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Pending free agents, cap cuts, NFL draft could make 2015 year of wide receiver

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It's looking more and more like the year of the wide receiver both in free agency and the draft. This is particularly true for the free agent class.

Last season the market for wide receivers was not good. The top free agents on the market consisted of Eric Decker, Hakeem Nicks, Jeremy Maclin, Golden Tate, and not much else. The Raiders reeled in James Jones as the best of the mid-level talent out there.

The 2014 draft was where the real talent could be found. With the likes of Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, Odell Beckham Jr, Brandin Cooks, and Kelvin Benjamin all immediately proving they were number one receiver quality and worth their first round selections. And overall it was considered a deep class.

This year, the draft class is not quite as talented at the top and lacks overall depth. There are probably three elite prospects in the draft in the form of Amari Cooper, Kevin White, and DeVante Parker. After that there is less certainty.

Where the real bonanza could be is in free agency. Not just those who are set to become free agents but those who could become available due to cuts. Here are a few of the top wide receivers who could be available.

Free Agents

Dez Bryant
Demaryius Thomas
Randall Cobb
Jeremy Maclin
Torrey Smith
Rod Streater
Michael Crabtree
Cecil Shorts
Hakeem Nicks

Potential cuts (this is where it gets really interesting)

Larry Fitzgerald (31) -- $23.6 million cap figure
Andre Johnson (33) -- $16.1 million cap figure
Dwayne Bowe (30) -- $14 million cap figure
Vincent Jackson (32) -- $12.2 million cap figure
Mike Wallace (28) -- $12.1 million cap figure
Greg Jennings (31) -- $11 million cap figure
Percy Harvin (26) -- $10.5 million cap figure
Marques Colston (31) -- $9.7 million cap figure
Brandon Marshall (31) -- $9.5 million cap figure

Granted, some of the free agents will be re-signed or have the franchise tag placed on them prior to the start of free agency. Likewise some of the possible cut players will work out restructured deals to remain with their current teams. And of course many of these players are over 30 so signing them wouldn't be a long term investment.

Even knowing all this, there is some good talent that will be available for the Raiders who are in much need of making a big move to get a top tier wide receiver.