL’s sixth passing offense in 2021. They are currently 23rd.
  • Las Vegas is 1-4, in last place in the AFC West.

Former team: The Packers are 27th in yards per completion (9.3). They were ninth in 2021 (10.7). They are 3-3, 2.5 games behind the Vikings in the NFL North.

Young “replacement:” Christian Watson has seven catches for 52 yards.

Paul Kuharsky hosts OutKick 360. Read more of him at PaulKuharsky.com.

Written by Paul Kuharsky

Paul Kuharsky is an award-winning writer who has covered the NFL for over 22 years in California, Texas, and Tennessee, and also is a selector for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. After ESPN, PK came to join the longest running trio in Nashville Sports Talk in 2012.

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