A matched set of 1,300-yard receivers

When they kick off Sunday against the Texans at NRG Stadium, the Redskins will be able to line up not one but two wideouts who had 1,300 receiving yards last season — Pierre Garcon (1,346) and Eagles exile DeSean Jackson (1,332). This is the second year in a row we’ve had this situation. In 2013 it was the Broncos with Demaryius Thomas (1,434 in ’12) and Wes Welker (1,354 for the Patriots).

Talk about conspicuous consumption. Usually when a team adds a receiver coming off a 1,300-yard season — think Jeff Graham going from the Bears to the Jets in ’96 or Muhsin Muhammad leaving Carolina for Chicago in ’05 — it’s because it needs one. The Broncos and Redskins are the first clubs in NFL history to sign or trade for a 1,300-yard receiver when they already had one.1

A 1,300-yard receiving season is no small thing. The Seahawks, for instance, have never had a 1,300-yard guy. We’re talking 38 years and counting. (Steve Largent topped out at 1,287.) Neither have the Ravens, though they only go back to ’96. The Jets – Joe Namath’s team – have had one (Don Maynard with 1,434 in ’67). Even with the 16-game schedule, 1,300 yards are a lot.

I’ve turned up just eight teams that have had a pair of 1,300-yard receivers in the same year. In one case, one of the receivers was a tight end. The list:

Year  Team (Record) Receivers, Yards Result
1984  Dolphins (14-2) Mark Clayton 1,389, Mark Duper 1,306 Lost Super Bowl
1995  Lions (10-6) Herman Moore 1,686, Brett Perriman 1,488 Wild Card
2000  Rams (10-6) Torry Holt 1,635, Isaac Bruce 1,471 Wild Card
2000  Broncos (11-5) Rod Smith 1,602, Ed McCaffrey 1,317 Wild Card
2002  Steelers (10-5-1) Hines Ward 1,329, Plaxico Burress 1,325 Won Division
2005  Cardinals (5-11) Larry Fitzgerald 1,409, Anquan Boldin 1,402 Missed Playoffs
2006  Colts (12-4) Marvin Harrison 1,366, Reggie Wayne 1,310 Won Super Bowl
2011  Patriots (13-3) Wes Welker 1,569, Rob Gronkowski (TE) 1,327 Lost Super Bowl

Note that seven of the eight clubs made the playoffs, three reached the Super Bowl and one took home the Lombardi Trophy. You can understand, then, why there are such high hopes in Washington — as there were in Denver a year ago (when the Broncos won the AFC title).

The question, of course, is: Will Jackson’s presence take yards away from Garcon — or vice versa? Welker’s total, after all, dropped to 778 in his first season with the Broncos (while Thomas’ stayed steady at 1,430). But that might not be the best comparison because (a.) Wes missed the last three games with a concussion, and (b.) Peyton Manning had another capable wideout to throw to in Eric Decker (1,288 yards in ’13). The Redskins have no third option like Decker, so most of the passes should be headed in the direction of their two 1,300-Yard Men.

1 The closest anyone came before this was the Packers in 1981. With James Lofton coming off a 1,226-yard year, they acquired John Jefferson (1,340 in ’80) in a deal with the Chargers.

Source: pro-football-reference.com