Seattle Seahawks and Terrell Owens: Age More than a Number

While I’m excited to see young receivers like A.J. Green and Antonio Brown take the field this year, those old diva receivers have been hogging up the headlines again. If Randy Moss in San Francisco and Chad Johnson in Miami weren’t enough, Terrell Owens signed with the Seattle Seahawks.

Good move? Of course not. While Pete Carroll is juggling a three-man QB circus, I guess he wanted a ringmaster to steal the show. If signings of Braylon Edwards and Antonio Bryant (was Joey Galloway not interested?) weren’t enough to show that Pete’s not sure what he’s building for a pass offense, they bring big mouth back to the NFC West.

Owens didn’t play in the NFL in 2011, and he is 38 years old. He turns 39 on December 7.

While T.O. is an athletic freak, reportedly running under 4.5 in the 40, the fact is he has been declining ever since 2008. He will put up numbers, but only if you force enough balls to him.

He will no longer break many big plays after the catch, and he is down to catching just over half of his targets.

Just making the team at his age and year off would be impressive, so putting any real expectations on him would be silly. Very few receivers dominate this age. You basically have to be Jerry Rice.

Someone on Twitter predicted over 600 yards. As receivers age, that type of production just gets more rare to the point where you’re left with Rice’s old-man dominance, a few Charlie Joiner seasons, and yes, Owens’ had good years at ages 36 (2009) and 37 (2010).

With Pro-Football-Reference’s play index, we can find these stats quickly. At age 38+, only 17 players in NFL history even have one reception, and that includes five quarterbacks and two kickers on trick or broken plays.

That leaves just 8 WRs and two RBs as the only 10 skill players with a reception at age 38+.

Move it to age 39, which Owens will be, and you’re talking about 268 catches by Rice, 34 by Joiner, 12 by Galloway, 5 by FB Tony Richardson, and that’s it for skill guys.

Terrell Owens may have a Rice/Joiner season left in him, though it’s going to come at the sacrifice of a lot of attempts, a lot of incompletions, and probably some headaches and tantrums.

Why bother?

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