Beyond Sammy Watkins, Bills have long-term uncertainty at receiver

Continuing a position-by-position look at the Buffalo Bills roster with an eye toward free agency and the draft:

Position: Wide receiver

2015 snaps:

Stat of note: Watkins caught passes on 17.3 percent of routes that he ran, the highest reception-to-routes run rate for a Bills wide receiver since ESPN began tracking that information in 2007. The NFL leader among wide receivers in reception-to-routes ratio this year was Atlanta's Julio Jones (22.6 percent), while Watkins ranked 13th among qualifying wide receivers.

Pending free agents: Harvin (unrestricted), Hankerson (unrestricted), Hogan (restricted)

2015 cap hits (position rank):

  • Watkins: $5.436 million (32nd in NFL)

  • Easley: $1.85 million (62nd in NFL)

  • Woods: $1.548 million (67th in NFL)

  • Goodwin: $859,719

  • Salas: $760,000

  • Greg Little: $760,000

  • Jarrett Boykin: $675,000

  • Powell: $600,000

  • Lewis: $525,000

Money line: The final two seasons of Harvin's three-year contract he signed last spring will void Feb. 12, or five days after the upcoming Super Bowl. He will count for $1 million in dead money against the Bills' 2016 cap and another $1 million against their 2017 cap. If the Bills re-sign Harvin, whatever deal they extend him will count against their salary cap on top of that existing dead money. Would the Bills re-sign Harvin? It's hard to envision it being a priority, even though coach Rex Ryan said last month that Harvin would like to continue playing football. The Bills have little money to spend this offseason and it will more than likely go to other positions, unless Harvin is willing to take a deal at or near the minimum.

Market watch: Pending free agents include Alshon Jeffery, James Jones, Rueben Randle, Anquan Boldin, Marvin Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Harvin, Kamar Aiken (restricted), Jermaine Kearse, Travis Benjamin, Rishard Matthews, Nate Washington, Chris Givens, Jerricho Cotchery, Brandon Tate, Andre Caldwell, Jordan Norwood, Lance Moore, Jason Avant, Brandon Gibson, Hakeem Nicks, Andre Holmes, Miles Austin, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Brian Quick.

Draft need: Medium -- The Bills spent their most recent two first-round picks on Watkins, so it might be counterintuitive for the team to continue to devote resources to that position. But there is little long-term certainty at this position beyond Watkins. Woods will be an unrestricted free agent after next season and at this stage in his career, it's tough to see Hogan developing into a full-time No. 2 option, a role that Woods has filled for most of his career. The Bills could use a mid-round prospect to develop, especially if Woods eventually decides he is better off playing elsewhere in 2017.

Crystal ball: The Bills have more pressing needs across their roster and not much salary cap in which to operate, so it will be surprising if they add a free-agent receiver. It's more likely that they try to find a No. 3 or No. 4 option for next season in the draft. The Bills' signings of Little and Boykin, who have both produced at the NFL level, to future contracts earlier this month suggests that they're trying to find low-cost receivers to fill out their depth chart.

Quote of note: "I can speak more for myself for our team, and I don't want to put words into the coaches' mouth about what they might think what they need. I think Doug [Whaley] talked about it and I'll talk about, I'd like to see us get [another receiver]. Percy Harvin was supposed to be a big help for us and we're still not sure what's going on. He's got to make some decisions here coming up. We need to get somebody opposite of Sammy to be a real threat to that defense. I think that's a big key for our offense, to take one more step." -- director of player personnel Jim Monos to WGR 550, Jan. 19.